Adani toast as India reportedly pledges to stop coal imports: Greens

The Australian Greens have responded to reports that India will stop importing thermal coal within 4 years, saying that it is the death knell for the Adani project and the beginning of the end of Australia’s thermal coal industry.

India’s Minister of Coal and Mines on Tuesday reportedly said as part of a planning meeting for the future of the coal industry that the country would stop importing coal by financial year 2023/24.

Australian Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP said:

“If this is true, it’s the death knell for the Adani coal mine and will hasten the end of thermal coal in Australia.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison needs to end his ideological obsession with coal and instead transition Australia to be a renewable energy superpower.

“Thermal coal is on its last legs. Coal workers and communities deserve the support of the government to transition to the jobs and industries of the future, like renewables mining. With a Green New Deal we can create new jobs by turning Australia into a clean energy superpower, while making sure no one is left behind.”

Australian Greens Co-Deputy Leader and Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters said:

“For years, the coal lobby and their Coalition mates have been spinning lies that selling our coal to India will deliver Australia riches and jobs into the future. Today’s report tells a different story.

“India’s import reduction plan highlights the country’s shift away from coal to renewable energy, and its growing disinterest in buying Australia’s dirty coal.

“The Adani coal mine has been a sham for years. This announcement today makes the project even more untenable.

“It’s time for Labor and Liberal to join the Greens in ruling out any new coal mines and instead plan for a phase out of coal and a transition to the jobs and industries of the future.”

Jobs figures show need for Green New Deal

Greens Leader Adam Bandt said today’s jobs figures reveal a jobs crisis in Australia, especially amongst young people, and underscore the need for urgent government intervention to provide meaningful, secure work in a climate-challenged economy.

“These figures reveal a government with no plan to create meaningful work for young people in a climate-challenged economy,” said Mr Bandt.

“Nearly one in three young people either doesn’t have a job or doesn’t have enough hours of work. It’s a national scandal.”

“The climate crisis is smashing agriculture and tourism, but the government is continuing to back coal and wreck important parts of the economy.”

“Australia needs a Green New Deal to tackle the jobs crisis and the climate crisis. Government must help create new jobs and industries so that everyone who wants a decent job can get one.”

Women killed by violence needs accurate reporting and national toll

The Greens are calling for an urgent crisis response to the number of women killed by violence and greater accuracy in media reporting following the murder of a Brisbane-based mother and three children by their father yesterday.

“There have now been eight women killed by violence in 2020, after 61 were murdered last year, yet there was more response from the Prime Minister to the needles-in-strawberry incident,” said Greens Senate Leader and spokesperson for women, Senator Larissa Waters.

Senator Waters will next week move a motion in parliament for the Senate to urge all media outlets to comply with the Press Council Advisory Guidelines and Commercial Radio Guidelines on reporting family violence.

“Yesterday a man murdered his young children and his ex-wife – and some media reported it as if the father was also a victim, and noted his sporting history. This is disgusting and such reporting contributes to the culture of violence by downplaying it,” she said.

“The minimising of this man’s actions in some of the passive media reporting of this murder is appalling, and while perpetrators are portrayed as ‘just good men who are hurting’ the culture of violence and entitlement will never end.

“Too many media outlets have shown themselves incapable of reporting the reality of violence against women so next week I will move for the Senate to remind all media outlets of the Guidelines on reporting family violence.

“Every sitting fortnight I move a motion in the federal parliament counting the number of women killed by violence.

“Every time it begs for the government to properly fund frontline domestic violence services, to fund prevention programs, and to keep and publicise a national toll of women killed like the road toll – to keep this issue in the public eye and contribute to changing the culture that allows it to continue.

“Every time it passes without a vote, and every time the government continues to do nothing.

“I have twice written to Minister for Women Marise Payne about establishing a national and publicised toll of women killed by violence, much like the road toll serves to increase awareness of the need for road safety, but have had no response.

“This government needs to treat the epidemic of violence against women and their children as a national crisis and urgently take meaningful action to keep it citizens safe.

“We will never forget these precious little lives lost and their dear mother Hannah Baxter, nor all the other women and children killed by men,” Senator Waters said.

Background

Relevant extracts of the Press Council Advisory Guidelines:

Responsibility
Reporting of family violence should try not to blame a person affected by the violence or suggest that the person somehow enabled the violence or could have avoided it. Publications should also avoid placing undue emphasis on the characteristics or surroundings of the victim, or implying that such things contributed to the family violence, unless doing so is essential to the narrative and sufficiently in the public interest. Use of the active voice in relation to the perpetrator will help avoid placing undue emphasis on the person affected by family violence. For example: “Police charged a 38-year-old Melbourne man with the murder of a 36-year-old woman”, as opposed to, e.g. “A 36- year-old woman was murdered and a 38-year-old Melbourne man has been charged”.

Context and content

Words matter. Publications should be mindful of the language they use and try to avoid terms that tend to trivialise, demean or inadvertently excuse family violence, such as “a domestic”, “a domestic dispute” or “a troubled marriage”. Where it is lawful to do so, the relationships of the people involved should be described as accurately and precisely as possible. In addition to reporting particular incidents, journalists can play a critical role in deepening readers’ understanding about family violence by referring to resources such as official statistics, peerreviewed research, and experts, such as domestic violence counsellors and survivors. Publications should also be aware of the potential impact of story layout, headlines and surrounding material (such as advertisements) that may be insensitive or jarring in the circumstances.

Relevant extracts of the Commercial Radio guidelines:

Violence is never acceptable
The perpetrator is always solely responsible for a violent situation. Avoid using language or framing the story in a way that suggests the survivor of violence was in any way to blame for what happened to him or her.

Acknowledge that this crime has both a victim and a perpetrator
Domestic violence is sometimes reported with headlines like ‘Woman assaulted’, or with stories that focus only on what happened to the survivor. This can suggest that violence is something that ‘just happens’ to women. Emphasise that someone perpetrated this violence, and that it was a crime.

Royal Commission a Climate Whitewash

Greens Leader, Adam Bandt, has responded to the Prime Minister’s bushfire Royal commission announcement.

“This Royal Commission looks like a climate whitewash.”

“I’m sure the Commissioners will do their best, but Scott Morrison’s terms of reference are designed to skate over the climate crisis and minimise the Prime Minister’s own contribution to these coal-fueled mega-fires.”

“Climate gets only some passing references, but it should be centre stage.

“The climate crisis isn’t just one ‘background’ factor in these unprecedented mega-fires, it is the driving force.”

“These terms of reference should have come to Parliament for approval.

“Scott Morrison has finally heard the public anger over his contribution to the fires, but he’s responding with little more than lip service.”

Government risks Reef ‘in danger listing with new coral bleaching

Coral bleaching in the far north of the Great Barrier Reef shows the Federal and Qld Governments are failing to deal with the impact of climate change on the natural icon and could see it listed on UNESCO’s ‘in danger’ list, according to the Greens.

Scientists have today reported significant coral bleaching at three locations in the Great Barrier Reef’s far north. There is a heightened alert for a potential mass bleaching event over the next two to four weeks.

Greens Senate Leader and Senator for Queensland, Larissa Waters, said it’s clear the old parties’ Reef policies are not dealing with the biggest threat facing the Reef – global warming caused by mining and burning of coal and other fossil fuels.

“If Australian governments don’t stop their addiction to coal, then UNESCO may place our Reef on the international shame list when it meets to evaluate reef management later this year. This would be devastating for reef-dependent communities and tourism operators who are already under pressure,” she said.

“Both old parties are championing mega coal mines, opening up the Galilee Basin and gas fracking to export out through the Great Barrier Reef that will worsen water quality through dredging and shipping.

“Both old parties are burying their heads in the sand on the real cause of coral bleaching – the mining and burning of coal that will exacerbate global warming and cook the Reef’s corals.

“The Greens have a plan to save the Reef from global warming with a Green New Deal including no new coal or gas, a $1 billion transition fund for workers, and 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

“If we don’t increase the ambition of our action now, we may lose our precious reef and the 63,000 jobs that rely on it in our lifetime,” Senator Waters said.

National Royal Commission into Black Summer bushfires established

A national Royal Commission into Australia’s devastating Black Summer bushfires will be established following agreement from the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd).

The Morrison Government has today released the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, informed by feedback from states and territories.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the scale of the Black Summer bushfires presented new challenges for all levels of government, which required a detailed national inquiry.

“My priority is to keep Australians safe and to do that, we need to learn from the Black Summer bushfires how nationally we can work better with the states and territories to better protect and equip Australians for living in hotter, drier and longer summers,” the Prime Minister said.

“In particular, we need to consider the need to establish new powers for the Federal Government to declare a national state of emergency to trigger direct Federal Government responses to national disasters, including the direct deployment of the Australian Defence Force. Currently, there are no such powers and Federal responses are supposed to only be undertaken in response to State requests and authorisations.

“During the Black Summer bushfires, we entered a constitutional grey zone by directly initiating defence force deployments, utilising the first ever compulsory call out of Reservists, with over 6,500 ADF personnel serving in support of state and territory response efforts. But we did that without clear rules.

“The inquiry acknowledges climate change, the broader impact of our summers getting longer, drier and hotter and is focussed on practical action that has a direct link to making Australians safer.

“That’s why we need to look at what actions should be taken to enhance our preparedness, resilience and recovery through the actions of all levels of government and the community, for the environment we are living in.

“The overwhelming majority of the actions to protect Australians from bushfires are undertaken at a State level. Everything from resourcing our fire services and hazard reduction, to land clearing and planning laws. Even the declaration of emergencies, the areas that are designated to receive payments and in most cases the assessment and delivery of those payments, even when they are funded by the Federal Government, are all undertaken by the States.

“I believe Australians are wanting us to look at ways we can work together to give Australians greater assurances at a national level that these important tasks are getting done.

“I want the Royal Commission to begin as soon as possible with the final report due back by August 31, so recommendations can be acted upon before our next bushfire season.

“I want to thank Premiers and Chief Ministers for their consultative and collaborative approach in drafting the Terms of Reference. We have listened, valued their input and made changes to take on board feedback where appropriate.

“The national response to these devastating Black Summer bushfires is a shared responsibility of the Commonwealth, states and territories. We all have one goal – to protect people, property and wildlife.”

The Royal Commission is not going to duplicate the work of other inquiries. It will work with other inquiries announced by the States and it will also review the work and recommendations of previous inquiries.

This inquiry has a national focus and will look at three key areas:

  • Improving natural disaster management coordination across all levels of government;
  • Improving Australia’s preparedness, resilience, and response to natural disasters, across all levels of government;
  • The legal framework for the Commonwealth’s involvement in responding to national emergencies and how that works with state and territory legal frameworks.

The Royal Commission will be led by Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC (Retd), who will be joined by:

  • The Hon Dr Annabelle Bennett AC SC, former Federal Court Judge, and
  • Professor Andrew Macintosh, a specialist in climate risk and impact management.

“The three Commissioners are respected leaders in their fields and they bring a mix of expertise to the inquiry, including judicial, military and environmental planning and management backgrounds,” the Prime Minister said.

“The Commonwealth Government is already acting, providing whatever support is needed to bushfire impacted communities.

“We will do what is necessary to ensure communities rebuild, recover and build up resilience to these bushfires. That’s why we set up the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and gave them a $2 billion fund for clean-up operations, tourism support, wildlife recovery, local government assistance, small business reconstruction, primary producers, farmers, graziers, and families, as well as vital mental health support.

“This is in addition to over $100 million already provided in emergency payments for impacted individuals and families and payments for volunteer firefighters.

“It’s a long road ahead and we will be with these communities every step of the way as they rebuild.”

The Prime Minister has written to all State Premiers inviting them to issue concurrent commissions under their respective legal frameworks for Royal Commissions.

The Terms of Reference are attached.

Space Agency Touches Down at Adelaide Home Base

The Australian Space Agency has officially opened its headquarters in the centre of Adelaide today, reaching an exciting milestone in its mission to grow the economy and create new jobs.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Space Agency had made outstanding progress since being established by the Coalition in July 2018 and was now ready to settle into its permanent home in the heart of the Lot Fourteen precinct in Adelaide.

“The Australian Space Agency is central to my Government’s vision to secure more jobs and a larger share of the growing space economy – forecast to be over $1 trillion in size around the globe by 2040,” the Prime Minister said.

“Space captures the imagination and inspires us all. It develops new technologies that improve life on Earth and it offers huge economic and job opportunities.

“That’s why we’re investing almost $700 million into the space sector, including $150 million into Australian businesses so they can pick up more work and support more jobs by partnering with NASA’s Moon to Mars initiative.”

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said South Australia was now at the forefront of the nation’s space endeavours.

“We are now, without a doubt, the space capital of the nation,” said the Premier.

“Young people from across the state have the opportunity to seize incredible jobs across the sector, right here in South Australia.

“We’ve secured the headquarters of the Australian Space Agency, SmartSat CRC, Mission Control and the Space Discovery Centre.

“There’s an ambition to triple the size of Australia’s space economy by 2030, and Adelaide is going to be right at the heart of this monumental project.

“Young South Australians can look up at the stars and genuinely find opportunities right here in this state to pursue their dreams.”

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the opening was another chance to highlight the great opportunities space presents to everyday Australians.

“Australia’s space sector has gone from strength to strength since we established the Agency and I’m confident we will continue to build on that momentum,” Minister Andrews said.

“Space is inspirational but it’s also big business. The Morrison Government is investing heavily in providing opportunity to Australians. We’ve set the goal of tripling the size of the sector in Australia to $12 billion and adding an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.

“But beyond that space will create opportunities for core industries — from manufacturing to mining — to tap into new supply chains.”

Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark AC said our national headquarters is a strong base for the Agency to grow and transform the Australian space industry.

“We’re delighted to have a new home in the centre of Adelaide, and we look forward to developing the Australian Space Discovery Centre and Mission Control, which will open next year,” said Dr Clark.

“I want to thank our team for all the hard work to establish our new facility, on time, and on budget.”

Lot Fourteen also houses other space industry participants including the SmartSat CRC and CSIRO.

TRADITION MEETS TECH AS BARRACKS REOPEN

Visitors to the historic Hyde Park Barracks will be able to experience NSW’s convict past in vivid new detail as it reopens to the public this week.

A year-long renewal has transformed the Barracks with immersive activities across three floors and innovative audio technology allowing visitors to stand where convicts stood and hear their stories.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin says the UNESCO World Heritage listed site tells a major part of Australia’s convict story and the upgrades offer a new way to view Sydney’s complex and fascinating past.

“This is an historic day with the reopening of such an important heritage landmark – a building that has been central to many chapters of Sydney’s emergence as a rich, multicultural city,” said Mr Harwin.

“It’s brilliant to see how technology is enhancing the visitor experience for our cultural institutions. This is going to be a dynamic learning experience for school children and adults alike.

“Importantly, the impact of the site on Aboriginal land, culture and communities is also documented in this fascinating immersive experience.

Commissioned in 1817 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, Hyde Park Barracks saw almost 100,000 people passed through its gates.

Sydney Living Museums has delivered the upgrades predominantly self-funded through revenue raised by a heritage conservation scheme managed by the City of Sydney.

A 20% discount will be offered to NSW residents in the opening months of the new experience to assist locals in being reacquainted with the history of their State.

AGRIBUSINESS PRECINCT TO BE A GLOBAL LEADER

The production of fresh food in climate controlled greenhouses in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis Agribusiness Precinct has the potential to transform food production in Australia and take produce from Western Sydney to the world.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said a new report has found the Agribusiness Precinct, announced by the NSW Government in March last year, could enable producers to deliver locally grown fresh produce at prices competitive on a global scale.

“The Agribusiness Precinct provides Western Sydney growers with the unique opportunity to export produce from their farms and have it on a plate on the other side of the globe in just 36 hours,” Mr Ayres said.

“With more than 50 per cent of the world’s population within a 12 hour flight from the Western Parkland City, the Agribusiness Precinct will create endless opportunities for families and businesses in Western Sydney.”

The report, commissioned by the Western City & Aerotropolis Authority, compared the cost of producing tomatoes in a greenhouse in Australia to the global market leader, the Netherlands.

The analysis shows it currently costs 52 per cent more to produce a kilogram of greenhouse tomatoes in Australia, but the creation of a large scale precinct for intensive integrated fresh food production in the Western Parkland City would reduce the difference to just eight per cent.

Australia’s proximity to Asia provides an additional benefit due to lower transport costs when compared to European producers.

“We have had a look at how the best greenhouse producers in the world operate and with the creation of the Agribusiness Precinct on the doorstep of a new international airport we have the chance to compete on an international stage,” Mr Ayres said.

“Western Sydney can be the next global leader in high-tech farming and smart climate controlled glasshouses, providing jobs for Western Sydney and fresh and value-added food for both domestic and international markets.”

Large scale greenhouse production, or an Integrated Intensive Production Hub, over 500 hectares has the potential to create 2,500 direct jobs, 12,000 indirect jobs and the capacity to produce 96,000 tonnes of fresh food. This could generate $2.8 billion in additional revenue over a 10 year period.

Planning of the Agribusiness Precinct is underway, with the first businesses expected to be operating ahead of the opening of the Western Sydney Airport.

Man arrested following police operation – Lower Hunter

A man is expected to be charged with multiple driving offences after being arrested in the state’s Hunter region today.

About 11.00am (Thursday 20 February 2020), police observed a red Holden Commodore sedan travelling on Streeton Drive, Metford, just outside of Maitland.

As police turned around to stop the car, the driver allegedly sped off and collided with a green Toyota sedan at the intersection of Chelmsford Drive.

The driver of the other car escaped serious injury.

The driver of the Commodore allegedly fled the scene of the crash on foot.

Officers attached to Port Stephens Hunter Police District commenced an operation to locate the man assisted by the Dog Unit.

The man was later found by police on a roof of a house in nearby Ferraby Drive.

After being arrested, the 31-year-old was taken to Maitland Hospital with multiple injuries, where he remains under police guard.

It’s expected he will be charged on release from hospital.