Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wide Bay’s Prime Minister

Posted by Jim on September 26, 2012

Andrew Fisher was the fifth Prime Minister of Australia and he represented Wide Bay from the very first federal election [1901 until 1915]. He was PM on three occasions: 1908–09, 1910-13 and 1914-15. He resigned from the Prime Ministership and Parliament in 1915 and was subsequently appointed Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from January 1916 to January 1921.

You can catch up on a short film presentation on Channel 2 for the next 11 days at ABC i-View. This is part 5 of a series on Australia’s Prime Ministers.

Jim McDonald
Noosa and Hinterland Branch
Queensland Greens


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Mary Valley faces new coal threat

Posted by Jim on May 18, 2011

An alert Maryborough member has drawn attention to the announcement of a new coal exploration permit in the Mary Valley, 25 kilometres south of Maryborough, east of the Bruce Highway, by Scorpion Energy Pty Ltd. Scorpion Energy was established only 18 months ago and presently only has a one page web presence without any content.

The continued allocation of coal exploration permits in the Mary Valley by the Queensland Government shows scant regard for the environmental values of the Mary Valley – values which the Federal Government endorsed when it refused the Bligh Government’s planned dam at Traveston. This is the sixth exploration permit in the Mary Valley that the Queensland Minister for mining has issued.

The National Party opposed Traveston Dam and supported the environmental arguments against its construction. Why are Warren Truss, the Nationals’ Federal member for Wide Bay and David Gibson, the LNP State member for Gympie, silent on coal mining and coal seam gas, which Tiaro Coal Corporation plans to develop along Munna Creek, which will do vast damage to the ecology of the Mary River and the Mary Valley? Are the Nationals and LNP compromised by their links with the coal industry?

The silence of the Nationals is a true indication of how committed to the environmental values of the Mary Valley they really are.

Bob Brown

Greens leader, Bob Brown, supporting the community in opposing Traveston Dam.

Photo by Arkin Mackay,,
reproduced with permission

Jim McDonald, Wide Bay Greens Spokesperson, 18 May 2011

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Greens support Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal

Posted by Jim on January 11, 2011

Greens leader, Sen. Bob Brown, has written to Greens members urging them to contribute to the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal:

Dear friend,

The tragic loss of life in the Queensland floods, as well as the shocking images of besieged cities, evacuated suburbs, homes and cars swept away and farms ruined, leaves us luckier Australians asking how we can help.

Please join with me in giving to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal by clicking here.

Whatever you do, don’t delay, the need is now.

Thank you for your generosity,

Bob Brown

(on behalf of the Australian Greens)

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Federal Electorate, 11 January 2011

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Our thoughts are with those dealing with the floods

Posted by Jim on January 10, 2011

In this extraordinary weather, our thoughts go to the residents of Maryborough and Gympie and all the hamlets and villages in the Mary River Valley who have been affected by the deluge and the floods.

Gympie floods

Mary River at 18 metres looking towards Gympie CBD over Kidd Bridge (submerged), 10 January 2011, reproduced with permission

We hope that your homes stay intact, undamaged and free from the water, and that you and your families see the through the disaster safely.

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Federal Electorate, 10 January 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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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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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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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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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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Coal exploration extends into Sunshine Coast

Posted by Jim on October 4, 2010

Coalmining threatens the Sunshine Coast, warned the Greens spokesperson for Wide Bay, Jim McDonald.

He said that Tiaro Coal Limited had already conducted aerial surveys in the Wolvi region, and recently reported to the Stock Exchange that it would soon commence exploration drilling in the district. It can do this under a coal exploration permit EPC967 issued by the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Planning.

Countryside near Wolvi [Photo, Jim McDonald]

The Greens raised coalmining along the Mary Valley as a major issue in the Wide Bay electorate during the recent federal election, and supported the Aldershot community near Maryborough in its fight against an open-cut coalmine just a couple of kilometres from their town.

“The Mary River is threatened by the strong possibility of open cut mines being dug from Munna Creek, one of its major tributaries in the Mary Valley, to Maryborough. That will have devastating effects on the ecology of the river, which is home to rare and threatened species, and on the internationally listed Great Sandy Wetlands, a sea grass environment that supports dugong, dolphins, prawns and fisheries.

“Now, the Sunshine Coast faces the intrusion of coalmining activity near the Noosa River catchment area. Coalmining has no place in coastal regions or where there is top quality farming land in Queensland.

Dr McDonald called upon the LNP spokesperson on the environment, Glen Elmes, and the Member for Wide Bay, Warren Truss, to reject open cut mining along the Mary River, the Cooloola Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

He said he doubted that they would do so, because the Nationals support coalmining in the region. “They certainly didn’t oppose the Colton Coal Mine during the Federal election.

“The Greens will fight the introduction of coalmines into our region.”

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Federal Electorate, Media Release, 4 October 2010
Coverage: Sunshine Coast Daily 5/10/10; Gympie Times 6/10/10; Noosa News 8/10/10

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