Thursday, May 25, 2017

Greens support Kin Kin residents’ objections to quarry

Posted by Jim on June 30, 2010

In 2007, Anna Bligh, then Minister for Infrastructure refused an application for the development of a $400 million tourism development in the village of Kin Kin.  Not only did she say that the project was in conflict with the SEQ regional plan, which allows for smaller tourism businesses such as farm stays and Bed and Breakfast establishments, but she also pointed out, “The region just doesn’t have the infrastrucure to support a development of this size.”

The Kin Kin district doesn’t have the infrastructure for up to 40 trucks a day carrying up to 42 tonnes of rock on the roads either.  Kin Kin is notorious for the narrow winding roads that lead to the town.  Roads in and out of Kin Kin will become a death trap.

Today I visited this quiet little corner and saw Sunshine Coast Regional Council surveyors marking out the road leading from the quarry to the Kin Kin – Wolvi Road for an upgrade.  There is nothing in the Main Roads budget for improving the roads. And, this is despite the Council and Kin Kin residents about to face each other in court.

Wahpunga Creek flows off a ridge, past the quarry, and eventually into Kin Kin Creek, which in turn flows into the Noosa River.  The Department of Environment doesn’t call this a stream!

Walpinga Creek

Wahpunga Creek: Qld Dep't of Environment & Resource Management says this is not a creek! Photo Jim McDonald

When it rains, it is quite clear from the next photograph that the stream suffers from quarry run-off.  This flows eventually through to  Kin Kin Creek and Noosa River.  This case is an example of tricksy, bureaucratic nonsense emanating from Departments whose function is to protect the environment, but whose arbitrary decisions are ultimately harmful to residents and the environment.  This is what the quarry did to the Wahpunga Creek after rain:

Wahpunga Creek with quarry run-off

Wahpunga Creek downstream from quarry after rain; clear surface water flowing from neighbour's property Photo Maree Glasby

By the way, the road being surveyed, Sheppersons Lane, is part of the Noosa Trail Network!

There are some complicated issues about the legality of the quarry, which has been a small part-time quarry for years.  But, the central issue is that accessibility issues have the seeds of tragedy in them if this small quarry is upscaled. Meanwhile, the lessee forges ahead.

Kin Kin Quarry

Drilling proceeds for expanding Kin Kin Quarry, 30 June 2010 Photo Jim McDonald

The Greens support the Kin Kin community, which has been working hard to prevent their roads being overrun by large trucks that have no place in their small hamlet.  Your Wide Bay candidate, Jim McDonald, called on the LNP Opposition spokesperson on the environment, the Hon Glen Elmes, to get moving on the issue.  This needs real action to prevent a disastrous result for Kin Kin and district residents.

Jim McDonald, Greens Candidate, Wide Bay, 30 June 2010

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Tiaro Coal Mine at Munna Creek?

Posted by Jim on June 29, 2010

Tiaro Coal Limited is focussing on the development of a coal mine at Munna Creek.

Munna Creek

Munna Creek flows into Mary River Photo Jim McDonald

Munna Creek has a catchment area of 1475 square kilometres.  There are problems with weeds infesting wetlands along its course.  But, this Mary River tributary faces its greatest threat: the development of open cut coalmines.

The Greens oppose coal mines in the Wide Bay electorate.  What’s your position, Mr Truss?

Comment: Jim McDonald, Greens Candidate for Wide Bay, 29 June 2010

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Greens fishing policy encourages a sustainable industry

Posted by Jim on June 23, 2010

There is some concern in the Wide Bay electorate about the Garrett review on fisheries in the Fraser Coast and Cooloola Coast regions.  At a forum at Tin Can Bay in April called to discuss the effects on the seafood industry, the CEO of Marine Queensland, Don Jones, spoke about sustainable industry practices.

Afterwards I wrote to tell him it was clear “that your industry organisation and The Greens have far more in common than we have differences,” and sent him a copy of The Greens’ fishing policy.  Greens policy on the industry and recreational fishing is to protect fish nursery habitat and encourage environmentally benign aquaculture industries.

There are, I told him, some useful distinctions he made that should be taken into account in the question of setting up green areas [ie no-go zones] – that we need to take a three dimensional approach to the question of access on the one hand and sustainability on the other.

What Don Jones said at the forum was quite consistent with The Greens’ policy on fishing.  The first principal of our policy is the management of recreational and commercial fisheries to maintain sustainable populations and fisheries, and to minimise the environmental impacts of fishing.  There was nothing in his remarks at the forum that was at odds with The Greens’ strategy to maintain adequate, biologically representative “no-take” areas within each fishery and/or marine bio-region for the conservation of marine biodiversity and fish stocks.

Nonetheless, The Greens position is outrageously portrayed by ratbags at the edges of the industry as anti-fishing.  The Greens policy is hardly about closing down fisheries. The industry and The Greens share a concern about significant drops in some fish stocks.

The Greens go further than the industry in linking an increase in the number of Australia’s marine reserves, particularly where these improve the resilience of vulnerable fish populations.  That’s the practical way to ensure sustainability.

But the science needs to be done and the Federal and State Governments need to patrol their respective designated areas to protect sensitive fishery resources against illegal commercial and recreational fishing.  At the same time, the Federal Government review of the need for marine parks needs to look at which areas in a reserve might be no-go areas and what regulations ought to be put in place for different systems in the environment within a marine park.  Within a particular zone it might require different approaches to pelagic fish on the surface and deep water marine species, migratory fish and fishing on reefs.  The Greens do call for a moratorium on deep-sea bottom trawling in Australian waters and require a reduction of inefficient and wasteful by-catch in all trawl fisheries.

Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, has said about the review that neither the borders nor the announcement of the review of the Fraser Coast and Cooloola waters indicate which specific areas will be protected or where areas of mixed use will be allowed.

What is encouraging is that the responsible sectors of the industry, the Minister and The Greens all address the sustainability of the fishing industry.  That consensus is a better start than the irresponsible scaremongering of sections of the industry, which the the member for Wide Bay seems to be pandering to in his latest electoral report.

Comment: Jim McDonald, Greens Candidate for Wide Bay, 23 June 2010

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Patient trips show need for real hospital reform

Posted by Jim on

The fact that Maryborough patients have to travel to Maryborough for dialysis treatment is indicative of the need for real reform of the hospital system in the Wide bay Electorate according to the Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald.

“Dialysis patients often need more than one session a week and travelling up and down the Bruce Highway for treatment is appalling, especially when patients requiring dialysis are feeling unwell.

“The neglect of health is also felt in the west of the electorate. Cancer patients in towns like Murgon and Goomeri have to take a return journey of up to 500 kilometres to Toowoomba for some cancer treatments and tests. That is not a system that is designed for patients.

“Free transport offered dialysis patients by the Queensland Minister for Health is not the central issue. Patient well-being is what it should be about and long, arduous trips for treatment or tests fail that criterion.

“Hospital and clinical resources in the whole of the Wide Bay electorate are poorly organised and it amounts to Government neglect of public patients.”

Dr McDonald said that the Rudd Government’s so-called health reforms must address the question of access to health services.

“Patients need reform rather than rhetoric. Real reform will drive an upgrade of Maryborough and Gympie hospitals to improve services across the electorate.

“Pressure on one hospital is a pressure on all the hospitals in our region. With population growth pushing up from the Sunshine Coast into Gympie, the situation will escalate.

“Communities need to have confidence that the smaller hospitals are not under any threat and expansion of services in the larger hospitals should reduce the need for trips to Brisbane except in cases of the highest medical emergency.”

“Real reform will address the present inequality of health service delivery in our region compared with the metropolitan area.

“But when Mr Rudd travelled to regional Queensland with health hand-outs, he ignored the electorate. Wide Bay is not a marginal Labor seat.

Media Release: 22 June 2010; letter published, Gympie Times, 23 June 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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Mining or farming first?

Posted by Jim on

The State Government has to make up its mind. Which is more important: top farming land or unrenewable gas wells or coal mines? If it has a germ of an idea about planning for climate change, it must come out on the side of efficient agricultural production on the best land. That is the only responsible policy direction. It is clear that gas wells and land preservation are incompatible. The performance of DERM in a number of other cases suggests that this legislation will not protect farming land. Jim McDonald Greens Candidate Wide Bay federal electorate.

Comment on story about legislative changes in Queensland Country Life, 1 June 2010

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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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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 https://forms.australia.gov.au/forms/aec/Electoral%20enrolment/ 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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