Friday 22nd of March 2019

the new south wales loonies...

killing koalas

The proposed Shenhua Watermark coal mine in northern New South Wales will be allowed to relocate 262 koalas and destroy their natural habitat, the Land and Environment Court has ruled.

The decision upholds the development approval of a mine that Nationals leader and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce labelled "ridiculous" because of its proximity to prime agricultural land.

The court case was brought by local environment group Upper Mooki Landcare, who claimed the Planning Assessment Commission failed to properly assess the danger of the $1.2 billion project to the koala population.

Sue Higginson of the NSW Environment Defender's Office, who represented the case against Shenhua and the NSW Minister for Planning, said the law doesn't adequately protect or consider wildlife populations.

Nicky Chirlian from Upper Mooki Landcare said a review of environmental laws would hopefully force "big developments like this to have far more detail required as to what is actually planned for threatened species".

read more:


the land and environment kangaroo court...


The Land and Environment Court (LEC) is rarely in favour of koalas, kangaroos (they breed like pests), people, heritage and common sense. It is usually in favour of developers, cash, destruction for the glory of ephemeral progress and big holes which end up costing more to the public than the dirt they extract from it, since the tax payer at one stage or another will have to "subsidise" by creating rail transport, ports and fill the hole at the end of its "useful" life.


As well the idea to plonk an open coal mine the size of Paris, France, in the middle of the most fertile plains in Australia is a stroke of genius.


The taxpayer will have to fork out cash to pay for "litigations", hospitalisation of coal dust-affected personnel and of by-standers living close by. But at least in the favour of the LEC ruling stands that the project will employ unemployed people, mostly lawyers. Some people might disagree, but this has been my humble experience.

don't even drink the water and drive...

Five of the six top scientists in charge of monitoring the health of Sydney's water have had their positions axed as part of state government cuts experts warn will compromise the safety of drinking water.

The loss of top scientific expertise is part of deep staff cuts of up to 25 per cent in the agency created to ensure the safety of Sydney's water catchment after the city's drinking water crisis in 1998.

Four top scientists, including Penny Knight, the organisation's director of science, two senior scientists specialising in microbiology and catchment management and its principal scientist for physical chemicals have left the organisation this year. A fifth position is believed to have been downgraded from a scientific to an advisorial role. 


read more:

moving the goal posts for the penalty shot...


Smaller penalties for CSG companies amid crack down on protesters 

March 7, 2016 - 4:48PM
Sean Nicholls, Peter Hannam

Penalties of just $5000 could be issued to coal seam gas companies who explore or mine without permission instead of a potential $1.1 million fine under changes introduced by the Baird government.

As energy minister Anthony Roberts unveiled plans to clamp down on anti-coal seam gas protesters, the government has ushered in smaller alternative penalties to court prosecution for a range of offences.

For example, mining without authority - currently a $1.1 million fine plus $110,000 per day for a company if successfully prosecuted in court - can now be punished with a $5000 penalty notice.

Prospecting without authority - currently a $550,000 fine and $55,000 per day under a prosecution - may now be dealt with via a $5000 penalty notice.

Failure to provide information and records to an inspector - currently a $1.1 million fine  and $110,000 a day under a prosecution - is now punishable with a $5000 penalty notice.

Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham will on Tuesday give notice of a motion that the Legislative Council disallows the regulation containing the changes.

Mr Buckingham said the gulf between the prosecution fine and the penalty notice was "so massive" it introduced a corruption risk for bureaucrats.

"This is the action of a government determined to make life easy for their mates in the mining industry, while they introduce draconian penalties for those protesting to protect farms or the environment," he said.

However, Mr Roberts said the changes were designed to align the enforcement regimes in the Mining Act with the Petroleum (Onshore) Act, which covers CSG operations.

They do not remove the option of a full prosecution but allow the regulator "to choose the most appropriate action based on what has taken place ... "

On Monday, Mr Roberts unveiled proposed laws giving police additional powers "to deal with people who intend to 'lock-on' to equipment", and authority to move people on in all protest activities.

Sue Higginson, principal solicitor with Environmental Defenders Office NSW, said they are an over-reach and the current laws have been applied successfully for many years.

"The proposed increase to police powers appears to be unnecessary and in part a substantial intrusion on civil liberties," Ms Higginson said.

The timing of the new laws was "like waving a red rag to a bull," she said.

"The legality of the CSG activities of Santos in the Pilliga is currently being questioned in the NSW Courts, along with the actions of the Department of Industry," Ms Higginson said, noting the Land and Environment Court will begin hearings on a legal challenge against Santos on April 6.

Read more: 
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

Not only the NSW Liberal (CONservative) government is selling the farm without your approval, the Baird Empire is reducing the penalties for mining without a licence. All win-win for his mates, friends of the Empire who can grab some magic bargains as if they were falling off the back of a truck...


See toon at top

not happy — jones...

Tensions have been building between Jones with Mike Baird's state government on mining policy and stadium policy. But the final straw appears to have been the state government's lockout laws. Mr Jones opposes the government's policy and says he is dismayed it appears unmoved by recent protests.

"Michael Baird doesn't like it being said, but Michael Baird I'm saying to you…," Jones began: "The perception is you're completely out of touch if not very pig-headed and stubborn and defiant".

"This is political bullying," he continued. "And Michael Baird is becoming one of the biggest bullies we've ever put into Macquarie Street.

"He is defiant. He'll do it no matter what. The Baird government says 'We don't care what you think'.

"The NSW Liberal party website says 'we believe in individual freedom and free enterprise'. [But] the Liberal government of NSW practises the opposite".

That spray is unlikely to have gone unnoticed. Jones is a man whose influence over state and federal governments has become mythic and, some would argue, overstated.

It only took one phone call from Jones, the Herald reported, for former NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to overturn a decision to sack a member of the prestigious SCG board.

Former prime minister John Howard famously employed a "Minister for Alan Jones" to act as a liaison between the Prime Minister's Office and the broadcaster.

The adviser who filled that role is now a real life Minister in the Baird government and overseeing policy in mining, one of the other two areas of government policy that has the broadcaster so angry.

Jones, who ran unsuccessfully for Liberal party preselection in the Fraser era, diverges from that party on several issues but particularly the expansion of coal seam gas exploration near water catchments and mining on the Liverpool Plains in the state's north.

But there may be room further for relations to deteriorate on the issue of council amalgamations, on which Jones has been running a long, on-air critique of the Baird government's plans to forcibly merge councils around NSW.

Pig-headed bully notwithstanding, Jones may have saved his worst insult toward the Premier for an e-mail he apparently wrote to the Save Our Councils coalition, a group that protests the government's policy.

"Baird has gone mad," Jones wrote earlier this week.

When asked if he was prepared to have that indictment made public, Jones replied:

"Put whatever you like on Facebook. This bloke has to be made to feel the heat."

Read more: 
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

See toon at top...

killing kuddly koalas...


A once-thriving population of koalas is disappearing from parts of Queensland's Fraser Coast, and researchers say a larger survey is needed to figure out why.

There were numerous sightings of koalas in Tiaro, south of Maryborough, during a public survey 15 years ago, but a recent survey by researchers from the University of the Sunshine Coast found none.

Researcher Anthony Schultz spent two months surveying and did not see a single koala, or find any evidence that koalas were, or had recently been, living there.

"We found nothing. It was very surprising, there is lots of good habitat there, lots of state forests and council reserves and areas where koalas should be living very happily," he said.

read more:



Koalas are under threat of being wiped out in parts of Queensland and New South Wales, warn conservation group WWF Australia.

Koala numbers on the east coast:
  • 53 per cent decline in Queensland population
  • 26 per cent decline in New South Wales population
  • 80 per cent decline in Southwest Queensland population
  • 80 per cent decline in Koala Coast population
  • Up to 250 hospitalised annually in Port Macquarie-Hastings
  • 80 per cent decline in Pilliga Forests


The group are calling on state governments to do more to protect the Australian icon, claiming land clearing was rapidly destroying the mammals' bush habitats.

Dr Martin Taylor, protected areas and conservation science manager at WWF Australia, estimated that nearly 180 koalas died as a result of bushland bulldozing in south east Queensland alone between 2013 and 2015.


read more:


Read from top.



media bias against koalas...

MAINSTREAM MEDIA BIAS against koalas is now as big a threat as habitat loss. Truly.

Let’s take the plight of koalas in NSW south-east forests as a shining example of the absolute failure and refusal of two national mainstream media outlets to give the plight of koalas any objective focus.

In the November 25-26 Weekend Australian, a page 3 headline declared: ‘The great Koala scam; falling numbers not a crisis, says expert’. It quoted Vic Jurskis, a 'respected forester and ecologist' and raised, not only eyebrows, but considerable ire in the scientific and conservation communities. Jurskis is the author of a research paper to be published in the CSIRO journal, Wildlife Research, in which he dubs conservation campaigns as ‘the great Koala scam', according to the article, which does not dispute any of Jurkis' conclusions.

Not only is the article outrageously biased, but it’s written by a sports journalist, Chip Le Grand, whose environmental credentials are difficult to find. Furthermore, Le Grand is based in Melbourne, so all complaints had to go to the Melbourne office of The Australian.

‘The great koala scam’

— The Australian (@australian) November 24, 2017

After endless phone calls, complaints and emails by Koala experts and conservation organisations, a follow up article appeared in the Weekend Australian of 2/3 December, headed up Koala population claims a departure from reality quoting Professor Frank Carrick, chief investigator for the University of Queensland’s Koala Study Program

Professor Carrick underlined the fact that the fundamental problem is the ongoing loss and fragmentation of Koala habitat. Dr Martin Taylor, WWF's conservation scientist was also quoted indicating

'... there is strong empirical evidence that Koala populations were collapsing in NSW and Queensland.'

WWF’s recently published paper on koalas killed by bulldozers in Queensland was conveniently ignored. 

Read more:


Read from top...

a thoughtless extinction plan...

The Turnbull Government is overseeing a thoughtless extinction plan, dressed up as conservation, in which the koala will not survive. Sue Arnold reports.

A RECENT DECISION by the NSW Scientific Committee to reject the upgrading of an important koala population to "endangered" status has revealed what can only be described as a plot by all governments to eradicate Australia’s wildlife heritage.

At Port Stephens, a declining colony of koalas is struggling to survive as development chips away at habitat on a daily basis. 

President of Port Stephens Koalas Carmel Northwood describes the situation as “death by a million cuts”.

read more:


Read from top...

not happy, trumble...

The Turnbull Government's latest environmental compliance policy facilitates the destruction of endangered koalas to enable the RMS Pacific Highway Upgrade. An exclusive report by Sue Arnold.

THE TURNBULL GOVERNMENT has adopted a new environmental compliance policy.

The new policy essentially negates provisions of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 for violations of conditions for approval.

Although it’s impossible to find a legal interpretation of this latest development, the gist of this new effort ensures that developers, mining industry, corporations and State government departments like NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) need not be constrained by conditions of approval, as breaches will now be rendered meaningless by the Department of Environment and Energy's Office of Complianceinterpretation of enforcement. Kinda like being half pregnant. The words relating to environmental protections are there in black and white but in reality, they’re meaningless.


Read more:


Read from top.