Sunday, May 28, 2017

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Coal, coal seam gas, food production, food security, climate change and population

Posted by Jim on December 20, 2010

The effects of irreversible environmental damage are just one of the factors in the battle against the excesses of the coalmining industry.  Top quality farming land faces devastation by coalmining or CSG extraction and that of course has been the focus of the campaigns against coalmining and its expansion.

To my mind, it is not only the environmental vandalism that is evident in the Hunter Valley, for example, but it is also the absence of Federal and State food security policies that is the most shocking context of this impetus to expand mining and extraction into productive land in the Hunter Valley [agricultural productivity is already decimated], the Liverpool Plains and the Darling Downs.  I am outraged that any Australian Government allows foreign companies owned by foreign governments [Shinghua 67% by PRC] or any mining company to buy up agricultural land for mining and CSG extraction.

I am equally outraged that they allow the sale of top quality agricultural land land to foreign companies owned by foreign governments whose mission statements refer to the food security of the foreign country [Hassad Foods & Qatar].  Australia is allowing foreign governments to purchase Australian land for their food security?  In the absence of a food security policy – let alone a strategy – for Australia!  That is a betrayal of Australia and future generations of Australians.

The campaign against coal needs to shift gears and address the failure of food security planning as a matter of urgency while the Labor Party and the Coalition are failing the nation and its grandchildren.  Indeed I would argue that the campaign against coalmining and coal seam gas should also adopt the discourse of betrayal of our national interest.  Even though there has been much made of the nonsensical proposition of allowing mining of top agricultural land, it might be seen as been a matter of self-interest on the part of farmers by an un-engaged city audience.

The failure of planners to take account of the impact of alienating productive land is a long-standing problem on the verges of urban expansion with the disappearance of large market garden areas around our cities and towns.  It doesn’t only happen in the capitals: it happens in regional cities such as Toowoomba.

The food security policy vacuum is locked into the other two major issues of our time and for the next generation [ie to 2030] and the next [to 2050]: population and climate change.  The population grows as we see the prospect of productive land diminished by Greed, Coal and CSG.  The best agricultural land must be preserved to feed our rapidly growing population, especially in the face of shifting climate characteristics and extended and more severe weather events.  But governments are sitting on their thumbs.

Take the Queensland Government, for example.  It now owns the agricultural land in the upper Mary River Valley while coalminers plan open cut pits along the river’s major tributaries and the river itself.  What does the Bligh Government do about planning food security for South-East Queensland and in particular, what does it do about the land it ill-advisedly purchased for the Traveston Dam?  It has run a food cropping land “inquiry” that does not specifically address food security nor specifically address the best use of the land it now owns and it can’t re-sell to the farmers it pushed off the land.  Is there a panel of agricultural scientists, environmental experts, and the local community nutting out a model plan for food security in the Mary Valley and planning for climate change?  Forget it!

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Mary Valley: A deadly lack of vision on all sides

Posted by Jim on September 21, 2010

I refer to the independent member for Nicklin Peter Wellington’s comments published in the Noosa News, Tuesday, 21 September about developing the Mary Valley as a food bowl.

Mr Wellington is picking up rather belatedly on one of the issues I raised during the Federal election campaign back in May.  But Mr Wellington, like most politicians, fails to address the key issues and only scratches at the populist elements of the issue.  What is needed is the immediate cooperation of farmers, agricultural scientists, ecologists, climate scientists, the food industry, economists, the regional communities and the State and Federal Governments to plan out a future for the the Mary Valley.  And set a date on it for implementation in the next 18 months.  Instead land lies in the hands of the State Government, which is only interested in offloading it.

But the future of the Mary Valley must be considered as a matter of urgent national and regional interest as part of an holistic approach to the triple challenges of climate change, population growth and food security.  This makes the Government’s food cropping survey somewhat redundant for the region.  Action is needed now.  In the region.

There is a deadly lack of vision on all sides as the State Labor Government and the LNP continue to show ineptitude on all three of these highest priority challenges.

There is a deadly lack of vision on all sides as the State Labor Government and the LNP continue to show ineptitude on all three of these highest priority challenges.

The Mary Valley should become a model for efficient food production. Food distribution should be reformed by changing the inefficient supply chain practices of the large supermarkets. The primary market for Mary Valley should be the Burnett, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast and Wide Bay regions supplied directly from the Mary Valley, with the surplus exported to the rest of Australia and overseas.

In the face of the failure of the State Labor Government, the LNP at both State and Federal levels in the region are ineffectual on addressing climate change, population and food security.  They also remain silent on the prospect of coalmining along the Mary River.

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Electorate, 21 September 2010
Published Noosa News 24 September 2010

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Time to act on Mary Valley

Posted by Jim on May 31, 2010

The beautiful Mary Valley

The Mary Valley must be planned and developed as the food bowl for the region and South East Queensland. It is in the national interest that the State and federal Governments treat the future of the Mary Valley as a matter of the highest priority.

There is an opportunity that is being missed here to put in place a highly productive and sustainable food cropping zone to feed the region and export to the rest of the country and even overseas.

The Mary Valley could become a model for efficient food production and distribution by changing the inefficient supply chain practices of the large supermarkets. The primary market for Mary Valley would be the Burnett, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast and Wide Bay regions supplied directly from the Mary Valley, with the surplus exported to the rest of Australia and overseas.

Intensive but sustainable methods could be world class with efficient water usage and re-usage.

This is the most important climate change policy and population policy for the region. and we hear nothing from either the State or Federal Government. The necessity of acting on protecting and nurturing our best land seems to have escaped the notice of Anna Bligh and Kevin Rudd.

After prematurely acquiring a large number of properties, which it finds it can’t now [sell in its] buy back [plan], the State Government owns the most fertile land in the valley, so the essential planning should be less difficult than under other circumstances.

This is about securing food supplies in an area that has a reliable water supply and fertile land.

The Mary Valley provides the opportunity for model planning in food security. The sustainable development of food production in the Mary Valley is a national as well as a state issue and Mr Rudd and Ms Bligh are to be condemned for their failure to address the question.

Letter to the Gympie Times, published 29 May 2010

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

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 »

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather