In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed, some of the comments from those with a public platform have been breathtakingly offensive.
As a close blood relative of former minister for the environment Greg Hunt, I am deeply ashamed that he did not do one simple thing: protect Lawler’s Well.
There were 11 sites sacred to the Gomeroi people in the part of the Leard State Forest in north-western NSW that is being cleared for Whitehaven Coal’s controversial Maules Creek Mine. Ten have already been destroyed or irrevocably damaged. The last of these Gomeroi heritage sites is Lawler’s Well.
Two weeks into a protracted election campaign, it is looking ever-more likely that climate change is to be placed way down the order of business – at least for the major parties. The contest over climate change that characterised the previous three federal elections seems to have disappeared off the political radar despite the issue being more urgent than ever.
At the start of the election campaign federal environment minister Greg Hunt came here to announce $50 million in new projects to boost water quality, including efforts to keep sediment, fertilisers and pesticides off the Great Barrier Reef. This announcement was partly to allay concerns over research showing 93% of the Reef had been bleached and dire predictions that the Reef will be dead in 25 years.
Experts have laughed at a prediction by the environment minister Greg Hunt that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions peaked 10 years ago. Hunt told the ABC’s AM program: “I believe that we have reached what is sometimes known as peak emissions. In my best judgment … we reached peak emissions in 2005-06 ... and the course of history to come for Australia is that we will continue to be below that figure.” Experts have laughed at a prediction by the environment minister Greg Hunt that Australia's greenhouse gas emissions peaked 10 years ago.
Protesters occupied environment minister Greg Hunt's office in Melbourne on October 30, in protest at his re-approval of Australia's largest new mega coalmine — the Adani-Carmichael mine in Queensland. Protesters hung a banner from the roof with “Greg Hunt: Minister for Coal” emblazoned across it. “It is clear that our Minister for the Environment doesn't stand for the environment at all”, said student activist Sam Dariol.
Environment minister Greg Hunt gave formal approval on October 15 for a massive new coalmine in Queensland's Galilee basin, “in accordance with national environment law” after the Federal Court set aside the previous approval in August. But Indian coal mining giant Adani is unlikely to receive the federal government funding it needs to open the Carmichael mega mine. As resource prices crash and more than 1000 coalmining jobs have been lost in Queensland alone this year, Adani's competitors have come out in opposition to any federal government assistance for the mega mine.
The federal Coalition’s plan to repeal a section of a 16-year-old environmental law can only be for one reason — to support mining companies at the expense of communities and the environment. Attorney General George Brandis announced on August 19the government planned to repeal section 487 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) which gives the community the right to enforce Australia’s environmental laws and hold decision makers and corporations to account.