Zane Alcorn

The NSW Coalition government announced plans on December 13 last year to cut the Newcastle rail line at Wickham station. As part of the urban renewal strategy document, passengers would have to transfer to buses to complete the last two kilometres of their journey to Newcastle. A long-running community group, Save Our Rail, has twice stopped former Labor and Coalitions governments' attempts to cut the line. Here are ten reasons why the campaign needs to continue: There is no solution proposed for rail users affected by the cut
About 100 people gathered at the Jerrys Plains community hall on January 29 to outline concerns about the encroachment of the coal industry on their township and to begin a united fightback.
Anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan hit the headlines after he distributed a fake media release in the name of ANZ bank on January 7. It claimed that the bank was withdrawing a $1.2 billion loan that would finance the proposed Maules Creek coalmine owned by Whitehaven Coal, due to its corporate responsibility policy. It read: “We want our customers to be assured that we will not be investing in coal projects that cause significant dislocation of farmers, unacceptable damage to the environment, or social conflict.”
If the official government line is to be believed, Australia is only a minor player when it comes to our greenhouse gas emissions. In this view, Australia is powerless to bring about international action to cut emissions. Indeed, any such efforts are only likely to amount to economic self-sabotage. From Laggard to Leader, the new report from research group Beyond Zero Emissions, demolishes these arguments. Far from being an inconsequential emitter, Australia’s carbon footprint is immense.
It was a week which started with federal treasurer Wayne Swan having a go at the mining billionaires for distorting our democracy, but which soon entered a new phase whereby the Labor party illustrated the rather narrow range within which our two party system has room to move.
Peruvian-born Harlem emcee Immortal Technique rocked a full house at the Metro in Sydney on January 19 as part of his debut tour of Australia and New Zealand. The Afro-Peruvian Technique grew up alongside other poor African Americans and Latinos in New York and steered clear of offers from record labels (“offered me a deal, and a blanket full of smallpox!”, he sings in “Industrial Revolution”). Instead, he built up a substantial following as an independent artist.
The Philippines, one of the poorest Asian nations with a huge foreign debt ― caused by successive corrupt governments ― remains a place of simmering class tension. In the past six weeks, there have been mobilisations around a range of issues. On October 11, there was a national day of action against rising energy costs. There were protests right across the archiapelago. Residents turned off their power for half-an-hour and created a “noise barrage” with whistles and horns.
Members of the Philippines Air Lines Employees Association (PALEA) have been engaged in three weeks of pickets at the Philippines Airlines (PAL) terminal at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. About 2600 ground crew have fought against forced contractualisation — the replacement of permanent, secure jobs with contract labour. PALEA president Gerry Rivera told Green Left Weekly the dispute had its origins in 2009 when PAL management declared their intention to outsource the roles of the 2600 ground crew.
A report prepared for the Australian Coal Association titled Impact of Proposed Carbon Tax on Black Coal mining claims that the government’s proposed carbon tax is going to cause eight coal mines to close prematurely and will cost thousands of jobs between now and 2021. The report claimed 4700 jobs would be lost from existing coalmines due to the carbon price
The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) is continuing to build the Bulahdelah bypass, north of Newcastle, despite a community campaign to halt the project. The bypass road was first proposed in 2000. Three main routes were canvassed: one to the west of the town, passing through several flat paddocks; another to the east, cutting through the foot of the Alum mountain; and an option that involved widening the existing road. The safer, more geologically stable and slightly western route was ditched in favour of the mountain route.

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