Good news: Victorian council opposes closures of Aboriginal communities (and more)

Issue 
Kiwirrkurra remote Aboriginal community, about 700km south of Kununurra.

Moreland city council in Melbourne unanimously passed a motion opposing the closure of remote Aboriginal communities by the Western Australian government.

The council will write to federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion, WA Premier Colin Barnett and local federal ministers and Victorian senators in protest. It will also send a letter of solidarity to the Aboriginal communities under threat of forced closure.

The background of the motion said: “In 2014 the Federal Government announced the withdrawal of funding from around 150 remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.

The WA Government then decided that it would close 150 remote Aboriginal communities. This is a violation of the human rights of the Indigenous peoples.

This amounts to a second dispossession of these communities and would turn them into refugees in their own land. The forced removal of Aboriginal communities will break the spiritual link they have with their country, built up over 40,000 years.”

ANDREW BOLT LOSES DEFAMATION CASE

Human rights lawyer George Newhouse has won a defamation case against conservative blogger Andrew Bolt.

Bolt said in an article that 153 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who Newhouse legally represented were not genuine refugees, and that Newhouse was responsible for a “gigantic fraud”. Newhouse sued News Corp, which publishes Bolt’s column.

The details of the settlement are confidential, but the online article must be removed and News Corp was order to pay costs.

COSTA RICA RUNNING ON 100% RENEWABLES

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute announced last month it had set a record by running on 100% renewable energy for 75 days straight.

The energy has mostly come from the country’s hydropower plants, which had been helped by recent heavy rainfalls. A small amount also came from a mixture of geothermal, solar and wind. Costa Rica aims to become carbon neutral by 2021.

FRENCH LAW MANDATES GREEN ROOFTOPS

France has passed a law that will require the rooftops of all new commercial buildings be partly covered in plants or solar panels.

Green rooftops reduce the amount of energy spent on heating and cooling, help retain rainwater runoff, create an urban habitat for birds and wildlife, and help filter air pollution.

Environmentalists had originally wanted the law to apply to the entire rooftop surface of all new buildings, but it was watered down out of fear it would be too onerous for owners.

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