NEWCASTLE GAS TERMINAL GIVEN CRITICAL STATUS

A Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) import terminal at Newcastle that could supply up to 80 per cent of NSW’s gas needs will today be declared Critical State Significant Infrastructure.

Acting Premier John Barilaro said the proposal for the new $589 million gas import terminal at Kooragang Island in the Port of Newcastle would include a connecting pipeline to the existing NSW gas supply network.

“The terminal could be operational by 2022-23 and provide supply for gas-fired power stations, helping to manage energy security during the period in which the Liddell power station is scheduled to close,” Mr Barilaro said.

“This LNG terminal would significantly address this risk and help secure a reliable and affordable future for NSW’s gas supply.”

The project will be declared critical by Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes who said the terminal, if approved, would significantly increase local gas supply, promote competition between suppliers and put downward pressure on the State’s gas prices.

“NSW currently relies on interstate sources for 95 per cent of our gas supply and experts predict a shortfall in supply from existing sources in the coming years,” Mr Stokes said.

The import terminal would expand the locally available gas supply in NSW by 110 petajoules.

Despite being declared ‘critical’, the terminal will still be subject to detailed community consultation and a full and thorough environmental assessment.

The proponent, Newcastle GasDock Company (NGDC), will now need to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the project, which will go on public exhibition for community feedback.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will then assess the merits of the project, before making a recommendation to Minister Stokes for a final decision.

GLOBAL DEFENCE POWERHOUSE LOOKS TO WESTERN SYDNEY FOR FUTURE TECH

Global defence powerhouse BAE Systems will help deliver a new cutting edge space research and development facility as part of a university and advanced manufacturing precinct being delivered at the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian was at BAE Systems headquarters in London to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the company, which will ensure NSW leads the nation in developing tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians.

“The Aerotropolis we are building around the Western Sydney Airport is a great opportunity for firms around the world to invest in NSW,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“BAE Systems Australia’s interest in NSW as a destination for this research facility is a huge vote of confidence in our economy and our plans for the new airport city.

“This partnership will allow us to create the high tech jobs we need to keep NSW as the number one jobs market in the nation.”

BAE Systems Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Gabby Costigan said the MOU will allow the company to explore the advantages of becoming a part of the innovation precinct at the new airport city.

“Australia has a long history of innovation in the defence industry, and the Aerotropolis in Western Sydney presents a great opportunity to build on that history,” Ms Costigan said.

BAE Systems has a long track record of supporting the Australian Defence Force to maintain a capability edge and the Western Sydney Aerotropolis will be the home of Australia’s future aerospace industry.

Today’s announcement forms part of the NSW Government’s commitment to creating 200,000 jobs in and around the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

The Aerotropolis will be adjacent to the new 24-hour international (Nancy-Bird Walton) airport at Badgerys Creek. The new R&D facility will be located within a university being developed through a partnership between the University of Newcastle, University of NSW and University of Wollongong (the NUW Alliance), Western Sydney University and the NSW Government.

The Premier and the Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres are on a trade mission to the UK and Germany from August 11 to 16.

Recent developments in Kashmir are deeply concerning: Australian Greens

In the last few days, the Indian Government has shut down phone and internet connections, arbitrarily detained political leaders, evacuated tourists and restricted freedom of movement.  It is disturbing to think of the human rights abuses that could be occurring under the cover of this communications blackout, particularly with an influx of tens of thousands of additional troops.

The Indian Government’s decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status and its relative autonomy under India’s constitution will further erode Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.  It risks a dangerous escalation of violence in the world’s most militarised region.

The Greens urge the Australian Government to speak out and call on the Indian Government to respect the human rights of the people in Kashmir and their right to self-determination.

 

COALITION FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER WIND FARM LAWSUITS: GREENS

Greens climate change and energy spokesperson, Adam Bandt, responded to the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) announcement that they will launch legal action against four wind farm operators over the 2016 South Australian blackout, saying the regulator needed to explain why only a few months ago it investigated the blackout, found that breaches of the market rules did not contribute to the event and advised it would not take companies to court.

“The AER shouldn’t be doing the Coalition’s dirty work,” said Mr Bandt.

“In its investigation into the blackout last December, the AER declared that ‘we do not intend to take formal enforcement action in respect of these matters.’ Yet just over six months later they’ve launched legal action.

“Energy Minister Angus Taylor, a known wind-farm opponent, needs to come clean on what role he has played in facilitating this complete about-face from the AER.

“Ageing coal-fired power stations are regularly failing in the heat and they get off scot-free, but wind farms get taken to court by the very same body that investigated and cleared them just a few months ago.

“According to The Australia Institute, Australia has experienced 195 coal and gas breakdowns since December 2017, but the Minister and his regulators turn a blind eye to fossil fuel failures.”

From the official investigation by AER (Black System Event Compliance Report released 14 December 2018):

  • “Overall, the investigation found a high level of compliance by market participants with their obligations. However there were instances in which obligations were not complied with. The AER considers the breaches found did not contribute to the state going black, and that all core obligations were met”
  • It goes on to say (in the detailed report): “While we have found some areas of non-compliance with administrative requirements in the Rules, we do not intend to take formal enforcement action in respect of these matters, as we consider that it would be more effective to focus on remedial recommendations for improved processes. Further, we have noted the unprecedented circumstances as part of our consideration of all the available information.”

Misguided performance measures not the funding solution unis need: Greens

Australian Greens Senator and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has commented on reported details of university performance-based funding measures. Senator Faruqi is a former academic with the University of New South Wales.

Senator Faruqi said:

“The Government’s plan to tie measly funding increases to misguided performance measures is just the latest episode in their storied history of undermining higher education in Australia. It is just another excuse to not fund higher education properly.

“The Government has completely ignored the university sector and experts’ advice that their plan won’t deliver the amount of funding needed while having unintended consequences that may include incentivising universities to enrol fewer students.

“In particular, the narrow-minded use of graduate employment as a measure of success for universities betrays the purpose of our public universities. We cannot allow their collegial, public-focussed mission to be displaced by the Liberal’s vision of unis as just factories for the workforce. Universities should be much more than this. They are places of learning.

“Universities are desperate for a real funding increase. The Greens have a plan to fund free undergraduate university and TAFE, and boost university funding by 10 per cent to improve learning and teaching conditions, reduce class sizes and enable researchers to pursue solutions to the big problems of our time,” she concluded.

Greens condemn passage of anti protest ‘Ag gag’ law through House of Representatives

Australian Greens Senator and Spokesperson for Animal Welfare, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has condemned the Government passing the Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019 through the House of Representatives. The Bill is likely to be considered by the Senate at the next sitting in September.

Senator Faruqi said:

“The Greens will not be party to the passing of laws that will silence protest and jail animal welfare investigators and activists. Trespass and incitement are already offences, it’s clear these new extreme laws are just about targeting those who expose animal cruelty’

“This is a dressed up anti-protest and ag gag bill that takes us further down the road to a police state. This is just the latest bill in a long line of legislation designed to protect big agribusiness from scrutiny and transparency. It is designed to stop the public from using their democratic right to protest.

“People do not have faith in the animal welfare compliance mechanisms in this country. Unenforceable guidelines for the protection of farm animals are completely inadequate. We should be debating national animal cruelty laws with real accountability and enforcement to protect farm animals.

“Australia really is in the dark ages when it comes to animal welfare. New Zealand has already banned mulesing and the European Union has banned battery cages. Sow stalls are banned in the United Kingdom. While many, particularly small farms in Australia don’t use these cruel practices, many still do, especially industrial factory farms.

“Rather than improving animal welfare laws and practices, this Government is obsessed with attacking those that expose horrific mistreatment of animals. They are on the wrong side of history,” she concluded.

Greens move to disallow the Gene Technology Regulations 2019

Senator Janet Rice today introduced a motion to disallow the Gene Technology Amendment (2019 Measures No. 1) Regulations 2019.

“The deregulation of new genetic modification techniques being pursued by this government has huge economic risks to Australia’s $48 billion agricultural export industry,” Senator Rice said.

“This deregulation could potentially kill our organic farming industry and massively hamper our traditional agriculture export industry too.

“While the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) has assessed this issue on a scientific and health basis, it has paid no consideration to the market impact of deregulation, nor has it properly consulted with the farmers whose livelihoods will be affected.

“There is a strong chance organic regulators locally and internationally will decide that since Australia has deregulated this technology, farmers will lose their organic certification. Without that certification, the organics industry would collapse entirely.

“Europe already says these new technologies are genetic modification technologies, and the risk is that if we proceed with this deregulation, countries such as China and the European Union could reject our exports.

“Australian agricultural exports to China alone are a nearly $12 billion industry,covering a huge suite of agricultural commodities.

“Many in the farming community are concerned that they’re going to lose access to export markets and the government hasn’t allayed those concerns.

“The Greens hope to receive cross-party support when this disallowance motion comes to a vote in the September sitting weeks.”

Greens reintroduce fracking ban and landholder rights bill

A bill to ban fracking and give farmers the right to say no to coal seam gas mining and fracking on their land was introduced to the Senate this afternoon for the sixth time by Greens mining and resources spokesperson and Co-Deputy Leader Senator Larissa Waters.

Senator Waters said:

“The Coaltion, led by the Energy Minister, is rolling out the red carpet for the gas industry and with Labor’s push to open up dirty natural gas drilling in the Galilee and Betaloo Basins there’s now even more urgency in giving farmers the right to say no.

“We are in the middle of a drought and climate emergency – we should not be opening new or expanding existing unconventional gas mines which threaten land and water when we have abundant renewable energy that is reliable, jobs rich and genuinely clean. Fracking just the Betaloo Basin would increase Australia’s emissions by 6.6 per cent according to the NT Government’s own report.

“The Greens have been campaigning against the polluting unconventional gas industry since 2010. Instead of expanding gas mining and fracking, the government should be driving a jobs and investment boom in clean renewable energy.

“We have energy alternatives which don’t threaten our climate, health, land, and that will create new jobs for workers and communities – CSG can frack off.

“Since 2011 the Greens have introduced this same bill to give landholders, including traditional owners, the right to say no to coal and gas, and to ban fracking six times now. Labor, Liberal and the National parties have previously voted against it.

“It is particularly shameful of the Nats who just this week have been claiming they stand for farmers’ right to farm yet they never back them against the fossil fuel industry which donates to their political party.
“This bill is a test for the Coalition on where they really stand on food security and the longevity of our rural communities.

“We have precious little good quality agriculture land in Australia and it should be protected from all other inconsistent land uses.

“Farmers should have the legal right to decide that they want to keep farming their land, rather than take the risk of possible long-term groundwater depletion or contamination from coal seam gas mining and fracking.”

Greens reintroduce fracking ban and landholder rights bill

A bill to ban fracking and give farmers the right to say no to coal seam gas mining and fracking on their land was introduced to the Senate this afternoon for the sixth time by Greens mining and resources spokesperson and Co-Deputy Leader Senator Larissa Waters.

Senator Waters said:

“The Coaltion, led by the Energy Minister, is rolling out the red carpet for the gas industry and with Labor’s push to open up dirty natural gas drilling in the Galilee and Betaloo Basins there’s now even more urgency in giving farmers the right to say no.

“We are in the middle of a drought and climate emergency – we should not be opening new or expanding existing unconventional gas mines which threaten land and water when we have abundant renewable energy that is reliable, jobs rich and genuinely clean. Fracking just the Betaloo Basin would increase Australia’s emissions by 6.6 per cent according to the NT Government’s own report.

“The Greens have been campaigning against the polluting unconventional gas industry since 2010. Instead of expanding gas mining and fracking, the government should be driving a jobs and investment boom in clean renewable energy.

“We have energy alternatives which don’t threaten our climate, health, land, and that will create new jobs for workers and communities – CSG can frack off.

“Since 2011 the Greens have introduced this same bill to give landholders, including traditional owners, the right to say no to coal and gas, and to ban fracking six times now. Labor, Liberal and the National parties have previously voted against it.

“It is particularly shameful of the Nats who just this week have been claiming they stand for farmers’ right to farm yet they never back them against the fossil fuel industry which donates to their political party.
“This bill is a test for the Coalition on where they really stand on food security and the longevity of our rural communities.

“We have precious little good quality agriculture land in Australia and it should be protected from all other inconsistent land uses.

“Farmers should have the legal right to decide that they want to keep farming their land, rather than take the risk of possible long-term groundwater depletion or contamination from coal seam gas mining and fracking.”

Senate Calls on Government to Release PFAS Contamination Response

Australian Greens Senator for NSW, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has welcomed the Senate passing her motion calling on the Federal Government to release its response to the Senate Inquiry into PFAS.

It has been more than seven months since the Senate Inquiry into PFAS contamination handed down its report, recommending that the Federal Government appoint a Coordinator-General to coordinate the national response to the PFAS contamination issue, undertake measures to improve participation in the voluntary blood testing program for PFAS, and assist property owners and businesses in the affected areas for demonstrated, quantifiable financial losses associated with PFAS contamination, including the possibility of buybacks.

Senator Faruqi, who sat on the inquiry and is an environmental engineer, said:

“When the inquiry into PFAS contamination handed down its report in Parliament almost seven months ago, I urged the Government to take concrete action and not leave communities hanging for many months. It’s really disappoints that they have not swiftly responded to this important matter.

“This is an extremely serious issue that affects thousands of people across the country, including in my home state of NSW around the Williamtown RAAF base.

“This issue has caused significant mental, emotional and financial stress for people and it is simply not fair. The Government needs to stop stringing them along and show them the respect they deserve.

“More than 3 years after the contamination was publicly revealed, the Federal government is no closer to resolving this issue and allowing people closure. They must urgently release their response,” she concluded.

The Motion:

I give notice that on the next day of sitting, I shall move—That the Senate:

1. Note that:

a.     The issue of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination has caused significant mental, emotional and financial stress for communities where PFAS have contaminated  land and water, including the communities around the RAAF base in Williamtown in New South Wales, the Oakey Army Aviation Centre in Queensland and RAAF Base Tindal at Katherine in the Northern Territory.
b.     It has been more 7 months since the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade tabled its report into the management of PFAS contamination in and around Defence bases and the Government has still not issued its response.
c.      Communities are waiting anxiously on the Government’s response to the key recommendations of the Committee, such as, the Federal Government appoint a Coordinator-General to coordinate the national response to the PFAS contamination issue, undertake measures to improve participation in the voluntary blood testing program for PFAS, and assist property owners and businesses in affected areas for demonstrated, quantifiable financial losses associated with PFAS contamination, including the possibility of buybacks.

2.     Calls on the Federal Government to release its response to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade report into management of PFAS contamination in and around Defence bases.