Margaret Gleeson

Information provided by the NSW Water Office indicates that if the Bylong coalmine in the Upper Hunter region proceeds, there is a real danger of the Bylong River and local creeks drying up.

The Bylong coalmine, a project of South Korean government-owned company Kepco which supplies coal to the electricity industry, involves open cut and underground extraction of up to 6.5 million tonnes of coal for a period of 25 years. The Planning and Assessment Commission’s hearing of Kepco’s application was completed in May last year and its review report was completed in July.

Two–and–a–half years after the suicide of Chinchilla farmer and Lock the Gate activist George Bender, who had led a decade long campaign against fracking, on May 11 Linc Energy was fined a record $4.5 million for causing serious environmental harm at its underground coal gasification plant on Queensland's western Darling Downs.

Since the project was first proposed in October 2010, Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, rail and port project has generated opposition, initially from local resident and conservation groups.

The Carmichael project is one of several of mines proposed for the Galilee Basin. GVK Hancock (Gina Rinehart’s joint venture with Indian company GVK) proposed Alpha Coal in September 2008 and Kevin’s Corner in August 2009. Clive Palmer applied for approval for Waratah Coal in October 2008. 

Founder of 350.org Bill McKibben addressed a sell-out crowd of more than 500 on May 1, on the Sydney leg of his national tour.

Referring to the rapid progress of climate change McKibben said: “Things are changing fast: what isn’t is government policy. The environment movement is engaged in a fight against money and power."

For more than 20 years, locals on the NSW Central Coast have been fighting a proposed coalmine in the Dooralong and Yarramalong valleys near Wyong.

The area is an important part of the drinking water catchment for more than 300,000 people, and the proposed Wallarah 2 longwall coalmine threatens to take millions of litres of water each year out of the catchment and pollute local waterways.

A new report, “Adani Godda Power Project: Too Expensive, Too Late, and Too Risky for Bangladesh”, by Tim Buckley and Simon Nicholas released on April 10 by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has concluded that the Godda power project, promoted by Adani to justify its struggling Carmichael coal project in Queensland, is financially unviable and a poor strategic fit for Bangladesh.

 

The ubiquitous Commonwealth Games mascot Borobi the blue koala belies the fate of the “Aussie icon” it represents. It is ironic that Borobis flourish in the very region where koala numbers have declined drastically in recent years.

Koalas are an endangered species in Queensland, NSW and the ACT and land clearing has long been recognised as the culprit. As well as the animals killed during the actual process of land clearing, the destruction of habitat results in increasing population losses.

Within hours of the NSW Land and Environment Court decision on March 9 quashing new land clearing laws, the NSW government produced a new Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code.

The code was created to exempt land clearing from the usual development assessment processes. It was introduced after the government overhauled the state’s conservation laws in 2016, making land clearing easier for farmers.

During the Greens/Labor battle for the Batman byelection, the mainstream media has characterised opposition to the Adani mine as an inner city/trendy/lefty issue.

However, recent polls have shown this is not the case. Support for the project is just as likely to lose votes for the Liberal and Labor parties as it is to win votes for the Greens.

A new ReachTel survey commissioned by the Australia Institute found the Adani mine is unpopular in inner city electorates around the country.

In the lead up to the South Australian election, Premier Jay Weatherill announced on March 5 that an incoming Labor government would introduce portable long service leave for community services workers.

Australian Services Union (ASU) members in all states have been campaigning for long service leave portability for many years. So far only Victoria and the ACT have been successful. Portability of entitlements will bring stability to the sector. Community Services is a growing industry in which recruitment and retention of qualified staff is an issue.

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