Morrison Must Wake From Climate Stupor On Bushfires: Faruqi

Greens Senator for NSW, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has spoken to the tragedy of bushfires in her state and the Prime Minister’s shameful silence on the the link between bushfires and the climate emergency. Senator Faruqi said:

“My heart goes out to the communities utterly devastated by the tragedy of losing their loved ones and their homes. It’s also horrendous to see hundreds of koalas dead and the bush destroyed.

“The mid-north coast of NSW is a place I know well. It was my home for many years. It’s where I lived and worked and where my children grew up. Friends from Port Macquarie, Taree and Johns River have been telling me of the raging fires. They were scared of the speed and extent of destruction. They thought the end of the world was coming.

“The community needs every bit of support and help the government can give them here and now. They must be supported to get through this disaster and to build resilience. Instead of budget cuts as the NSW Liberal National government has done over the years, our brave firies must have the resources they need to do their jobs in protecting communities and do it safely.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Deputy are putting communities in danger by not acting on the climate emergency. The PM remains shamefully silent on the link between the bushfires and the climate emergency, knowing full well the intensity and frequency of bushfires will only get worse if we don’t act immediately.

“If this doesn’t wake the PM up from his climate stupor, I’m not sure what will.  We need real action on the climate crisis and its consequences. The community deserve much better.”

“Oil Spill Risk” too big to give oil giant green light in the Great Australian Bight

Big oil copped another blow to their plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight today, with the government agency NOPSEMA, rejecting Norwegian company Equinor’s application requiring them to modify and resubmit their environment plan.

“The Norwegian oil giant should quit while it still can. There’s no safe way to drill in the Great Australian Bight, and South Australians, and Australians alike, will not give big oil a green light – not now, and not ever,” Senator for South Australia and Greens Environment Spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“The company’s environment and safety plan has been rejected, after failing to deal with the risk of an oil spill, amongst other flaws. The environmental and economic risks are too high and there is no support in the community for turning our Bight into an oil field.

“Drilling for oil in the remote, rough seas of the Great Australian Bight will be a disaster. It cannot be done safely and no amount of amendments to an Environment Plan will ever see the precious marine and coastal environment protected.

“Equinor should can its plans now, just like BP and Chevron did before them.

“The overwhelming majority of South Australians oppose drilling in the Bight, along with the vast majority of Australians. Now the regulator has again rejected Equinor’s plan highlighting many issues including consultation, source control, oil spill risk and protection matters under the EPBC Act.

“What more will it take for Equinor to get the message its oil rigs and environment-wrecking project is not welcome here?

“The ecological and environmental significance of the Bight is priceless. Thousands of fishing and tourism jobs rely on it. It must be protected, with World Heritage listing, not exploited for more dangerous fossil fuels, especially in this climate crisis.”

Labor Statement on Queensland and New South Wales Bushfires

Labor extends our sincere sympathies to those who have lost loved ones and property, in the latest bushfires in Queensland and New South Wales.

The ferocity of these bushfires is unimaginable.

This morning’s news of lives lost is heartbreaking for the families and communities affected. Our thoughts are with the affected communities, and all those still in harm’s way.

We pay tribute to our incredible emergency personnel and volunteers for their brave efforts to protect their fellow Australians. You have the nation’s gratitude. We cannot thank you enough.

Clearly, the situation remains dangerous. To all who are in affected areas – please, listen to warnings. Stay safe.

Labor stands ready to work with the Government and affected communities in any way we can assist.

Closures and latest updates

Last updated 2:30 pm

Unprecedented bushfires across NSW and a catastrophic fire warning for the Greater Hunter today has prompted City of Newcastle to review its services for the safety of its staff and the community. We will update this information page when more information becomes available.

Catastropic Fire Danger Response

City of Newcastle has activated its Emergency Operations Centre in response to unprecedented fire conditions.

The Emergency Operations Centre is supported by key council staff, the local Emergency Operations Controller Superintendent Commander Brett Greentree, an NSW Police liaison and a Fire and Rescue NSW liaison.

The Emergency Operations Centre is ready to respond to any risks should they arise in a coordinated fashion.

As a precaution, the City of Newcastle has closed Blackbutt Reserve and the Fernleigh Track today. This is in line with National Parks closing today along with many schools and institutions in bushfire prone areas today.

The City has extended an offer of support to the nearby MidCoast Council in any way that we can, be in human resources or otherwise. Should any of our neighbouring Councils be impacted by fires this week we will extend to them too.

We want to take the opportunity to thank the NSW RFS and Fire and Rescue for the coordinated approach to today’s unprecedented fire conditions and encourage anyone to download the Fires Near Me app and listen to the ABC Local Newcastle for the latest updates.


Council Services

Waste Services
Our kerbside collections are running on schedule and Summerhill Waste Management Centre remains open for business.

Blackbutt Reserve
The reserve has been closed. Staff will be onsite at Blackbutt Reserve to monitor the welfare of animals to ensure they are safe, hydrated and out of harms way. Read more about the closure of Blackbutt Reserve.

Fernleigh Track
The track has been closed in line with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s decision to close the State’s national parks north of the Hawkesbury River – including Glenrock State Conservation Area.

City of Newcastle Closures 12 November 2019 - 1:30pm

Neighbourhood Safer Places

These are a places of last resort during a bush fire emergency. They are to be used when all other options in your bush fire survival plan can’t be put into action safely. Find the Neighbourhood Safer Places in Newcastle.

School closures
Get up-to-date information on schools that have temporarily ceased operations due to adverse weather conditions, bushfire activity, emergencies or other incidents. Visit the NSW Public Schools website and check if your school is affected.

Keep informed
Stay up to date with local information via the Rural Fire Service Updates and ABC Newcastle.

Man arrested for drug supply – Lake Macquarie Target Action Group

A man will appear in court today charged with multiple drug offences.

About 7.35pm on Saturday 9 November 2019, officers from Lake Macquarie Target Action Group stopped a white Holden Commodore on the Pacific Highway, Jewells.

The vehicle and the driver were searched by police, with officers allegedly locating a quantity of drugs and items including Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and methylamphetamine.

The 31-year-old driver was arrested and taken to Belmont Police Station where he was charged with possessing and supplying a prohibited drug.

He was refused bail and appeared at Newcastle Local Court on Sunday 10 November 2019, where he was granted conditional bail.

About 12.30pm on Sunday 10 November 2019, Lake Macquarie detectives executed a search warrant at a home on Ntaba Road, Jewells.

Police located and seized over 80 exhibits including 3kg cannabis, more than 1kg methylamphetamine, more than one-litre of liquid amphetamines, more than 300gm of MDMA, more than 2kg amphetamine, steroids, pharmaceutical drugs, vacuum food sealers, sophisticated drug ledgers, drug paraphernalia, a sum of cash and a pellet handgun.

Inquiries commenced to locate the man, then at 7.30pm yesterday (Monday 11 November 2019), police arrested the same 31-year-old and charged him with three counts of supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), supply prohibited drug (commercial quantity), supply prohibited drug (indictable and commercial quantity), possess unregistered firearm, possess ammunition without a permit, and owner/occupier knowingly allow use as a drug premises.

He was refused bail to appear in Belmont Local Court today (Tuesday 12 November 2019).

WA gas industry is a colossal, national climate bomb: Greens

The Australian Government’s push for liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a low-emissions fossil fuel has been exposed with a new report finding no evidence LNG  is any ‘cleaner’ than coal.

The Conservation Council of Western Australia’s Clean State report states an international review of LNG infrastructure found the threat to the climate from LNG is ‘as large or larger than coal’ when levels of methane emissions are included.

Greens co-deputy leader and spokesperson on mining and resources, Senator Larissa Waters, said the expansion of the West Australian LNG industry was a massive climate bomb and the primary driver of recent national emissions growth.

“LNG is as much a ‘clean gas’ as tobacco is a ‘health product’, and the tactics of denial, influence and misinformation are disturbingly similar,” she said today.

“The Coalition is out spruiking LNG as a ‘clean gas’ when the evidence shows WA LNG facilities pump out more carbon pollution than the state’s oldest coal-fired power stations.

“The report released today tells us emissions from WA’s gas infrastructure have become Australia’s fastest-growing pollution source and places our Paris Agreement commitments at risk.

“It comes the days after an unprecedented statement from 11,000 scientists warning of “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” if the world does not take action including leaving fossil fuels in the ground.

“The Greens have also backed communities concerned about the risk from the gas industry with a bill since 2011 to allow landholders to say no to gas and to ban fracking.

“Despite the appalling lack of planning for the climate emergency, Australia is in the fortunate position of having abundant, low-cost renewable energy resources ready to power our economy and society.

“New large-scale renewable infrastructure is now ready to displace both coal and gas. Our economy is in the doldrums and nation-building projects in renewable energy can deliver the rapid de-carbonisation needed while creating new jobs, boosting regional economies and investing in coal-affected communities.

“Political donations are the major brake on a cleaner, renewable-powered future for Australia. We have the technology, the know-how and the majority of the community is ready for change,” Senator Waters said.

NSW and Queensland burn as Morrison fails to get climate crisis under control

Greens spokesperson for the climate crisis, Adam Bandt MP, has responded to the bushfires burning across NSW and QLD, saying Scott Morrison bears some responsibility and must apologise to the communities impacted.

“We’re deeply saddened by the loss of life and our hearts go out to all the families and communities impacted, as well as the firefighters tackling these terrifying scenes,” said Mr Bandt.

“But words and concern are not enough. Unless we lead a global effort to quit coal and cut pollution, apocalyptic scenes like these will not only continue but get worse in the years to come.

“Just this week former fire chiefs warned the PM on national television that the climate crisis was making catastrophic bushfire risk worse and that Australia was unprepared.

“Scott Morrison has not got the climate crisis under control.

“It isn’t even summer yet and already firefighters are running out of adjectives to describe these fires.

“Bushfire seasons are longer, the country is drier and fires are worse.

“Scott Morrison needs to apologise to the Australian people for putting their towns and lives at risk by making global warming worse.

“Let me be clear. I’m not saying the Prime Minister is directly responsible for the fires and the loss of life, but he has contributed to making it more likely that these kinds of tragedies will occur.”

City closes Blackbutt Reserve in response to catastrophic bushfire conditions

Unprecedented bushfires across NSW and a catastrophic fire warning for the Greater Hunter tomorrow has prompted City of Newcastle to close Blackbutt Reserve for the safety of its staff and the community.

An emergency plan of management has been coordinated to ensure that staff welfare and wildlife are prioritised during tomorrow’s closure, which is in line with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service’s decision to close the State’s national parks north of the Hawkesbury River – including Glenrock State Conservation Area. The Fernleigh Track will also be closed.

Staff will be on site at Blackbutt Reserve to monitor the welfare of animals to ensure they are safe, hydrated and out of harm’s way.

The plan includes provisions for the safe relocation of animals to veterinary clinics where possible should their health deteriorate or if an emergency at Blackbutt Reserve arises.

City of Newcastle will reassess the situation first thing Wednesday morning in line with the NSW Rural Fire Service’s advice. A catastrophic fire warning is the highest level of bush fire danger rating available. Affected residents are advised to check warnings and put a plan of action in place.

For more information, please visit https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/.

PREMIER DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN NSW

The NSW Government has taken a critical step to protect the residents of the State from bushfires by declaring a State of Emergency ahead of catastrophic conditions predicted for this week.

Last night, the Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons wrote to Premier Gladys Berejiklian requesting she declare a State of Emergency under Section 33 of the State of Emergency and Rescue Management Act.

Together with the advice of the Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott, and other frontline agencies across the State, the declaration was made, granting emergency powers to the RFS Commissioner.

“Our State has already been hit by some of the most devastating bushfires we have ever seen, with three lives lost and more than 150 structures destroyed,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“With catastrophic weather conditions predicted for this week, particularly Tuesday with hot weather and strong winds, I have decided to take the Commissioner’s advice and make this declaration.

“It will ensure our State is best placed to respond to the predicted fire conditions.”

Worsening bushfire conditions are expected over the coming week, including anticipated catastrophic conditions in the Greater Sydney and Greater Hunter areas, and the potential for significant existing bushfire activity to be exacerbated in Northern NSW, and the North and Mid North Coast.

This is the first time since new fire danger ratings were introduced in 2009 that catastrophic fire danger has been forecast for Sydney.

The State of Emergency declaration, the first since October 2013, allows powers to be transferred from the NSW Government to the RFS Commissioner. These powers include the ability to:

  • Direct any government agency to conduct or refrain from conducting its functions;
  • Control and coordinate the allocation of government resources;
  • Evacuate people from property within the declared area;
  • Close roads and thoroughfares to traffic;
  • Pull down or shore up infrastructure at risk of collapse;
  • Order the shutdown of essential utilities in the declared area including electricity, gas, oil and water; and
  • Enter or take possession of property in the course of the emergency response.

Mr Elliott said this was an appropriate decision and sends a strong message that the directions of the RFS to the public during this period should be swiftly followed.

“Today’s announcement shows the NSW Government will always put the safety of the people in this State ahead of anything else. Our bush firefighters will be empowered during this period to ensure their directions are followed and community safety can be enhanced.”

The declaration is valid for a period of seven days from today.

JIM MOLAN CHOSEN BY LIBERAL PRESELECTORS

Hundreds of NSW Liberal Party preselectors have today chosen Major General (Retd) Andrew James (Jim) Molan, AO DSC to fill the pending NSW Senate vacancy.

Major General Molan has been chosen to return to the Senate, having served as the NSW representative from 2017 to 1 July this year. He returns to serving the people of NSW and Australia, after a 40-year career with the Australian Army where he had served as a field commander, infantryman, a helicopter pilot and a military diplomat in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, Germany, the US and Iraq.

Deployed to Iraq in April 2004, Jim took up the post as the Chief of Operations for the new Headquarters Multinational Force in Iraq, in the process earning the Distinguished Service Cross and the American Legion of Merit for distinguished command and leadership in action.

Jim said that this special opportunity to continue serving the people of NSW would be treasured as a chance to continue his work in the Federal Parliament.

“I look forward to having the opportunity to re-join the Senate, and continue to work with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and my Liberal colleagues on delivering our vision for this great country.”

“I am thrilled to be able to continue supporting the Morrison Government to deliver a stable economy and a secure Australia, and making our state and our nation the best that they can be.”

Major General Molan lives near Queanbeyan in rural NSW with his wife Anne and they have three adult daughters and a son.

Jim Molan and the Liberal Party has thanked the outgoing NSW Senator, the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO for his outstanding service as a Parliamentarian, Minister and Chief of Staff to the Hon John Howard OM AC. We wish Arthur, Elizabeth and family, all the best as he embarks on a diplomatic career, representing our nation’s interests in the United States.