Corporate greed real enemy of Murray-Darling

The Morrison Government is making things up as they go along, while the Murray-Darling is in deeper and deeper crisis and communities and the environment are suffering, the Greens say.

Greens Senator for South Australia and Spokesperson for the Environment and Water Sarah Hanson-Young said the Murray-Darling Basin Plan debate is not about farmers versus the environment, it’s big corporates versus everyone else.

“The water sharing arrangements are supposed to stop communities being pitted against each other and to avoid water wars in times of crisis,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“Corporate greed is the real enemy, not the environment. It is deceitful of the Liberal Nationals to blame environmental flows that are crucial for the River’s survival, for the lack of water available to river communities and farmers.

“This Government has turned a blind eye to six years of mismanagement, water theft and corruption while big corporate irrigators drain the River. It is the over-allocations and floodwater-harvesting of big corporate irrigators and water barons that must be reined in.

“Greed and corruption are killing the River and leaving River communities to suffer.

“It’s unacceptable that the Government’s own Inspector General will have no powers to act until mid-next year.  We should’ve been dealing with the legislation this week before the summer break.”

Senator Hanson-Young said NSW was again calling for the 450GL SA was promised to be written out of the plan, and called on the SA Water Minister David Speirs to stand up for his state.

“Failing to deliver the remaining 450GL will condemn the Lower Murray to death. The SA Liberal Government must stand up for our state and protect the water the River needs to survive,”  she said.

“There’s no jobs on a dead river.”

National Party unleashes assault on Murray River, environment and South Australia

Barnaby Joyce and the National Party have unleashed an assault on the Murray River, the environment and South Australia, the Greens say.

Senator for SA and Greens Spokesperson for Water Sarah Hanson-Young said it would be a terrible step to tear up the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and cut water to the environment throughout the Basin.

“The National Party has stuffed the River, and now they want to blame SA and cut water to the environment. This is an assault on the River, an assault on SA and lets the greedy corporate irrigators off the hook,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“Barnaby Joyce and the National Party want to cut water to the environment, cut off South Australia and let the upstream states and their corporate irrigator mates continue on business as usual.

“South Australians will be furious and the SA Liberal Government needs to stand up to their Coalition mates upstream and say this is not on.

“This summer is going to be really tough. There is going to be less water in the system and it should be the big corporate irrigators, the political donors to the National Party, who feel the heat.

“If you want to put water back in the system then you stop those big corporate irrigators irrigating cotton and irrigating almonds, and you stop letting foreign companies come in and buy up our water rights.

“More than 1.2million people in SA rely on the Murray. This is our drinking water and this is our environment and I am not going to sit by and let Barnaby Joyce and the National Party sacrifice us for their big corporate mates upstream.”

School Testing Results Show Need for Increased and Better Targeted Funding

Australian Greens Senator and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi has responded to reports that Australian students are slipping in international testing standards by calling for more and better targeted education funding in Australia, especially for the most disadvantaged schools. She has also called on the Government to invest more in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

Senator Faruqi said:

“I think we should take global standardised testing results with a grain of salt. However,  this is clearly a wake up call for State and Federal Governments to invest properly in education and public schools, especially targeting investment towards our most disadvantaged schools.

“By 2023, 99% of public schools will be stuck below the national resource standard, while 99% of private schools will be at or above it. Public schools are massively underfunded but are in many cases outperforming private schools. Imagine what they could do if we funded them properly.

“Governments across Australia need to step up for the most disadvantaged students who are struggling with a lack of funding and educational facilities. They must stop showering already overfunded private schools with cash and redirect that money to public schools who serve the vast majority of disadvantaged students.

“It is clear that we need much more support for students to excel in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. It’s time for State and Federal Governments to take this issue much more seriously.

As Sydney chokes Scott Morrison must lift his climate ambition to save Australian lives: Greens

The Australian Greens have called on Scott Morrison to lift his climate ambition to save Australian lives, as the NSW climate bushfires leave Sydney air quality as unhealthy as smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes a day.

Quotes attributable to New South Wales Senator Dr Mehreen Faruqi:

“Sydney has been choking under heavy smoke for days now.  We know particle pollution kills and people are suffering. We are in a health and climate emergency.

“What we are experiencing is completely unprecedented and this is only going to get worse if we don’t take climate action now.

Quotes attributable to Greens spokesperson for the climate crisis, Adam Bandt MP:

“Scott Morrison must lift his climate ambition now to save people’s lives.

“As COP25 launched in Madrid overnight, Australia was once again awarded ‘Fossil of the Day’ for our climate denialism and pollution failures. Australia should be global leaders on climate, but instead we’re climate laggards.

“Decisions made over the next few weeks as part of global climate negotiations could determine whether we’ll be sweltering through 50 degree days in Sydney and Melbourne. Decisions now will determine whether the record breaking drought Australians are living through becomes the new normal.

Liu scandal shows critical need for donations reform: Greens

The epidemic of scandals involving Liberal parliamentarians continues with Liberal MP Gladys Liu linked to a donor at the centre of a money laundering probe by Australian authorities.

Greens co-deputy leader Larissa Waters said, “It’s time to end cash-for-access and get the influence of big money and dodgy donors out of politics.

“Prime Minister Morrison should stop the protection racket for Ms Liu and his embattled Ministers and stop the rot by capping political donations and election spending.

“Both the Coalition and the Labor Party say they want to tackle undue foreign influence on politics but they won’t clean up political donations, because they are addicted to the money.

“If Australia capped political donations and election spending, we could address all those seeking to interfere in our democracy, whether they are foreign powers, corporate interests or donors with an agenda.

“The Greens want to cap all political donations at $1,000 per year and ban outright political donations from the mining, property development and gambling industries.

“Every member of parliament should act in the best interests of the community, not for their own self-interest and profit.

“It’s time Australia removed the corrupting influence of money in politics and give democracy back to the people,” she said.

Newcastle’s environmental initiatives win major award

City of Newcastle’s efforts to bring the city up to world-leading environmental standards through initiatives such as a 5MW solar farm, 5,000 new LED street lights and electric vehicle charging stations have earned it the leading prize in Local Government NSW’s (LGNSW) Excellence in the Environment Awards.

LGNSW President Linda Scott said Newcastle led an impressive array of 16 category winners at this year’s awards.

Enviro-award-courtesy-CN-1-inside.jpgJames Griffin MP, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Veterans, with the City’s Adam Clarke, Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen, Linda Scott and and a Local Government NSW representative.

“Each year NSW councils invest around $1.7 billion in environmental management and these awards recognise and celebrate their achievements,” she said.

“The City of Newcastle is an outstanding example of the environmental leadership councils provide, implementing a whole-of-council sustainability framework based on leading-edge United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

“They delivered more than $10 million in projects to improve sustainability, using CSIRO-predictive modelling to reduce air conditioning loads on buildings, established a network of sky cameras to predict cloud impact on solar power, created an e-transit hub with a solar car park and built a 5MW solar farm.

“They also planted 1,000 street trees and 100,000 native plants.

“The outcome is a city that is well positioned for environmental sustainability well into the future.”

The initiative also saw the prestigious Louise Petchell Memorial Award for Individual Sustainability go to City of Newcastle’s Innovation and Sustainability Coordinator Adam Clarke.

“Adam showed great leadership in driving many of these initiatives through a combination of inspiration, education and enthusiasm, and is a deserving winner of this year’s individual award,” Cr Scott said.

Enviro-award-courtesy-CN-cropped.jpgWaverley Council was also a big winner on the day, receiving awards in the Towards Net Zero Emissions, Water Management, Behaviour Change in Waste and Sustainable Infrastructure categories.

Other individual category winners at this year’s awards included:

  • Parkes Shire Council’s ‘Water Story’, an effective communications program, including a giant frog mascot, to educate the community on broad water issues and important upgrades to recycled water infrastructure;
  • Bayside Council’s Community Recycling Hub, which allows residents to drop off unwanted items at two locations, resulting in the collection of 44 tonnes of community waste, 90 per cent of which was recovered;
  • Tweed Shire Council’s Tackling Mosquitoes Together project, which saw collaboration with seven Northern Rivers councils prepare for potential disease vectors in a changing climate such as Asian tiger mosquitoes, known carriers of Dengue fever, through the establishment of rapid response networks.

“NSW councils have a strong environmental record and LGNSW supports their efforts through these awards as well as a range of initiatives,” Cr Scott said.

“We are also joining councils on calling for the NSW Government to fund and help deliver a fresh approach to waste and recycling through our Save Our Recycling campaign.”

City powers into sustainable new era

City of Newcastle confirmed itself as one of Australia’s most environmentally progressive councils today when it opened a new $6 million resource recovery facility and switched on an $8 million five-megawatt solar farm.

With a 5,000sqm undercover sorting area, the Resource Recovery Centre (RRC) at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre is now offering Newcastle residents the chance to drop off pre-sorted recyclable materials free of charge.
SolarFarm-Copy-(1).jpgThe RRC will increase waste diverted from landfill each year by around 5,700 tonnes, the equivalent of more than 30 Boeing 747s in weight, thanks to a 30,000-tonne processing capacity, with around 20 per cent of materials recycled.

Summerhill’s previous receival centre, by contrast, could process just 10,000-12,000 tonnes a year and saw just three per cent of dropped-off material recycled.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes hailed the environmental win and the incentives offered by the RRC at today’s official opening.

“Residents who separate their waste before arriving at Summerhill will benefit from the new ‘Sort & Save’ drop-off service,” Councillor Nelmes said.

“This allows them to place scrap metals, sorted yellow bin recyclables, paper and cardboard, clean untreated wood and soft plastics directly into the identified stockpiles at no charge.

“Businesses who pre-sort their loads for drop-off at the RRC will also benefit from reduced tip fees. Unsorted waste is also welcome but will continue to be subject to the normal fees that cover staff and equipment needed to extract recyclables from mixed loads.”

While at Summerhill, the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen also inspected a newly completed solar farm built to save ratepayers around $9 million over its 25-year lifespan.

Covering an area the size of five football fields on a capped landfill that was once a coal mine, the solar farm’s 14,500 photovoltaic cells are now producing 7.5 million-kilowatt hours of renewable electricity each year.

“The solar farm is generating enough energy to power the equivalent of 1,300 households, which is a significant environmental gain as well as reducing Council’s electricity costs by millions of dollars,” Councillor Clausen said.

“We will also become the first local government in NSW to move to 100 per cent renewables on January 1 thanks to our recent purchase-power agreement to source electricity from the state’s largest windfarm.

“The solar and wind farm combination will mean enough clean energy will be put into the grid to power every sportsground floodlight, local library, park BBQ and every other facility the City operates.”

The solar farm was partly funded with a $6.5 million loan from Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation and $1 million was granted from the NSW Government’s Environmental Trust, through its Waste Less, Recycle More Initiative, to the RRC.

GOING GLOBAL: PUTTING NSW ON THE WORLD STAGE

Thousands of new jobs will be created across industries of the future including advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and space, as NSW launches the nation’s most ambitious international investment strategy.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian today launched Global NSW – a strategy to unlock international investment into NSW to keep our State as the nation’s economic powerhouse.

“As Premier, I have worked hard to bring international investment into NSW, helping to secure 17 MOUs into our Western Sydney Aerotropolis,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This international investment will translate to high quality local jobs.

“Our new strategy takes this work to the next level. This is about expanding our key markets around the world and ensuring we take advantage of the incredible economic opportunities on our doorstep.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade John Barilaro said under the strategy the number of trade and investment offices located overseas will grow from 11 to 21.

“NSW has successfully marketed itself globally as a ‘bucket list’ tourism destination for decades and it’s time to take that up a notch and highlight our State as this region’s centre of excellence for business, industry and innovation,” Mr Barilaro said.

As part of the strategy, revamping the NSW trade and investment network will include the appointments of an Agent General in London and five Senior NSW Commissioners in Mumbai, New York, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.

The new strategy will focus on key growth industries, including:

  • Health
  • Defence and aerospace
  • Agribusiness and food
  • Resources
  • Infrastructure

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said a key part of ensuring the State’s economic future was making more of expanding markets in China, South-East Asia and India, as well as diversifying our exports in established markets like Japan, the US and Europe.

“NSW has always been a leader, not a follower, and as part of this Strategy we will target growth in sectors such as medtech, cybersecurity, space, advanced manufacturing, quantum computing and blockchain,” Mr Perrottet said.

To view the Global NSW Strategy please visit: global.nsw.gov.au

PROMOTING DISABILITY INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE

Employers are being encouraged to hire more people with disability and reap the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace, Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said.

“There are 1.3 million people living with disability in NSW and many of them want to contribute to our society through paid employment,” Mr Ward said.

“Participation and leadership are the themes of this year’s International Day of People with Disability and I’m encouraging employers to lead the charge. People with disability can bring different perspectives, opinions and ideas to a range of sectors and be invaluable employees.

“We see many positive examples of people with disability achieving their career goals but we need the private sector, government and not-for-profits to work together to drive disability inclusion in the workplace.”

Mr Ward will join members of the NSW Disability Advisory Council, the NSW Carers Advisory Council and a host of disability service providers at Parliament House to celebrate International Day of People with Disability today.

The rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in NSW is opening up more opportunities for people to find meaningful work.

There are more than 108,000 NDIS participants in NSW, with the latest quarterly report from the National Disability Insurance Agency demonstrating positive results for inclusion. Data from the September 2019 quarter shows 17% of participants aged 15 to 24 and 26% of participants aged 25 and over have a paid job.

“The NSW Government is working towards doubling the proportion of people with disability employed in the public sector by 2025 by increasing employment opportunities and promoting Disability Inclusion Action Plans,” Mr Ward said.

“Research shows staff and customers are more loyal to businesses that value diversity and inclusion. In addition, workers with disability often have lower rates of absenteeism and stay in their job for longer.”

The NSW Government is investing $3.3 billion in the NDIS in 2019-20.

STRONGER PROTECTIONS FOR OFF-THE-PLAN BUYERS

Prospective homebuyers will be better protected under sweeping changes to the law governing off-the-plan contracts. Changes to the Conveyancing Act, which take effect on 1 December 2019, will see much tighter requirements imposed on developers regarding disclosures, cooling-off periods, holding of deposits and sunset clauses.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the number of off-the-plan purchases in NSW had increased significantly in the last decade from 2,646 in the 2008/09 financial year, to 17,218 in 2018/19, which represents 10.6 per cent of residential property sales.

“We are delivering on our commitment to better protect home buyers by closing down loopholes and increasing disclosure standards across the board,” Mr Dominello said.

The changes include:
·         Buyers being provided with key information about the development, including  copies of the proposed plan, proposed by-laws and a schedule of finishes before contracts are signed;
·         Requiring vendors to notify purchasers of material changes to what was disclosed;
·         Allowing buyers to end the contract or claim compensation in some cases if they are materially impacted by changes made from what was disclosed;
·         Vendors providing a copy of the final plan at least 21 days before the buyer can be compelled to settle;
·         Widening existing legislation to clarify that the Supreme Court can award damages where the vendor terminates under a sunset clause; and
·         Extending the cooling-off period to 10 business days with any deposit to be held in a controlled account until settlement.

“Buying off-the-plan is a popular option, particularly for first home buyers, but there can be risks and uncertainties involved,” Mr Dominello said.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said: “These changes are vitally important for the NSW Government’s building reforms which aim to deliver greater protections for consumers, while increasing the transparency, accountability and quality of work in the sector.”

For more information visit www.registrargeneral.nsw.gov.au.