Thursday, May 25, 2017

Standing up for the Noosa Biosphere means standing up for the Sandy Straits Biosphere

Posted by Jim on January 17, 2012

Noosa will need a strong, articulate presence on all issues in the State Parliament in the next few years if its present status as an example to the rest of Australia of balance between sustainable development and environmental protection, and the principles of the Noosa Biosphere, is to be maintained.

The international status of the Noosa Biosphere is at threat when the LNP and Labor are silent about the destruction of biosphere principals in Noosa’s companion region, the Great Sandy Biosphere. Labor encourages coal mining and gas extraction in Noosa’s adjacent Biosphere while the LNP MPs in Noosa, Gympie and the Federal Electorate [Wide Bay] sit back silently supporting coal and gas in the Mary Valley and along the reaches of the Mary River.

The same coal resources that are found along the Mary River, and are to be developed by Tiaro Coal, extend down into the Sunshine Coast. Already exploratory drilling has occurred at Wolvi, just to the north of the Noosa Biosphere boundary

If Government and Opposition representatives cannot open their mouths against coalmining and coal seam gas [CSG] in and about our region, how can they be trusted on the Noosa Biosphere? The LNP will say anything on policies and then protect their real policy positions with back door clauses.

The LNP and Labor are no better than each other in sharing policies on CSG to encourage and provide infrastructure to the CSG extraction industry when all around the world governments are imposing moratoriums to study the blatantly obvious negative impacts on the resources farmers and householders use.

The sitting member and the out-of-town Labor candidate are in no position to stand up and protect Noosa’s hard won environmental heritage, which provides the platform for so many tourist jobs in Noosa and the hinterland, because their parties have determined to support the industries which will do most to destroy what the Biosphere stands for.

Jim McDonald
Greens Candidate

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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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Warren Truss silent on coalmining devastation of Mary Valley

Posted by Jim on March 26, 2011

Online comment on article in Daily Telegraph, Australia keeps selling off the farm”:

If Warren Truss spent as much time looking after his farming and regional constituency, thinking positively about a real food security policy, as he does advocating against mining taxes on behalf of his mates in the coalmining lobby, perhaps less of this would be happening. The Mary Valley in his own electorate – some of it good farming land – faces devastation on a Hunter Valley scale from coalmining and CSG.  What has Warren said about it? Nothing.

Jim McDonald,  26 March 2011

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No more misrepresentation, Mr Truss

Posted by Jim on January 1, 2011

Since becoming actively involved in the Greens, I have been astonished at the persistent untruths concocted in the offices of Conservative parliamentarians and their supporters about Greens’ policies and published, often uncritically and with no attempt at balance, in the nation’s media. The Nationals finished 2010 true to form in attempting to perpetuate a mythical divide between farmers and The Greens, reported in the rural publication, Stock and Land.

In this post, I expose the National Party’s disregard for the truth by looking at our actual policy and the party’s position on farming in statements made by Green Party leaders over the last 12 months.

National Party Misinformation from Stock and Land:
Federal Nationals Leader Warren Truss said he was concerned the Greens were demonising farmers unfairly and failing to adequately recognise the work primary producers already do to care for and maintain the environment. “I don’t think the Greens are honest players in the whole exercise [the Murray-Darling Basin report],” he said. “No matter what amount of water was returned to the environment that would not be enough for the Greens.
Stock and Land, 31 December 2010.

Greens Party Facts: Sustainable Agriculture Policy:

The Australian Greens believe that:
1.the long-term sustainability of agriculture is essential for Australia’s society, economy and environment.
2.sustainable agriculture is fundamental to supporting rural communities, which are a vital part of Australian society.
3.rural Australia faces complex agricultural, environmental and social challenges; many farmers and pastoralists are actively seeking sustainable practices, but struggle to contend with increasing financial pressures.
4.the combined problems of salinity, water quality, soil degradation and habitat fragmentation require an integrated approach at the farm enterprise, catchment and landscape scales.
5.ongoing research, development and extension are essential to both improve the sustainability of Australian agriculture and to maintain its competitiveness.
6.we must plan and manage for the likely impacts of climate change, increasing climatic variability and oil scarcity on Australia’s agricultural industries
Australian Greens Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy: Sustainable Agriculture.

[Full policy below]

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Merry Christmas

Posted by Jim on December 25, 2010

Wide Bay Greens wishes all our readers a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2011

Mary River Tiaro

Mary River at Tiaro, Photo Jim McDonald

May the New Year see the Mary River system, its communities, and its wildlife  protected from coal mining and coal seam gas extraction forever.

Jim McDonald

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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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Queensland Coal COSTS the Queensland Taxpayer

Posted by Jim on

The 2010-2011 Queensland State Budget projects $2.8 billion in royalties from coalmining [Queensland budget paper 2, 2010] for the current financial year.  But coal infrastructure costs borne by the taxpayer are huge.  The development of the Bowen Abbott Point Coal Terminal alone will cost the Queensland taxpayer $1.8-1.9 billion  [Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Minerals and energy, “Major development projects – April 2010 listing”].

Overall, the Queensland Government has committed over the next three financial years $5.7 billion in coal infrastructure development in terminals and rail – this does not include costs presumably covered by the new owners of sold off State assets [Sourcewatch: ABARE April 2010 major projects list].  In addition the State is committed in 2010-2011 to spend $400 million on power station upgrades.

The cost of coal to the State over three years based on an assumption of an average of $3 billion in coal royalties and taxpayer-funded expenditure on coal: a LOSS of around half a billion dollars.  These estimates do not include the State’s contribution to Coal Seam Gas or coal exploration!

The nett loss to the state Treasury does not include social costs, road maintenance costs, road closure costs, the cost of fractured communities, loss of agricultural productivity, the cost to the health system, the cost of high water usage, the irreversable damage to aquifers and water quality, irreversable landscape damage, the damage to heritage, the effect of coal transportation on the amenity of passenger rail, the lost opportunities to invest in renewable energy resources, the catch-up costs that will be incurred in a post-carbon economy, etc, etc, etc.  And now, ongoing revenue earners – the rail system and the ports – have been sold off for a one-off profit.  Would YOU run a business like that?  Especially when you have accountability to the taxpayers?

Coal is has a toxic effect on the state economy.

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Federal Electorate, 20/12/10

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Greens call on Gympie Regional Council to oppose coalmining and Coal Seam Gas extraction in the Mary River Valley

Posted by Jim on December 14, 2010

The Greens spokesperson for the Wide Bay Federal Electorate, Dr Jim McDonald, has called on the Gympie Regional Council to stand up to mining interests in the Mary River Valley.

He said there is a serious threat of coal seam gas [CSG] extraction in the Mary River Valley and drilling exploration had commenced in Wolvi.

“People should not be complacent about their region,” he said. “The Fraser Coast Council this week announced its support for CSG exploration in Hervey Bay. It is not impossible that some Gympie councillors won’t likewise be seduced by the coal industry’s spin.

“Tiaro Coal has already commenced CSG exploration at Munna Creek and the company recently started exploration drilling in the Wolvi district. Coalmining and CSG extraction irreversibly destroys the aquifers, uses huge amounts of water, and creates problems with storage of contaminated water.

“One of the issues that people don’t think about is what happens to the water allocations when mining companies buy out farming land. If the coal companies get their way they will control the Mary River and its tributaries. Coalmining and CSG extraction in the Mary Valley will utilise millions of megalitres of water a year if mining is allowed to go ahead.

“Mining along the Mary River and its tributaries within the Gympie Regional Council boundaries and further downstream will turn the region into the Hunter Valley. That is a far greater threat to the Mary River Valley and its communities than the Traveston Dam ever was.”

Dr McDonald, who has just returned from touring the Hunter Valley and the Darling Downs speaking to residents, shopkeepers and farmers, said the region’s Councils and people were too complacent about the mounting threats to the Mary Valley from coal and CSG interests. “Already farmers and communities in the Wandoan district face huge open-cut mines and some farms already have CSG wells dug on their properties.

“It will happen here and when it does, that will be the end of the Mary Valley forever and all the excellent work done to protect the viability of the Mary River and its communities will have been for nothing.

“You have to ask what the State member for Gympie, David Gibson, and the Federal Member, Warren Truss, are doing. They turned up at Traveston Dam protests, but their silence on coal and gas mining speaks volumes about their true environmental credentials.

“There’s a lot of rot spoken about coalmining bringing jobs and prosperity. In fact, it reduces agricultural productivity, alienates good cropping and grazing land forever, destroys property values and communities, and does little to stimulate retail businesses. Coalmining is a toxic threat environmentally, socially and economically.

“Gympie businesses might be seduced by the prospects of mining coming to the region but coalmining and CSG will wreck the Mary Valley for the sake of a relatively few jobs, the bulk of which will go to skilled and experienced workers and contractors from outside the the region. This happens at Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley. Retail outlets are struggling. Over the weekend the miners not on shift have left town. Muswellbrook is only 220 km from Sydney, about the same distance Gympie is from Brisbane. Coalmining offers little true benefit to Gympie’s economy.”

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Federal Electorate, media release

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Mining and gas expansion will lead to further job losses

Posted by admin on December 10, 2010

Australian Bureau of Statistics employment figures for Queensland which were released yesterday and show that more jobs were lost in Queensland than created are no surprise, according to the Queensland Greens.

‘Each time the Premier or Treasurer announce some new mining or gas drilling development in regional Queensland, it increases uncertainty for existing agricultural and tourism sectors,’ Queensland Greens spokesperson, Libby Connors pointed out.

‘Why would anyone invest in agriculture or related agrifood businesses when the Premier publicly states that she intends to protect only ‘the best of the best’ of Queensland’s cropping lands?

‘We’re in the midst of a good rainfall season but these major sectors of the Queensland economy are being hemmed in by new coal mines and gas wells in the state’s richest agricultural lands.

‘The outlook is not much better for tourism.  The Australian dollar is one factor but so is the expansion of coal ports north and south of Queensland’s finest coastal resorts in the  Whitsundays and proposals for coal mines and coal seam gas near Wide Bay.

‘No tourists want to view the beautiful Queensland coast through coal heaps, coal dust and gas infrastructure.’

‘Reckless expansion by one sector of the economy is endangering and narrowing the state’s economic base but both major parties have no vision about how to develop a diverse economy in a post-carbon world.’

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Who is rorting the system?

Posted by Jim on October 31, 2010

At the last Federal election the Liberal National parties made a huge play on voters regarding the number of school buildings being built under the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program. They claimed there was massive rorting of the system.

On Thursday this week the Coalition failed in its bid to pass several motions against the Government to establish a judicial inquiry into this program.

Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne didn’t even turn up to vote on his own bill to force a judicial inquiry into the Government’s schools building program.

Where is the integrity of this man and his party?

I attended a David Helfgott concert recently in their new school hall built through the BER program at the Christian College and I didn’t hear anyone there complain of this great asset for the community.

St Patrick’s College have a new science wing as no doubt all other schools in our area have positively benefited from this scheme.

Builders and associated businesses were able to maintain workers at a time of global uncertainty. Our community wasn’t dragged down into an unemployment vortex that Mr Pyne and his coalition partners would have had us go through.

No doubt there will be those who say where ‘will the money come from’ to pay for this. Without having access to Treasury data I can’t respond, but one project alone the Chevron Gorgon Project in WA is projected to bring in $50billion to the Australian economy over the next 40 years. One would hope that this one project alone would assist balancing the books.

Are people cynical of politicians?

We have proposed coalmines on our doorstep, coal seam gas projects and potential devastation of some of Australia’s best farmlands.

Is Mr Truss and the coalition or Labor responding to these concerns within the electorate. No!

Kent Hutton, Letter to Editor, Gympie Times, 29 October 2010

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