When the NSW Coalition government was elected to office in March 2011, it put all new coal seam gas (CSG) exploration licences on hold pending an internal inquiry. Sixteen months later, in September 2012, the government announced that the results of this “thorough investigation” found all was in order and the industry could proceed apace. The NSW government has now announced that all new CSG licence applications would again be frozen, this time for six months. The government said this was necessary to implement a "new regime" for allocating future licences.
The Pilliga Forest is at the centre of a large battle over the right for companies to drill for coal seam gas (CSG) on public land. Coal seam gas company Santos is planning to develop a $2 billion CSG project in the forest and it has already begun operating 40 exploratory gas wells. The exploration licence was supposed to end on April 3, but Santos has been granted multiple extensions by the NSW government to put in more exploratory drill holes.
Despite two court decisions rejecting Rio Tinto’s bid to expand a Hunter Valley coalmine, the expansion may still go ahead under NSW government rules that allow the company to override environmental concerns and local community objections.
For the first time in Australian history, construction workers are facing government moves to seize houses and cars in relation to an industrial dispute. The 33 workers affected took part in an eight-day strike in north-west WA in 2008. Mick Buchan of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) told the ABC that the dispute between workers and the company was resolved at the time. “It was some time later that the ABCC [Australian Building Construction Commission] intervened and brought charges against individuals”, he said.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has approved Bs40 million (about $6.75 million) in funding for an environmental mission, and announced the creation of a national ecosocialist school. During a meeting of Venezuela's environmental movement, Maduro called on students and young people to join in state-sponsored environment rehabilitation projects.
Drivers on Sydney’s proposed WestConnex motorway will pay a toll for almost 50 years, according to documents released to state parliament last week. Tolls will also be introduced to existing free motorways and extended on those due to expire. The government’s plans were revealed when boxes of documents relating plans to build the WestConnex motorway were delivered to New South Wales Parliament House last week at the request of the NSW Greens Roads and Ports spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi.
I am not going to bother following the news any more, I am just going to wake up each morning and drive large rusty nails straight into my eyeballs to save time. After all, efficiency is our new watchword, according to treasurer Joe Hockey. We must all play our part in doing more with less.
Public housing residents from the historic inner-suburb of Millers Point rallied at Sydney Town Hall on April 7 to oppose state government plans to sell off nearly 400 public housing properties. City of Sydney Liberal councillor Christine Forster moved a motion in support of the state government's move to evict the tenants and sell the properties. But the council voted overwhelmingly against the sale plan and instead allocated funds and resources to help the residents' campaign.
Nigeria: Africa’s number one economy -- for wealth evaporation In 2012, neoliberalism catalysed a national “Occupy Nigeria” strike that nearly overthrew the government after the removal of a petrol subsidy, under direct pressure from the IMF, writes Patrick Bond. Discussion: Are Russia and China imperialist powers?
I am a Year 11 high school student, and when I heard they were trying to transfer more refugees from Villawood, I couldn’t stand by. Standing outside the detention centre in the early morning of April 5 while waiting for the buses to move, I saw a Facebook status from one of the protest's spokespeople, Clo Schofield, who had just been interviewed on right-wing radio station 2GB. Schofield encouraged us to ring to air our grievances about Australia's cruel and heartless asylum seeker policy.
The Spanish congress met in Madrid on April 8 to hear a petition from the parliament of Catalonia: that the power to hold a non-binding referendum on its political future be granted to Catalonia under Section 150 of the Spanish constitution.
More than 400 people turned out in Geelong on April 5 to demand that the government be more humane to refugees and asylum seekers. The Combined Refugee Action Group (CRAG) organised the rally, and called on the government to: immediately end offshore processing and mandatory detention, re-install family reunion for refugees, and to end the indefinite detention of refugees with negative ASIO status.
The former Labor government tried and failed with its ill-conceived "people swap" deal with Malaysia in 2011. Now, the Tony Abbott government has said it may try a resettlement deal with the even poorer nation of Cambodia. After talks with foreign minister Julie Bishop in February, her counterpart, Hor Namhong, said Cambodia was considering an offer to resettle refugees from Australia. Immigration minister Scott Morrison visited Cambodia again this month, to discuss "regional cooperation to deal with asylum seeker movement".
Vanessa Powell has been visiting the Villawood detention centre for three years, and helped to organise a large visit at Christmas last year and a Persian New Year's celebration recently. When she heard asylum seekers housed there were being forcibly transferred to detention centres in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, she decided to join others in blockading the front entrance to stop the transfers on April 4. During the protest, Powell, along with many advocates, took photos of refugees handcuffed inside darkened buses and uploaded them to Facebook.
Veteran Canadian punk band DOA have set sail for Australia for one final tour this month. Formed in 1978, Henry Rollins described the band as “live they were monumental, change your life, blow away time … They came to town and we were like WOW!” DOA’s slogan has been “Talk minus Action equals Zero” and the band has been active on many issues, including anti-racism, anti-globalisation, freedom of speech, and the environment. In 2003, founding member Joe “Shithead” Keithley released his autobiography, I, Shithead: A Life in Punk.
Eco-Business: A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability Peter Dauvergne & Jane Lister MIT Press, 2013, 194 pages Every big retail brand name you can think of — McDonalds and Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Nestle, Nike and Adidas, Disney and Google — are leading an apparent corporate charge towards ecological sustainability. Or so they would have us believe, say Peter Dauvergne and Jane Lister in Eco-Business.