Lisa Macdonald

After a 16-month battle to survive and then recover from a major brain hemorrhage in August 2015, long-time Green Left Weekly journalist and seller Terry Townsend is at last able to move out of the nursing home to live in his own home again.

Now he needs your help to ensure he is not confined there for the rest of his life, can reconnect with comrades and friends, and participate in political activities again.

Coalmining company Coalpac Pty Ltd lodged a development proposal with the NSW government in July 2011 to expand its open-cut and high-wall coalmines in central western NSW.

The sites are in a proposed extension to the Gardens of Stone National Park and surround the small town of Cullen Bullen. Coalpac’s “consolidation project” involves expanding its Invincible and Cullen Valley coalmines, and building a new quarry in the Ben Bullen State Forest near Lithgow.

Registrations are now open for the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s (AVSN) next brigade to revolutionary Venezuela. The solidarity tour, to run over December 4-13 this year, will be a special one for the AVSN, the first since the election of President Nicolas Maduro following the death of Hugo Chavez on March 5.

Since 1998, when Chavez was first elected president, the Bolivarian revolution has achieved remarkable things by putting control of Venezuela’s politics and economy back into the hands of the poor majority.

About 70 activists gathered in Parramatta Town Hall on May 11 for the second annual Climate Change-Social Change conference.

Hosted by Green Left Weekly, the conference drew together a broad range of activists from various environment campaigns, anti-coal seam gas groups, the Greens and the Socialist Alliance, cementing its role as an important annual gathering for western Sydney activists.

Environment activists, academics, politicians, trade unionists and resident groups will gather in Parramatta Town Hall on May 11. They will discuss and plan actions around some of the many environmental and social issues facing the population of western Sydney.

Climate change and the fossil fuel industry will be a big focus of the conference, after the Climate Commission report, The Critical Decade, found that climate change is already much worse in Sydney's western suburbs than anywhere else in New South Wales.

In my work as a service provider for women experiencing domestic violence, I see every day the devastating consequences for women and children of living in a society based on gender inequality.

Violence against women is everywhere, but most of it still occurs in the domestic sphere by people known or related to the abused woman. Most rapes are also committed by people known to the women, and the full extent of rape within relationships is still unknown because it is generally not reported.

A fortnight after the NSW Liberal government announced policy changes to coal seam gas (CSG) mining in NSW to ban drilling within two kilometres of some residential areas, about 400 local residents met at Springwood Civic Centre on March 24 for the “Coal seam gas — it still stinks” public forum.

Speakers explained the continuing threat to the environment, residents’ health and the world heritage values of this area posed by the CSG industry.

The annual Western Sydney fundraising dinner was held on March 23. In a great start to the year, organisers filled Granville Town Hall and raised more than $1600 for the Green Left Weekly fighting fund.

Many residents of the Blue Mountains are discovering for the first time that coal seam gas (CSG) drilling is an immediate, local issue for them. Gas giant AGL has a licence to explore for CSG in a huge area covering the Blue Mountains communities from Lapstone, Glenbrook, Blaxland, Warrimoo and Winmalee through to Springwood, and everything in between.

The newly formed campaign group Stop CSG Blue Mountains joined the national week of action against CSG, organising a residents’ rally in Glenbrook Park on October 13.

For the 2.5 million people living and working in Sydney’s western suburbs, the future looks very grim unless serious action on climate change begins immediately.

A Climate Commission report released last month,  The Critical Decade, reveals that rising temperatures in western Sydney will impact adversely on many aspects of residents’ lives, from the water supply to mental health and crime levels.

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