- Protect our land and water from mining.
- Honesty and integrity in politics
- Local jobs
- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Earth Hour 2012

MORE than a billion people will switch of their lights at 8.30 tonight as a symbol of their commitment to tackle human-induced climate change.
Earth Hour, which started in Sydney in 2007, has now spread to 5251 cities and towns in 147 nations and territories, making it the largest voluntary environment movement in history.

Greens challenge Police Minister to public debate on proposed Big Brother Laws

SMH Story

Media Release - 29 March 2012

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge is challenging The NSW Police Minister to an open public debate on his proposal to have a national police DNA profile taken of all newborn babies.

"The Minister has said he wants a debate on these Big Brother laws. Well, let's get started," Mr Shoebridge said.

"Today I have sent the Minister correspondence openly challenging him to a public debate on the DNA profiling laws. If he has the courage of his convictions he will promptly accept the offer.

"It is not surprising that the Police would like to have a DNA profile of every newborn, to allow for the endless screening of every citizen whenever a crime is committed.

"It is surprising that these intrusive Big Brother laws, which treat every newborn as a criminal in-waiting, have the support of the NSW government.

"These are the style of laws that have a happy home in Police states or one party dictatorships.  They have no place in an open and democratic society that respects liberty, freedom and privacy.

"Once police have access to a DNA database, then it changes citizens' relationships with the criminal justice system.  If everyone's DNA profile is subject to constant screening, then it is effectively saying we are all potentially guilty until proven innocent.

"Currently police need some form of reasonable suspicion before they can access a person's DNA or personal material.  This proposal would turn that safeguard on its head and allow everyone's DNA to be constantly screened for potential criminal activity.

"Perhaps the Police Minister spent the weekend watching science fiction films like Gattaca and has just floated a dystopian thought bubble into his office.

"If this is just a thought bubble from the Police Minister, then it needs to be popped, and a public debate is the best place to do that," Mr Shoebridge said.

Media contact: 9230 3030 | 0433 753 376

Friday, 30 March 2012

Coffs Harbour Area Transport Workshop - Cate Faehrmann

If you would like to see Coffs Harbour and surrounds with an efficient and sustainable transport system that will serve our needs for the next 25 years then you will want to attend a workshop that Cate has organised.



NSW Greens' Workshop on Sustainable Transport Planning
Coffs Harbour Neighbourhood Centre
22 Earl St 1.00 to 3.00 pm April 16

Initiated and attended by Cate Faehrmann MP

Discussion leading to support for individual submissions to the NSW government, details below.

A Transport Master Plan
Community Workshops
The NSW government will be releasing a draft Transport Master Plan in June this year with its vision for transport for NSW for the next 20 years. Members of the community are being consulted as part of that process.
The Greens want to ensure that the community is consulted in depth to tease out the real issues for future transport needs and that any 20 year transport vision for NSW is sustainable.
Cate will be conducting a series of transport forums around NSW to ensure that a broad audience is consulted and that the real transport problems in local areas are considered.
To get involved or to help organise a workshop in your area
contact Gail Broadbent in Cate’s office gail.broadbent@parliament.nsw.gov.au
Office of Cate Faehrmann MLC
Email: cate.faehrmann@parliament.nsw.gov.au Phone: 02 9230 2320

Greens announce bill for mandatory seat belts on school buses in NSW

School bus crash in Maclean: Grafton's Daily Examiner

Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 11:20:24 +1100

Greens MP and transport spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has announced the
Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Amendment (Child
Safety on School Buses) Bill 2012.

Courtesy Daily Examiner
The bill will amend the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management)
Act 1999 to mandate that buses be fitted with seatbelts and make further
provisions with respect to the safety of children travelling on school
buses. The initial target of a phase in period will be the most
dangerous routes that include unsealed roads and roads or highways 80
kpm or over.

The bill comes after two school bus crashes in the month of March, with
yesterday's crash at Maclean resulting in eight injuries including one

"The Greens bill is a wake-up call for the NSW Government and a chance
to take some urgent action. All states except NSW and Victoria have made
seatbelts on school buses mandatory - usually after a serious bus
accident. It's inexcusable that the NSW government is still refusing to
act," said Ms Faehrmann.

"It's been a year since the School Bus Safety Advisory Committee was
established. What has it achieved so far? The government has had access
to the list of the most dangerous routes for years; it's not good enough
that we're still waiting for recommendations from yet another

"The slow rate of progress with the committee does nothing to inspire
confidence in parents – they want seat belts and better rules on
speed, standing and other concrete measures to improve safety for their

"The Greens will welcome the committee's recommendations but this very
slow process can't be used to justify delaying action that is
inevitable. It's simply taken way too long. It's time to fast track the
installation of seat belts and the Greens bill will provide that
opportunity," said Ms Faehrmann.

Media contact: Peter Stahel 0433 005 727

Fracking facts for all- The Daily Examiner

Fracking facts for all

Speakers include founder and president of the national Lock the Gate alliance Drew Hutton and self-described CSG refugee Brian Monk who was forced to leave his Queensland property for the Northern Rivers because of CSG mining.
Clarence Alliance Against Coal Seam Gas Mining (CAACSG) has recruited a star-studded group of speakers from within the anti-CSG movement for the information night.

FENCE-SITTERS will have the chance to learn what could occur if coal seam gas (CSG) mining is allowed to proliferate across the Clarence Valley.

Clarence Alliance Against Coal Seam Gas Mining (CAACSG) has recruited a star-studded group of speakers from within the anti-CSG movement for the information night at South Grafton Ex-Services Club from 6pm on Friday.

Speakers include founder and president of the national Lock the Gate alliance Drew Hutton and self-described CSG refugee Brian Monk who was forced to leave his Queensland property for the Northern Rivers because of CSG mining.
 FENCE-SITTERS will have the chance to learn what could occur if coal seam gas mining is allowed to proliferate across the Clarence Valley.

Author of the first Australian novel dealing with CSG-mining Peter Ralph will launch his book Dirty Fracking Business while solicitor Sue Higginson from the Environmental Defender's Office will offer her expertise on land rights.

Former Greens candidate Janet Cavanaugh will speak on the local proposals for CSG and environmental planning issues and a short documentary will be shown.

Local musicians Brad Wheat (guitarist/singer) and Geoff Welham (local harp player) will provide some ambience.

All are welcome, entry is free.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Time for pollution law reform

Chemical Plant: FlickR_arbyreed

Posted on 21 March 2012 from Cate's blog

The Government has been shown the way forward on pollution and needs to act.

Pollution is poorly regulated in NSW and comprehensive reform is needed. The amendments Environment Minister Robyn Parker made to the Government’s pollution laws in response to last year’s Orica debacle just tinkered at the edges. Now the NSW Nature Conservation Council and Environmental Defenders Office have set out what really needs to be done to reign in the state’s pollution.

Their Clearing the Air report sets out a clear agenda for legislative and operational reform aimed at restoring public faith in NSW’s pollution control system. Read the report here. They say regulation of pollution in NSW must move from granting permission to pollute, to a limit based approach that prevents or minimises environmental harm arising from industrial activities.

On behalf of the Greens I have been calling for pollution law reform to place communities and the environment first and foremost, clamp down on habitual breaches and properly deal with cumulative impacts.

Last year I introduced a Bill to fix lax NSW pollution laws that allowed polluters to delay notifying the public of pollution incidents. My bill required authorities to be notified immediately and was introduced in the wake of the Orica chemical leak at Stockton near Newcastle which put the community at risk of hexavalent chromium poisoning. The bill helped prompt the government to act to address the notification delay with their own legislation. I also sat on the parliamentary inquiry into the Orica incident which recently reported. Read the report of the inquiry here.

The Greens are now pushing for more comprehensive reform and I have sent a letter to the Minister. My strong suggestion would be to implement all of the 30+ recommendations in the Clearing the Air report.
My confidence is not inspired when I hear that Mr Alec Brennan has been appointed to the Minister’s new Board of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), considering he was the CEO of a company that received a record $280,000 fine for releasing toxic pollution into the Parramatta River and failing to notify the EPA for more than 24 hours. The Minister would be well advised to remove Mr Brennan and replace him with someone who instead has form as a successful advocate for local communities and the environment.

Exempt FOI from crippling funding cuts for sake of open govt: Greens

27 Mar | Democracy
Senator Lee Rhiannon
The Australian Greens today called on the government to exempt the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OIAC) from budget cuts and to increase staffing levels at the OIAC to those promised when the office was launched in November 2010.

"It is difficult to shine a light when there is not enough staff to hold up a torch bright enough to make government open and accountable", said Greens Senator and democracy spokesperson Lee Rhiannon.

"The finance department has exempted five tribunals from budget cuts but not the Office of the Information Commissioner.

"The government's FOI reforms are not worth the paper they are written on if the Information Commissioner is not adequately resourced.

 "Information Commissioner John McMillan predicted in an interview in November 2010 that there would be an increase in applications for review. There is currently a backlog of more than 340 review applications.

"Forcing budget cuts on the OIAC will lead to job cuts, put immense pressure on the remaining staff and see an even bigger blow-out of the backlog of review applications.

"The Greens are calling on Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to heed calls from Mr McMillan and restore staff levels and funding to that forecast when the OAIC was established.

"FOI should be at the heart of accountable government yet Federal Labor seems intent on down-grading its importance.

"In October last year, the OIAC was transferred out of Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to the Attorney-General and Ms Roxon has so far refused to join the Open Government Partnership.

"The Open Government Partnership will be co-chaired by the US and UK governments and 46 countries have signed on. Australia's absence speaks volumes about the government's commitment to FOI. 

"When the Minister for FOI and Privacy Brendan O'Connor launched the OAIC in 2010 he said the FOI reforms 'mark a new era of Government transparency'. The era seems to have been very short-lived," said Senator Rhiannon.


“Leaving Care Plans are vital”

Jan Barham
 Addressing the needs of vulnerable people in society is a priority for the Greens.  This week the NSW Upper House unanimously supported a motion by Greens MLC Jan Barham to address the difficulties faced by young foster children leaving care.

“I am pleased that the Government and all parties have unanimously acknowledged the commitment to prioritise the needs of young people leaving foster care.

When there is an increase above the current figure of 18 per cent of these vulnerable young people receiving a leaving care plan we will see a better outcome for them and society as a whole.  That is the performance test, to ensure that all young children leaving care receive the support they deserve” said Jan Barham MLC.

The motion to the Parliament identified the shortcomings in providing support for young people leaving care.  Despite a legislated requirement under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 which states that a plan must be prepared for a young person before they leave care, questions in parliament revealed that only 18% of eligible young people currently receive a plan.

 “The motion has identified the importance of this issue in addressing the vulnerability of young people when they leave care.  The speakers from all parties have stated their concern and support in relation to this matter and i look forward to the Government focussing on this issue to improve the outcomes for these children.

 We have a responsibility to support these young people and the overwhelming response was that it is an investment not just in these young people but in society” said Jan Barham MLC

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0407 065 061

O'Farrell continues Labor's war on disabled students

Media release: 27 March 2012

The NSW Liberal National government is rolling out the worst aspects of Labor's cost-cutting approach to the state's most vulnerable students, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

('New funding system for disabled pupils welcomed,' Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March 2012, page 5, http://j.mp/H6nR8n)

Dr Kaye said: "Despite Premier Barry O'Farrell's repeated denials, his government is now implementing a new funding formula for public school students with special needs that is based on the disastrous Illawarra trial.

"This has nothing to do with improving outcomes for students with disabilities and learning difficulties.

"If Education Minister Adrian Piccoli were completely candid, he would admit the changes are designed to stem the 11 percent annual growth in the cost of special needs education.

"Using school NAPLAN results and the prevalence of autism in the community to distribute funding will inevitably leave some schools struggling to cope with the additional needs of their students.

"Additional in-school expertise in disabilities and learning difficulties will be welcome.

"However many students will be denied learning opportunities as the O'Farrell government gets rid of the specialists who support teachers to develop programs for students with special needs.

"The Boston Consulting Group was asked by the previous Labor government to identify budget savings in the education budget. They identified $100 million cuts in student welfare by following the Victorian slash and burn approach.

"This is Labor's handiwork being implemented by the Coalition.

"Instead of heeding the pleas of parents and teachers for a new deal for disability funding, the O'Farrell government has delivered a scheme that puts the budget bottom line ahead of the needs of the state's most vulnerable students," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Invitation to UNESCO & IUCN to visit the Dorrigo Plateau

John Kaye meets with Trevor Deane of the Dorrigo Environment Watch
Press Release

By copy of this Press Release Dorrigo Environment Watch have invited the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) monitoring team (who are currently visiting Australia to monitor impacts of mining on the Barrier Reef) to also schedule in a visit to the Dorrigo Plateau.

The Dorrigo Plateau has 4 different mining companies with current exploration licences and recent drilling has been undertaken for gold and antimony across the Plateau. There is concern that the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area values could be compromised if any mining developments were approved on the Plateau.

Dorrigo Environment Watch will ask the NSW and Australian Governments to zone the plateau a ‘no go zone’ for mining to ensure that the world heritage values and vital ecosystem services (which underpin our food, fisheries, fibre and drinking water) are protected for present and future generations. Australia has an obligation to abide by our world heritage agreements to protect the Gondwana Rainforests. A ‘no go zone’ would serve as an appropriate Government commitment and celebration for the 25 year anniversary of the World Heritage listing of our Gondwana rainforests.

For more information or comment please contact Trevor Deane on 02 6657 4005.

Article Coffs Coast Advocate

Article: greens-back-no-mine-zone-call in Coffs Coast Advocate

Letter Concerned residents

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Piccoli's 'local schools, local blame' is dangerous and divisive

Greens Media: March 22nd

Greens NSW MP John Kaye warned that the O'Farrell government's 'Local Schools Local Decisions' policy will inevitably lead to less money for public schools on the Mid-North Coast.

Dr Kaye will be visiting Bowraville Central School at 10:30am and Bellingen High School at 2.00pm on Friday the 23rd of March.

John Kaye meets with Marty Wheatley, NSWTF, outside Bowraville Central School
Dr Kaye said: "This is a scheme designed by politicians to make educators take responsibility for governments' failure to fund public education.

"Instead of working with school leaders to make use of their local knowledge, the O'Farrell government wants to avoid the blame for inadequate education budgets. 

"As more responsibility for spending is loaded onto principals, there will be inevitable cuts to school funding. This is exactly what happened when a similar scheme was implemented in Victoria.

"The result of the trial of 'Local Schools, Local Decisions' will not be a reliable guide to the impact of the changes that Education Minister Adrian Piccoli wants to roll out across NSW.

"The 47 schools in the trial were buffered against the worst aspects of devolution. Many were given additional funds and all of them still had in place the benefits of a state-wide system.

"School leaders will be forced to wear the blame when there is not enough money to pay for both school counsellors and special needs teachers.

"Principals will be under pressure to replace permanent teachers with casuals. There are real risks that student learning will be disrupted as more classes are denied the benefit of a single teacher throughout the year.

"Every time parents complain about inadequate school counselling resources or insufficient teachers aide time, the NSW government will be able to shift the blame the principal for making bad choices.

"Devolution is the next big step in the O'Farrell government's implementation of the Keneally government's Boston Consulting Report that identified the $1 billion worth of school budget cuts," Dr Kaye said.

For more information:    John Kaye 0407 195 455

Greens renew call for Dorrigo Plateau mine ban

Media Release- March 22

Greens NSW MP John Kaye has joined the Dorrigo Environment Watch  in calling for the Dorrigo Plateau to be declared a 'no mine zone' to protect the regions river systems and water supply.

Dr Kaye will be visiting Dorrigo National Park this Friday, 23rd March 2012.

Dr Kaye said: "The Dorrigo antimony mining proposals is playing Russian roulette with the environment and downstream residents' health.

"The O'Farrell government knows that he Dorrigo Plateau is entirely unsuitable for antimony mining.

John Kaye meets with Trevor Deane of the Dorrigo Environment Watch Inc
"Antimony mining, high rainfall and steep terrain is a highly risky combination.

"The Nymboida and Clarence rivers would likely suffer as toxic pollutants including arsenic and antimony are washed out of the mine and into the catchments that supply drinking and agricultural water.

North Dorrigo
"The O'Farrell Government has reneged on their pre-election promise to create mining 'no-go' zones in sensitive areas.

"The Dorrigo Plateau catchment supplies water for fisheries, agriculture and domestic consumption.

"Antimony mining would put at risk the local environment and the economy and threaten the livelihood of farmers and the health of residents.

"The O'Farrell Government has failed to rule out Anchor Resources' proposal for a revitalised and expanded antimony mine at Wild Cattle Creek, despite strong community opposition and the environmental and health risks it would create.

"The antimony mine at Hillgrove continues to leach toxic heavy metals into the surrounding environment with several spills reported last year and residents told not to pump from the Macleay River.

"The O'Farrell government should learn the lesson from contamination of the Macleay River and prohibit antimony mining on the Dorrigo Plateau.

"Dorrigo Environment Watch have been monitoring the effects that exploration and mining have had on the local environment.

John Kaye and Trevor Deane on the Skywalk, Dorrigo National Park
"Frustrated by years of inaction by successive state governments, they are seeking international intervention. UNESCO have been asked to protect the pristine Godwana Rainforests from mining contamination.

"The Greens are calling on the O'Farrell Government  to recognise the threat that antimony mining poses to the Dorrigo ecosystem and rule out any future mining projects in the Plateau area" Dr Kaye said.

For more information:    John Kaye 0407 195 455

Article 1: Coffs Coast Advocate
Article 2: Greens Back 'No Mine Zone' Call in Coffs Coast Advocate
Prime TV Story
NBN TV Story

Friday, 16 March 2012

Coal seam gas in the Northern Rivers risks too much

Greens Media  15 March 2012

The Greens NSW spokesperson on coal seam gas Jeremy Buckingham has condemned the NSW Liberal and National Government for ignoring the pleas of the Northern Rivers community to protect their environment and economy from the impact of Coal Seam Gas exploration and production.

Mr Buckingham’s attempt to incorporate a letter from the Northern Rivers community into his speech on the Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill was blocked by the Government. The document (attached) is backed by local scientists and academics and highlights the clear difference between the words and deeds of the NSW Government on its handling of coal seam gas exploration in the region.

“The Northern Rivers community have highlighted how much they have to lose in terms of biodiversity and high quality water if coal seam gas mining is green lighted in this area, Mr Buckingham said.

“The Greens support the argument made by the community that ‘sustainable industries create a basis for our future and must be protected. Not replaced by the short-term economic and unsustainable gains of the CSG industry’. These sustainable industries are the high quality and diverse agriculture of the region and nature-based tourism.

Mr Buckingham also criticised the Government’s new Strategic Regional Land Use Plans as being worthless for the Northern Rivers community.

Mr Buckingham said, “This new planning framework for coal seam gas will not apply to the Northern Rivers. This area is not slated for a Regional Land Use Plan and the exploration guidelines still don’t address the simple fact that the community wants a right to collectively say no to this industry.

“The Government might be consulting with the community but they aren’t listening. I support the position in the plea that the community has opted for the precautionary principle and there is simply no social licence for this industry in [the Northern Rivers].”

“Local Nationals MPs must start standing up for their community on this important issue. MPs like Geoff Provest from Tweed, Thomas George from Lismore, and Chris Gulaptis from Clarence should be representing this view in the parliament. In their absence the Greens are proud to stand up for the community,” Mr Buckingham said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Govt fails to legislate Aboriginal representation on young offenders review panel

Greens' media release - 15 March 2012

The NSW Upper House passed legislation late last night which will formalise the existence of the Serious Young Offenders Review Panel. The government, however, rejected a Greens amendment which would have legislated Aboriginal representation on the Review Panel.

Greens NSW MP and Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"Only three per cent of children in NSW are Aboriginal, yet half the children in NSW correctional centres are Aboriginal. This is a shocking statistic and we need to deal with it.

"The Serious Young Offenders Review Panel decides whether a young person who has committed a serious offence should be kept in higher or lower security detention.

"In 2009, 27 per cent of all young offenders before the panel identified as Aboriginal, and the figure rose to 29 per cent in 2010.

"Having operated administratively for twelve years, it is a positive step forward that the panel's existence is being legislated.

"The Act only requires a Magistrate sit on the panel together with at least two other members (without specifying the qualifications of either of these other members).

"Given the high rate of incarceration of Aboriginal children, it is essential that one of the members of the review panel always be Aboriginal.

"Even though there is the capacity to place an Aboriginal representative on the review panel, it is not required. The Greens amendment would have made it mandatory.

"After more than two centuries of injustice being delivered to Aboriginal citizens from this state's criminal justice system, this was an opportunity to get a measure of balance back. Sadly, the government could not support this move.

"It is important to legislate Aboriginal representation on bodies such as these to show our recognition of Aboriginal over-representation in the NSW prison system and our commitment to dealing with it," Mr Shoebridge said.

Read David's blog on the issue online here: http://davidshoebridge.org.au/2012/03/14/aboriginal-representative-needed-for-young-offenders-review-panel/

The full legislation debate in parliament can be found here: http://goo.gl/pQAJC

Media contact: 9230 3030 | 0433 753 376

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

O’Farrell breaks election promise to protect farms from mining and gas

O’Farrell breaks election promise to protect farms from mining and gas
Media Release 06 March 2012

Greens MP and mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has labelled the Government’s Strategic Regional Land Use Policy announcement a breach of their promise to the communities of regional NSW.
“The National Party has either deliberately abandoned the interests of farmers to the big mining corporations, or else they’ve been comprehensively rolled by the Liberal Party,” Mr Buckingham said.
“This means projects like the Shenhua Watermark and BHP Caroona coal projects on the Liverpool Plains are still on the table and can be fast tracked by a political decision. This is Barry O’Farrell’s very own Part 3A plan.
“The plans and policies announced today rule in the entire state for potential coal and coal seam gas mining. Every part of NSW is still up for grabs to big coal and gas companies.
“While the coal and gas industry might have more certainty under the plan, communities will be tied up in more submission writing and have no confidence that their properties and farms will not be subject to mining.
“Under the Government’s ‘Gateway’ process, no part of NSW is guaranteed protection. Outside of National Parks, other sensitive environmental areas are simply ignored in the plan.
“The state’s agricultural land, water supplies, urban and environmentally sensitive areas remain at risk of being mined.
The new rules provide an overriding clause for the Cabinet to consider a project ‘exceptional circumstance’ based on the value of the resource. Under this provision the Gateway requirements would not need to be met meaning a public interest test and soil and aquifer impact assessments could be avoided.
“This ‘exceptional circumstance’ provision is a get out of jail card for the Government to allow coal and gas development on our most productive agricultural land,” Mr Buckingham said.
“The mining and gas industry will be very happy with today’s announcement.  It is business as usual in NSW.
“The Government has left out some of our most important food growing areas from these land use plans. Coal seam gas exploration is slated for the Hawkesbury, Central Coast, Mid North and North Coasts where there is significant agricultural production.
“These plans fail the most basic tests. The State’s food growing areas remain at risk of mining.
“If the Government won’t act to protect agricultural land and the environment the community will be forced to take their own action. The Greens are behind the community in this campaign,” Mr Buckingham said.
Contact: Jeremy Buckingham on 9230 2202

Monday, 12 March 2012

Local mining news links

Link to ABC's 7.30 program: Quentin Dempster interviews Jeremy Buckingham, Greens MP and Liberal Planning Minister Brad Hazzard. Jeremy Buckingham accuses the Liberal/National coalition government of breaking its election promise to quarantine high value areas, especially farms, from mining.

Discussion over draft CSG plan

Link to ABC story  on the NSW state governments broken promise to protect high value areas of land from mining. 

Gateway plan panned by local environmentalists

Link to NBN news story 

Mining fears escalate in Dorrigo

What protection exists for the unique environment of the Dorrigo Plateau where mining combined with a high rainfall has the potential to pollute the water supply of coastal residents from Sawtell to Yamba? Will UNESCO be invited back to Australia to consider threats to the nearby World Heritage listed Dorrigo National Park? A UNESCO delegation has just visited Australia to consider the threats from mining to the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. Would not UNESCO be just as concerned with threats to the unique Dorrigo National Park?

The current mining exploration leases on the Dorrigo Plateau are listed on the site of Dorrigo Environment Watch.

Friday, 9 March 2012

How many more school bus crashes before NSW Government acts on seat belts?

Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2012
Greens Media

Responding to news of yet another school bus crash, this time involving
a collision with a car near Taree resulting in a 12 year old boy
receiving minor head injuries, Greens MP and transport spokesperson Cate
Faehrmann has asked how many crashes need to occur before the NSW
Government takes urgent and serious action on seat belts.

"It's been almost a year since the NSW Government's School Bus Safety
Advisory Committee was established. Yet we've known all along what's
required: an urgent mandate on the refitting of school buses on regional
routes, with priority to those on the most dangerous," said Ms

"The government has had access to assessments of the most dangerous
routes for years, it's not good enough that we're still waiting for
recommendations from yet another committee.

"Established in April 2011, the Committee has met only four times,
issued three press releases, and asked for submissions. This rate of
progress does nothing to inspire confidence in parents – they want
seat belts and better rules on speed, standing and other concrete
measures to improve safety for their kids.

"It's unclear whether seat belts were on this particular school bus.
But what is clear is that these accidents do happen. Do we have to wait
for a tragic accident before the government acts?

"The government is using the committee as an excuse to delay action
that is inevitable and already long overdue. It's time to fast track the
installation of seat belts on the most dangerous routes as identified
years ago," said Ms Faehrmann.

Media contact: Peter Stahel 0433 005 727

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Media Release_ Oakeshott move bolsters unsustainable logging

 March 7, 2012

Forty-seven environment and community advocacy groups have signed on to a letter to Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott, requesting that he withdraw his support for native forest 'waste' to be burnt in power stations and counted as renewable energy.

The signatories  include national organisations such as GetUp, The Wilderness Society, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, interstate groups such as the West Australian Forest Alliance, Environment Victoria, Climate Action Hobart, and numerous NSW groups including several based in northern NSW such as the North Coast Environment Council, Friends of the Koala, and the North East Forest Alliance.

“Between us we represent many hundreds of thousands of Australians who have an active interest in both forests and climate change,” said Paul Oosting of GetUp. “Most Australians want to see more forest protected not more ways of destroying it” he said.

Susie Russell, President of the North Coast Environment Council, who lives in Mr Oakeshott's electorate said “Forest mis-management in NSW, continues to create problems for the Government, communities and the environment. Forests NSW once again made a loss of $14.6 m last year. They have been exposed by numerous community investigations as breaching their Code of Practice.  Justice RA Pepper of the NSW Land and Environment Court, recently stated that "the Forestry Commission's conduct manifests a reckless attitude towards compliance with its environmental obligations"1. She also stated that "In my view, the number of convictions suggests either a pattern of continuing disobedience in respect of environmental laws generally or, at the very least, a cavalier attitude to compliance with such laws".”

“Mr Oakeshott needs to understand that Australian forestry is not ecologically sustainable. It is actively destroying biodiversity, carbon banks, water catchments and regional communities. It continues to be a source of conflict around the country as people everywhere take action to protect the best of what's left.” said Warrick Jordan, Forest Campaigner for The Wilderness Society.

“The so-called 'waste' going into the sawmills Mr Oakeshott wants to make more profitable, comes from the habitat of species that are on the brink, such as Leadbeater's possum in Victoria, the numbat in WA, the Tassie devil and in his own electorate, the koala,” he said.

“The signatories to this letter ask Mr Oakeshott to visit the oldgrowth karri forest clearfells in WA,  He could visit Miranda Gibson who in trying to protect oldgrowth forest in Tasmania has now spent 83 days living on a platform suspended high in the canopy, and tell her that 'there is no difference between plantations and native forest waste'. He could spend an hour or two outside the Eden woodchip mill and see the dozens of trucks taking whole trees to be chipped.

“His actions affect all of these. He can make forest destruction more profitable, or he can be an advocate for genuine ecological sustainability and responsible forest management. He can't do both,” Mr Jordan said.

For comment:
GetUp, Paul Oosting: 0409 963 734

The Wilderness Society, Warrick Jordan: 0451 633 197

North Coast Environment Council, Susie Russell: 0265 504 481

A copy of the letter can be found at:



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