Pip Hinman

The New South Wales state government has released changes to the state’s planning law which, if passed, will grant big mining companies more power and reduce communities and councils’ already limited rights of appeal.

The government says the changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A Act) 1979, released on January 9, are primarily about promoting “confidence” in the state’s planning system.

This week, brave teachers from across the country will bring a message of hope to their class rooms. They will declare that they support refugees — and especially those on Manus Island and Nauru.

The simple act of wearing a T-shirt with the words — “Teachers for refugees” on the front and “Close the camps, Bring them here” on the back — is enough to reinforce to thousands of students that there is an alternative to cruelty.

Activists campaigning against coal seam gas have cautiously welcomed Santos’ December 8 statement that it is downgrading its controversial Narrabri Gas Project in the north west of NSW. 

For some three years, Gamilaraay people, famers and activists have been campaigning against the coal seam gas project, concerned about its potential harm on the Great Artesian Basin.

Now, they hope that Santos’ restructure is a signal that the company may be looking to extricate itself from the project.  

A community meeting in inner city Newtown, called at short notice to hear from WestConnex and a panel of traffic, heritage and health experts, attracted some 170 people on December 6.

Peter Boyle, speaking on behalf of Vivien Johnson of the newly-formed Newtown Residents Against WestConnex, opened the meeting explaining how it came about — residents being letter-boxed by Johnson informing them that WestConnex had re-routed the M4-M5 link right underneath their houses.

On December 6, 17 people taking part in a non-violent direct action against fences erected in Beeliar Lake, south of Perth, were issued with move-on orders by WA police. The next day, more people were given move-on notices.

Chris Jenkins, one of those issued with such a notice, told Green Left Weekly that the protestors were not giving up and that the atmosphere was one of “quiet determination”. They set up camp that night and are preparing to stay for a second night.

A new report has found that methane leakage and fugitive emissions from unconventional gas fields are likely to be much higher than industry estimates, largely because it is neither accounting for nor reporting on them.

In a coordinated effort on United Nations Day on October 24, the Knitting Nannas Against Gas (KNAG) made long-overdue citizens’ arrests of some of the biggest climate criminals in the land.

“The Great NannArrest” involved citizen’s arrests of MPs, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at his eastern Sydney electorate office.

When they found the PM missing in action at his Edgecliff office, they arrested another Malcolm — a man wearing a mask.

Those who believe empowered communities are the best defence to politics-as-usual are celebrating the re-election of two hard-working socialist councillors — Sue Bolton and Stephen Jolly — in Victoria’s local council elections held on October 22.

Up to 500 people joined a protest on October 19 near NSW Parliament against the Coalition government’s plans to weaken land clearing laws.

The Coalition came to power promising famers more rights to undertake mass land clearing. Opposition has been wide-ranging.

The Australian captain of a women-crewed boat, which tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza last month, firmly believes the mission was worthwhile.

“The Women’s Boat to Gaza managed to reignite the spotlight on Gaza and on the terrible conditions that the Gazan people suffer”, Madeline Habib told Green Left Weekly.

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