As the year draws to a close, Jeremy Corbyn, the left-wing British Labour Party leader, might give a short sigh of relief. After one of the stormiest year in British politics for generations, he is one of the few who will enter 2017 in a stronger position.
Supporters of the NSW Hunter Valley community of Wollar held simultaneous rallies in Sydney and Mudgee on November 29 against a coalmine expansion that threatens to wipe out the village.
The NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) is reviewing the proposal to extend the Wilpinjong coalmine. It held a public hearing about the project in Mudgee but Wollar residents and supporters boycotted it and protested instead. They said the process is stacked against them and the community’s legal rights have been taken away.
Nearly 10,000 people attended two sold out Frack Off! concerts at Margaret River over the weekend of November 26–27, highlighting the growing opposition to unconventional gas across Western Australia.
The concerts included performances by John Butler Trio, Mama Kin, Pigram Brothers and Ten Cent Shooters.
There were speakers from the three regions threatened by unconventional gas — the South West, Mid West and Kimberley.
Queensland passed laws on November 10 that require miners to get a water licence to extract groundwater.
However environment minister Steven Miles moved a last minute amendment to remove objection rights to groundwater licences for the Adani Carmichael mine.
New Hope’s proposed Acland Stage 3 coal expansion and the Alpha and Kevin Corner coalmines will now need licences.
Farmers and communities will retain the right to object to the grant of those water licences.
Hundreds of service workers were arrested while striking for a US$15 minimum wage and the right to form a union in cities across the United States on November 29. Organisers say the strikers remain undaunted.
The nearly two-year struggle against the Perth Freight Link (PFL) freeway project is entering what may be a decisive period. While the campaign on the street has quietened somewhat, that may soon change.
While the Colin Barnett government beat a strategic retreat on Stage 2, it has declared its intention to push ahead with Stage 1 (Roe 8) through the Beeliar Wetlands. The Premier even claims that construction may begin before Christmas.
A cloud hangs over the annual picnic day for workers in the construction industry and their families, due to the passage of the bill to revive the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
Former Prime Minister John Howard’s Building Industry Taskforce was established in 2002 — a child of the Cole Royal Commission. The ABCC was established by the Howard government in 2005, once it had achieved a majority in the Senate.
When it is suddenly announced that an eight-lane toll road is about to be tunnelled underneath a neighbourhood, it is no surprise that the community springs into action.
This is exactly what has happened over the past month in my neighbourhood of Newtown, one of the oldest suburbs of Sydney.
Queensland Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles has announced that the state will ban single-use plastic shopping bags by 2018. About 800 million plastic bags are used there every year.
The government has been considering a ban for more than a year. Miles said Queensland would push ahead and not wait for Victoria and NSW to come on board for an east-coast ban.
“Despite the fact that Australia’s on the verge of becoming the world’s largest exporter of LNG [Liquified Natural Gas], there’ll be no new revenues from the primary tax on oil and gas for the next two decades and perhaps even longer,” Tax Justice Network (TJN) researcher Jason Ward said on October 10.
The TJN is a coalition of churches, welfare groups, unions and other civil society organisations.
This primary tax is the Petroleum Resources Rent Tax (PRRT), initiated by Bob Hawke’s Labor government in the 1980s.