Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Arts and Wide Bay Issues – Interview Noosa Community Radio

Posted by Jim on May 30, 2010

From Noosa Community radio:

Sometime this year there’s going to be a national election, and those chasing seats in Canberra are throwing their hats in the ring. Most of our audience probably live in the electorate of Wide Bay, which covers Weyba Downs and Peregian Beach in the southeast, Fraser Island in the northeast, from Booubyjan in the northwest to the township of Cherbourg in the southwest and Bella Creek in the south. Since March 1990 – that’s 20 years – the seat has been held by Warren Truss, leader of The Nationals, who held various ministries in the Howard government for 10 years. You’d be forgiven for thinking Warren owns Wide Bay. Enter David to challenge Goliath: Greens candidate, Jim McDonald, who’s started stomping the electorate. At a recent little gathering here in The J, next door to us, he put his case for more funding of the arts in the regions – that’s us, for example. That, of course, is not the former union official, teacher and jack of a few more trades’ only platform. I asked him why he was emphasising the arts.

Download MP3 recording of interview with Diet Simon, Interview recorded 2 May 2010

Noosa Community Radio

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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

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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National Sorry Day

Posted by Jim on May 26, 2010

The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Jim McDonald, and members of the Campaign Committee celebrated National Sorry Day on a bridge on Eumundi-Kenilworth Road at Browns Road Belli Park.  Sorry Day is, unfortunately, probably best remembered by most Australians only for when more than 250,000 people walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2000.  The bridge walks represent an opportunity to acknowledge that there is still unfinished business for the stolen generations.  See the National Sorry Day Committee.

Members of campaign committee on Sorry Day bridge walk

The committee walked across a bridge on the Eumundi-Kenilworth Road.

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Young voters urged to enrol without delay

Posted by Jim on May 25, 2010

Young voters who will turn 18 before the end of the year should enrol with the Australian Electoral Commission as soon as possible to ensure they get a vote in the 2010 Federal Election.  However, while 17 year olds can enrol, they are not eligible to vote until they turn 18.

The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald, said that he was afraid that many new voters would put off enrolling because no-one except the Prime Minister had a clue when he was going to call an election.  And it would be easy to miss out.

“I would encourage all young people who are 17 years old and whose 18th birthday is before the end of the year to enrol early.”

Dr McDonald said the electoral rolls will close only three days after an election is called and a writ issued.

This limitation was introduced by the Howard Government and it has been left there by the Rudd Government.

“The provision makes it easy for the youngest voters to miss out,” he said.

Voters can find enrolment forms through the following outlets:

  • Any Post Office or Australia Post outlet;
  • Medicare;
  • Centrelink;
  • Australian Taxation Office outlets;
  • The Australian Electoral Office in Telstra House [Arcade], 277-281 Adelaide St., MARYBOROUGH QLD 4650.  There are no other electoral offices in Gympie or Noosa.  However, you can pick up an electoral form in Nambour at the Australian Electoral Office, Commonwealth Government Centre, cnr Maud & Currie Sts., NAMBOUR QLD 4560
  • Download a form from or
  • Ring: 13 23 26 to order a form.

If you are a new young voter and you are both 17 years old and an Australian citizen, you may enrol before your 18th birthday, but you are not entitled to vote until you turn 18.

If your 18th birthday falls between the announcement of the election [that is, date of the writ] and polling day and you have not already applied for provisional enrolment, you have until the close of rolls 3 days after the election is called to apply for enrolment. After that, you will not be able to vote in the 2010 election.

So the window for enrolling is a small one.

You should check the information required on the enrolment form to ensure you have satisfied all the requirements and/or visit the Australian Electoral Commission web page for further information.

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Colton coal mine will turn Aldershot into a mining town

Posted by Jim on May 18, 2010

It is bad enough when coal mining in Queensland and NSW is allowed by State and Governments to ruin prime agricultural land.

When coalmining threatens to destroy the lifestyle of the 500 residents of Aldershot, just north of Maryborough, it’s time to call a halt.

The escalation of open-cut coal mining is creating environmental and social problems as well as alienating agricultural land. The Colton mine has not yet started, but it will be to the detriment of Aldershot and its residents. The mine will be only 3 kilometres from the village. The Colton project will turn Aldershot and the north of Maryborough into a coalmining town.

This is an example of mining moving from remote regions of the state to more intensively settled areas like Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

Mining coal so close to established towns will also cause health problems. A 2008 study of the effect of coalmining in West Virginia in the USA found that the incidence of chronic illness in coalmining communities grows as coal production increases1.

Coalmining produces carbon dioxide, methane and sulphuric acid as well as dust and will interfere with the water table. The mine will put pressure on water resources in the region. There are wetlands, which the Colton mine will also affect, as well as the Susan River which flows into the Mary River estuary.

Initially the developer, Northern Energy Corporation, told the community in April this year that mining would last 8 to 10 years. That estimate did not add up. In February, the estimated reserve was reported as being 57.4 million tons. NEC says that it will be shipping out 500,000 tonnes of coal a year once the open-cut mine starts up. Do the maths: the mine is good for a century as it spreads to the northern suburbs of Maryborough.

Planning legislation must stop open cut coal mines devastating agricultural areas, near residential areas or near environmentally sensitive areas, especially given the industry’s appalling record on environmental management and site rehabilitation.

1. M Hendryx and M Ahern, “Relations between Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia,” April 2008, The American Journal of Public Health.

Thanks for contribution to this post by Drew Hutton

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FIRB allows companies owned by foreign governments to buy up farmland

Posted by Jim on May 15, 2010

The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald, has raised concerns about Foreign Investment Review Board approvals for the purchase of agricultural land by corporations with substantial foreign government ownership.

I want to know whether land in the Wide Bay and Burnett region is been sold off to overseas companies owned by foreign governments.

The Greens’ policy on agriculture calls for the protection of prime agricultural land from urban developments and other encroachments. I would add to that the specific protection of the sovereignty of agricultural lands.

These principles are under attack by FIRB approvals of agricultural land purchases by corporations substantially owned by foreign governments.

The question of foreign investment in Australian resources and industry is one thing. It is quite a different issue when foreign governments are involved.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Greens call on Labor to get on with broadband roll-out in Wide Bay electorate

Posted by Jim on May 11, 2010

The Federal Government should get on with upgrading broadband access in South East Queensland, the Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald said.

“Now Senator Conroy’s $25 million review of implementation of the National Broadband Network [NBN] has come up with smaller cost projections than first estimated, the roll-out should commence without delay.

He said that present internet speeds in much of regional Australia are third world.

“Regional Australians have been treated for too long as second-class internet users.

“The priority should be to start the optical fibre network in areas like South East Queensland.

“And Telstra should cooperate with the Government in saving taxpayers’ funds and in lowering customer costs.

“Telstra negotiators should remember that their primary mission is to provide all Australians with telephony and internet infrastructure.

“That responsibility has not disappeared because Government has part privatised the service, which should never have happened” he said.

Dr McDonald said the Opposition’s position was laughable. 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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Speech given on climate change panel, Accidently Carbon Street, Maleny, 23 April 2010

Posted by Jim on May 9, 2010

Having heard the science and having heard the sceptics, what do I do as the first Greens member of parliament in the House of Representatives?

Let’s assume that – like Senator Fielding in the Senate – I hold the balance of power between Labor and the Coalition. And there is before the House of Representatives a Bill that aims to reduce the production of carbon dioxide in Australia. The Bill has been controversial because it places a significant impost on industry and it will mean that costs inevitably will be passed onto the consumer. The Bill also contains provisions that will require renewable energy targets to be met by power companies and households to cut back significantly on the production of carbon dioxide by coal-fired power stations.

I am not a scientist. Whom do I go to? Do I listen to what the scientific community is saying about global warming, or do I ask myself whether I should turn to the few scientists who claim that the science is faulty, that any carbon dioxide produced by factories, aeroplanes and vehicles in the past two hundred years is too small to have made a significant impact on global temperatures, that the current rise in temperatures is part of a long, natural climate cycle?

I am struck, first of all, that there is no single science that can give me the answers. There are climatologists, atmospheric scientists, cosmologists, geologists, biologists, historians. No single source. But the United Nations has pulled together the relevant research reported in thousands of papers that have gone through the greater or lesser rigours of peer review. That should help me? WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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