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Push for better safety at train stations in the hills

SAFETY at hills train stations is looming as a key election topic, with both the Liberal and Greens candidates for Monbulk launching campaigns for extra transit police and permanent staff at local platforms.

Liberal candidate for Monbulk Matthew Mills said under the Victorian Coalition’s plan, 100 extra transit police would be added to Victoria’s train network, and two Victoria protective services officers would be stationed at every train station from 6pm until the last train. Tecoma and Upwey stations are both currently unmanned.

Greens candidate Jo Tenner said her party planned to fully staff all train stations from the first to the last train.

“Many people I have spoken with around the electorate have told me that they do not feel safe using the unstaffed stations, they also expressed concerns about the level of vandalism and graffiti at the stations,” she said. Ms Tenner said if permanent staff were employed, then waiting areas and toilets could be opened and tourists provided with directions, making the station a real hub of the town.

Staff from Indian restaurant Saffron Cottage in Tecoma recently quit after being racially taunted and threatened with violence at Tecoma station. Restaurant owner Nikky Salgadoe said she supported the station being staffed at all times. Monbulk state Labor MP James Merlino said there had been more than a 50 per cent increase in public transport over the past 10 years, yet the crime rate had continued to drop.

Mr Merlino said Victoria Police and Metro continued to work together to identify hot spots across the rail network.

He said the Victorian Transport Plan had a further commitment to engage 50 new transit police, and more than 500 authorised officers were already employed across the Victorian public transport network.

Push for better safety at train stations in the hills

 

 KIMBERLEY SEEDY, Free Press Leader 5th May 2010

ABC won't come to the party over Gruen Greens ad

The ABC has rejected pleas from the Greens to be allowed to broadcast a striking yet fake election advertisement that was created for the broadcaster.

The party confirmed it wants to use an advertisement created by agency Republic of Everyone that featured on the Gruen Nation last night.

But the ABC will not allow it to be used during the campaign, stating it owns the rights and the "ABC can't provide one side's advertising".

 
A scene from the fake Greens ad showing on Gruen Nation.

A scene from the fake Greens ad showing on Gruen Nation.

The "fake ad" was created as part of "The Pitch"- a segment in which two advertising agencies were asked to create an advertisement about the Greens.

The 30-second clip focused on issues such as gay marriage, climate change and dental care and has been viewed more than 3400 times this morning on YouTube.

Republic of Everyone's Ben Peacock said on the Gruen Nation that its creation aimed to show the Greens' stance on multiple issues, not just the environment.

The Greens Senator, Bob Brown, said he thought the ad was "great."

"And it got right to the point. The Greens have normally had a struggle to stay in election campaigns because of the spending of the old parties. We’ll give them a run for their money this time."

"Maybe Gruen Nation could run that ad again next week, that would be a start," Senator Brown said.

Gruen panelist and Leo Burnett chief executive Todd Sampson told Mr Peacock "it was the best ad the Greens have ever done" and to "expect a phone call".

And that call came this morning.

Greens spokeswoman Ebony Bennett confirmed the party had contacted Republic of Everyone and the ABC asking to use the advertisement.

"We rang the Republic of Everyone first thing this morning as we had a huge response following last night and we were inundated with requests to get it on air," Ms Bennett said.

But an ABC spokesman said the broadcaster would not provide the "fake Greens" advertisement.

"ABC TV will not be providing the fake Greens ads to the Greens party, because the ad was made specifically for Gruen Nation," he said.

The Gruen Nation's Twitter account also tweeted a short time ago that "Greens can't buy or run brill Gruen Nation ad ... ABC can't provide one side's advertising".

Ms Bennett denied the fake advertisement was better than those created by the party.

"I think all our ads have been fantastic," she said.

"This just came out of nowhere. I think people are really disillusioned by the major parties and what they believe ... and [this advertisement] speaks to the core of what the Greens believe in."

Ms Bennett said the party had placed links to the video on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

Mr Peacock said the response since the Gruen Nation had been phenomenal.

He also refrained from criticising the ABC for not releasing the advertisement to the Greens.

"Clearly I would love to see it on TV but at the same time I don't think it is a question of won't for the ABC; it is that they can't ... be giving ads to political parties and I totally sympathise with them," he said.

Mr Peacock said the clip took over a week to produce and was the first idea floated by his team.

He said the advertisement "worked because it was positive" and is based "on real issues".

"I really would like to see this change the way political parties view advertising and show them it can be positive," he said.

"I would also hope from a corporate [advertising] point of view that they can realise the power in sustainable and positive messages."

with Louise Hall

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/abc-wont-come-to-the-party-over-gruen-greens-ad-20100812-120sn.html

 

Cardina boys' club

CARDINIA Shire has an all-male council following the weekend’s election.

Casey Council takes on a decidedly more female focus ... new female councillors Shar Balmes and Lynette Keleher have joined Lorraine Wreford. The only woman candidate, Kate Lempriere, bows out, and the other five women who stood – Catherine Manning, Kate Hands, Tracy Montgomery, Gloria O’Connor and Linda Hamilton – also attracted too few votes to survive.

In neighbouring Casey the story is different, with a record five women to take their place in the 11-member council.

Casey is one of only a couple of councils with five women, following the 2008 poll.

Casey voters returned finance broker Lorraine Wreford in Springfield Ward for another term. The other four successful female candidates will be first-time Casey councillors.

Volunteer and family carer Shar Balmes, with Karen Baxter, will tip the gender in Four Oaks Ward, where voters threw out Paul Richardson and Rob Wilson.

Amanda Stapleton sets some gender balance in Mayfield, where the voting system returned the person currently under an investigation for breach of the council’s code of conduct, Kevin Bradford.

In River Gum Ward, mother and carer Lynette Keleher for the Greens will balance the gender with returning councillor Wayne Smith, who shared the ward with former mayor Janet Halsall.

Speaking after the Cardinia result on Monday, Ms Lempriere said that while democracy had spoken, Cardinia Shire would be at a disadvantage without a female at the council table.

“The one thing I am disappointed about is that there are no women,” she said. “Women give a different approach, a different perspective, not better nor worse, just different.

“I would have liked to have seen Catherine (Manning) or Kate (Hands) there because it would have given a bit of balance. They would have been a great asset to this council.

“I am concerned about the arts. I was the only one who championed the arts. The men are into sport, sport, sport.”

Gloria O’Connor, who ran for Bunyip Ward, agreed it was a shame the voters elected no women.

“It’s a pity that of seven councillors there isn’t a capable female, from the public’s perspective,” she said.

Catherine Manning, who ran for Port Ward, said there were plenty of quality female candidates on Cardinia’s ballot papers.

“I’m disappointed there’s not one female at least to represent Cardinia’s population,” she said.

“At this time in 2008, I would have expected a couple of females to be elected onto council. It’s important to have balance.”

“The council has the potential to be seen as a boys’ club, but let’s hope they prove us wrong.”

http://www.starnewsgroup.com.au/story/67487

 

Court upholds public interest in Brown Mountain forest proceedings

The Supreme Court today refused VicForests' application for up to $163,000 in security from a small environment group. VicForests was asking for this sum to be secured before a court injunction is granted to stop logging on Brown Mountain. 

"If EEG had been required to pay such a large sum of money, it could have stifled an important piece of public interest litigation", said EEG spokesperson Jill Redwood. 

"This is a groundbreaking decision because no Victorian court has ever ordered an injunction on logging before. It is also a groundbreaking case because it is the first time that the Supreme Court has been asked to order a party in a public interest case to pay security of this type".

"The judgment says 'this is an exceptional case', and that if logging was allowed to go ahead before the trial, there is 'a genuine risk' that the Potoroo habitat may be destroyed", said Ms Redwood.

Justice Forrest said that the relevant laws "demonstrate the clear legislative intent that protecting threatened or endangered species such as the Potoroo is particularly important". 

"We feel vindicated by this decision today and look forward to having the case heard for the protection of the forests and rare wildlife on Brown Mountain", said Ms Redwood.

For comment: Jill Redwood ph (03) 5154 0145

Gippsland by-election date set

The Federal by-election in the Victorian seat of Gippsland will be held on June 28th.

The Speaker for the Federal House of Representatives, Harry Jenkins will issue a writ on May the 19th. It will be a 40-day campaign.

Both the Liberals and Nationals have held official campaign launches, but the ALP has been waiting for the date of the by-election to be announced.

The Former National Party MP, Peter McGauran, announced his resignation from the seat in early April to take up a job in the racing industry.

There has already been controversy in the Labor Party's preselection process when Labor head office stepped in to announce a candidate against the wishes of local branches.

The seat is a critical one for the Nationals.

They have held the seat with the Country Party since the 1920's and the last three-cornered contest was in 1983.

Last month Federal Liberal MPs tried to convince the State independent to run on a joint party ticket.

The date of the election has caused concern in some quarters, because it is the first week of the Victorian school holidays.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/05/06/2236287.htm

Groups call for a halt to Port of Hastings expansion plans

Environment and community groups are calling for a halt on plans to significantly expand the Port of Hastings due to the unacceptable risks they pose to Westernport Bay's environmental and recreational values.

"Westernport has remarkable environmental and recreational values right on Melbourne's doorstep," said the Victorian National Parks Association's Marine and Coastal Project Officer Simon Branigan.

"Extensive tracts of seagrass, mangrove and saltmarsh habitats provide nurseries for fish species and important foraging, breeding and roosting habitat for shorebirds and wader birds," he said.

Blue Wedges Coalition spokesperson Jenny Warfe warned the plans could undermine the bay's resilience to climate change.

"Plans to expand the Port of Hastings endanger Westernport's values and reduce the resilience of the bay to the ongoing impacts of climate change," she said.

Download joint community & enviroment groups statment here

"The current port expansion plans include major new and upgraded road and rail transport corridors, significant dredging of the channel, the decimation of 4-6 kilometres of mangroves, and substantial land reclamation.i

"The State Government's plans to export 12 million tonnes of brown coal through Hastings by 2020ii will add further to traffic and pollution, massively increase shipping traffic, and will heighten the risk of contaminant spills including oil in an area known to be extremely vulnerable to spills," she said.

The Westernport and Peninsula Protection Council's Karri Giles said the expansion plans could ruin the bay's credentials as a tourist drawcard.

"We also want to stand up for the recreational values of Westernport - swimming, fishing, education, tourism - as well as its environmental values," said Ms Giles.

"Port expansion could tip the balance in Westernport and ruin the very reason why people visit the bay."

"The joint statement by fifteen groups demonstrates considerable support for an urgent and comprehensive assessment of Westernport's values and threats to better inform planning and protection measures - not an ill-conceived port expansion," said Simon Branigan.

The groups call on the Brumby Government and Baillieu Coalition Opposition to commit to:

  1. Halting plans to expand the Port of Hastings due to the unacceptable risk it would pose to the environmental, health and recreational values of Westernport.
  2. Conducting, as a stand-alone process or as part of a broader state-wide review, a comprehensive, independent, science-based assessment. The review would update information on the ecological values of Westernport, the threats to these values, and the way in which those values can be protected and the bay and its catchment used in an ecologically sustainable way.
  3. Including in this assessment comprehensive modelling of oil spill risk and dispersal following and extending on earlier studies.

i Port of Hastings Corporation (2009) Port of Hastings Land Use & Transport Strategy. ii Morton, A (2010) State brown coal export plan revealed, The Age, November 4.

For comment

 

 

Logging Glider & Powerful Owl Habitat

The Otway Conservation Council (OCC) is asking the Environment Minister Gavin Jennings to intervene to protect an area of forest that is currently being logged in the Wait-A-While Creek catchment, which is habitat for Yellow-bellied Gliders and Powerful Owls.

Stephen Chenery spokesperson for Otway Conservation Council, said "We have spoken with the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) which okayed the logging in such a highly sensitive habitat area, but they have said they will not halt the logging. They had agreed to conduct an inspection of the coup with us, but have now reneged on the undertaking. We have now contacted the Premier John Brumby and the Minister for Environment Gavin Jennings and expect their reply early next week"

Logging in this area has also been opposed by the local landcare group, and landholders.  "This area is of national park status because of it’s biodiversity values and should be added to the Great Otway National Park." said Mr Chenery,

 "The area being logged contains many Yellow-bellied Glider feed trees which are at risk of damage from logging operations. All vegetation around them is being cleared which will expose them to wind damage thereby reducing the habitat value for both the yellow-bellied glider and the Powerful Owl.  One habitat tree has already been felled." said Mr Chenery.

OCC has invited Michael Crutchfield Parliamentary Secretary for Environment & Water and Member for South Barwon to view the yellow-bellied glider’s feeder trees and the felled habitat tree.
"The precious forest homes of the Powerful Owls and gliders are being destroyed primarily for export woodchips.",  said Fiona Nelson, Otway Conservation Council spokesperson. Otway Conservation Council is urging members of the public to email the Premier John Brumby and the Minister for Environment Gavin Jennings requesting that logging be halted immediately in this area.john.brumby@parliament.vic.gov.au
gavin.jennings@parliament.vic.gov.au

 

Further information or comment, contact:Stephen Chenery 5263-3443 or Fiona Nelson 5237-7345/0428-615-407.
 

 

Preferences for Deakin ward by-election revealed

THE six candidates in the Deakin Ward by-election for the City of Greater Geelong have announced their preferences ahead of the postal vote.

On paper, the six candidates appear to have paired off, with each trading second preferences with one other candidate.

Highton businessman Andrew Katos has given his second preferences to Highton mother Trish McClure, who in turn has given her second preferences to Mr Katos.

Similarly, Geelong Greens convener Bruce Lindsay and unionist Andy Richards have traded second preferences, and Barwon Health finance manager Brandon Howard has traded preferences with public servant Ron Nelson.

The six hopefuls have also provided the state electoral commission with their candidate statements, which have been published on the commission's website.

Mr Howard yesterday announced he had launched his own website at www.brandonhoward. com.au.

He said the website would allow residents to communicate with him on the important issues.

"I am committed to listening to the issues that affect the residents of Deakin Ward and this is why I have set up this website," Mr Howard said.

"A councillor's role is more than just looking after garbage and gutters but it's about listening to the real issues of our community, so that we can work together to find solutions."

Mr Katos went on the front foot yesterday on the issue of water.

He said Geelong's council should work with other local councils to probe the opportunities to secure our region's future water supply needs.

"Many residents are fearful that new housing developments will result in an unsustainable drain on the region's water supply leaving Geelong in a permanent state of drought and water restrictions," Mr Katos said.

"It beggars belief that Geelong is continually beset with water restrictions when our city is surrounded by water, has the Barwon River flowing through it and the high rainfall Otways situated in our back yard."

Ballot packs containing voting material will be posted to voters from Tuesday, April 15.

Ballot papers must be received by the returning officer by 6pm on Friday, May 2.

Trees and Weeds in the Dandenong Ranges

WEEDS again proved a hot hills topic at a forum with State Environment Minister Gavin Jennings last Friday.

More than 20 representatives from Dandenongs environment groups questioned the minister on a range of green topics at Olinda Community House.

Greens candidate for Monbulk Jo Tenner, representing the Upper Yarra and Dandenongs Environment Council, likened the fight against weeds to tackling a cancer.

“You don’t say that you’ve cured three to five per cent of the cancer and stop the treatment,” she said.

“You actually have to take the steps, make the investment to treat 100 per cent of the cancer, then you can go on a maintenance regime.”

“But we seem to be in a situation where year after year we get drip fed, which really just doesn’t tackle the problem.”

Mr Jennings accepted an invitation from Ms Tenner to return to the region in spring to see the problem first-hand.

The 10/30 rule, which allows hills homeowners to remove vegetation within 30 metres of their house and trees within 10 metres, also came under fire.

Olinda Action Group’s Mark Ferguson asked Mr Jennings when and how these vegetation controls would be reassessed.

“At the time we were told very clearly when the rules were announced that it was going to be a trial,” he said. Mr Ferguson said many people were removing trees to improve their view rather than for fire safety, and the rule was likely to have a major effect on the Dandenongs.

Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group’s Anne Elizabeth said trees were being taken for granted.

“The 10/30 rule, in my opinion, devalues people’s perceptions of the Australian bush.”

Mr Jennings said many people had “heartfelt anxieties” about bushfire which he had to be respectful of in dealing with the 10/30 rule, but agreed a review was needed.

“We should measure its effectiveness and its appropriateness,” he said.

 

 By Casey Neill, Ranges Trader Mail 4th May 2010

 

 

Media Releases

Click on the media release to read the full text

A New Life for Old Gippstown

At the Hold Hands for Gippstown rally on Sunday the Greens candidate for Narracan, Belinda Rogers, congratulated the Old Gippstown Committee of Management on their visionary plan for the future.
 
 
 
“It would be a major loss to Moe and its community if Gippstown did not receive appropriate government funding, now and into the future as it moves towards both environmental and economic sustainability,” Ms Rogers said.
 
“The objectives put forward by the Old Gippstown committee to make it a sustainability hub is a wonderful initiative which the Greens would be delighted to support,” added Samantha Dunn, Upper House candidate for Greens in Eastern Victoria.
 
“Making use of the existing windmill and waterwheel, introducing a solar system and wind turbine, upgrading the use of the waste management system with composting, a worm farm, chicken feeding, the recycling of glass, aluminium and cardboard and expanding their vegetable garden into other forms of planting as well can only be a positive thing, not only for Gippstown but the wider Moe community,” Ms Dunn said.
 
“Greens policy states very clearly that our cultural heritage has value to all Victorians as it provides a unique way to understand our history; the changes that have occurred over time and the contribution that earlier generations have made to our culture. This really sums up what Old Gippstown has been, is currently and most importantly what it wants to be into the future,” said Belinda Rogers.
 
Samantha Dunn, the Greens Upper House candidate, and myself will do more than merely Hold Hands for Gippstown. We will fight for the commitment from Government to ensure this vision achieves reality,” said Belinda Rogers.
 
 
Further information: Belinda Rogers 0427 924 013 or belinda.rogers@vic.greens.org.au

 

 

A brown budget with green tinges - Coal corporations are the winners

Greens candidate for Gippsland Dr Malcolm McKelvie has said the first Rudd / Swan Budget fails miserably to meet the urgent challenge of climate change.

"Labor is spending $44 on defence to every $1 to tackle climate change. Yet this is the most urgent issue facing Gippsland, Australia and the globe."

"Rudd and Swan have offered $1 to climate change to every $28 to fossil fuel subsidies. The farce they call ‘clean coal’ is being given $2 to every $1 for renewables research. On top of that the funds to run the Department of Environment have been cut by $50 million from last year.

 
"As if that’s not evidence enough that the Rudd Government is totally ‘coal-captured’, they have also given 75% of major infrastructure for transport to worsen climate-change by increasing road transport, while the 25% for rail and other non-road transport, a big slab will still go to coal export infrastructure."

"Instead of throwing valuable tax-payers money to a distant fantasy of being able to burn coal cleanly, it should urgently put that money into getting a large scale renewable industry going in the Latrobe valley. This would also ensure secure employment in the growing sector of the industry while helping to clean up the valley’s brown air and health problems. With the urgent need to tackle climate change, it is inevitable that the coal industry must be phased out. But why have successive governments been unable to deal with the fossil fuel industry? The answer could be that it is a major lobby group with plenty of money.

Further information: Dr Malcolm McKelvie   0417 364 615

 

A strong voice for Eastern Victoria

Yarra Ranges councillor to stand in State Election

A ballot of Victorian Greens members has preselected Samantha Dunn as the lead upper house candidate for the Eastern Victoria region.Samantha Dunn
 
Samantha Dunn is serving her second term as a councillor with the Shire of Yarra Ranges and lives with her partner and their young son in the Dandenong Ranges on the eastern fringe of Melbourne.
 
"I am humbled and honoured to be elected the Victorian Greens lead candidate for Eastern Victoria as we head towards the state election in 2010. I am encouraged by the faith the members have shown in my capacity to run a strong campaign and to ultimately represent them in the Victorian Parliament,” said Samantha Dunn at the announcement of her pre-selection.
 
Samantha’s work as a local councillor has demonstrated a tireless commitment to green values and grassroots democracy. Cr Dunn has an established track record campaigning for the community’s interests in areas as diverse as early childhood development, road safety, public transport and climate change.
 
“It is a pleasure to announce Samantha Dunn as the winner of the Eastern Victoria Upper House lead candidate pre-selection”, said Jo Tenner, Eastern Victoria Election Campaign Committee Convenor at the declaration of the pre-selection results. “Samantha has the skills and energy to provide a strong voice for the people of Eastern Victoria.”
 
“I am committed to the policies and principles of the Greens and believe in hard working grass roots democracy. I will lead a strong and enthusiastic campaign, I’m proud to be representing the Greens as the lead candidate for Eastern Victoria,” said Cr Samantha Dunn.
 
Samantha believes that the Greens bring a new approach to politics, “People are tired of the old parties and their broken promises, the Greens represent honest hard working democracy and a just transition to a sustainable future for us all,” she said.
 
Cr Samantha Dunn maintains a regular blog which can be found at http://samantha-dunn@blogspot.com

 

Further information: Cr Samantha Dunn 0407 364 509 or email:samanthadunn@vic.greens.org.au
(if Samantha is unavailable please call - Jo Tenner, Eastern Victoria Election Committee Convenor 0408023386 )
 

 Authorised by Jo Tenner - Convenor, AGV Eastern Victoria Upper House Election Campaign Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Greens Victoria 377 Little Bourke Street Melbourne Vic 3000 

 

ALP - log first then protect - another kick in the teeth for forests

Greens candidate Malcolm McKelvie slammed the recent Brumby government announcement of the Strzelecki deal, as a mix of spin, hypocrisy and fraud.

 
"Letting the community down on forests yet again isn't new, but this deal by Mr Brumby is a super-shocker." said Dr McKelvie. "The Kennett Government handed South Gippsland's public forests to the Hancock company on a plate in 1998. They were meant to log the state owned plantations only - not the rare public forests of the Strzeleckis as well."
 
"However, due to deliberately defining the 7000ha regrowth ash forests wrongly as plantation, Hancocks have logged them for years, against government policy, in broad daylight and with government approval. Now the government has formalised this logging and dressed it up as a conservation win. No wonder the community is outraged."
 
"South Gippsland's native forests have been over-cleared and are now extremely rare. The Cores and Links are critically important and were identified by the community as an urgent priority in the protection of the Strzelecki forests in 2001. But community consultation was not even part of this latest sham.
 
"A large area of Mountain Ash inside the Cores and Links will be clearfelled mainly for woodchips over the next 20 years - and only then will the 8,000 ha be fully managed as a reserve.
 
"It has been government policy for years to outlaw clearing native forests to replant a commercial plantation, but this hasn't stopped South Gippsland's forests being converted to tree farms with full consent of both the Kennett and Brumby Government's.
 
"The government is currently parading its Green Paper on Bio-diversity around the state, while making sneaky deals on forest destruction. Environmentally concerned voters just become more cynical of John Brumby by the day.  
 
For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615
Greens Candidate for Gippsland By – Election
www.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie
gippsland@greens.org.au

 

ALP climate policy bill will harm farming land

The Greens have condemned the ALP for dressing up another tax rort for plantations as climate policy.

"This law gives investors an up-front 100% tax deduction on their costs in establishing a plantation with no requirement that the trees be kept in the ground.

The Greens, Nationals and Senator Heffernan joined forces to condemn the bill.

"Why is the ALP determined to drive regional Australia off the land and undermine the viability of their communities with this latest tax gift to plantation growers?" said Dr Mckelvie.

"It is utterly wrong to describe what is a Managed Investment Scheme for tree growers on steroids as a carbon sink scheme.

"There is nothing to stop a company declaring its intention to establish a carbon sink forest, claiming the tax deduction for their establishment costs, and then selling the land to allow the trees to be cut down. This Bill might even the give tax deductions enough to cover the cost of purchasing land for the plantations.

"This law will not result in native vegetation being established in marginal areas, as marginal land does not produce healthy, fast-growing forests.

"These trees will be established on prime agricultural land, buying up water rights, sucking catchments dry and driving more families off the land.

"This tax rort will not produce the intended long term carbon sinks and must be fixed" 

For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615

Action on aquifer is woeful

Greens candidate Dr Malcolm McKelvie called for Esso to do more to stop the Gippsland coastline subsiding along the 90 Mile Beach at a public meeting in Yarram yesterday.

"Esso is pumping out enough oil and gas from the Latrobe Aquifer offshore from the Ninety Mile Beach to fill the Sugarloaf Reservoir each year, but they are not putting seawater back. The incredible coastline along the Ninety Mile Beach is at risk, along with the tourists who flock to experience it each year," Dr McKelvie said.

"Over the next 50 years the coastline is predicted to drop by as much as 2 meters because of Esso's activities. There is also a substantial predicted sea level rise because of climate change" he said.

"We must act now to save our vulnerable coastal environments, and the coastal tourist communities who depend on them" Dr McKelvie said.

 
For further information please contact:Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615
Greens Candidate for Gippsland By – Election
 
www.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie
gippsland@greens.org.au

 

Axing land and water research doesn't add up

The axing of Land and Water Australia (LWA) seriously undermines agricultural and natural resource management in Australia and will be opposed by the Australian Greens.

"Senate Estimates reveal that much of the crucial research and extension work currently being carried out by LWA will not be taken over by other agencies," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"I cannot believe how short-sighted this government is when it comes to securing the future of our agriculture and managing our natural resources."    

"LWA is the only research and development organisation that is carrying out this public good research into the sustainability of our agricultural landscapes. This function will now be totally lost."  
"LWA currently fund and manage 120 projects with many other partners, and also have 26 other research projects currently under development," said Senator Siewert.  
"At this stage the Rudd Government do not know which projects will continue in some form and which will come to a dead stop."  
 
"Key programs and activities that no-other organisation has been supporting, such as knowledge brokering, and the networking and sharing of information between researchers, regional natural resource management groups, and land managers will be lost."  
 
"Bureaucrats within the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries do not have the knowledge, expertise and relationships needed to replace this invaluable work."  
 
LWA, which had a recurrent budget of $12, will receive $6 in 2009/10 to wind up its operations. For every dollar it invested LWA produced $4.80 of direct economic benefits.  
 
Funding has also been cut from the sustainable new industries development component ($3m) of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).  
 
"It is unbelievable, at the time when our natural resource management and agricultural systems are under so much pressure, that the Government should cut this crucial research," said Senator Siewert.  
 
"We have billions of dollars being spent through Caring for Our Country and Water for the Future, but no-one is addressing the serious knowledge gaps that undermine the impact of these programs."  
 
"Ministers Garrett and Burke are badly mistaken if they think there is not a need for sustainable new land-use systems for our drying wheat-belts, or those areas of the Murray Darling Basin where irrigation water is too rare and expensive a commodity," said Senator Siewert.  
 
"We need a much better understanding of the resilience of the ecosystems of our rivers and floodplains so we can better manage their health in water-constrained future. We need more investment in regional seasonal forecasting so we can better manage climate risk and protect our food security."  
 
"These are short-sighted cuts to areas which should be research priorities for the future of Australia's unique landscapes," concluded Senator Siewert.  
 
For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

Belinda Coates: a low carbon commitment to the community

Belinda Coates will stand as a candidate for the Central Ward in the pending Ballarat City Council election in November.

Belinda previously stood as Greens candidate for Ballarat West in the 2006 state election and for the federal seat of Ballarat in the 2007 election. She will stand as endorsed Greens candidate for the Council election in November. Belinda has always lived in Ballarat and has worked locally as a social worker for the past 15 years.

“Local government is an obvious place to influence decisions that enhance community well-being, build a sense of community and make a contribution to addressing climate change. Many other local governments across Victoria are miles ahead of Ballarat and have made significant changes to reduce their environmental footprint”

“There are unlimited possibilities to promote Ballarat as a leader in this regard and build on the current Ballarat Council Environment Sustainability Plan. More emphasis on storm water capture for use in local businesses, parks and gardens is an obvious area for improvement. Promotion of local food and produce and investment in local businesses is another area that would be good for the community and reduce Ballarat’s environmental impact.

” Belinda is taking action in her own life to reduce her carbon footprint. She has retrofitted her home to be energy efficient, has solar hot water (evacuated tubes) and just recently had a one kilowatt photovoltaic solar energy system installed. Belinda has a water tank and kitchen garden. She walks or rides to work and uses public transport for other travel.

For media enquiries, please contact: Belinda Coates on 0400 947 688

Belinda will be available between 12-1pm today for a photo at her energy efficient home.

Bob Brown Visits Traralgon

Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown will be campaigning in Gippsland tomorrow with Greens candidate Dr Malcolm McKelvie.

Senator Brown and Dr McKelvie will hold a press conference tomorrow morning at 12.30pm to discuss the Greens’ policy to reduce power bills and greenhouse gas emissions by retrofitting houses for energy efficiency and the Greens’ policy to increase aged pensions by $30 a week, which has been adopted by the Liberal candidate.

  12.30pm – Press conference with Senator Bob Brown, Australian Greens Leader and Dr Malcolm McKelvie, Greens candidate for Gippsland

  Post Office Place Park   161-169 Franklin St, Traralgon

  1pm – Senator Brown and Dr McKelvie will have lunch at the Cargo Lounge Cafe Bar   Photographers welcome.

  Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

 

Call for Ballarat City Council to go GM free

Belinda Coates, Greens candidate for Ballarat City Council has presented Council with a petition of 240 signatures to be tabled at the meeting tonight.
The petition requests that Ballarat City Council help ensure that Genetically Manipulated (GM) crops are not grown in the region. It also asks that Council declare the Council area a GM-Free Zone by:
 
  • amending council's food service contracts, to require GM-free foods in all council food services;
  • advocating for the mandatory labeling of all GMO products.
  • publicly signing and distributing a GM-Free Zone declaration;
  • asking local businesses and organisations to support the GM-Free Zone by signing on to a GM-free statement;
  • establishing a local register to record and map the location of any GM sites in the area, when and if this becomes necessary
  • lobby state and federal governments to implement GM crop bans; and
  • advocating for strict liability laws to hold GM companies accountable for contamination.
“Clearly community sentiment is not in favour of allowing GM crops into our Shire. There is also significant community concern about inadequate labeling of food that may contain GM ingredients”
“Many of us in Ballarat would like to see our Council join the growing number of shires that have declared themselves GM-Free Zones. Bendigo,Moreland, Yarra Ranges, East Gippsland, South Gippsland and Bass Coast have done so and now want the government to officially declare them GM free. The government could declare areas GM free under the federal GM act but has so far been unwilling”
“As more local councils declare themselves GM free this will increase pressure on the state government to rethink its position”
For more information and comment, please contact:Belinda Coates on 0400 947 688 

 

Carbon failure puts cart before horse in closing hazelwood

Michael Bond Greens candidate for Gippsland , said, “The Greens welcome the Brumby Governments announcement of a staged closure of Hazelwood power station. However it raises questions about what will replace it because previous governments have all failed to set Australia on a sustainable course with regard to Climate Change,”

“The Australian Greens offered amendments to the ALP’s ETS that would have locked in success, not failure. Instead, now it is likely that public funds may be used to compensate power generation companies for shutting down turbines at Hazelwood or just keep them rolling, churning more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”

“We don’t have the mechanisms in place such as a price on carbon and feed- in tariffs that would allow existing high tech energy solutions into the market place. We need these to make the required deep cuts in carbon emissions and allow us to move away from dependence on fossil fuels to generate energy,” he said.

“Without a price on carbon there is no above-board and fail-safe means of stemming the tide of Australian high tech energy solutions leaving the country for overseas markets, where governments aren’t dominated by fossil fuel lobby groups. We need these high tech energy solutions to ensure future employment for our excellent workforce here in Gippsland.“

“The world is moving to a low carbon future, if we don’t grasp the opportunities and position ourselves at the forefront of development we will be left behind and be forced to import technology that is leaving our shores now as intellectual property,” he added. “Australia needs the Greens ‘New Deal’, a road map that will secure a profitable future for Australia.”

contact Michael Bond 0413 315 084 michael.bond@vic.greens.org.au

Commuters left waiting while Government misses the bus

 Co-ordination of buses so that they connect with trains is a simple and low cost initiative that represents a missed opportunity in last weeks State Budget that would have greatly improved the quality of local public transport services.

“And there is ample room for improvement” said Jo Tenner Greens Candidate for Monbulk, as detailed In a study released this week by The Public Transport Users Association  analysing bus-train connections.http://www.ptua.org.au/2010/05/09/train-bus-connections/

“The Monbulk Electorate came up pretty poorly in this study. For example if we look at the results for the train connections to the Belgrave – Lilydale bus route (663) we see that on average only a third of the trains connect with this bus and of those half exceed what is defined as a good waiting period of 10 minutes. And other routes had worse results.”

“Crowded car parks at train stations is a concern that has been raised with me by many people in the Monbulk Electorate, some would like to the option of catching the bus but feel that it is unreliable or that they are kept waiting too long.”

“Of course, the overall lack of bus services is a significant factor, say on a Sunday when there is no bus – you can’t even begin to talk about timely connections,  and with the underwhelming results of the local bus services review announced a little while ago coupled with no new funding announced in the State Budget for new bus services, its going to be a long wait for the bus.”

 

Council needs fresh faces and third party insurance

Greens candidate for Central Ward Jon Stanger says the results of an investigation into Ballarat City Council shows the need for new faces on Council.

The investigation has resulted in two councillors facing charges for failing to declare interests.

“Greens on Ballarat City Council will work for a clean environment and clean politics,” said Jon Stanger. “Our only interest will be the community.”

“The losers in all this have been the Ballarat community,” said JonStanger. “We need fresh faces on Council, people who are there for the community first, not for themselves, their mates or the big end of town.”

“As a Greens candidate for Council, I offer third party insurance,” said Jon Stanger. “I will work cooperatively with anyone on Council but also act as a watchdog.”

“We have candidates for Council from both Labor and Liberal parties, all calling themselves independent, but what this investigation shows is that nobody is truly independent; we all have interests,” said Jon Stanger. “What is needed is a watchdog to ensure the interests of the community are put first.”

“It's time for a more open Council that acts with honesty andintegrity.”

“We need fresh faces to bring a new commitment to transparency.”

For more information and comment, please contact:Jon Stanger on 0415 755 181

Jon Stanger
Greens candidate for Central Ward
Ballarat City Council election 2008
Mob: 0415 755 181
Email: jon.stanger@vic.greens.org.au
Web: www.vic.greens.org.au/vote-green/2008/ballarat 

Council reaps thousands from pokies losses

Greens candidate for Central Ward Jon Stanger has revealed Ballarat CityCouncil has gained up to $30,000 from pokies losses through the dubiousCommunity Benefit Statements scheme.

The Community Benefit Statements allow pokies venues to receive a taxbreak on their gambling revenue. Venues are required to show that atleast 8.5 percent of their gaming machine revenue is spent on approvedcommunity purposes or activities.

To claim an expense on a Community Benefit Statement, it must have beenpaid from gaming machine revenue, not general revenue. The CommunityBenefit Statement of the North Ballarat Football Club shows a $10,000'Council oval maintenance levy' and $21,281 of 'Water and Council Rates'came from pokies revenue. *

“Pokies and problem gambling do enormous harm to the community”, saidJon Stanger. “Council should not be benefiting from pokies revenue.”

“We are talking about standard operating expenses with no communitybenefit,” said Jon Stanger. “While it is the State Government thatallows venues to make a mockery of Community Benefit Statements, Councilshould be deeply concerned about this.”

“Council should make a clear stand and insist that pokies venues do notpay rates or levies out of pokies revenue and claim them as a communitybenefit.”

For more information and comment, please contact:Jon Stanger on 0415 755 181

Background: 

From North Ballarat Sports Club Community Benefit Statement 2007-08 
Category 9Direct and indirect costs associated with the provision of communityservices AmountGas & Electricity - (76% of $132,236) $100,499Council oval maintenance levy $10,000Water & Council Rates - (76% of $28,001) $21,281

Source: Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulationhttp://www.vcgr.vic.gov.au

 

Country Greens reject water plan

“I’m afraid its more of the same, business as usual, despite the terrible state of Victoria’s northern rivers, and increased threats from climate change” said Louis Delacretaz, Convenor of the Country Greens Victoria Network at their Annual General Meeting on Sunday 7th December at Mooroolbark Community Centre.

 
He was commenting on the Draft Sustainable Water Strategy Northern Region prepared for the Victorian Government by the Department of Sustainability and Environment, and the motion just passed condemning it by the Country Greens.
 
The motion said the strategy sets the wrong direction for management of water resources and the environment for the next 40 years in Northern Victoria.
 
The Country Greens Victoria Network rejected the draft document and called for it to be completely re-written to develop ways of improving river and floodplain health, and conserving diminishing groundwater reserves. 
 
“If we, as a community, accept this as the plan for the next 40 years northern rivers like the Campaspe and the Coliban are doomed. The Draft Strategy itself makes this clear. The proposed ‘review’ in 2019 will be totally academic. It will be a wake,” said Mr. Delacretaz.
 
“We all know these rivers, and their life sustaining floodplains need help now. This document makes no attempt to systematically address over-allocation or revitalize the northern rivers. It shows Mr. Brumby’s government is locked into the very system that has reduced our rivers to their current state of ill health,” Mr. Delacretaz said.
 
“The Draft Strategy says all ‘users’ of water should share the risks associated with climate change, but then proceeds to show how the environment must bear the brunt of the burden. Whilst consumptive users will be down 10% under the scheme, the environmental flows will be down 49%. It seems that all users are equal, but some are more equal than others…”mused Mr. Delacretaz.
 
“It points to a fundamental mistake. The environment is not a ‘user’ of water, a stakeholder. It is the provider of all water, and as such it must be protected,” he said.
 
“What we need is fresh thinking, an integrated approach where communities are listened to. Communities love and need their rivers. This strategy, if implemented, will lead to their destruction” Louis Delacretaz said.
 
For more information contact: Louis Delacretaz: 0407 300 188 ldg@softbyte.com.au
 
Wendy Radford, 2009 Country Greens Victoria Convenor, : Phone 54 395 339 wendy.radford@impulse.net.au

Desalination debacle – Victoria’s Unsustainable Water Future

“The Brumby government is setting us up for an unsustainable water future, said Samantha Dunn, Greens candidate for Eastern Victoria after hearing Neil Rankine Vice President of Watershed Victoria  speak at the recent Country Greens Network forum in Leongatha. Neil was speaking on the proposed desalination plant in Wonthaggi. 
 
“Mr Brumby has turned his back on sustainable, energy efficient water solutions for Melbourne, said Samantha, “The focus should be on water tanks, stormwater capture and recycling for our city.
 
Neil Rankine said “At the last election we were promised a sustainable water future, involving efficiencies, the closure of polluting ocean outfalls, and a partnering with the community to achieve desirable outcomes.
 
“We now find our Government is abandoning huge quantities of recycled water, they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to produce class-A water at the Eastern Treatment Plant, only to pump it out to sea at an existing outfall.
 
“Worse still, we are to pay through our water bills for a $4.8 billion desalination factory, which will create yet another polluting outfall at Wonthaggi.
 
Samantha said, “Melbournians have shown their willingness to change their habits and use less water but the Brumby government is ignoring the community’s conservation of water.
 
“With the desalination plant churning out 150 gigalitres (150 billion litres) of water a year, the government has signalled that there will no longer be a need for water conservation, leaving Melburnians with the most energy intensive, environmentally unfriendly and expensive water conceivable.”
 
After winning the election in 2006 our Government has not worked with the people of Victoria in coming to its current position on water supply, said Neil, “Will they now at least give the people some confidence in the integrity of their chosen options?
 
Watershed Victoria http://www.watershedvictoria.org.au/  is calling for a transparent environmental monitoring program, with the ability for public scrutiny and input, prior to contracts being signed off by Government.
 
Neil said, “Ongoing and transparent monitoring, of this project, and Government’s actions to implement better water supply options into the future, will be essential to restore the people’s confidence in our democracy.”
 
 
 
 
Further information:
Samantha Dunn 0429 292 904 or email:samanthadunn@vic.greens.org.au
Samantha media information is at http://cgn.org.au/dp/SamanthaDunn
 

Samantha Dunn maintains a regular blog at http://samantha-dunn@blogspot.com

Devastating Bush Fires Sweep Victoria - Overwhelming community generosity

We would like to express our deepest sympathy and support to all those communities affected by the terrible wildfires. Words cannot describe the devastating losses that have occurred over the weekend under the worst fire conditions Victoria has ever experienced.

Many Country Greens, friends and supporters have suffered or are still fighting fires.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the communities still under threat.

A huge thanks to all the volunteers, CFA, emergency workers and everyone who has worked so hard endeavoring to protect our communities. The bravery and dedication of our firefighters has been enormous and is ongoing.

Victorian communities have responded with a magnificent compassionate outpouring of support, funds, goods and assistance.

We encourage everyone to offer assistance where they can, to donate money to Victoria Bushfire relief fund www.redcross.org.au  or 1800 811 700, to consider giving blood (131 495) in a few weeks as the supply is good at the moment. 

Clothes, blankets or furniture can be donated to your nearest Salvation Army or other charity collection point.

To donate accommodation contact the Victorian Bushfire Public Accommodation Donation Line on 1800 006 468. 8am - 8pm.

To volunteer time and skills call Go Volunteer on 1300 366 356 or www.volunteeringaustralia.org/volunteer To offer horse agistment contact Triple R Equine Welfare Crisis Network on 0431 674 114 or http://triplerequinewelfare.org

To donate fodder contact the Victorian Farmers Federation on 1300 882 833 or www.vff.org.au

To help accomodate small animals contact Animal Aid http://www.animalaid.com.au,

To help with wildlife rescue contact Wildlife Rescuers http://www.wildliferescuers.org.au/index.html

 

Wendy Radford                      Louis Delacretaz

Country Greens Victoria Network  

Duped by Desalination

“Figures just released to parliament revealing that in excess of $570 million will be paid annually to the consortium building the Wonthaggi desalination plant, regardless of how much water it delivers”, said Neil Rankine, Greens candidate for Bass, “show that the State Government was incompetent in ordering such a large plant.

“AquaSure the international consortium building the plant and the banks, Westpac and NAB, that set up the financing on the other hand have clearly secured a great set of contracts for themselves.

“Premier Bracks said the plant would be run constantly at full capacity when he announced it in 2007. They have been back-pedalling ever since. The excessive scale of the desalination plant was confirmed by studies I was involved in more than two years ago and again by DSE studies for the Environmental Effects Statement required for the desal plant.

“I met with AquaSure and the banks’ representatives in October last year after the signing of contracts. I asked them how they could possibly recoup their investment and make a profit on the project at the $3.5 billion cost then being given by the government, when only a fraction of the plant’s capacity was likely to be ordered in any year. The response involved the lifting of an eyebrow and the simple statement, ‘we’re pretty sure that we will be adequately compensated’.

“There is no doubt that Melbourne’s water supply needed augmentation after fifteen years of failing to foresee the impacts of population growth and climate change. The state government did start to develop a plan in 2002. To turn that promise, of a sustainable water policy, on its head, just after the last election shows gross disregard for what people will be paying, and for the lost opportunities the sustainable plan would have delivered.

“Melbournians will be the ones paying this minimum $570 million for the excessively large desalination plant, that’s of the order of $400 per household per year. If we assume the desal plant might operate at one third capacity on average, that would mean that this fee alone would give a current cost of water from the desal plant at $11.40 per cubic metre, wholesale (where the government has been spinning a $1.37 figure of late). Referring to Melbourne Water’s annual report, that is more than twenty times what it currently costs them to source our water (excluding the North-South Pipe & Desalination Plant).

“We have a government in Victoria more interested in mega projects to make themselves look progressive, rather than one interested in what is being extracted from our pockets and the environmental implications of these unsustainable projects”, says Neil Rankine, the Greens candidate for the state seat of Bass where the desalination plant is being constructed.

Contact: Neil Rankine, AGV candidate for Bass 0413 902571 neil.rankine@vic.greens.org.au

Fruitloop fertiliser to fuel climate change

Greens candidate Dr Malcolm McKelvie is calling for sanity after a new coal production plant for the Latrobe valley was announced yesterday.

"This is a completely crazy idea," Dr McKelvie said “we are trying to reduce carbon pollution, not increase it.”

 
“The coal industry in the Latrobe Valley is already emitting 60 millions tonnes of CO2 each year. How does Rudd and Brumby hope to achieve a 60% cut in emissions by 2050 by allowing these crazy plans? 
 
“It is utterly irresponsible for the Australian Energy company to expect an exemption from any carbon scheme when our community and the rest of the world are desperately trying to deal with the climate crisis.
 
“The true cost of this project will be an even greater risk of dangerous climate change.
 

“Putting pollution down holes in the ground is unproven and the technology is still years away. This project is set to burn more power, make more pollution and help heat the climate starting next year and expects to pay no carbon tax

 

For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615
Greens Candidate for Gippsland By – Election
 

 

GREENS TO MAKE GREATER DANDENONG A GM-FREE ZONE

John Ward and Jim Reiher, Green Party candidates in the upcoming local elections, vow to fight for the health of our community and make the City of Greater Dandenong a Genetically Modified (GM) Free Zone.
 
 
“There is a lot that local councils can do to protect their residents from the potential dangers from GM food,” say John Ward. “This is a serious health issue that local councils cannot afford to ignore.”
 
 
“As the scientific evidence of harm to experimental animal mounts, many independent scientists are challenging the food industry’s claim that GM foods are safe,” say John Ward. “We know very little about the long term impact of these foods. Greater Dandenong is a community defined by families with children. We need to fight together as a community to ensure the healthy future of our children.”
 
 
Essentially speaking, genetic technologies cut and paste DNA from one organism to another. Often, this cut and pasting would not happen naturally. For example, one experiment attempted to remove the anti-freezing gene from an Artic flounder and place it into tomatoes. The aim was to develop tomatoes that can grow in very cold climates, with no thought for the ethical or health implications of combining the genetics of a fish with those of a vegetable.
 

 

 
Jim Reiher points out that many local councils around Australia have already moved to protect their residents from GM foods. For example, the City of Greater Bendigo, East Gippsland and Bass Coast Shire have passed wide-ranging GM-free policies. “This issue is so important to the future of our children. I do not understand why Dandenong councillors have been so slow and silent,” say Jim Reiher.
 
 
When elected to local council, Green Party Candidates will fight to protect families from the potential dangers of GM foods by declaring the City of Greater Dandenong a Genetically Modified Free Zone.
 
“In so doing,” says John Ward, “the Green Party will help reduce the risk of potential food allergies, unanticipated toxicity, resistant bacteria, cancer, and nutrient deficiencies.
 
For more infomation contact John Ward on 0421 241 342
or Jim Reiher on 0425 752 358

Getting decent dental care like pulling teeth.

Greens candidate Dr Malcolm McKelvie has accused the Labor government of following the coalition policy of underspending on dental care. The Greens recognise dental care as part and parcel of good health and would establish “denticare”, a publicly funded dental health scheme for all Australians.

 “The coalition abandoned dental care in Australia and now Labor has done close to the same thing. They have announced new dental programs worth $781 million but at the same time scrapped a $491 million program”.

“People with chronic dental problems suffer poor health through poor nutrition, chronic infection, poor social interaction and fewer employment opportunities” said Dr Malcolm McKelvie. “Those worst affected are typically from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Denying people access to basic preventive and treatment services is unfair and further exacerbates the rich-poor divide.

“The Latrobe Community Dental Health Service is currently seeing people who were put on the waiting list in September 2005. We need a comprehensive approach to prevention of all health problems including tooth decay”. 

 
For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615
Greens Candidate for Gippsland By – Election
 
www.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie
gippsland@greens.org.au
 

 

Gippsland Greens candidate calls for immediate action on whaling

“The Greens in Federal Parliament have this week put up a successful motion for the Rudd Government to start work on international legal action against whaling in our waters” said Greens candidate, Dr Malcolm McKelvie.

"We don’t have whales in Traralgon or Orbost but it is an issue which Australians everywhere feel very strongly about. 

“Those who want the government to take action account for 87% of voters. The Howard/Coalition Government looked the other way as our whaling sanctuary ran red with blood. The Rudd government is making the right noises but is yet to take effective action. 

“This is an example of the big issues the Greens are spearheading in Federal Parliament. From illegal whaling to genetic engineering and dying with dignity. Being a local representative is not just about ‘parish pump’ issues.”  

Gippsland Lakes need Federal Government Help

The Greens are questioning the 'clean green Gippsland' claims after reports this week shows the Gippsland Lakes are almost damaged beyond repair.

"If we can measure the health of our agriculture by the health of the Gippsland lakes, then we are probably not very clean or green at all," said Dr Malcolm McKelvie, Greens candidate for the Gippsland by-election.

  "We can all see that the Gippsland Lakes are in the throes of totalecosystem collapse at the moment.  All marine life is dying and even thewater rats are starving as the bottom end of the food chain collapses,"said Dr McKelvie.  "The problem is bigger than just the blight of thepermanent algal bloom."

  "The scientific report just published by Dr Peter Fisher points to cause being nutrient, sediment and toxics loads from agriculture and industrial processes throughout the whole Gippsland catchment", said Dr McKelvie.

  "The report says that the cause of the lakes death is from many sources over the last couple of decades.  It is in pesticide runoff from potates grown in Thorpedale, mercury from APM at Maryvale, penicillin given to dairy cows for mastitis, and the manure from 100,000 cows in thecatchment. As well last years fires and floods did not help the lakes plight."

  "The government needs to take a leadership role in rescuing the Gippsland Lakes. We need a long term solutions and Federal assistance to help our communities change their work practices. There are some simple actions like changing how we handle dairy waste that can reduce the pressure on the lakes”

  "Words are no longer enough. We have had more than 10 years of reports predicting the collapse of the lakes.  Now it is really happening, the Federal Government needs to stop ignoring Gippsland and help us clean up the lakes."

For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615 Greens Candidate for Gippsland By Election 2008www.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie gippsland@greens.org.au 

 

Gippsland Landcare outlook looks grim

The Australian Greens today expressed concerns over the impact the Federal Government’s recent proposal, Caring for Our Country will have to the Gippsland Landcare network. In Melbourne today, Senator Rachel Siewert said changes to funding for land management programs could have the potential to undermine local initiatives. 

 “The Greens believe there is a need for an over-arching, science based approach to natural resource management and conservation. The effect of Minister Garrett’s plans on funding will be to spread the vegemite even thinner,” said Senator Siewert.

 
“It undermines regional NRM groups and catchment management organisations and returns to the bad old days of direct funding of individuals and groups for short-term projects. This is a backward step for the environment.”
 
“There must be landscape-scale planning and the need to truly involve the community including long time frames. We must tackle the major problems that are having huge impacts on the environment.”
 
“In Gippsland, the Landcare community has moved to this type of ‘big picture’ planning with the formation of GippsLandcare, a unique group of the four Landcare Networks in West Gippsland. Projects are being developed to address the larger landscape and match projects across Landcare boundaries,” she said.
“In speaking with members of the Gippsland community, one of their major concerns about the proposed Federal Government changes is the possible loss of Landcare staff who bring their unique local and scientific skills to their community.”

“It is important that we learn from our past mistakes in funding small one year projects and that the government develops goals for a well-planned over-all approach to Natural Resource Management and conservation,” she said.
“The Greens are insisting on a proper strategy to make best use of funding, expertise, experience and community for the greatest good of our landscape and catchments,” she concluded.
 
For more information or comment call ChrisTwomey on 0407 725 025
Email senator.siewert@aph.gov.au | http://www.rachelsiewert.org.au

 

 

Gippsland families will be charged for the Gippsland Water Factory

Gippsland families could be paying for the water used by large industries in the Latrobe Valley. Greens candidate Dr Malcolm McKelvie has warned that Gippsland residents should look carefully at the commercial arrangements for the Gippsland Water Factory

"I applaud the strategy of treating and recycling waste water but the cost shifting to ordinary familes is outrageous" said  Dr McKelvie. "Seventy percent of the water being treated comes from Australian Paper and they will be one of the biggest consumers of the recycled water but their water rates at set to remain the same over the next 5 years.

"The final cost of the plant will be around $200 million, of which the State has contributed $50 million. This leaves $150 million to be payed for by the other customers of Gippsland Water" said Dr McKelvie, "That means a 100% increase in water rates over the next 5 yrs for Gippsland families" .

"To add insult to injury Gippslanders should note that the Federal government recently gave the Ballarat region $150 million for water infrastructure but have not contributed a cent to this project.

"Who is standing up for Gippsland on this issue? Not the old political parties!

"This is one more example of the old political parties showing blatant favouritism towards their big corporate mates, hoping "working families" don't notice."

For comments Dr Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615 Greens Candidate for Gippsland By – Electionwww.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie gippsland@greens.org.au

Gippsland forests can offset Latrobe coal industry

Recent studies have shown that protecting native forests will be critical to offset the burning of coal. The Greens candidate for Gippsland, Dr Malcolm McKelvie has asked all candidates and voters to think about Gippsland's two big industries that are worsening climate change.

"Gippsland has one of Australia's biggest coal mining industries and we are also woodchipping our native forests at record rates. Put the two together and it's a climate change nightmare." said Dr McKelvie. "This is why Gippsland's forests must be used as ready-to-go offsets to counter the greenhouse gas output of the coal industry.

"Renewables must be the future for power supply in Victoria and while the shift takes place, our forests are essential as carbon offsets to hold and keep absorbing more CO2. We can't have both coal burning and forest burning any longer if we are to seriously tackle climate change.

Research by Professor David Lindenmayer at the ANU has shown that typical SE Australian wet forests, which cover large parts of Gippsland, store a massive 2,000 tonnes of carbon (above ground) per hectare. This means Victoria's wet forests could be worth at the very least $80 BILLION just standing there growing.

"By protecting forests as rich and valuable carbon stores, they are also providing many other services; they are water and air purifiers, rain makers, soil builders and wildlife reservoirs. They don't need hi-tech equipment, research delays or millions of dollars to build them. They are ready to start work right now, countering climate change and earning us money. All that's needed is clear thinking from governments and a strong will to tackle climate threats.

For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615 Greens Candidate for Gippsland By – Election 2008www.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie gippsland@greens.org.au 

Green candidates pledge to Act Now on Climate Change

Along with more than 70 Greens local government candidates across the state, Ballarat City Council candidates Belinda Coates and Jon Stanger have pledged to act now on climate change if elected to council.
 
Talking amidst a 'Art for Environment' day at the Sturt Street rotunda, Central Ward candidate Belinda Coates said "State and Federal Governments are not taking the science seriously - it's time for local governments to lead."
 
Signing the Climate Pledge, Ms Coates said that if elected to council she would do her utmost to:
  •  reduce council’s net carbon emissions to zero, and encourage residents and businesses to cut theirs by 40% by 2020 at the latest;
  •  work with neighbouring councils on joint projects to improve energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions;
  •  press the Victorian and Federal governments to reduce carbon emissions to a level which will preserve our natural heritage for our children and grandchildren.
 
“I want the council to govern for now and for the future and assist the community and local business to adjust,” said Ms Coates. “There are economic and social benefits to be had from acting early on climate change.”

For more information and comment, please contact: Belinda Coates on 0400 947 688

Jon Stanger on 0415 755 181

Greens MPs send invoice to Eden Chipmill

Multi-million cost of carbon pollution from logging in East Gippslandand Southeast forests, Greens MPs send invoice to Eden Chipmill

Following a visit yesterday to Eden Chipmill Greens MPs from Victoria,NSW and ACT have forwarded to the mill's general manager an invoice forthe estimated cost of the carbon pollution generated as a result of2006/7 logging.

Greens MPs Sue Pennicuik (Victoria), Lee Rhiannon (NSW) and Deb Foskey(ACT) toured the Eden Chipmill today with Peter Mitchell, GeneralManager, and Peter Rutherford, Forestry Manager, with South East FibreExports Pty Ltd.

"Our visit today to the Eden Chipmill was informative and weappreciated the briefing we were given by the SEFE management team.However, the challenge of climate change has thrown up more reasons whyour magnificent native forests in East Gippsland and southeast NSWshould be protected and logging discontinued," Ms Pennicuik said.

"To highlight the damaging impact this chipmill operation is having onthe global as well as the local environment today we have sent aninvoice to Mr Mitchell for the estimated cost of the carbon pollutiongenerated by logging linked to the Eden Chipmill.

"The invoice for $181 million has been determined using the latestdata on the amount of carbon dioxide released by logging based on anestimated $10 per tonne cost for carbon dioxide under an EmissionsTrading Scheme.

"The $10 per tonne figure is conservative. Using Sir Nicholas Stern$107 per tonne of carbon dioxide figure set out in his report to theBritish government this invoice would rise to $1.9 billion.

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said, "One of the most significant actions wecan take to cut Australia's greenhouse gas emissions is to stop nativeforest logging.

"A climate change priority for the NSW and federal governments is toclose down the Eden Chipmill and develop a restructuring package thatinvolves retraining and jobs for the 70 chipmill workers.

"Our precious forests are of far greater value to the world as acarbon bank than as a shipload of woodchips heading to Japan.

Greens MP Deb Foskey said "I will be working closely with my NSW andVictorian colleagues on this campaign to expose the threats posed byforestry destruction and woodchipping to climate change.

"Native forests should not be felled for woodchips, electricitygeneration or to drive the profits of overseas companies. The richsoutheast biodiversity must be protected.

"Closure of the chipmill will be a win for the environment and theeconomy, as the pollution cost burden will be removed.

Copies of the invoice and letter to Mr Mitchell available on request.

For more information - Sue Pennicuik 0407 000 270,

Lee Rhiannon - 0427 861 568,

Deb Foskey - 0413 223 585  

 

Greens Senator visits candidates for Ballarat City Council

Senator Christine Milne visited Ballarat and talked to local Greens candidates for Ballarat City Council, Belinda Coates and Jon Stanger, about local solutions to climate change.
 
Senator Milne said “Climate change poses a huge challenge and a tremendous opportunity for rural and regional Australia . With more extreme weather and worse droughts, as well as peak oil, our current way of making a living will only get harder.
 
“But we can make choices now that will help to reduce our greenhouse emissions, reduce our costs and insulate us against the climate and peak oil changes coming down the line.
 
“One of the key steps Councils and community groups are taking around Australia is to bulk purchase solar hot water and insulation services for homes to reduce household bills and greenhouse gases at the same time.
 
“If governments move to pay fair rates for renewable energy generated – through feed-in laws such as the one I have before the Senate now – it makes it easier for people in regional Australia to diversify their income by adding zero emissions energy generation to their profit streams. That helps all of us now and into the future!”
 
Belinda Coates and Jon Stanger, both standing for Central Ward in Ballarat, have signed a 'Climate Pledge' which commits them, if elected, to:
  •  reduce council’s net carbon emissions to zero, and encourage residents and businesses to cut theirs by 40% by 2020 at the latest;
  •  work with neighbouring councils on joint projects to improve energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions;
  •  press the Victorian and Federal governments to reduce carbon emissions to a level which will preserve our natural heritage for our children and grandchildren.
 
“I want the council to govern for now and for the future and assist the community and local business to adjust,” said Ms Coates. “There are economic and social benefits to be had from acting early on climate change.”

For more information and comment, please contact: Belinda Coates on 0400 947 688

Jon Stanger on 0415 755 181

 

Greens Want the Best Government that Money Can't Buy

The Greens are asking all candidates in the Gippsland by-election to pledge support to cleaning up the corrupting influence that political donations have in Australia by reforming our electoral laws.

“The recent scandal regarding developers’ bribes dressed up as donations to the NSW government is just the latest example,” said Malcolm McKelvie, Greens candidate for Gippsland. "We don't want these influences in Gippsland."

"The Greens welcome the Federal Government’s plan to ban overseas political donations and limit hidden donations to $1000. But this does not go far enough – to be fully accountable and tackle corruption, there’s much more to be done.

"The Greens have been campaigning on this issue for decades. We understand how large donations can corrupt our democracy and make a mockery of the voting system.

“Not only do we need to reduce the limit on undeclared donations, but the public must know who is behind larger donations, especially those from entities that are fronts for hidden interests such as lobby groups, large industries and developers.

"Recording donations on a public register is essential, but only part of the reform that’s needed. Donations clearly buy influence and favours – why else would anyone give thousands of dollars to political parties?

"In NSW $9.9 million in donations have flowed to the state ALP in the past five years from property developers. The Greens want to ensure there are clear and unambiguous commitments from all Gippsland candidates to help make our local democracy accountable and protected from vested interests.

"When unpopular developments are pushed through such as the Wonthaggi desalination plant, the gas plant on the Snowy, the Bastion Point boat-ramp at Mallacoota, as well as highly favoured and protected industries like woodchipping, we have to wonder if there are any financial influences at work.

For further information: Malcom McKelvie 0417 364 615 Greens Candidate for Gippsland By - Election

Greens Working to Prevent Domestic Violence

Greens candidate for Narracan, Belinda Rogers, expressed her support for the State Election campaign by Domestic Violence Victoria today.

"The Greens will be fully supporting requests by Domestic Violence Victoria to double current expenditure for family violence counselling, fund and establish 20 new counselling staff and co-ordinate services according to the statewide government and non-government agreed strategies for integrated service delivery as stated by Greens MLC Colleen Hartland," said Belinda Rogers.
 
"The important issue here is saving the lives and protecting the futures of Victoria's children. Everyone says children are our future, yet we need to offer all children the potential for a future of their own. The reality that the state's most vulnerable children are left without support or paths to emotional recovery after experiencing violence is unacceptable," Belinda Rogers said.
 
"Family violence is a problem here in Narracan and for the whole state, for individuals and the broader community. It is costing $3.4 billion a year. That figure is based on the costs that we can quantify, but as we all know violence in the home is often under reported.”
 
The Greens parliamentary spokesperson on this issue, Colleen Hartland, has highlighted that "There are many more dollars coming out of the health budgets and other areas of the state's economy due to family violence that we don't know about."
 
Ms Hartland said that "There has been a lot of good work done already with the development of various Victorian strategies such as 'A Right to Safety and Justice', 'A Right to Respect' and 'Strong Culture Strong Peoples, Strong Families'.”
 
Ms Rogers believes that "The important thing now is to roll out services for young people and ensure that the goals set out in these strategies are met in all regional as well as metro areas."
 
Further information: Belinda Rogers  belinda.rogers@vic.greens.org.au

Greens blast funding cuts to the Gippsland Multicultural Services

Federal funding cut to Gippsland wide community run Multicultural Service of grave concern to Australian Greens.

Gippsland Multicultural Services has lost it’s “settlement funding” to other agencies despite 25 years of experience. Workers and Volunteers at the Multicultural Centre provided a service for newly arrived refugees and migrants who were on permanent visas.

Australian Greens candidate for Gippsland, Michael Bond said that it “was of great concern that the ALP have disregarded all these years of community service and knowledge, and that it appears to be another streamlining action of the ALP with little regard for the community connections that have been established by the organization”.

“The Immigration & Refugee Policy of the Australian Greens is the most comprehensive of all the parties and supports the work the Gippsland Multicultural Service did in providing adequate, effective and timely support to refugees and migrants on permanent visas”, said Michael Bond.

“The Australian Greens would work to ensure that funding for public and community sector agencies providing these migrant-specific services is increased to a level sufficient for the Gippsland Multicultural Service to work, and continue to work, in the interests of refugees and migrants”.

“The Australian Greens policy on Multiculturalism recognizes the importance of the work done by this organization in providing services, promoting belonging and connection, and providing data that will help improve the services and programs”, said Michael Bond, "Sadly all this work seems to have been ignored by the Federal Government", he concluded.

Greens candidate running to make Ballarat a transition town

The Greens have announced a second candidate, Jon Stanger, for theCentral Ward in the Ballarat City Council elections. He joins the Greenslead candidate for Central Ward, Belinda Coates.

Jon Stanger is a resident and ratepayer in Ballarat and a localdisability support worker. He wants to see Ballarat become a transitiontown to tackle the water crisis, climate change and peak oil.

“The water crisis and rising fuel, food and energy costs will hit ushard if we're not prepared”, said Jon Stanger. “Leading the way bytackling these issues and becoming a transition town will reduce thecost and impact of water shortages, climate change and peak oil.”

“There has never been a more important time to have Greens in localgovernment. State and Federal Governments are failing on water and thetransition away from fossil fuels, we must take action at the locallevel.”

The new ward boundaries in Ballarat mean three Councillors will beelected in Central Ward. The Greens second candidate, Jon Stangerbelieves Ballarat is very vulnerable to the triple threat of watershortages, climate change and peak oil.

“The transition town solution means acting now to avoid problems in thefuture,” said Jon Stanger. “A transition town produces food locally,builds efficient houses, makes better use of water, supports localbusiness, uses renewable energy and builds community.”

“Ballarat will be a more liveable city as a transition town: betterconnected, lower bills, more independence, cleaner streets and a stronglocal economy.”

“The water is running out, oil will be next and the climate is changing.Yet we are still building houses that increase the demand on our waterstorages, rely on power from dirty coal and have no viable alternativeto the car for transport.”

“Make the transition, vote Green for Ballarat in November.”

For more information and comment, please contact:Jon Stanger on 0415 755 181 

 

Greens challenge candidates on “hot air” audit.

Greens candidate Malcolm McKelvie is challenging the other by-election candidates to compare energy use in their campaign offices. He has offered a free audit by a professional energy assessor and is keen to help them reduce their energy use during this campaign.

“There's more than one type of hot air which political candidates produce but let's look at greenhouse gasses this month" said Malcolm McKelvie

Australia and the world urgently needs to move to a low carbon economy and eventually to a zero carbon economy if we have any hope to avoid catastrophic effects of global warming. We all need to change the way we live and use energy, but that doesn’t mean doing without. 

One vital component of the shift is being economic with the power we use. The Greens propose to introduce the Energy Efficiency Access and Savings Initiative, or EASI. It would retrofit all of Australia’s 7.4 million homes over the course of a decade, rolling out home energy audits, providing the service and paying the up-front cost, which would be recouped through savings on energy bills. EASI would require an up-front investment from the government that, at its peak, would reach $22 billion. But it would more than repay itself, not only through direct repayments but also through not having to build new power stations and electricity grid infrastructure. It would also reduce emissions and make our houses more comfortable to live in.

 

Greens condemn logging return to the Wombat Forest

News that the Victoria’s Environment Minister, Gavin Jennings, has signed the Wombat Forest over to VicForests has been met with total disbelief.

“Steve Bracks promised to end all woodchipping and to hand the forest over to local community management,” commented Greens Western Victoria candidate Marcus Ward. “He said publicly and clearly, that if the community decided to end all logging that this would be respected. This pomise was made in the full glare of a state election, in writing, with the involvement and agreement of the then Treasurer John Brumby.”

“Now, in a sleazy backroom deal, it’s all out the window. It’s a total betrayal. One wonders what it takes to get the ALP to honour its commitments,” said Mr Ward.

“If they think the Wombat community is going to roll over and play dead, I think they’ve grossly misjudged us. I fought for over ten years to stop the logging as did hundreds of others. We’re still here.”

“The Minister should rethink and start acting like an environment minister for a change,” Mr Ward said. “Local and state conservation groups have recently put a plan to declare the Wombat a conservation reserve. Is this the Minister’s formal response?”

“My feeling is that VicForests will not get a single stick out of the Wombat Forest. If it’s back to the barricades, then so be it.”

“Whatever happens, the government’s credibility has been permanently damaged.”

 

Marcus Ward is the Greens candidate for the Western Victoria Upper House Region. If elected he will join the three current metropolitan Greens MLCs as the first rural/regional Victorian Greens MP.

Contact: Marcus Ward on 54235254 or 0427235254  

Greens councillor for City of Greater Bendigo visits Ballarat

 

Julie Rivendell, Greens councillor and previous Mayor for the City of Greater Bendigo, visited Ballarat this evening. She spoke to a community forum organised by Belinda Coates and Jon Stanger, Greens candidates for Ballarat City Council.
 
Councillor Rivendell talked about the change that occurred when she was elected to the City of Greater Bendigo to a more diverse Council, with three female councillors and a range of political and community backgrounds.
 
Belinda Coates and Jon Stanger also spoke at the forum and took questions from those attending.
 
“A diverse Council provides better representation to the community”, said Belinda Coates. “The Greens in Bendigo have proven we can work with anyone constructively to achieve the goals of the community.”
 
“Councillor Rivendell and her colleagues focused on the issues at hand, not the personal or political allegiances,” said Ms Coates. “After four years, the community perception of the Greens has changed, they have done the hard work and have an excellent track record.”
 
“Councillor Rivendell shows us what can be achieved by Greens on Council, in good governance, sustainable development and improved community services,” said Ms Coates.
 
Jon Stanger said he was impressed with the work Councillor Rivendell had done, especially with her female Council colleagues, on improving processes to improve transparency and accountability.
 
“The community wants change in Ballarat City Council and Councillor Rivendell demonstrates that the Greens are a safe and positive option.”
For more information and comment, please contact:
Belinda Coates on 0400 947 688 or Jon Stanger on 0415 755 181

 

 

 

Greens reject Libs motion on desalination

Greens MLCs have rejected a motion by the Liberals for a parliamentary inquiry into the desalination option.

"We reckon desalination is a dud and there's plenty of evidence for that. Options such as industrial reuse of water, water recycling and stormwater management all offer better, cheaper options," Mr Barber said.

"The Liberals should check out the report by the Australian Conservation Foundation, showing even an expanded water tank program could beat desalination, without all the environmental negatives," Mr Barber said.

"Even a 125 megalitre per day desalination plant would produce up to a quarter of a million tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year and we don't need that when we are trying to get Victoria's greenhouse emissions going down rather than up," Mr Barber said.

" What we need in Melbourne is to set targets for water efficiency, break them down across the various sectors of the economy and get on with implementing them. Even better would be to end logging in the mountain forests which provide our water. Young regrowth trees from clearfelling suck up heaps of water, leaving less for our rivers and dams," Mr Barber said.

"The proposal for a desalination plant in Sydney was rejected by an upper house inquiry of that State's parliament. The NSW government-appointed group chaired by Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan described desalination as the "least favored and least acceptable" option for securing Sydney's water supply," Mr Barber said.

Speaking in Parliament today, Mr Barber described a desalination plant as a quick fix, high cost, high tech, magic bullet solution, with a photo opportunity. By contrast, the Greens were calling for lower risk solutions that lead to better outcomes. He described the water savings from reduced consumption as “negaliltres” rather than “megalitres”.

For further comment: Greg Barber 0433 044 771

 

Greens say much more is needed for the Snowy River

Greens candidate for Gippsland Michael Bond has cautiously welcomed the Federal Government water announcements but is concerned that they will only result in minor increases in flows to the Snowy River.

Meeting with members of the Snowy River Alliance in Bairnsdale and Paynesville, Michael said: “The announcement to pay out the Snowy River “debt” will only result in a mere 2% increase to flows for the current water year (2010-11) when the legislated target for June 2009 was 15% below Jindabyne Dam and 21% by 2012.

“The Snowy River remains on life support. What the Snowy needs is action that will deliver major volumes of water down the river now” said Michael.

The Greens support the Snowy River Alliance's calls to (as a matter of priority): Permanently close the Mowamba Aqueduct to allow the Mowamba River to flow its natural course into the Snowy; Funding to deliver 21% of real water not paper water below Jindabyne Dam by 2012; return flows to the Upper Snowy in Kosciusko National Park below Guthega Dam and Island Bend Dam; an independent inquiry into the expenditure of the $425* million of taxpayers' money provided for Snowy River environmental flows, with a review of Australian water policy as part of that inquiry. “The Greens believe that a key part of saving the Snowy and in fact ensuring the survival of all Australian rivers is to legislate for minimum mandatory flows so successive governments cannot keep using 'the drought' as a reason to hold water back from the rivers.

“The Snowy Scheme must stay in public hands and The Greens will continue to oppose any moves for its privatisation or leasing.” (*includes $75 million for 70 Gigalitres for the Murray)

contact Michael Bond 0413 315 084 michael.bond@vic.greens.org.au  

 

Greens select candidate for Western Victoria

The Victorian Greens today announced their lead Marcus WardUpper House candidate for Western Victoria for the 2010 Victorian State election will be Marcus Ward. 

 
“Victorians are crying out for action on climate change, action on water reform and urgent action to help people deal with changes to our local weather patterns.
 
Yet the old political parties remain paralyzed, unable to imagine a world without coal. I look forward to the coming election year and the opportunity to kick-start the changes that should have begun a decade a go,” said Ward.
 
“Western Victoria has massive challenges ahead, but our natural assets leave us well placed to meet these challenges: abundant renewable energy resources like wave, geothermal, sun and wind. We have a productive and resilient farm sector with areas of good rainfall that’s still the envy of the rest of the state. The Green blueprint for the region builds on our natural strengths.”
 
“Clearly, many voters are looking for a positive, forward looking alternative. While I have every chance of being the first rural Green Member of Parliament, I take nothing for granted. None-the-less, with an experienced and enthusiastic team behind me I’m confident we can earn the votes required to get us over the line. Western Victorians deserve an effective Greens representative in the state’s upper house of Parliament,” Mr Ward said.
 
Western Victoria has one of Australia’s highest regional/rural Green votes. Published polls over the past year show the Green vote trending up steadily from the 2006 State poll.
 
Mr Ward is an experienced Greens campaigner who was narrowly defeated at the last state poll. He is an architect who has lived and worked throughout western Victoria for the past thirty years.
 
For additional information or interviews please call Marcus Ward on 54235254 or 0427235254 or email marcus.ward@vic.greens.org.au
 

Greens to contest Deakin By-Election

Geelong Greens Convenor, Bruce Lindsay, today announced he will run as a candidate in the Deakin Ward by-election for the City of Greater Geelong Council, on a platform of planning reform, Council activism and better governance.

Mr Lindsay said: ‘I work out at the Deakin University campus at Waurn Ponds. I feel a part of the area. This by-election is also about issues that effect Geelong and the Bellarine as a whole.’

‘Three areas of local government I want to see overhauled:

  • a new approach to urban design, not just more unsustainable urban sprawl;
  • an ‘activist’ Council, one willing and able to agitate on important issues to the citizens of Geelong, especially with the State Government;
  • better governance and greater transparency in Council decision-making.’

Mr Lindsay continued: ‘Poor urban design in going to have a long-term, detrimental impact on communities in Deakin Ward, especially with the proposal to put the Armstrong Creek ‘super-suburb’ on the doorstep. Even conservative estimates put increased traffic movements at 2000-10,000 more cars a day once the area is concreted and asphalted.’

‘Greater Geelong Council does not have a good record on governance and transparency – just look at the ‘cash-for-councillors’ saga. Not only does Council decision-making need to be more open – getting rid of ‘closed door’ briefings for councillors and working toward a ban on developer donations would be a good start – but we need to find ways to involve people more directly in decision-making.’

Mr Lindsay concluded: ‘Many big issues facing Geelong are outside the direct control of local government and in the hands of State or Federal Governments. For example, public transport provision is broken and needs to be overhauled.

The poker machine epidemic is rife. More than $100m lost to pokies every year in Geelong. Council is nowhere to be seen on climate change, when it should be out in front, leading local initiatives. Public opinion and action on climate change is way ahead of government action.

I want to see the Council play a grassroots campaigning role in the community. I want to see an activist Council. I have long experience as an advocate and campaigner, and I will take these skills to Council.’

Media contact: Bruce Lindsay 0439 035 277

Greens welcome Nationals support for Greens aged pension campaign

 Dr McKelvie has welcomed Darren Chester's call for all candidates to support the Greens proposal for an increase in the aged pension.

"Darren's advisors seem to have forgotten that last year, Bob Brown put up two motions calling for the Federal Government to approve a $30 a week pension rise to increase their standard of living above the poverty line," said Green candidate Dr Malcolm McKelvie. "The Coalition refused to approve both motions".

"Now they want us to agree with our own policy to increase the pension. We are more than happy to, and welcome Darren Chester aboard. However, we're not sure his party will join us "

"Last August The Greens also opposed any more increases in Parliamentary salaries until pensioners receive an increase. We haven't heard a squeak from the Nationals on this one either."

"For over 12 months the Greens have had the $30 a week increase as part of our policy, but we have heard nothing from the other parties in all this time. It'swonderful to note the sudden humanity that the old parties display in the runup to an election.

"After eight weeks of the Gippsland by-election campaign its great that theNationals are finally hearing aged pensioners. Now they just have to listen to the community concerns on climate change, GE foods and forests.

For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615 Greens Candidate for Gippsland By Election 2008 

Greens will hold Chester to account on political donations

 

 

If Darren Chester is elected at this weekend's by-election poll, the Greens will hold him to the commitment he made supporting cleaning up political donations.

"At the Bairnsdale Meet the Candidates meeting Darren Chester supported the Greens campaign to reform political donations" said Dr Malcolm McKelvie, Greens candidate for Gippsland.

"The Greens have campaigned for many years against corporate donations to political parties, because this is how big business influences policy", Dr McKelvie said. 

"The Nationals are a case in point.  Their biggest donors are slush funds, Doogary, Pilliwinks and Donations Club, designed to hide the donors and mask their influence on the party.  Their three biggest named donors are Tattersalls, Tabcorp and the Australian Hotelliers Association - all big players in the gaming industry. "

"Maybe this is why Darren Chester has not taken a stand on the huge social and economic cost of electronic gaming machines. Nearly $1M in gambling revenue leaves the Latrobe Shire alone every week.  That is money that is not going into local businesses, and money which many people may not be able to afford to lose."

"The Nationals have voted against reducing the number of gaming machines, in Greens bills brought in the Victorian upper house.  Their commitment to their donors is greater than their commitment to reducing the harm of gambling in their electorate.

"If Darren Chester really supports cleaning up politics, maybe he should take a new broom to his own party."

 

For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615

Greens Candidate for Gippsland By Election 2008

www.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie gippsland@greens.org.au

Hartland report challenges government on recycling

Greens MLC Colleen Hartland has released a report that details the financial, social and environmental benefits of a 10c deposit on drink bottles, challenging the Victorian government position on the scheme.

"I commissioned this report to show that a 10c deposit system is not only good for the environment, but also makes sound financial sense. It takes the packaging industry spin, and unspins it"

"The report outlines the dollar saving for every local council and shire in Victoria – the medium to large councils would save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Imagine what your council could do with the money saved."

"There are also savings in greenhouse gases, water and air pollution, and it would create 300-400 jobs, at a time when jobs are being lost."

"We still need to Reduce our consumption of drink containers, and learn to Reuse. But this scheme takes care of Recycle."

"I'm releasing the report to the public, and I’m going to hold a series of public meetings showing the benefits in the local area."

"We know that 94% of Victorians support container deposits in Victoria, and the recycling industry is lining up to get involved. You have to ask yourself why the Victorian government doesn't support it. I hope they change their mind."

The report can be downloaded from Colleen's website (click here).

Further comment: Colleen Hartland 9689 6373  

Health system disadvantages rural areas

Greens candidate, Dr Malcolm Mckelvie, is calling for a root and branch overhaul of Australia’s health system to make it fairer and more efficient. Dr McKelvie believes Gippsland is a classic example of the system being stretched to breaking point.

 
“Firstly we need to scrap the private health insurance rebate that squanders $3.6 billion. This disadvantages the less well off families, especially those living in rural areas” said Dr McKelvie.
 
 “It makes sense to spend more money preventing problems such as obesity, diabetes, alcohol and smoking related diseases than to spend much more treating the complications later. The current system not only costs more in terms of money but also in disability, early death and poor quality of life for Gippsland residents”.
 
“The Greens will push to have a network of primary healthcare centres established where you can see your doctor and a range of other health care professionals in the same location. Bringing providers together enhances co-operation and means a more streamlined, efficient service”.
 
 
“There are many areas where the public’s taxes could be put to better use” said Dr McKelvie. “Providing Gippslanders with better services for our dental needs, aged care and services for mental health are crucial areas that politicians must not just pay lip-service to before an election”.

 

Heartbreak at Brown Mountain

Greens MP, Sue Pennicuik visited the Brown Mountain area over the Australia Day  weekend and described the destruction of the old growth forest to the east of Brown Mountain Creek as 'heartbreaking'.

"I spent Sunday morning walking through one fantastic stand of old growth to the west of Brown Mountain Creek, where trees with 11 and 12 metre circumferences towered above us. They could be up to 400 years old," said Ms Pennicuik. Anyone who went there could only be awed and inspired and would want to see it protected.

"I was devastated to then visit an adjacent area that has been clear felled by Vic Forests over November and December. To see what just a few weeks ago was magnificent rainforest smashed to pieces is just terrible. It is senseless. Giant trees that have lived for hundreds of years and were home to threatened species have been just knocked to the ground in what now resembles a moonscape.

"This area is significant old growth forest of high conservation value because of the diversity of species, the age range of the trees - young, medium, and the giants that are hundreds of years old. It supports a wealth of native animals including threatened species such as the sooty owl, the greater and yellow bellied gliders and the spiny crayfish, which was spotted in the creek," she said.

During the 2006 state election the ALP pledged to protect all the remaining significant old growth forest in East Gippsland.

"It is a mistake by the government not to preserve the whole area as a vital link between the Errinundra and Snowy River National Parks. Even though one part of it has now been lost, it is not too late to prevent the destruction of any more of it," she said.

"I call on the Brumby government to take control of Vic Forests and put a stop to the planned logging in two more coupes at Brown Mountain. This area was listed as part of the National Estate in the 1980's and the values that enabled that listing are still there and are more important than ever," she said.

"This significant old growth forest is owned by the Victorian people, not by Vic Forests. It is far more valuable to the community now and in the future as carbon storage, as part of the Snowy River catchment and as an area of irreplaceable natural beauty than as a pile of woodchips heading to Japan," she said.

For further comment: Sue Pennicuik – 0409 055 875

Labor and Liberal climate policies cost jobs

Australian Greens candidate for Ballarat Belinda Coates says that both Labor and Liberal have simply moved to delay on climate change and it will cost the region jobs.

“In Julia Gillard's words, delay is denial and not only have both the old parties failed to deliver on climate change, we now know it will cost us 7,200 jobs in the region.”

A recent independent report commissioned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and Australian Conservation Foundation shows that the Ballarat region would have over 32,000 new jobs created by 2030 with strong action on climate change. Just 24,700 would be created with weak action. The Ballarat region includes the local government areas of Moorabool, Ballarat, Ararat, Central Goldfields, Hepburn and Pyrenees Shire.*

“Catherine King committed to strong action on climate change at the last election, including a pledge to reduce carbon emissions 30% by 2020. It now seems our 'biggest moral challenge' can wait another three years after little action from the last three.”

“There seems to be a common theme developing where Catherine King gives the impression of caring about an issue but follows the Labor party line in the opposite direction, without saying a word publicly.”

“To make matters worse, the Liberal candidate, Mark Banwell has his head in the sand in regard to climate change. Why would he want to deny the people in the Ballarat electorate opportunities for new green jobs with strong action on climate change?”

“If you don't believe the evidence of our top scientists and every scientific body in the country, what evidence would you base any of your policies on?”

“People are tired of the same old style of politics. The Greens have a proposal for a simple carbon tax that will give business certainty and unleash new green job creation. We have a range of policies that will put a price on carbon and boost renewable energy and energy efficiency to help us reach our target of 32,000 new jobs by 2030.”

“Unions are beginning to join the million people who now vote Greens in Australia, supporting our policies on climate change and job creation. The ETU has recently announced that it has severed its ties with the Labor party and is putting its support with the Greens.”

* http://www.acfonline.org.au/articles/news.asp?news_id=2855

Contact: Belinda Coates on 0400 947 688

 

Labor shown as gutless again on education funding.

"The PM's decision to back down or delay again on the equitable distribution of education funding for public schools is a disgrace. It has been Labor policy for years to address the creeping of funds to non-public schools such that one third of government funds reach public schools that teach two thirds of students" said Dr Malcolm McKelvie, Greens candidate for McMillan.

"Only the Greens are now prepared to stand up for a better deal for public education. Our policy is to bolster funding for public schools and include two years of pre school education, ensuring all children have access to a great start in life and then can follow up with provision of quality education through primary and secondary schools. Tertiary education should also be publicly funded just as it was for the current crop of decision makers".

"There is no doubt that private schools do a wonderful job in education and our policy does not seek to remove all public funds from these schools, just to redress the imbalance in funding that has occurred. It is another policy area that just makes sense and is fair."

Further information: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615 malcolm.mckelvie@vic.greens.org.au  

Labor takes aim and misses on illness prevention.

Greens candidate Dr Malcolm McKelvie says Labor has halved the funding to the highly successful Australian Primary Care Collaborative program just at the time when it should have been doubled.

 
“To date 600 general practices have taken part in the program and have achieved outstanding results in the  care of diabetes and coronary heart disease patients” said Dr McKelvie. “The program involved identifying patients and systematically ensuring each person was receiving the best care. Results and methods are shared so everyone benefits from good ideas in overcoming the barriers.
 
“There have been between 28-132% improvements in patient care which translates to many heart attacks, amputations, renal dialysis, strokes and early deaths prevented. All this was achieved with a budget of only $15 million or so. Last year the budget was doubled so the successful program could be expanded to cover even more practices and their patients but now Labor has cut the budget back to $14.4 million.
 
“At a time when Australia is facing an ever increasing burden of chronic disease we should be doing all we can to prevent it and the associated complications.
 
We welcome other budget measures to address prevention of tobacco and alcohol related disease, drugs, obesity and the development of a national preventive health strategy, but these should not happen at the expense of a very successful program” said Dr McKelvie.
 
“Australians would prefer to see improvements in health than to receive a tax cut worth the cost of a cup of coffee. I would certainly prefer to see healthy people walking the streets than seeing a flash new warplane in the sky”.

 

Labor's dead hand smothers solar sector

Not content with signing the death warrant for the solar panel industry, Labor is now callously turning its back on the pleas for help. The Federal Government should listen to the solar industry and reverse their decision to means-test the rooftop solar rebate Greens candidate for Gippsland Dr Malcolm McKelvie said today.

"Its already clear that taking away funding to help people install solar power systems was a huge mistake.” said Dr McKelvie. “If the ALP hope to start reducing the country’s greenhouse gasses, let alone have any chance of gaining voter confidence in Gippsland, it must admit its mistake and reverse the decision immediately.

"Plans to review how the solar means test impacts on people is just stalling. It is not the ‘overheating’ of the scheme they need to worry about, it’s the planet that’s overheating, it’s our weather, agriculture, water and the many climatic extremes we are seeing from too much burning of fossil fuels.”

"Besides climate impact, the other impact of the solar rebate means-test was obvious from day one. Jobs are being lost and the viability of small renewable energy businesses is seriously threatened.

”Clear thinking and some foresight would have prevented a lot of pain for people and would have also kept the number of solar installations increasing at a time when it is so essential.

"We would like to hear Darren McCubbin announce during this election on behalf of the ALP, that they will do away with means-testing the solar power rebates.

For comments Dr Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615

Greens Candidate for Gippsland By – Electionwww.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie gippsland@greens.org.au 

Labor’s Kindergarten Hypocrisy

Belinda Rogers, Greens candidate for Narracan, has today highlighted the hypocrisy of the Brumby government’s pledge for local kindergartens.
 
“It is all very well Mr Brumby promising $100 million for kindergarten upgrades at today’s Labor launch but, thanks to our Premier, up to thirty children are unable to receive a kindergarten education at the Drouin Kindergarten In Adams Crt in 2011,” said Belinda Rogers. ”The Labor Government refused an application for the extension of Drouin’s Adam Crt Kindergarten only two weeks ago even though Baw Baw Council pledged $250,000 towards the expansion fund conditional on the Brumby Government contributing $200,000 towards the project.”
 
“Again it is a case of Labor making grand promises on policy that should already have been delivered in the last term of Government,” said Ms Rogers.
 
“Approximately 20 children will be forced to travel to other towns to get their four year old kindergarten education while about ten children will miss out all together” Ms Rogers said. “Early education must not be seen as a luxury option. It is a fundamental right of children to receive a professional early years education”
 
The Greens policy clearly states that all children are entitled to two full years of publicly funded kindergarten. Belinda Rogers has spoken with the committee of management of the Drouin Kindergarten and has pledged to pressure the State Government to ensure money is made available to allow for these essential building works at the Adams Crt site.
 
“The reality is that Drouin is growing at an extremely fast rate,” said Ms Rogers. “This is yet another example of the need for careful planning to be in place with the rapid development of these towns. It isn’t good enough to encourage significant population increases without infrastructure planning being in place first.”
 
“Towns should not be forced into playing catch up after the event,” added Samantha Dunn, Greens Upper House candidate. “Our planning policy clearly explains the need for sensitive and practical approaches to town planning.”
 
Further information: Belinda Rogers   belinda.rogers@vic.greens.org.au

Labor’s grubby preference deal

Today the Greens have come out on the front foot over Labor’s sneaky preference deal with extremist party, Country Alliance.

In a deal that could see Country Alliance elected through Labor preferences, Greens Victorian lead Upper House candidate Samantha Dunn has expressed her anger. "This grubby deal done by the ALP with Country Alliance has all the hallmarks of the Steve Fielding deal done in 2004 that shocked and outraged so many voters," said Samantha.

"I cannot be clearer, a vote for the ALP in the Upper House is likely to lead to the election of the shooters and hunters party. Country Alliance’s vision is clear – they want less investment in renewable energy and more investment in dirty coal. Is that the future you want for you and your children?" said Samantha.

"Labor pledged to protect our forests and now they turn around and do a deal with a party that wants to destroy them. Country Alliance opposes the creation of any more National Parks and wants to continue logging in catchment areas. Labor clearly cannot be trusted. Voters in this region are smart; they will see this deal for what it is. Any credibility that Labor had with voters has disappeared."

"At the federal election the Victorian community was loud and clear on the vision they wanted when they voted in their first Greens Lower House member, Senator and record high Green vote across the region. The Victorian community said yes to the vision that supports investment in renewable energy, public transport, preventive health, climate change and making sure our forests are protected."

"Voting for the ALP this election will crush the vision that the Eastern Victorian community so clearly called for. Our community needs progressive, common sense politics, not out dated, backwards thinking, extremist policy. Think carefully about what future you want after this election. This time your vote is very powerful" Samantha concluded.

 

 

 

Further information: Samantha Dunn 0429 29 29 04 or samantha.dunn@vic.greens.org.au

Latrobe City ratepayers prop up coal industry by $10 million a year

Latrobe City ratepayers should be outraged at another level of subsidy for the coal industry that they are paying, says Greens candidate for the Gippsland by-election, Dr Malcolm McKelvie.

 "When Jeff Kennett privatised the power industry he granted them a 5 year stay on paying the local government rates - the same situation that existed for SECV. For some reason this moratorium has been extended by the State Government ever since. As a result Latrobe City Council is missing out on around $10 million every year.

No prizes for guessing who makes up the shortfall- other rate payers" said Dr McKelvie.

"This is a small amount of money for these big foreign owned companies but it means an extra $100 each year for everyone else. John Brumby promised to heed the call from Latrobe City Council to reverse the decision when he was in opposition but still hasn't done so. What makes it worse is that he did gain an increase in the coal royalty payable to the State government, reaping an extra $12 million per year into the states coffers, while the Latrobe City families are paying the rates of this huge industry."

"Latrobe City ratepayers should be angry with the ALP for not honouring its promises. Once again, another example of old parties favouring big business at the expense of the ordinary family and small business."

"It seems that generous subsidies for looking at the unproven clean coaltechnology are just the latest in a string of tax payer and rate payer gifts tothe coal companies."

For comments Dr Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615

Greens Candidate for Gippsland By - Election 2008www.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie gippsland@greens.org.au 

Latrobe Valley takes the first bite at a new future.

The people of the Latrobe Valley have responded to the need to change to a clean sustainable future said Greens candidate, Dr Malcolm McKelvie.

“The Greens primary vote in the Latrobe Valley has grown significantly this election while the ALP vote has fallen which shows more people are aware of the need to move away from the pollution and global warming coal industry to a better, more sustainable future in renewables and associated manufacturing.

The old major parties paid lip service to the problem of global warming and the impact that emissions trading will have on our lives” said Dr McKelvie.

“What we do in the next 2 years is crucial to our childrens’ future. We need urgent action to reduce CO2 emissions, so let’s grasp this reality as an opportunity to grow jobs in renewables, to transform transport options towards public transport and cycling or walking and improve people’s health in the process.”

“The Greens will continue to provide the vision for a peaceful, sustainable future for our children while the old parties continue with the self interested short term thinking that dominates the political scene.”

For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615

 

Let's inject some sense into the debate over marine parks

"What a stir the debate on marine parks is causing and what a storm in a teacup", said Dr Malcolm McKelvie, Greens candidate for McMillan.

"Even our coalition candidates won't find the concept too hard to understand- protect some sites from fishing so the fish populations can breed and thrive and spread out so there are more fish to catch everywhere else for people now as well as their children and grandchildren. It's not difficult nor very complicated- it's another policy that makes good sense and works."

"Australia is in the fortunate position that we control our fisheries and can act to protect them. Other parts of the world share fisheries with close neighbours so effective regulation and enforcement is difficult and the result is that fisheries are overused and collapse. Voters won't fall for the cheap shots taken by the coalition on this issue".

 

Contact Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615 malcolm.mckelvie@vic.greens.org.au

 

Liberal MP deserves praise for stance on genetic modification

Greens candidate, Dr Malcolm McKelvie has praised Russell Broadbent for his vigorous campaign to stop  genetically modified food crops getting into our food supply .

 
“It’s not often we agree with a Liberal MP but on this point we think he is spot on and we commend him for his motion to the parliament this week” said Dr McKelvie. “If Russell Broadbent can see the problems with GM foods, why can’t his colleagues? Do Rohan Fitzgerald, Darren McCubbin and Darren Chester have the guts to stand up for what is right on this issue?” 
 
Many studies have shown definite harm done to animals fed GM produce. As a result of these trials, further studies were halted and those who spoke out about the results were sacked. Regulatory bodies have caved in to pressure from the big chemical companies whose profits are set to rise if GM crops become widespread.
 
“Gippsland should become a GM free zone and remain independent from large chemical companies which are only interested in selling more of their chemicals and patented seeds.
 
“The various claims of the GM lobby are just broken promises. Let’s explore some;
  • GM crops won’t solve the problems of hunger, war, poverty or bad governance. There is already enough food grown to feed the world, it is just poorly distributed.
  •  The US and Canada lost the big European and Japanese markets for their canola, corn and soy worth billions so GM crops won’t boost agricultural profits.
  • The GM industry has run most trials. Governments  have accepted industry tests despite evidence against the claimed safety and boosts in yield.
  • A child would have to eat 54 cups of the GM vitamin A enriched rice to prevent blindness. A normal varied diet including green leafy vegetables and other foods is enough to supply kids with all their Vitamin A needs.
  • GM crops mean more herbicide use. Roundup resistant GE crops means farmers can spray more Roundup and at higher rates to kill weeds more efficiently. However, resistance to Roundup has spread to weeds making weed control much more difficult.
  • The nutrition value of GM foods is unproven and avoids the main problem that most people don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables.
  • An ANU trial found that both cooked and uncooked GM peas harmed the rats they were fed to disproving claims that cooked GM foods are harmless.
 For more information contact Malcom McKelvie on gippsland@greens.org.au
or 0417 364 615

 

Local Doctor Stands for Greens in Gippsland

Yarragon doctor Malcolm McKelvie is the Greens candidate for the Gippsland by-election.

Dr McKelvie, who has lived in West Gippsland for 12 years, said health was a major issue that especially touched the Gippsland communities.

“As a local doctor I know there is a critical shortage of doctors and nurses throughout the region and services are stretched to the limit,” he said.

“Few GPs offer bulk billing and there are long waiting lists to see specialists and counsellors. This is an added burden in country areas, where many people are battling drought and financial hardship.

"After years of neglect by the Howard government the health service needs serious attention, but there is no indication from the Rudd Government that it has the commitment to provide this.

“The Greens will plough proposed tax cuts back in to health and education. We will also scrap the $3.6 billion federal government subsidy to private health insurance and put that money back into public health.

“We believe the health system needs the kind of root and branch overhaul that Mr Rudd has announced for the taxation system.

“That's why we propose to dismantle the current funding system and pool all state and federal funding for distribution by a health commission to end the bickering over responsibilities and control.

“We will establish a network of primary health care centres across the nation, where people can see a doctor, a nurse practitioner or a counsellor. We will also extend free dental care to those on low incomes and in special need, and build a network of 24-hour mental health centres.”

Dr McKelvie said health was just one area where the Greens stood apart from the old parties.

“The Greens want to future-proof our country in a range of areas – climate change, education, establishing renewable energy industries in places like the Latrobe Valley to tackle our reliance on fossil fuels such as coal.”

If elected to parliament, Dr McKelvie would join Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as an MP with an interest in China and its language. He has been studying Mandarin as part of his initiative to build a business importing electric-assisted bicycles from China.

 

For further information: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615

 

Lynette Keleher elected to City of Casey

I am so very thrilled and honoured to be elected as one of the two councillors for River Gum Ward in the City of Casey. This really seemed an impossible task as I was up against the Mayor Janet Halsall and Cr. Wayne Smith who has been here for long time.
 
Thank you to everyone who supported me and I am so proud to now be able to represent the Greens at Local Government level. I foresee many opportunities to initiate and implement Green initiatives and I will work hard to promote core Green values for the benefit of the whole community.

Major parties don’t deserve preferences

The Gippsland Greens today announced that they would not be directing preferences in this election.  “None of the major parties deserve our preferences,” said Dr Malcolm McKelvie, Greens Candidate in the Gippsland By-election.

 
“There is barely a skerrick of policy daylight between the ALP and Nats on the big green issues in this campaign.”
 
“Both parties support coal, GM and logging forests.  The only choice people have is to vote Green.”
 
“We know from previous elections that most Greens voters will choose either the ALP or Nationals after us.  Because of this we are going to give them information about how to fill in the ballot paper according to their choice.”
 
"Only a Greens vote gives ordinary people real leverage with the big parties. They can’t take you for granted," Dr McKelvie said.
 
"You get to vote for what you believe in first, and if we don’t get elected, you get another vote for the party you want to win with your second preference. Both are counted equally".
 
"We want people to tell the two Darrens that they can't bury their heads in the ground, like they think we can with coal carbon pollution. Our leaders need to act now and quickly to build a renewable energy industry in the Latrobe Valley."
 
 

 

Major party calls for aged pension increase ring hollow

Greens candidate Dr Malcolm McKelvie says there is a surprising number of issues the Greens have been fighting for over the past decade that the Nationals, ALP and Liberals are now starting to talk about. Increasing the aged pension is one example that reeks of political opportunism.

 
"This is great to see all the major parties come out supporting increased pensions but you have to wonder why they haven't acted when they had the opportunity.
 
"The Greens have been campaigning for a minimum $30 a week increase in the single aged pension since June 2007. This would lift the single aged pension to $303 which is $18 above the poverty line. It is a sensible, affordable policy," Dr McKelvie said.
 
"Increasing the single aged pension by $30 a week would cost the government less than this year’s tax cuts given to those earning over $75,000.
 
"After all the work elder citizens have put into our communities we should be giving them a fair go. They have done without so we can reap the benefits, its time we gave something back to them.
 
For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615
Greens Candidate for Gippsland By Election 2008
www.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie
gippsland@greens.org.au 

 

Manage forests for all values

The Greens believe the topic of forest protection is a critical matter of concern for many voters in the Gippsland region as it is so closely linked to our clean secure water supplies, carbon storage, climate stabilisation and protection of rare and threatened wildlife.

“The Labor and Coalition parties are turning a blind eye to the devastation that is being wrought in the Strzeleckis and Central Highlands”, says Michael Bond, Greens Candidate for Gippsland.

“My great Uncle, John Youl, worked for the Forest Commission in the 1920s and through the Great Depression with postings throughout Gippsland including Yarram and Heyfield. He won an OBE for ‘services to the timber industry’ in 1970 and loved the forests. In those days small scale local timber-getting operators cut chosen trees only for sawlogs. Today the intensive clearfell operations of VicForests and HVP are driven by giant woodchipping interests and much of this is to supply overseas companies”, said Michael Bond “I think Uncle John would be horrified to learn what’s now happening to his beloved forests.”

“We should be developing long term secure employment such as nature tourism and looking after existing industries like honey production. These industries are being undermined as the native forest logging industry continues to devastate areas of public forest.”

“The last of our unprotected intact forests on public land in the Strzeleckis that were promised to be protected are now being chainsawed and bulldozed. The old growth forests of East Gippsland, with trees; some over 600 years old, are still on the government’s plans to be clearfelled and converted to industrial tree farms for the export woodchip industry.

"It’s just outrageous. These are carbon dense forests and should be our front-line defence against climate change and bushfires.” Michael declares.

“With climate change giving us drier and hotter summers, it is absolutely critical that our governments protect the last untouched parts of our healthy forests. These have been shown by scientists from the Australian National University (ANU) to be more fire resistant than regrowth and damaged forests.” Michael concluded.

For more details, contact Michael Bond 0413 315 084

New approach needed to urban and regional planning in Geelong

Geelong’s approach to urban design and planning is unsustainable in the long-run and largely ad hoc, Deakin Ward candidate, Bruce Lindsay, said today. Mr Lindsay made his comments in the context of the recent release of a planning panel report into the proposed Armstrong Creek Urban Growth Plan. The Plan envisages approximately a 25% increase in the size of Geelong by mid-century. The Panel report has recommended removing from the Plan many of the ‘greener,’ more progressive elements.

Mr Lindsay said: ‘Council and Geelong communities need to look at the basic principles and models underpinning planning in the region, to move away from an uncritical "carpet" sprawl on the urban fringe. This sort of urban sprawl needs to be subject to considerable scrutiny. There is ample evidence of social and health problems associated with it, such as isolation and obesity. Then there are the adverse environmental effects, not least loss of green spaces and increased greenhouse emissions from high dependency on cars.’

‘Among other things, the Armstrong Creek proposal will put up to 24,000 more cars on local roads over coming decades.'

He continued: ‘Essentially, that is a product of the car dependency that goes hand-in-hand with this model of development. It imposes considerable cost-shifting onto families, especially with the inevitable reliance on two or more cars, and inadequate planning and delivery of services.’

‘Although the original Armstrong Creek proposal had its shortcomings, the Planning Panel’s report is a much more retrograde step. For instance, it removes ‘greenways,’ cuts the amount of proposed open space significantly, and in regard to many important services and community infrastructure just says "Oh, don’t worry, sort that out later, or just take it out." In effect, the Panel has backed the developers’ ambit claim.’

‘It is irresponsible to give the green light to development without processes for signed and sealed delivery of all relevant infrastructure and services before development starts. That means having funding and arrangements in place to make sure the public transport is going to be there, the kindergartens are going to be there, the local police station is going to be there, and the open space and biodiversity corridors are protected.’

Mr Lindsay concluded: ‘I am calling for a wide-ranging inquiry, under the auspices of Council, into Geelong’s urban and regional design, with terms of reference to include:

    * A vision for the sustainable and long-term form of urban and peri-urban Geelong;    * How such a vision can be delivered in the context of climate change and/or peak oil constraints;    * How urban form will contribute to the development and engagement of community;    * How urban form affects the delivery of community services and infrastructure;    * The role of urban design in the delivery of affordable housing.’

For comment or more information, contact Bruce Lindsay 0439 035 277

No helipad just part of Ballarat health woes

Australian Greens candidate for Ballarat West Leon Dwyer will speak at a community meeting tonight called to support a helipad in Ballarat. He will tell the meeting that he supports the community call for a helipad, but other critical health issues must also be addressed.

“This is an emotional issue, like many others in the community I have been touched by grief from recent events,” said Leon Dwyer.

Leon knew Claire Smith, aka “Becky Bloodnut”, through his involvement in the Ballarat Roller Derby League.

“I have spoken with those working at the coalface in our emergency services and while no one would refuse the offer of a helipad, there are clearly other priorities that must also be addressed.”

“At the same time, everyone feels that if it was one of our friends or family in need of rapid transit we would want the appropriate facilities to be there.”

“People want a health system that first of all keeps us out of hospitals. Mental illness accounts for a significant proportion of admissions to emergency departments, we need serious investment in early intervention mental health services.”

“The emergency department at the Base Hospital is stretched, our paramedics are under staffed, underpaid and work long hours with short brakes.”

“A shortage of GPs puts further pressure on the system. The ambulance depot at the Base Hospital needs work, it is not efficient and difficult to transfer patients there.”

“Some things are unavoidable, there will always be emergencies like Claire's case, which perhaps highlights why we should have had a helipad long ago. Taking the pressure of our emergency system by investing in preventative health allows us to better deal with the unavoidable.”

Greens MP Colleen Hartland wrote to the ombudsman two weeks ago calling for an inquiry into ambulance services. The Greens will be seeking improvements in line with the recommendations of that inquiry.

“The helipad is a capital expense with little ongoing costs and it's something I support along with increased staffing, better working conditions and equipment upgrades.”

“I congratulate the community for their work on this campaign and hope we can work together to get better health outcomes for all.”

For media and comment contact Leon Dwyer via 0415 755 181

 

Old parties ignore big Gippsland issues

The big issues facing the people of Gippsland have escaped the attention of the old political parties in this by-election campaign said Greens candidate, Dr Malcolm McKelvie.

"It's as if the old parties had a policy free zone in relation to climate change, strengthening public health and education, ensuring our food supply is safe before allowing GM foods to be grown and providing adequate dental care.

Where they did make a lot of noise it is obvious to all they are all talk and no action - just look at their track record on opposing raising the aged pension above the poverty line.

 "Consider the short term thinking behind the push for a few cents off fuel prices instead of a clear vision for a future free of dependence on oil. Or the hullaballoo about duplicating the highway between Traralgon and Sale instead of the long term thinking of increasing our access to user friendly frequent rail and bus services.

"The old parties prefer to talk about protecting old jobs in outdated industries instead of creating more jobs in new industries like renewable energy, energy efficiency and environmental repair. These jobs will be needed into the future.

"Voting Green isn't a waste of a vote. It has twice the voting power - firstly to tell the other parties what voters are concerned about and if we dont get elected, you get another vote with your second preference. Both are counted equally and will decide who eventualy gets across the line." said Dr McKelvie.

 "Greens voters think about big picture issues, not those of postage stamp magnitude".

For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615

Pakenham needs more proactive youth services

The Greens candidate for Gembrook, Brent Hall said the frequent incidents of youth violence and street crime in the Pakenham area indicates a government which has failed to connect with its young people. The Greens believe this can be tackled through education, community and recreation services.
 
"Of course increasing police numbers is absolutely necessary and something the Greens support, it is however a reactive rather than proactive or preventative approach”, said Brent Hall.
 
"Sadly, there is a great disconnect between our young people and their communities, so to really tackle youth issues, we must not only try to understand why some are engaging in destructive behavior, but invite them to participate in the discussion about the solutions."
 
"Some young people who require help just can’t afford it or in many cases are unable to get access to assistance.
 
“The Greens are committed to funding and setting up programs to assist our communities and young people.
 
"At this election the public’s vote is powerful" concluded Brent. “It could help make history”.
 
 
 
Contact Brent Hall mob 0451 817 032 brent.hall@vic.greens.org.au

Peter McGauran's legacy - a Green Senator

Sarah Hanson-Young, recipient of a prize sponsored by Peter McGauran, has urged Gippsland voters to vote Green in this weekend's by-election.

"Now is the time for people in Gippsland to turn to the Greens.  We offer real vision, and we are serious about representing the whole community in the parliament," Senator-elect Hanson-Young said. 

"We will be pushing for an increase in the old age pension in budget negotiations after July 1".

The new Greens Senator grew up in East Gippsland and attended Orbost Secondary College.  She won the 'Peter McGauran Prize' there for two years in a row.  Peter McGauran sponsored the annual prize as a way of fostering community leadership amongst young people in Gippsland.

Sarah takes a Senate position for South Australia, after moving there for University  almost nine years ago.  

"The Greens will bring both maturity and youth to the balance of power in the Senate" Sarah said. "Bob Brown and Christine Milne have lead the Greens in both balance of power and minority government in Tasmania.  Our two new senators, myself and Scott Ludlam, will bring youth and fresh ideas to the Senate."

The new Senate, which takes its place from July 1, features two new Green senators, of whom Sarah is one.  Together, the five Greens Senators, and South Australian Nick Xenaphon and Victorian Steve Fielding will control the balance of power in the national parliament's upper house. 

Further information:

Sarah Hanson-Young, 0411 524 724

Postage stamp politics

“There are bigger and more important things in this election campaign than where the people of Traralgon buy their postage Bob Brown& Malcolm McKelvie outside the Traralgon Post Office image by Suzy Woodstamps”, said Dr Malcolm McKelvie, Greens candidate in the Gippsland by-election.

“For example, are our forests worth more to the community standing or as woodchips?” he asked.

On Friday Senator Bob Brown, Australian Greens leader told a gathering outside the Traralgon Post Office on Friday that Gippslanders earned less than the price of a postage stamp from every tonne of their forests exported as woodchips”, Dr McKelvie said.

“We earn 11c royalties as a community for every tonne of woodchips our forests are turned into.  But our forests clean water and provide a valuable sink for the carbon produced by our energy industry, cars and homes”, Dr McKelvie said.

For more information:Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615

 

Preference power to the people

The Greens in the Ballarat electorate will be reinforcing the message that people control where their preferences go and strongly encouraging voters to make up their own mind.

"The Greens have moved to ban pesky and wasteful 'how-to-vote' cards but both Labor and Liberal opposed that move," said Belinda Coates, Australian Greens candidate for Ballarat.

"Unfortunately some people don't realise that 'how-to-vote' cards are just a guide and people have the power to choose exactly where their preferences go."

"People are disillusioned with the old parties and are looking for a good alternative. I would say to them, vote 1 Greens and then make up your own mind."

"People are asking 'where does my preference go if I vote Greens?' We're saying it's your choice."

The Greens 'how-to-vote' card in the Ballarat electorate will reinforce this message by not recommending preferences. It will simply recommend a 1st preference to Greens candidate Belinda Coates and tell voters to number each box in the order they choose.

"The Greens are not beholden to any party and people shouldn't be either. Voting Greens sends a strong message to the old parties that they need to lift their game. If your party of choice isn't elected, the whole value of your vote goes to the next party of choice."

"A Greens vote is a double value vote - send a message and decide your own preferences."

For more information on how preferences work, go to: http://greens.org.au/getthefacts/preferences

Contact: Belinda Coates on 0400 947 688

 

Premier ignores economic costs of GM canola

Media Release December 13, 2007 Premier ignores economic costs of GM canola The Country Greens Network has called on Premier John Brumby to conduct a full economic audit of the costs of GM canola. Country Greens convener Louis Delacretaz condemned Mr Brumby for refusing to extend Victoria’s moratorium on genetically engineered crops. “Mr Brumby acted in a cavalier fashion and in the face of opposition from the community, farmers and even substantial internal dissent in the ALP,” said Mr Delacretaz. “The full costs of this decision have not been considered. We need to know the likely economic effect, as well as the impact on crop contamination and health.” Before the moratorium is lifted the Country Greens demand that the following conditions are met:

  • Independent scientific proof of the safety of genetically modified products in the food chain<\li>
  • Secure and established segregation of genetically modified and non-genetically modified crops<\li>
  • Clear guidelines on liability for crop contamination<\li>
  • Assurance that genetically modified crops won’t translate into herbicide-resistant weeds<\li>
  • Thorough labelling laws so that consumers can make informed and accurate purchasing decisions<\li> “We haven’t heard from the ex-Treasurer on the economic costs of abandoning our GM-free status in Victoria. All those clean and green contracts are up for grabs from states with an extended moratorium like Tasmania, WA and from New Zealand, Mr Delacretaz said. “What will this cost country Victorians?” “The growing success of the Greens in rural and regional Victoria in the past two elections indicates that country people are responding to Greens policy on issues such as the extension of the moratorium on GM canola and unsustainable rural water allocations. “Country Victorians can increase the pressure on Mr Brumby by writing to him or contacting their local MP. Local councils can also assist in lobbying Mr Brumby. “Many councils have already responded to community concerns by seeking to be GM free. We are now calling on them to join the thousands of community submissions in asking Premier Brumby to extend the moratorium on genetically engineered crops.” Contact Louis Delacretaz, 0407 300 188, Convenor Country Greens Network
  •  

    Renewables plan to create thousands of Gippsland jobs

    Gippsland Green&rsquo;s candidate; Michael Bond is enthusiastic at the prospect of the jobs bonanza wind energy could bring to Gippsland.

    A recently released report called “Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan” outlines a plan to convert the nation's entire energy sector to renewable energy. It could be a blueprint for the Latrobe Valley’s future direction turning it from a coal based economy into a jobs-rich renewable energy region.

    Gippsland Green’s candidate; Michael Bond says that Australia with its abundance of sunshine, consistent prevailing winds, miles of coastline and other renewable resources is well placed to be a world leader in these technologies. The Latrobe Valley’s existing infrastructure and skilled workforce would be an ideal place for manufacturing these renewable energy projects” he said.

    The plan includes a mix of wind farms and concentrated solar thermal plants with molten salt storage to provide base load power. All are existing technologies that are commercially established in Europe, China and the US. Indeed, Spain is currently building approx 2GW (much more than the capacity of Hazelwood) of solar capacity and China is building and planning on having 100GW of wind power installed by 2020.That’s approx 75 “Hazelwoods” of wind power alone!  

    “Unfortunately we are dragging the chain” Michael Bond says. “Thousands of desperately needed manufacturing jobs could be created for Gippsland if authorities embraced renewables. The problem is if we don’t take the lead soon, other countries such as China will have set themselves up as the experts in the field and will take these jobs,” he laments.

    The plan forecasts that 80,000 jobs could be created in the construction of these plants, with 45,000 on-going permanent jobs in operations and maintenance. This compares with approx 20,000 that would be lost in coal and gas during the transition. “Not only would we have zero carbon emissions but we would have created 1000’s more jobs; I don’t know what we’re waiting for” he says.

    The government has set a target of 20% renewables by 2020. The Greens are calling on the government to set a price on carbon and to step up to the plate on its renewable rhetoric. “With uncertainty over a carbon price, financiers won’t be willing to invest. If the government won’t set a carbon price, they need to replicate US President Barack Obama's offer to guarantee loans on renewable projects to kick off this energy revolution” Mr Bond states. For further details and to download the plan in full go to the Beyond Zero Emissions website at: beyondzeroemissions.org

    For media and comment contact Michael Bond 0413 315 084  

     

    Rudd lacks vision on fuel

    Our Prime Minister has shown himself to be out of ideas when it comes to solving our fuel problems. Greens candidate, Malcolm McKelvie has outlined practical actions the government could take.

     
    “Why do our leaders feign surprise as the prices go up? The problems of global warming and oil depletion have been on the cards for years. Mr Rudd ought to be leading us with a vision of the clean, green future ahead of us. Instead he is wringing his hands and looking worried” Dr McKelvie said.
     
    “The Greens welcome the Green Car initiative but questions why a cent will not be spent until after the next election. The transition to zero carbon emission cars must include legislating for more and more stringent vehicle emission standards. The Prime Minister should explain why China has tougher standards than us”.
     
    “Of even more concern is the message delivered in the budget about road funding. The transport budget was split 95% to roads and 5% to public transport. Where is the vision for fast, frequent, efficient mass transport? The public transport system is already struggling to cope with increased demand- what will it be like when petrol hits $2.00? Gippsland is hit even worse as we have less access to public transport “.

    For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615

    Greens Candidate for Gippsland By – Election

     

    Rural Press Club Snub

    Greens candidate for the Gippsland by-election Dr Malcolm McKelvie says the Rural Press Club is misguided in its decision not to include him in its lunchtime debate on Wednesday, 18th June.

     
    “They said the reason for their decision was time restrictions. Apparently the views of tweedledum and tweedledee provide rural journos with plenty to whet their appetite for news,” Dr McKelvie said.
     
    “The old parties have similar policies on the big issues facing our society- climate change, GM foods, support for continued wood chipping of native forests, tax cuts for the wealthy and retaining the private health insurance rebate.
     
    “The Greens are offering a real choice for a sustainable future and I expect our journalists to be interested in presenting the whole range of views on offer.”
     
    Dr McKelvie said he would be making a formal complaint to the Rural Press Club, in support of his right to be heard.
     
    “When did the politburo take over at the Rural Press Club?”
     
     
    Dr Malcolm McKelvie
    Greens candidate for Gippsland by-election
    gippsland@greens.org.au
    mob: 0417 364 615
    http://www.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie

     

    Save the plantations for timber and the forests for carbon!

     

    A forum on BioCarbon has determined that native forests are much more valuable being kept as carbon stores to reduce the damage caused by climate change.

     

    Margaret Blakers from the Green Institute presented at a forum on BioCarbon on Saturday at Traralgon to a packed room.  She analysed the government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green Paper and found that it found that it has flaws.

     

    “By ignoring native forest logging it falsely promotes converting of plantation timber into carbon storage, thereby locking up plantations and encouraging continued logging of native forests.”

     

    “It makes no sense to throw away the carbon already sequested by native forests, instead we should be utilizing our plantation timber for construction and paper making” said Margaret Blakers. “Stopping the logging and clearing of native forests will produce an immediate decrease in Australia’s annual carbon emissions of about 18%.”

     

    “Native forests are best at storing carbon and plantations are best at growing wood” said Ms Blakers.

     

     

    For more information:

    Margaret Blakers 0419 877 325

    Andrea Millsom 0417 555 742

    Scales tipped on mental health

    “If you could do a PET scan of the state to pick up psychiatrists, inner Melbourne would glow red hot. Gippsland might register a glimmer” said Greens candidate Dr Malcolm McKelvie.

     
    “Many Gippslanders who have the financial or other means choose to access private mental health services in Melbourne, sometimes travelling hours just for an appointment. Those without the means must rely on the less well resourced and overstretched public mental health service. Families and carers are often left struggling to cope with unstable and unwell loved ones. As all Australian families are likely to be touched by mental illness at some time the ripple effect on our community is huge.
     
    “I think we can do better. By properly resourcing the public system more health providers would be enticed to come to Gippsland. The more that come, the more the load is shared and a rural position looks even more attractive.
     
    “We believe local, multi disciplinary public health services must be provided that include mental health services. There is also an urgent need for more mental health rehabilitation beds and low care supported accommodation. The mental health nurse initiative in general practice needs to be overhauled to ensure better uptake.
     
     “A well resourced public mental health service at each of the main centres in Gippsland would make an enormous difference- just ask your GP what s/he thinks of that and watch the smile broaden”.
     
     
     
     
    For further information please contact:Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615
    Greens Candidate for Gippsland By – Election
    www.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie
    gippsland@greens.org.au

     

    Snowy river madness

    The recent explosion in WA at a gas processing facility highlights the risks being taken with the Santos gas plant on the Snowy river estuary says Greens candidate, Dr Malcolm McKelvie.

    “Santos has already built a gas plant on a low dune on the river estuary and plans to extend it to process gas from the Longtom well. They propose to store toxic chemicals which would cause severe environmental loss if released by accident, flood or explosion to the surrounding coastal wetland, without having an environmental effects statement done.
     
    “The proposal is madness when better alternatives exist. The gas could be piped from Longtom to the shared facility with BHP and Esso at Longford where the infrastructure for processing the gas already exists. Alternatively, it could be piped to a site at Newmerella, away from the internationally significant wetland area.
     
    “I am calling on all the candidates in the by-election to support the protection of the Snowy estuary from this ill-considered development”.
     
    For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615
    Greens Candidate for Gippsland By Election 2008
    www.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie
    gippsland@greens.org.au

     

    State government shows contempt for planning process with Frankston Bypass announcement

    Greens member for Southern Metropolitan Region and spokesperson for Roads and Ports, Sue Pennicuik said today that "the Premier’s announcement this week to proceed with construction of the Frankston Bypass1 before the panel inquiring into the project had even finalised its Inquiry once again demonstrated the government’s contempt for Victoria’s planning and environmental assessment processes."

    The panel inquiring into the Frankston Bypass is understood to be producing its report to the Minister for Planning, Mr Madden by the 24th April 2009. The minister will then need to determine whether to approve the project.

    "Even then we won't be sure that any decision made by the Minister is soundly based because, as with channel deepening and the desalination plant, the Minister sets his own terms of reference and the scope of the Inquiry and controls the process," she said.

    "It is well past the time that we had a truly independent environmental assessment process in Victoria," said Ms Pennicuik.

    1 Frankston Bypass aka Peninsula Link http://www.seita.com.au/pages/peninsula-link.asp

    The Brown Mountain landmark trial has concluded in the Supreme Court on Thursday 25th March – after a 16 day trial

    Justice Osborn has reserved his decision. It could take anywhere from one month to six months to hand down a finding, but of course we are hoping sooner.
     
    The four week trial has been marked by finger-pointing between government logging bodies VicForests and DSE about who is responsible for endangered species. The behavior of those charged with protecting our wildlife has been exposed to public scrutiny and the Supreme Court’s enquiry.

     
    We believe the government doesn’t survey for endangered wildlife before they log old growth forest, because they don’t want to find anything that would prevent logging. The Court heard that VicForests doesn’t employ wildlife experts, and EEG has argued that both VicForests and the DSE sideline the opinion of the government’s biodiversity unit.
     
    We now hope the Minister is fully informed about the very high conservation values in this area. EEG presented evidence of a new species of crayfish in Brown Mountain Creek, plus experts claiming the stands of old growth are high quality habitat for two species of rare frogs, and the Spot-tailed (Tiger) Quoll. The evidence for the Tiger Quoll was heart-breaking – the three last remaining viable colonies are in East Gippsland.
     
    This case has been all about whether irreversible damage would be caused by logging. And as our legal team stated “ You can’t get damage that is more irreversible than extinction.”
     
    The outcome of this case is important for the protection of wildlife in other stands of high conservation value native forests under threat of clearfelling.
    http://eastgippsland.net.au/

    The time for clean energy is now

    Greens candidate, Malcolm McKelvie says Labor has dropped the ball on climate change. Labor's budget is rewarding the carbon polluters and wiping out the solar industry.

    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd must reverse the budget gaffe which has devastated solar power businesses around Australia. A Yarragon based solar power supplier servicing the whole state estimates their business will suffer an 80% decline in grid interactive system installations. The effect is drastic and contrary to the stated policy of the government.

    "This is a stunning solar stuff up for Labor's first budget. Australianvoters expected the Rudd government to tackle climate change. Instead,this was an Exocet missile into a key industry for reducing greenhousegas emissions. The removal of the rebate for households earning morethan $100,000 per annum was not thought through.

    If either Peter Garrett or Penny Wong were consulted or backed thisabsurd move, they should hang their heads in shame. Their silence hasbeen deafening”, Malcolm McKelvie said.

    This episode, along with a string of other greenhouse worsening budgetoutcomes, shows the Rudd government is inept when it comes to tacklingthe need for urgent action on climate change.  

    However, Brendan Nelson's two billion dollar plan to reduce petrolexcise by 5 cents a litre is in the same category; perverse policy in anage of huge climate change problems.

     
    “Only the Greens are free of influence from the fossil fuel and nuclear industry lobbyists. We can see the clean way forward”.
     
     
    For further information please contact:Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615
     
    Greens Candidate for Gippsland By – Election
     
    www.cgn.org.au/Malcolm_McKelvie
    gippsland@greens.org.au

     

    The up side to fuel price rises

    “Rising fuel prices are triggering changes in our behaviour that need to bepermanent, as we adapt to a world of higher energy and fuel prices” Greens candidate for Gippsland, Dr Malcolm McKelvie said today.

    ”The law of the world markets can be ruthless” said Dr McKelvie. “The unpleasant truth is that there is more demand than there is supply - and confronting the end to cheap energy and global warming is going to take some good old Australian resilience and adaptability.”

    “Politicians are trying to trick us to believe that blow torches or short term price reduction will save the day. But rising prices are here to stay and we’re just going to have to find solutions - and fast.”

    “Already we are seeing more car pooling, walking and cycling to work, an increase in public transport use and sudden new plans to build fuel efficient cars. Just as our parents and grandparents did during the wars, we will have to make changes to our lives.

    “We are facing a rapid change in the way we will have to go about things. Instead of sending materials to Thailand to be made up and flying them back here, it might soon be cheaper to pay Australians to do the work. 

    “If rising fuel prices will make Gippsland grown food cheaper than imported fish from Denmark, or cheeses from France, then this should be seen as a positive.” said Dr McKelvie.

    “We must get started on the road to adaptation and permanent solutions rather than pinning our hopes on false promises of cheaper fuel one day. It is so important that we don’t just wait for politicians to act. Get fit, get to know your neighbour, buy locally, grow a vegie garden, and reduce consumer goods to the essentials.

    “This could be the prompting we’ve all needed.”

    For further information please contact: Malcolm McKelvie 0417 364 615

    Three Greens MPs visit Eden Chipmill

    Greens MPs from Victoria, NSW and the ACT will converge on South East NSW to step up the Greens campaign to end the logging of native forests.

    Greens MPs Sue Pennicuik (Vic), Lee Rhiannon (NSW) and Deb Foskey (ACT) will visit Eden Chipmill and the South East forests area.

    When:     Monday 1 September:           Eden Chipmill – 11.30am                                                             Gnupa area – logged site – 2pm

    The MPs will:

    • Meet with local campaigners and Greens activists
    • Tour the Eden Chipmill
    • Visit a recently logged area of native forest at Gnupa

    Victorian Greens MP Sue Pennicuik said, "Greens MPs have crossed jurisdictional borders to plan how we can best use our combined energies to step up the campaign to stop the logging of our native forests.

    "With climate change closing in, the logging of native forests and associated industry is an issue not just for Eden but for the planet.

    NSW Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said, "One of the most significant actions we can take is to cut Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions is to stop native forest logging.

    "Our precious forests are of far greater value to us as a carbon band than as a shipload of woodchip or a pile of ashes.

    Dr Deb Foskey, MLA in the ACT Parliament said, "Native forests should not be felled for woodchips, electricity generation or to drive the profits of overseas companies.

    "Along with the threats posed by logging to climate change comes the immediate devastation to our natural environment, threats to flora and fauna and destruction of water supplies," Dr Foskey said.

    Additional media release to be issued on day of the Eden chipmill visit.

     

    Turning point in campaign against desalination plant as Bob Brown joins protest

    Bob Brown has thrown his support behind the campaign against the desalination plant near Wonthaggi.  The Greens leader will fly down to the Bass Coast site for a protest rally today.

    The rally against the $3.1 billion plant will be addressed by Senator Brown and Greens lead Senate candidate in Victoria Richard Di Natale.

     

    "This greenhouse polluting project is every bit as destructive as the pulp mill proposed for the Tamar Valley in Tasmania," Dr Di Natale said.

     

    "The opposition to the desalination plant is clearly growing as more people learn about the climate change implications of this project," he said.

    "The Bass Coast Board Riders will today take to the water to spell out the words: 'Desal - The Big Lie$$$' as part of the protest.

    "Already local residents, fishers and environmentalists have joined the campaign against the plant, which will spew out the equivalent in greenhouse emissions of 280,000 vehicles on the road for a year.

    "As well as carbon emissions, the plant will produce toxic chemical waste and brine. Much of this will be returned to the ocean, threatening local marine habitats.

    "The Brumby Government hasn't even conducted an environmental effects inquiry.

     

    "We can do so much more by water efficiencies, recycling and harvesting - as all the reports to the government have made clear.

     

    "Desalination should be our last resort, not the first."

     Further information: Richard Di Natale 0425 771 246

     Media inquiries: Jim Buckell 0400 465 459

     

     

    VicForests sued for illegal logging

    Today, Environment East Gippsland commenced proceedings against VicForests in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

    A writ was filed with the court this morning and has just been served on VicForests.

    “We ask the Court for a permanent injunction to stop VicForests from logging Brown Mountain” said Jill Redwood, Coordinator of EEG. “We also ask the Court to declare that the logging of Brown Mountain is unlawful”.

    Brown Mountain is known habitat for at least five species of wildlife listed as vulnerable or threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act. The Court has not yet set a date for the hearing of the case.

    For comment: Jill Redwood 5154 0145.

    Victorian desalination plant may send the state broke!

    A forum held at Wonthaggi on Saturday 22nd May heard some shocking revelations about Victoria's desalination plant.

    Secrecy surrounding the contracts between the government and the desalination consortium led Kenneth Davidson, a senior journalist at the Age, to question the Victorian Auditor General. Mr Davidson found evidence of further secret contracts and indications of the real cost of the plant. “$900 million a year will eventually come from the pockets of Victorians, to pay for the desalination plant and its water”.

    He considers this amount to be unaffordable and could send the state broke within five to ten years.

    Already hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent by Bass Coast Council on work required in the municipality, as a result of the desalination project. This is money that will not be refunded, according to councillors present at the meeting.

    “30,000 tonnes of prescribed toxic waste from the desalination plant will need to be disposed of each year” said representatives of RATWISE - Residents Against Toxic Waste In the South East who expect that this will be sent to Victoria’s only toxic waste dump at Lyndhurst. This facility is fast filling up, with no current plans for an alternative site. The question left hanging was whether Bass Coast could be chosen as a future toxic waste disposal site.

    Samantha Dunn, Greens Upper House candidate for Eastern Victoria said, “Melburnians have shown their willingness to change their habits and use less water but the Brumby government is ignoring the community’s conservation of water. With the desalination plant churning out 150 gigalitres (150 billion litres) of water a year, the government has signalled that there will no longer be a need for water conservation, leaving Melburnians with the most energy intensive, environmentally unfriendly and expensive water conceivable”.

    Western Port ecosystem more important than plans to expand Port of Hastings

    The Greens have rejected the government's proposal to abolish the Port of Hastings Corporation and incorporate it into the Port of Melbourne Corporation, under the Ports Integration bill in state parliament this week.

    Sue Pennicuik, Greens spokesperson for Ports said. "The Greens have grave concerns about the impact of a larger Port of Hastings on the local environment and on Western Port Bay, which is a Ramsar-listed wetland."

    "This is the Year of Biodiversity and our wetlands are havens for biodiversity - we should be protecting and enhancing them. We have already lost too much," she said. "Western Port Bay is a haven for the thousands of water birds that visit it from all around the world every year and a unique tidal mud flat ecosystem that is very precious to Victorians."

    "While the Coalition also rejected the Ports Integration Bill, they and the government want to see the Port of Hastings develop full steam ahead into a significant container port," she said. "This is the wrong way to go, we should be looking first at preserving and enhancing the integrity of Western Port for future generations."

    "The health and long-term integrity of Western Port is paramount. Any development at Hastings needs to fit in with the long term needs of the ecosystem, not the usual approach of dreaming up a massive development proposal and then trying to 'manage' the environmental damage," she said.

    "Western Port has already suffered much damage, in terms of pollution and loss of sea grass and mangroves, due to Port and other activities on its shores," she said. "This level of damage cannot continue into the future and that is the threshold issue that needs to be addressed before any Port expansion plans are entertained."

    "The inconvenient truth is most likely that the Port of Hastings should be down scaled, not expanded, in order to preserve the Western Port ecosystem for future generations."

    For further comment: Sue Pennicuik – 9530 8399

    Amanda Sharp Office of Greens MLC Sue Pennicuik Southern Metropolitan Region

    Wombat Forest logging denial not credible: Greens

    Greens candidate for Western Victoria Marcus Ward says the denial from DSE that Wombat Forest has been opened up to logging from 2012 is not credible.

    "The Government's native forest logging plan has been revealed and their damage control is in tatters," said Marcus Ward. "DSE says Wombat Forest will not be logged, but the VicForest allocations are clear as day, come 2012 it's open slather." *  

    "Geoff Howard must step up and categorically rule out logging in the Wombat Forest and tell us exactly what native forests in Western Victoria will be open to logging after 2012."

    "It's not enough to make empty promises before the election, if the Wombat Forest isn't going to be open to logging it has to be removed from the VicForest allocations."

    "Promises from the Brumby Government are coming thick and fast in the lead up to the state election, but people are smarter than that, they know the promises hold no water and can't be trusted beyond November, let alone 2012."

    "The community has spoken, they don't want logging in the Wombat Forest and after years of work they deserve certainty. The Wombat must be removed from the VicForest allocations."

    * attached is a DSE map clearly showing the Wombat Forest included in VicForests Allocated Stands for 2010

    Contact: Marcus Ward on 0427 235 254 or 5423 5254

    No link between live music and violence

    The recent closure of the Tote in Collingwood has generated a lot of public debate about Victoria's liquor licensing regime. Contrary to recent reports, the security requirements for venues with live music were not part of the bill that passed state parliament late last year. The requirement for live music venues to provide security staff is not enshrined in any act of parliament – it is something the government started requiring of licensees long ago.

    "The Commissioner can remove the link between live music and the requirement for security at any time, and she should do so now," Victorian Greens spokesperson for the Arts, Ms Pennicuik said today.

    "I understand the concern about 'alcohol-fuelled violence' in certain precincts but these smaller live music venues are not where the violence is and are suffering from unintended consequences of the liquor licensing rules," she said.

    "The government should make the trigger/s for special licence conditions a history of violence, the level of alcohol consumption, late night operations and patron numbers, NOT the presence of live or amplified music. Any connection between security and live music should be removed."

    Liquor licensing policies and laws should support live music and any major changes to licence conditions must be assessed for their impact on the viability of live music venues, as well as their effectiveness in reducing alcohol-related violence.

    "The government must abandon its plans for a 2am lockout," she said. "The Greens oppose the government's '2am lockout' bill. The 2008 lock out trial resulted in people wandering the streets, making everyone less safe."

    "The government should target violence, not talent. Music doesn't cause violence, as the government's own studies say.* The link between music and licensing requirements should be removed."

    *http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/DOJ+Internet/resources/file/ebc215470f28b4d/RIS.pdf

    Opinion Pieces

    Opinion pieces and letters to the editor

    A New Approach

    At the outset of this campaign, I said that there were three broad areas that I want to tackle in Council. A new approach to urban planning and design. A more activist approach to local government. Greater transparency and scrutiny.

    Local government performs an impressive range of jobs and services, for what is, in the end, not a bad price, the cost of your rates. But things can be better. As citizens and as communities, we are entitled to expect things to be better. We need to tackle what I think is a complacency, a malaise, a ‘business as usual’ approach, that infects government decision-making.

    Planning decisions need to do more than deliver developer profitability through suburb-building without neighbourhood shops and footpaths, without public transport, without attractive community spaces, without targets for affordable housing. That sort of planning is a debacle. It is planning for subdivision, not for communities. 

    A new approach also means a new approach to action. Council needs to take seriously its duty to act as an advocate for the region. Not simply a lobbyist, nor a marketing agency. Governments listen when communities organise, discuss, debate, engage and agitate.
     
    I want to see Council at the centre of organising and agitating, whether it is around an overhauled and extensive public transport system, innovative, sustainable and local water supply solutions, or safer roads.
     
    I’ve been an advocate and campaign organiser. With your help I’ll take these skills to Council.
     
    Bruce Lindsay
    Candidate for Deakin Ward By-election

     

    Armstrong Creek equals rampant subdivision and developer profits

    I note the editorial outburst in Thursday’s Advertiser regarding Armstrong Creek. It is to be expected that the press will nail their political colours to the mast in any election, and I’ve no doubt Andy Richards is quite capable of defending himself over these issues. Having said that, there are serious policy reasons why this editorialising is at best misconceived on the question of Armstrong Creek. I have previously written of them in this newspaper.

    The Armstrong Creek Plan is beset with a fundamental contradiction of trying to accommodate unprecedented urban sprawl with elements of environmentally-sensitive urban design. In an attempt to reduce car-dependence and other ills associated with unreconstructed sprawl, the Plan included concepts such as ‘walkable’ neighbourhoods, ‘greenways’, substantial open space contributions, increased public transport services, and mixed density developments. 

    A recent Planning Panel Report essentially recommended stripping most of the ‘green’ elements, in an extraordinary capitulation to developers’ interests.
     
    Expert evidence noted that even the original Plan lacked satisfactory targets and plans for providing key community infrastructure, such as child-care, aged-care and libraries. Other expert evidence noted that, without measures to reduce car-dependence, Armstrong Creek will add 24,000 cars a day to local roads. Additionally, delivery of public transport services will fail in the face of the existing malaise in Geelong’s public transport system.
     
    Armstrong Creek needs to be subjected to the blow-torch of public scrutiny and critique. So far it has slipped below the public radar. It is a massive proposal with far-reaching impacts, especially those in Deakin Ward. Exposing shortcomings and proposing alternatives are essential to getting urban development right. Our communities expect elected officials to do this and do it properly. It is not satisfactory that ‘urban growth’ equates to rampant subdivision and developer profits; it must first and foremost establish and foster communities.
     
    Bruce Lindsay
    Candidate for Deakin Ward By-election

     

    Carbon and a sinking feeling

    THE Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee recently inquired and reported into tax changes aimed at promoting investment in carbon sinks.

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    Carbon sinks may be understood as one side of the climate change equation. If greenhouse gas emissions, such as CO2, are the basic problem, then plants absorbing or sequestering CO2 are key to a solution. It's not all as simple as that, of course. In fact, calculating the capacity of plants to sequester carbon via photosynthesis is an immensely difficult exercise, not least because we are often dealing with complex and highly diverse ecological communities.

    Government plans to allow tax deductibility for carbon sink forests split the Senate committee along interesting party lines. ALP senators, not surprisingly, voted for the changes. A dissenting report was produced by the Greens Chris Milne, the Liberals' Bill Heffernan and two National Party senators. Among their concerns was the likelihood carbon sink tax write-offs would have a similar effect to managed investment schemes, producing large-scale conversion and/or buy-up of farming land and shift it to tree cropping.

    The carbon sinks legislation, in its current form, would accelerate MIS problems. Its contribution to carbon sequestration would likely be marginal with other perverse outcomes. The concern among dissenting senators is not only in land-use change such as taking land out of food production. Other outcomes are likely to be accelerated destruction of local rural communities, as family farms are sold up, consolidated or converted, people move to regional centres or further afield.

    There is no requirement that carbon sink forests actually contribute to biodiversity. This is significant. Recent ANU research shows the net carbon sink benefits of commercial plantations are far lower  _ around 40 to 60 per cent lower  than for native, bio-diverse forests in southeast Australia. The concept of carbon sink in the legislation is woefully inadequate, essentially equating it to an abstract stand of trees. By comparison, Australia's huge rangelands, if properly managed, would be a major carbon sink, even though they are deserts. There are no estimates on how much carbon will be sequestered by the scheme.

    The dissenting senators instead recommended that, among other things, the rules be tightened considerably on carbon sink tax rules so that native vegetation cannot be cleared, carbon sinks must be bio-diverse, prime agricultural land must be excluded from the scheme, and the nature of carbon property rights are clarified.

    The carbon sink tax rules are a poorly designed, ill thought out, tax windfall for big plantation companies. The Government would be better advised to withdraw the legislation and do the job properly, sort out what carbon rights are going to look like and how to put vegetation communities into the scheme rather than vague and abstract forests. -- Bruce Lindsay is convenor of the Geelong Greens. 

    http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/article/2008/09/26/19015_news_pf.html

    The Geelong Advertiser Pty. Ltd.

     

    Coastal strategy lost at sea

    PLANNING along the Victorian coast is overseen by the Victorian Coastal Council (VCC). This body has the responsibility for producing a Victorian Coastal Strategy under the Coastal Management Act for long-term planning of the Victorian coast. The current strategy, written in 2002, is being revised.

    A draft strategy came out nearly a year ago. I understood the final version was to be released this Friday. But speculation has it that the document landed on the doorstep of the State Treasury and it went into a spin about the implications of climate change and sea level rise predictions in the document. 

    It appears the strategy is being held up because the State Government has just realised climate change will have an immense impact on the Victorian coast, and these problems are no longer an abstraction. The strategy is a major planning document. Its application to planning decisions will affect billions of dollars worth of land, property and infrastructure. There was clear warning of this.  

    VCC chair Libby Mears last November stated that sea-level rise would be at the centre of the document. The VCC was planning for a rise of up to 80cm by 2100. Now it appears there is a great scramble for a political response to a systemic crisis, The Hollowmen style.  

    Once property prices and development applications might be adversely affected, they jump into action. They are less concerned with responding to silly old things like climate science and the precautionary principle that we act to mitigate environmental damage even without absolute certainty. 

    It is worth noting that coastal impacts are already being felt, especially in the form of erosion. Furthermore, it is increasingly likely that an 80cm sea-rise by 2100 is wishful, if not fanciful, thinking. Sea-level rise will more likely be measured in metres not centimetres, given the feedback consequences of events such as the melting of Arctic ice. This point is made in detail in the Carbon Equity submission to the draft coastal strategy.  

    A further important point is made by Deakin University's Geoff Westcott in his submission that a prospective planning crisis is emerging on the coast as climate change impacts combine with development pressures. Rates of development approvals in coastal areas have been significantly higher than inland in our region consistent with the seachange phenomenon.  

    There seems to be little or no political will to deal with it, at state or local government levels, whether by fixed coastal town boundaries, a development moratorium or strategic retreat from the coast. I guess we'll see when the final strategy emerges from Treasury. 

    http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/article/2008/09/11/18182_opinion.html

     

     

    Multiculturalism in Victoria

    What a terrific story on multiculturalism on the front page of the Journal Sep 8. An under 15 football team that reflects the nature and benefits of multiculturalism. Top points for making it a page one feature.

     
    Multiculturalism is a great way of life, a much needed example to others, and a wonderful learning experience all at the same time. When people take the time to understand a bit more about others who are different to themselves... it helps the world become a better place.
     
    Instead of fear and stereotypes, knowledge and friendship happens. Instead of remaining in ignorance and prejudice, we see understanding and tolerance grow. People realize that we really can live together in harmony, even if we are not the same.
     
    Whether it is cultural practices, or religious beliefs - by promoting multiculturalism, we see wonderful outcomes for the community. And Greater Dandenong is a much needed example for the rest of the world. In a relatively stable environment, we can all get along and respect and value each other as part of the wider community. Let us never forget to be active in maintaining and promoting multiculturalism.
     
    Jim Reiher, Springvale.
    One of the Vic Greens spokespersons on Multiculturalism in Victoria, and the endorsed candidate for the Greater Dandenong City Council election in November: Red Gum Ward. 

    Poker machines, youth and alcohol

    I was surprised by the "angle" of the story in the Journal (front page Aug 18): "We'll Walk". The report made it seem like council had made a bad decision in blocking a development application for a hotel with up to 60 poker machines, and the sale of alcohol, in a youth area! The way the story was packaged, made it sound like the council blew it: another lost business opportunity for Dandenong!

     
    I would have liked to have seen the Journal actually praise the courage of the council on this one.
     
    Think about it: Who really wants up to 60 more poker machines in Dandenong any way? And then, in an area that is specifically youth focused?
     
    Sometimes council gets it wrong (the history of the Lyndhurst tip would be a classic example). But not this decision about the hotel in a youth precinct.
     
    And congratulations to the council for not being "bought" with a promise of $50,000 a year for "youth training". That is like a junk food company throwing its loose change at heart research and pretending it is doing something good for the community.
     
    This time, council got it right.

    Jim Reiher

    Springvale

    Greens Candidate for the City of Greater Dandenong Council elections in November: Red Gum Ward

    Wean Melbourne from the Murray

    Sir, I write in response to your article 'Mitchell Dam supporters slammed' (Bairnsdale Advertiser 31/10) in the interest of setting your readers and Mr Craig Ingram MP straight.

    For many years the Australian Greens have been campaigning for better amd more sustainable environmental flows for river systems across this country. This, of course, includes the once-might Murray River. We oppose the north-south pipeline because of the precious water that would be extracted from an already stressed river system.

    Melbourne, like Adelaide, needs to wean itself off the Murray. Each year in the Victorian capitial, 500 gigalitres flows from the stormwater straight out to sea. This could be, and must be, captured, reused and recycled to supply Melbourne - no dam required.

    Despite what Mr Ingram claims, I have never supported damming the Mitchell River. As a South Australian senator and an Australian Greens senator, I want to see the health of our river systems made a government priority. Envirnomental flows must be obtained and protected so that enough water remains within the rivers for them to survice.

    I look forward to discussing these issues with Mr Ingram, and determining how we can work constructively together in the future. He will find my door and phone line are always accessible.

    As always, accurate information on Greens policy and media statements can be found on our website,

    yours etc

    Sarah Hanson-Young,

    Greens Senator for South Australia

    Parliament can block desalination plant approval

    Greens MLC's in the state Parliament will try and block the approval of the desalination plant. "We will move a motion of disallowance when Mr Madden tables planning scheme amendments in the Upper House this year" said Greg Barber.  http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24892718-2862,00.html

    Mr Madden's report says the planning schemes of four shires will need to be amended to allow the plant and its associated powerlines and water pipelines to be built. http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/DSE/nrenpl.nsf/LinkView/5249619A2A213442CA2573BE007EEAA992FBC7C133A6F520CA2572DA007FAB8B

    Section 38(2)of the Planning and Environment Act allows either house of Parliament to vote to disallow a planning scheme amendment tabled by the Minister.

    To stop the desalination plant will require the support of all Liberal, National and DLP Upper House members.

     

    -- Greg Barber MLC,
    (03) 9348 2622,     www.electedgreensvictoria.org.au/  

    Submissions

    submissions

    Armstrong Creek UGP Panel hearing Presentation

     

    I thank the Panel for the opportunity to appear before it today. My submission seeks to highlight and extend points made in my written submission. In the time available I cannot deal with every matter I feel needs to be addressed, especially given the complexity and scale of the Armstrong Creek Urban Growth Plan. However, I would like to speak to a few key themes, which I believe highlight some important questions of policy contained with the proposed Amendment and the Plan underpinning it.

     

    Contradictions embodied in the Urban Growth Plan
     
    At the outset, I would submit that the Urban Growth Plan and the attendant Planning Scheme Amendment exhibit two fundamental contradictions or tensions.

     

    Climate change

     

    Contribution of Armstrong Creek to housing affordability

     

     
     
    Conclusions
     
    In conclusion, I believe the UGP contains important limitations, some of which I have touched on today. Others I have referred to in the earlier written submission.
    I believe there is scope for substantial revision of the Plan. I also believe there are opportunities for the Plan to make major policy contributions to sustainable urban design,
    in particular in the face of climate change and socioeconomic challenges.

     

    Armstrong Creek Urban Growth Plan

     

    Introduction
     
    The Armstrong Creek UGP envisages expanding urban Geelong by 54,000 residents, or around 25%, in the next fifty years. Consequently, the Plan is an extensive and complex document. The UGP is characterised by a central strategic tension between further suburbanisation (and sprawl) on the one hand, and imperatives for more environmentally- and socially-sensitive urban design on the other hand. Many of the planning elements focused on sustainable development are to be applauded. Scepticism still exists in the ability of Council through this Plan to implement these provisions and policies. The UGP gives little direction in relation to binding mechanisms and instruments required to give effect to policies express or implied in the document. The Greens propose amendment to some of the fundamental principles of the Plan, with a view to overcoming strategic tensions. Additionally, we propose confirmation of funding or other necessary measures from relevant agencies in relation to key services and infrastructure prior to any final commitment to the Plan. Finally, we make recommendations regarding particular heritage proposals and provisions for biodiversity corridors and employment land.
     
    Summary of Recommendations
     
    Recommendation 1:
    It is recommended that the Plan be accompanied by, or at least foreshadow, policy and statutory mechanisms and/or instruments that will be necessary to give effect to guiding principles.
     
    Recommendation 2:
    Reduce projected population at Armstrong Creek by at least 25% (or to a maximum of 40,000), primarily in low-density zones, to reduce suburban sprawl and development pressures. In addition, realign the UGP boundaries to remove residential development south of Armstrong’s Creek and to the east of Barwon Heads Rd.
     
    Recommendation 3:
    Refocus urban design strategy for Geelong generally on urban consolidation within existing city boundaries.
     
    Recommendation 4:
    Avoid suburban sprawl (“unintentional”) development planning for Armstrong Creek and put in place planning mechanisms to encourage hamlet and/or intentional community development models beyond the current limited vision for these models.
     
    Recommendation 5:
    Establish appropriate statutory and/or policy instrument to give effect to requirement that all dwellings and buildings in the development zone are meet minimum 6-star environmental efficiency rating. Establish a timetable for moving to a higher rating standard over time.
     
    Recommendation 6:
    Confirm public transport funding mechanisms, infrastructure and organisation adequate to the vision of the UGP prior to project commencement.
     
    Recommendation 7:
    Confirm infrastructure spending commitments by relevant agencies (and/or funding mechanisms) for recycled water technology and renewable energy systems prior to commencement of the project.
     
    Recommendation 8:
    In consultation with the local Aboriginal community, establish a heritage trail along the traditional Wathaurong route including Armstrong Creek as a matter of priority.
     
    Recommendation 9:
    Undertake further archaeological within the development zone with a view to identifying and protecting Aboriginal and European heritage sites.
     
    Recommendation 10:
    Accommodate (heavy) industrial employment within the UGP and incorporate industrial land to the west of Ghazapores Rd into the UGP framework.
     
    Recommendation 11:
    Substantially expand protective buffers on biodiversity corridors, including Armstrong Creek, and reserves, to protect biodiversity and heritage values. 
     
    Recommendation 12:
    Hydrological research into the effects of the UGP on the Lower Barwon estuarine system, and appropriate policy responses and measures, needs to be undertaken prior to commencement of the project.
     
    Recommendation 13:
    Downgrade Barwon Heads Rd from a major route to minor local route. Divert Bellarine Peninsula traffic from Barwon Heads Rd to Torquay or Ghazapore Rd’s, via Lower Duneed Rd.
     
    Overview of UGP
     
    The Armstrong Creek Urban Growth Plan (UGP) envisages expansion of urban Geelong to the south of the existing city, from the suburbs of Grovedale and Waurn Ponds toward Torquay. This UGP encompasses a period of approximately fifty years, and is intended to be the primary growth corridor for Geelong over that time. The UGP is proposed as the key urban development strategy for Geelong. It is anticipated that the growth area will accommodate around 54,000 people, include industrial/commercial zones, open space, non-developable areas and infrastructure zones. This is around a 25% expansion of Geelong’s population over this timeframe.
     
    Origins of the UGP lie in proposals put forward in the mid-1980s by the then Geelong Regional Commission and reiterated in subsequent strategic planning documents, such as the CoGG 1996 Urban Growth Strategy. The strategy originally proposed by the GRC combined expansion in the Armstrong Creek area with expansion in the Barabool Hills area, with a smaller-scale development for Armstrong Creek than currently proposed.
     
    Consistent with the scale of the project, the UGP is substantial in its scope and complexity. Without seeking to detract from the detail and particularity of the UGP, the following can be identified as general, key themes underpinning the Plan and its urban development strategy:
     
    a.      The UGP contains important measures aimed at incorporating new, progressive and environmentally-sensitive design principles into development at Armstrong Creek. These measures include requirements for mixed housing densities, greenways and other open spaces, high penetration of public transport and other strategies (eg “walkability”) design to overcome “car dependency,” water-sensitive urban design and energy efficiency (including renewable energies) in infrastructure development, and protection of biodiversity and heritage values.
    b.      The growth area will contain various subregional and neighbourhood centres, as longer-term development nodes (“activity centres”), as well as industrial and commercial zones aimed at creating a local economy and local communities, and avoiding an overwhelming “dormitory suburb” character.
    c.      Residential development will continue to favour low-density housing overall (approximately 70%), and initial developments will be based on this type of housing, including building out from existing suburban areas (eg Grovedale). This process will be part of a “staging” plan for development and service-delivery, which includes land release in 10-year cycles and gradual “maturing” of areas (eg increasing densities over time).
    d.      The UGP will be accompanied by a range of further Plans and other instruments, including statutory instruments, applicable to the scale and subject-matter of development as the development process unfolds over time.
    e.      Development of Armstrong Creek will be governed and managed by the CoGG.
     
    The language and themes of the UGP remain overly cautious and indeterminate in status. Particular provisions of the Plan, expressed for instance as “principles,” may be described as aspirational rather than effective or binding. The UGP gives little direction in relation to binding mechanisms and instruments required to give effect to policies express or implied in the document.
     
    Recommendation 1: It is recommended that the Plan be accompanied by, or at least foreshadow, the policy and statutory mechanisms and/or instruments that will be “deployed” to give effect to guiding principles.
     
    With respect to this cursory overview, several issues may be identified in the Plan, from which particular submissions arise.
     
    Tensions and contradiction within the urban growth strategy generally
     
    The UGP appears as the culmination of two urban planning and design tendencies, which do not necessarily sit easily together. The strategy underpinning the UGP is to extend Geelong along a suburban axis south of the existing urban area, while at the same time seeking to apply stronger sustainability principles as an antidote to adverse effects of suburban sprawl.[1] In addition, the development area is contiguous with existing suburban zones, notably at Grovedale and Marshall. The latter are acknowledged as containing urban design elements characteristic of suburban sprawl, especially in regards to development based on car dependency. As part of the staging process, the UGP will concentrate development at two key sites – Marshall and Torquay Rd – in low-density housing densities. There is a substantial risk in this “staging” plan of reproducing the expectations and models of existing suburban sprawl within the development area (Figure 1).
     
    In part, it may be surmised that the manifest tension within the UGP regarding suburban sprawl is attributable to changing approaches to urban design and greater awareness of (and technical proficiency in) sustainability principles in urban planning. Ecologically sustainable development (ESD) principles have been officially adopted within government since at least the early 1990s. While undoubtedly in evidence in the UGP, the prevailing strategic premise of continued suburban expansion appears to affirm relatively outdated philosophies and approaches for Geelong’s urban design. The original proposals for urban expansion at Armstrong Creek pre-date moves toward ESD and complementary urban planning models.[2] The UGP reflects this somewhat anachronistic factor in its urban design projections for Geelong.
     
    Notwithstanding prospective moves toward urban consolidation strategies for Geelong, such as in a new Municipal Strategic Statement, overall strategic planning for Geelong should prioritise urban consolidation within existing urban boundaries over the Armstrong Creek urban growth corridor. This would require substantial revision of the UGP, including curtailing of the scope and size of the project and of planned population volumes.
     
    In order to ease development pressures which are likely to arise as a result of the suburban sprawl/sustainable development tension, it is submitted that the size of Armstrong Creek be reduced, from approximately 54,000 residents to a maximum of 40,000, with the reduction principally occurring in “conventional density” zones.[3]
     
    Recommendation 2: Reduce projected population at Armstrong Creek by at least 25% (or to a maximum of 40,000), primarily in low-density zones, to reduce suburban sprawl and development pressures. In addition, realign the UGP boundaries to remove residential development south of Armstrong’s Creek and to the east of Barwon Heads Rd.
     
    Recommendation 3: Refocus urban design strategy for Geelong on urban consolidation within existing city boundaries.
     
     
     
    Figure 1: Suburban housing, Grovedale, at margins of the development area.
     
    Housing densities, environmental ratings, and community models
     
    In the circumstances that the CoGG proceeds with the UGP substantially in its existing form, we submit that revisions ought to be made to provisions in relation to housing and community form. Currently, proposed ratios of low- to higher-density housing are approximately 70% to 30%. It is not unexpected in this context that approximately 80% of residential areas will be low-density housing.[4] It is recognised that these figures are within the thresholds proposed by, for instance, the 1996 Urban Growth Strategy.[5] On the scale proposed by the UGP, these ratios remain consistent with, and will reproduce the expectations of, suburban sprawl in the development zone. It may be anticipated that key elements of the UGP will modify the tendencies to suburban sprawl, in particular the focus in the structure plan of numerous “activity centres” and “neighbourhood centres.” Such structures with the UGP are supported, and it is important and significant that these centres are configured in such a way as to encourage and facilitate walking and cycling within the development area. However, if finer-scale building and planning models for low-density areas replicate current practice (exhibited, for instance, in newer suburban developments on Geelong’s periphery and in the regional towns), the density ratio ought to be shifted in favour of higher density developments in closer proximity to activity centres.[6] This may require reconsideration of the “staging plan.”
     
    An alternative model lies in the proposal for ecovillage developments. It is unfortunate that this development model receives only cursory reference on p. 150 of the UGP Vol 1. Ecovillage, or intentional community, developments represent a substantial break with the existing patterns and behaviours of suburban sprawl. They possess potential for greater flexibility and innovation in community organisation and living within the development zone. Notably, they tend to assert strongly sustainability principles, consistent with the UGP, and would likely achieve sustainability targets higher than those proposed or implied in the UGP. Also, they are premised on planned communities and actively engaged citizens, not simply the physical elements of urban planning.[7] Community models have encompassed a broad range of settings, housing densities and philosophical underpinnings.[8]
     
    US research suggests that quality of life is higher under this development model than in conventional models and living practices are measurably more sustainable.[9] It is submitted that the eco-village/intentional community model should achieve greater attention, support and priority within the UGP. The current provision for investigation of “one or two” such developments ought to be replaced with appropriate and binding targets for ecovillage-type developments.
     
    The ecovillage model may also be extrapolated as a series of “hamlets” across the residential zones, rather than an amorphous mass of suburban housing. This would require, for instance, revegetation zones, biodiversity zones, commons or other green spaces interspersing each site. There are some tendencies to this in the existing greenways. This would amount to a qualitative redesign of the structure plan in relation to residential/housing zones.
     
    Notwithstanding expansion of the ecovillage model, it is imperative that housing and other buildings within the development zone be underpinned by stringent environmental efficiency ratings. In light of the climate change/global warming crisis, recently confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change,[10] this represents essential CoGG policy in response to national and global action on climate change. The UGP currently implies a 5-6 star rating system for residential and/or commercial buildings: that is, requirement for solar energy systems and rainwater harvesting.[11] It is submitted that mandatory minimum ratings of 6-star resource efficiency need to apply to all buildings in the development zone, and that this should be established as CoGG policy as a matter of priority. CoGG must then establish a timetable for progressive implementation of higher energy ratings for dwellings and buildings over time, consistent with the “staging plan.”
     
    Recommendation 4: Avoid suburban sprawl (“unintentional”) development planning for Armstrong Creek and put in place planning mechanisms to encourage hamlet and/or intentional community development models beyond the current limited role for these models.
     
    Recommendation 5: Establish appropriate statutory and/or policy instrument to give effect to requirement that all dwellings and buildings in the development zone are meet minimum 6-star environmental efficiency rating. Establish a timetable for moving to a higher rating standard over time.
     
    Transport
     
    The Greens strongly support the stated objectives of the UGP to move away from car dependency and promote a range of alternative transport modes. Car dependency is a primary symptom of suburban sprawl and it has been identified with adverse health and environmental effects.[12] Transport is one of the fastest growing greenhouse gas emission sectors and this is led by road transport.[13] Structural measures to achieve sustainable transport objectives are also strongly supported. These include urban design around activity centres, the principle of a “walkable” development, high penetration of greenways and cycle routes, and plans for high public transport penetration. These measures are to be commended, especially where they coincide with the protection (and improvement) of open space, biodiversity and heritage zones and corridors.
     
    On a more cautious note, and consistent with the points above, we are concerned that there exist significant countervailing pressures to these progressive features in transport and urban planning.
     
    Plans for high public transport penetration in Armstrong Creek can be contrasted with poor existing public transport services in Geelong and very low rates of patronage. We would largely concur with the analysis and proposals of the Public Transport Users Association in relation to the public transport situation in Geelong.[14] Without substantial and demonstrable shifts in transport policy and practice (at all levels of government), it is difficult to see how the projections of the UGP are to be delivered. Failure to deliver strong public transport outcomes for Armstrong Creek would arguable compromise delivery of other outcomes (eg reduction in car dependency).
     
    State Government commitment to substantial and sustained improvements in Geelong’s public transport system is a pre-requisite for the viability of the transport projections for Armstrong Creek, if not the project generally.
     
    Internal focus on “walkable” developments and cycling is to be applauded. Lack of comparable infrastructure, such as cycleways, in contiguous suburbs will be problematic and tend to restrict use of more sustainable transport modes to “internal” trips. In effect, the existing southern suburbs (and suburbs beyond the Barwon River to the north-east) create a relatively “unsustainable” buffer between Armstrong Creek and the rest of urban Geelong.
     
    Greenways and other sustainable transport infrastructure[15] need to be extended into adjoining suburbs, to shopping centres and central Geelong. Promotion of non-car motorised transport, such as scooters and smaller motorbikes, should be part of the sustainable transport mix and road development needs to be sympathetic to these modes.
     
    Finally, a proposed route for an East-West Link Road is included in the UGP. This route is placed through a biodiversity corridor, with likely adverse impact on that corridor (see Figure 2). Moreover, this proposal highlights the need for a more wide-ranging review of Geelong’s road transport arrangements. One of the prevailing rationales for Vicroad’s realignment of Breakwater Road, against local resident opposition, is to ease East-West traffic flows through central Geelong. The proposed East-West Link in the UGP appears to be (or at least is meant to be) a more effective response to this problem. In that case, the Breakwater project would appear to be an ad hoc and potentially redundant response to this traffic issue.
     
    Recommendation 6: Confirm public transport funding mechanisms, infrastructure and organisation adequate to the vision of the UGP prior to project commencement.
     
     
     
    Figure 2: Proposed East-West Link Rd corridor
     
    Water and Energy
     
    The Greens strongly support the water-sensitive urban design elements and the commitments to sustainable energy policies proposed in the UGP.[16] We note in particular the commitments to “third pipe” recycling technology, mandatory rainwater harvesting and low water gardens, and mandatory solar energy capture. We reiterate that greater use of, and targets for, ecovillage/intentional community development models would significantly assist these efforts. As far as practicable, the Armstrong Creek communities should move toward self-sufficiency in resource requirements, such as water, energy and waste disposal. This principle should be factored into pricing models for development and land release.
     
    Moves toward self-sufficiency in relation to water are a longer-term imperative. This is reinforced by climate change scenarios including low-rainfall projections informing the State Government’s Sustainable Water Strategy: Central Region.[17] Self-sufficiency initiatives will be essential to preclude other, adverse developments such as large-scale water extraction from the Newlingrook Aquifer (proposed in the Central Region Water Strategy), which would have long-term detrimental impact on the Gellibrand River.
     
    Recommendation 7: Confirm infrastructure spending commitments by relevant agencies (and/or funding mechanisms) for recycled water technology and renewable energy systems prior to commencement of the project.
     
    Heritage protection
     
    The Greens strongly support the Koori and European heritage protection measures proposed in the UGP.[18] In particular, we support stronger interpretive measures, and further archaeological work, under the leadership and supervision of the appropriate Aboriginal authority. The opportunity presented by the UGP should be taken to establish a trail along the traditional Wathaurong route between Mt. Moriac, Armstrong Creek, Reedy Lake and the coast, recognised as an ancient “right of way” of the local Koori community. The CoGG should seek protection of this route under relevant heritage legislation or alternatively under its own statutory instruments. This trail should be established and built as a matter of priority in development “staging,” and should primarily exist as an unpaved bush trail within substantial biodiversity corridors. We support the requirement for archaeological assessment of development sites prior to the issuing of relevant permits.
     
    Recommendation 8: In consultation with the local Aboriginal community, establish a heritage trail along the traditional Wathaurong route including Armstrong Creek as a matter of priority.
     
    Recommendation 9: Undertake further archaeological within the development zone with a view to identifying and protecting Aboriginal and European heritage sites.
     
    Industrial zones/economic strategy
     
    The Greens support the principle of developing local economies within the development area, and therefore moving away from the dormitory suburb trends that have affected Geelong. One of the most significant indicators of this trend is the net “export” of employment out of the Geelong region.
     
    The UGP suggests that the appropriate industrial/employment strategy for this region is a dual economy consisting of high-tech manufacturing on the one hand and services provision on the other hand. While these aspirations appear consistent with prevailing economic-development rhetoric, they also appear to discount important realities in Geelong’s existing and historic labour markets: trade, labouring and related jobs (ie industrial, blue collar employment) are over-represented in Geelong compared to the State average. These sectors will need to be accounted for in employment land use zoning. It is suggested that land to the west of Ghazepore’s Rd, currently outside of the development area, be set aside for industrial employment use (a quarry is already proposed for this site) (see Figure 3).
     
    Recommendation 10 : Accommodate (heavy) industrial employment within the UGP and incorporate industrial land to the west of Ghazapores Rd into the UGP framework.
     
     
     
    Figure 3: Industrial land (future quarry site) to west of development area, Ghazapores Rd
     
    Buffers on biodiversity corridors and “edge” effect in biodiversity zones
     
    The Greens support moves to protect biodiversity zones in the Armstrong Creek area, notably where these are extant along stream and road corridors, in floodplains, and in remnant reserves such as at Stewart’s Reserve and Mt Duneed reserve. It important that these areas will be protected with appropriate overlays. It appears that areas of remnant vegetation on private land will also be protected. The Greens support the development of greenways and/or other trails along relevant biodiversity corridors.
     
    There are notable limits or shortcomings in relation to some of these biodiversity zones that need to be remedied:
     
    ·         Buffers on streams and other corridors do not appear to account for the important “edge” effect that exists at the margins of remnant vegetation patches. This effect refers in particular to the penetration of weed species into patches of native vegetation, subverting the integrity and biodiversity of those patches. In urban areas, this edge effect can be significant, especially in corridor patches. Given the extent of proposed development, all relevant biodiversity zones need to be expanded to incorporate buffers to account for edge effects. Where necessary this will need to be done by revegetation. Widening the buffers along Armstrong Creek itself would also appear necessary in development of a heritage trail (see Figure 4).
    ·         The proposed East-West Link Road is situated in part on a Barwon Water reserve and intends, on the UGP, to pass through a biodiversity corridor. While there may be merits to this route, the development of a relatively major route such as this would conflict with the biodiversity values of that corridor.
     
    Recommendation 11: Substantially expand protective buffers on biodiversity corridors, including Armstrong Creek, and reserves, to protect biodiversity and heritage values. 
     
     
     
    Figure 4: Armstrong Ck, from Airport Rd (left), and watercourse adjacent to Barwon Heads Rd (right) proposed as a biodiversity corridor.
     
    Hydrologic impact on Lower Barwon River estuarine system
     
    The UGP development area borders to the east the Lower Barwon estuarine system. As with estuarine ecosystems generally, the Lower Barwon ecology, including Lake Connewarre, depends on complex relationships, cycles and exchanges of fresh and saline water. These occur through flows originating in the Barwon and Moorabool catchments, on the one hand, and tidal effects on the other hand. The natural estuarine flow regimes have been altered since the middle of the 19th century, beginning with the emplacement of the upper breakwater to stop salt-water flows into the Barwon River through Geelong. The Lower Barwon is likely to be affected by long-term altered/reduced flows into the Lake system as a consequence of global warming and associated low inflow scenarios. Anthropogenic (human-induced) changes have important impacts on ecosystems in the Lower Barwon.[19]
     
    Notwithstanding WSUD measures in the UGP, it is foreseeable and likely that urban development in the Armstrong Creek catchment will affect the hydrologic regime in the Lower Barwon still further. Greater areas of impermeable surface characteristic of urban development increase surface flow volumes and velocity. The UGP also envisages various flow interception structures (dams, retarding basins, etc). Hydrology in the catchment is likely to be significantly modified, especially in terms of a complex relationship between growth in impervious surface area, semi-pervious or impervious artificial structures to be emplaced, and 28 retarding basins. Calculation of flow regimes within the UGP development zone, based upon these variables, and with a view to the ecological health of the Lower Barwon system, will be a challenging task.[20]
     
    Recommendation 12: Hydrological research into the effects of the UGP on the Lower Barwon estuarine system, and appropriate policy responses and measures, needs to be undertaken prior to commencement of the project.
     
    The future of Barwon Heads Road
     
    A relatively small “enclave” of residential and commercial land is proposed for the east side of Barwon Heads Rd, bounded to the east by rural land and flood plain. As a major road, Barwon Heads Rd represents a major impediment to access from this enclave from the proposed activity centres on Horseshoe Bend Rd.
     
    It is submitted that Barwon Heads Road should be downgraded from a major road to a minor local traffic route. Traffic from the Bellarine Peninsula to the south ought, alternatively to be channelled away from this route at Lower Duneed Rd and to the north at Torquay Rd or Ghazapore’s Rd (where it would connect with Angleasea Rd). This would also allow Barwon Heads Rd to be partially rehabilitated as a greenway or multi-modal transport route.
     
    Recommendation 13: Downgrade Barwon Heads Rd from a major route to minor local route. Divert Bellarine Peninsula traffic from Barwon Heads Rd to Surfcoast Hwy or Ghazapore Rd’s, via Lower Duneed Rd.
     
    [1] These are noted on pp. 79-80
    [2] Such as the “New Urbanism” of US urban planning and design, which aims to move substantially away from the prevailing suburban sprawl of American cities: see www.newurbanism.org, www.cnu.org.
    [3] Including through development of green space and common space “buffers” in lower density zones of around 20-25% of current low density land area.
    [4] In total, average housing density will be 16.1 dwellings per hectare in zones dedicated to housing.
    [5] A target of 15 dwellings per hectare for new subdivisons by 2020 and 25% “non-detached” dwellings, which may equate to higher density arrangements.
    [6] On the health effects of urban design, including advocacy for higher-density developments, see L. Jackson (2003) “The relationships of human health to urban design and condition” Landscape and Urban Planning 64: 191-200.
    [7] For instance, see the philosophy of the Aldinga Arts Ecovillage: “The ethos behind the environmental focus is to ensure Village residents are active participants in natural cycles. To achieve this, many opportunities are provided that shift consumer habits from that of uncaring consumers to active participants. It is therefore fair to say that Village residents need to hold an empathy with environmental principles and a willingness to live with nature, rather than above it.” http://www.aldinga-artsecovillage.com.au. On intentional communities generally, see http://www.ic.org.
    [8] Intentional communities may be contrasted to the concept of “gated communities,” which operate as an exclusive and homogenous type of residential estate. We supported the UGP’s opposition to this model of development.
    [9] K. Mulder, R. Costanza and J. Erikson 2006 “The contribution of built, human, social and natural capital to quality of life in intentional and unintentional communities” Ecological Economics 59: 13-23.
    [11] pp. 148-149
    [12] B. McCann and R. Ewing (2003) Measuring the effects of sprawl: A national analysis of physical activity, obesity and chronic disease Smart Growth America, Surface Transportation Policy Project
    [13] Australian Greenhouse Office (2004) National Greenhouse Gas Inventory http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/inventory/index.html
    [15] Including bus route design “shadowing” future tram/light rail routes, off-road bicycle routes and protected on-road bicycle routes.
    [16] UGP Volume 1, S. 4.9.3 at pp. 148-150. See Recommendation 5 above.
    [17] Victorian Government (2006) Sustainable Water Strategy: Central Region – Discussion Paper, pp. 17-21
    [18] UGP Volume 1, s. 4.3.3 at pp. 53-55
    [19] see for instance, R Mackenzie, T Pescott, M Hewish and Reedy Lake Study (2005) “The birds of Reedy Lake” in M Hewish (ed) Geelong Bird Report 2005, Geelong Field Naturalists Club
    [20] On the management situation in the Lower Barwon estuarine system, see S Awal (2006) “The Barwon estuary – and example of the estuarine management situation in Victoria” Victorian Naturalist 123 (2) April

     

    Sugarloaf Pipeline Submission

    Advisory Committee

    Sugarloaf Interconnector Pipeline Project                                                      18th March, 2008

    Via email         michael.crossman@dpcd.vic.gov.au

     

    Dear Ms Mitchell, 

    I write to express our grave concerns with the Sugarloaf Interconnector Pipeline project.

     

    It appears that this project is being pushed through with a great deal of hast rather than a proper and full examination of its impacts. For example the Project Impact Assessment report is very clear that much of the corridor has not yet been subject to a field inspection with much of the report instead depending on desk top surveys.

    Even so the flora and fauna report spells out that project will “require the removal of large areas of remnant native vegetation of at least high conservation significance” (Flora & Fauna Assessment pg22) and further notes that the full extant of such clearing cannot yet be determined.

     

    It is also clear that there will be impacts “on threatened flora and fauna species (including at least two EPBC listed species, nine FFG listed species and 25 DSE listed species)” (Flora & Fauna Assessment pg22).

     

    Without being able to examine the Environmental Management Plan, Offset Management Plan or other mitigating plans which will be offered to reduce the level of environmental damage, we are only able to express our grave concerns at the loss of highly significant flora and fauna.

     

    Victoria has already 30% of our native animals and 44% of our native plants threatened or extinct with 99% of our native grasslands cleared along with 95% of our privately owned land.

     

    This additional level of damage from a 20m to 30m wide disturbance corridor some 70Km long on waterways, flora and fauna cannot be mitigated by rehabilitation and offset planting given the long term nature of the disturbance. The preferred choice is to avoid environmental impacts all together.

     

    To that end, we are also greatly concerned with the downstream environmental impacts of water take-off from the Goulbourn River. Modernising the irrigation infrastructure of the Goulburn-Marry Irrigation District is very commendable however the water saving should then be fully utilized between the irrigators and replenishing rivers like the Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon.

     

    Melbourne has a number of other water utilization and efficiencies methodologies which could be implemented instead of siphoning this precious resource from the Goulburn.

     

    We would appreciate being able to further clarify this submission to the Advisory committee at the public hearings.

     

    Regards

     

    Louis Delacretaz

    Convenor

    Country Greens Network

    0407 300 188, ldg@softbyte.com.au

    Sugarloaf pipeline advisory committee presentation

    Thank you for the opportunity to discuss our submission with you,

    I thought I would use my 20minutes to focus on the impact on flora and fauna.

    although I would ask you to also note that we are also very concerned with social and economic impacts of the project, the production of greenhouse gases during construction and operation

    In fact we would ask that energy for the operation of the pipeline be sourced solely from renewable sources (not offsets)

    And the overall unsustainable nature of the pipeline which I will address later I my presentation

    We are also very concerned about the impact of the removal of 75 gigalitres per annum from the Goulbourn – Murray region. This water will be lost to that catchment whereas previously water that leaked from irrigation channels was staying within the catchment as ground water.

    I have focused on environmental issues because of the small value which these issues have been given in this project. This is can been seen by the weighting in the Triple Bottom Line criteria and scoring table in the Alliance Environmental Management Strategy (EMS pg25) which I’ll discuss in more detail later on.

    Any proper quality assurance system or structure design system requires that input documents be completed as a precursor to the design phase.

    However the chosen process for this project is to push on making alignment choices before conducting full field surveys needed to determine the impact of scraping clear a 30m construction corridor through remnant native vegetation of high conservation significance.

    Victoria is facing a biodiversity crisis. We are the most cleared state in the country with 30% of our native animals and some 44% of our native plants either extinct or threatened (Env Issues paper, CSIRO)

    The state government has recognized this and in part is attempting to address it with the Native Vegetation Framework. The framework requires in the first instance that vegetation removal be avoided.

    Offsetting is the remedy of a last resort, a remedy that is a much lesser value in protecting our biodiversity.

    And to produce net gain any offsetting has to be truly new vegetation of the same type and ecological values. Not some formal protection of existing vegetation. There is no net gain unless vegetation removed is replaced with new vegetation.

    To ensure that threatened species are discovered the field studies should be carried out over a period of at least a year. Typical baseline studies go for 5 to 15 years, it’s a nonsense to think you can fully discover the species present in a quick 1~3 month survey.

    Even with the limited field work to date, appendix P of the alliances EMS nominates seven EPBC listed species which, depending on the alignment chosen, will be impacted by this project. The Flora and Fauna assessment stated that nine FFG listed species and twenty five DSE listed species could also be impacted.

    Clearly the location and extent of these species needs to be determined before the alignment of the pipeline can be chosen. Doing it any other way will lead to either acute bends like the roads in the Dandenongs which meander around trees or wholesale clearing of significant vegetation.

    Looking at the scoring criteria setout on page 25 of the Alliance EMS.It is very disturbing that the criteria for the triple bottom line is so strongly biased away from the impact on threatened species. Threatened species are only valued at 7% of the overall score with native vegetation impacts valued at 7%.

    As cost is valued at 60% of the score we cannot see how the statement on page 104 that “The importance of native vegetation… is also reflected in the high weighting assigned to the native vegetation component in the multi-criteria TBL assessments” can be justified.

    Clearly this projects TBL has not considered the biodiversity hazards facing Victoria. Budgets are important  but will have a lesser impact on the state than the continuing threat of our biodiversity crisis.

    The overall Greenhouse costings of each route and the project as a whole also need much greater weight than the current 3% for climate impacts

    30m construction corridor is an ambit engineering claim. This also reflects the small value (7%) placed on retaining native vegetation or consideration for threatened species.

    Surely the construction corridor can be reduce in width to avoid the complete clearing of native vegetation for 70Km.

    This is a “silver bullet” approach to solving Melbourne water issue, introducing additional water cannot be seen as a sustainable solution.

    Sustainable means steady state solutions not ones that need an ever increasing addition of more resources,

    We need to be living within our means, not taking resources from another catchment to satisfy our current thirst.

    After all what happens in 15year when Melbourne needs another 200 gigalitres

    Wouldn’t we be better to work on reducing our demands?

    Human nature is such that without a hard restrain, we all take the easy way out, unless we force ourselves to live within our means we will always need ever increasing supplies of water

    And of course there is a limit to the amount of water Australia can provide.

    In conclusion the best outcome is for pipeline not to be built as it is an unsustainable project;if it must be built then

    • Proper field surveys over at least 12 months must be carried out prior to finalization of the design
    • The value of climate change, native vegetation and indigenous species impacts must be re-rated to score above that of cost
    • The construction corridor made flexible in width to minimize the amount of vegetation clearance required.
    • The energy for the ongoing operation must be sourced solely from renewable sources.

    I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.Louis Delacretaz, convenor of the Country Greens Network

    The Desalination Proposal Is A Loser For The Environment And Household Water Bills, The Greens Say.

    Greens environment spokesperson, Greg Barber MLC said: "The Bracks government's proposal for desalination is reportedly for a 150 000 ML plant at a cost of $3 billion dollars. Based on past estimates*, that would generate around 1 million tonnes of CO2."

    "One million households in Melbourne don't have a water efficient showerhead. If the government paid for the installation of these, it would save 50,000 megalitres of water at half the cost of desalinated water and end up saving us money on our water bills. That's just a start on the water savings that could be made."

    "This proposal is a loser for the environment, greenhouse gases and the household budget."

    "Boosting the renewable electricity component is no solution because we already need to double our renewable target and cut electricity use, not increase use."

    * For info on the greenhouse emissions of desalination, see: Greenhouse implications of the proposed Sydney desalination plant Australia Institute Webpaper July 2005 http://www.tai.org.au/documents/downloads/WP78.pdf

    Their estimate was for a 182 ML per year plant = 945 000 tonnes of eCO2 per year. Note this is sensitive to the 'greenhouse intensity' of the mix of electricity, which in the case of Victorian electricity is more greenhouse intensive.

    -- Greg Barber MLC

    State Member of Parliament for Northern Metropolitan

    Ph: (03) 9348 2622 Facs: (03) 9348 2699

    Suite G01, 60 Leicester Street Carlton 3053

     

    Uproar as GM canola 'contaminates' beehive

    GENETICALLY modified canola has jumped containment lines and "contaminated" a commercial beehive in western Victoria, prompting claims that people are not being told enough about what they eat.

    Scientific testing on behalf of Greenpeace Australia found Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" canola strain, which is resistant to some herbicides, had contaminated hives near Bannockburn owned by Edmonds Honey.

    Victoria lifted a moratorium on growing GM canola in November 2007 after being advised it could be kept separate from non-GM crops.

    Greenpeace spokeswoman Louise Sales said the contamination meant people were being denied choice: anyone buying honey from the affected hive could be eating GM food without knowing it.

    She said it showed GM canola was "uncontrollable". "We're calling on the Federal Government to keep its election promise — basically not to release GM canola into the environment unless it was produced safe 'beyond reasonable doubt'. We don't believe it stands up to that test," Ms Sales said.

    The health effects of GM canola remains contentious, though it is regarded as safe for consumption by the Commonwealth Office of the Gene Technology Regulator and the Australian Academy of Science.

    Local farmers and Melbourne restaurateur Dure Dara joined a protest against the spread of GM material into neighbouring crops. The beekeeper affected by the contamination, John Edmonds, was less worried. He was concerned it could affect sales and said labelling should be improved. But he said beekeepers had been using GM cotton for years without negative health impacts.

    A spokeswoman for the Federal Government said the health risks of GM canola had been extensively investigated and found not to differ from non-GM canola. GM labelling standards were being reviewed, with a report due mid-next year.

    The State Government said the potential impact of GM canola on bee-keepers was considered in a review before the state moratorium was lifted.

    Mr Edmonds said he would report the campaigners to police for removing and testing his honey frames.

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/uproar-as-gm-canola-contaminates-beehi...

     

    Wildfire Recovery

    After the tragic fires in February which cost so many lives and destroyed thousands of homes, the Victorian community opened their hearts and produced an overwhelming response. More than 180 million dollars was generously donated to the bushfire appeal and tens of thousands of people registered to volunteer their time.

    There will be further opportunities for volunteers as the longer term effort is required to rebuild communities. This webpage is a collection of contact details and organisations that are involved in the recovery and rebuilding.

    If you're affected by bushfire and looking for help visit the Department of Human Services' information page at www.dhs.vic.gov.au/emergency/current-events/bushfire or the ABC Bushfire Help Page.

    Victorian Government bushfire recovery site is http://www.wewillrebuild.vic.gov.au/

    Victorian Bushfire Goods and Services Registry set up by the Fitzroy Oxfam Organisation. Both donors and recipients can register their interest or goods and services directly on the site and await a reply. http://bushfireaid.wikispaces.com/

    Government Bushfire Volunteer Hotline 1300 366 356  www.volunteeringaustralia.org/volunteer

    Grocon is manage the cleanup program on behalf of government and expects to clear up to 80,000 tons of debris for free. If you would like to work with Grocon on the clean-up and demolition program email them at firecleanup@grocon.com.au 

    The Shire of Yarra Ranges has put in place an online register to log offers of accommodation, counselling, food, trade services, or any other assistance. Click here to register your details.
     
    The Shire of Bendigo has an online register to log offers of help Register your offer of assistance
     
    The online marketing agency Sputnik Agency has setup a website to put people in need of accommodation in touch with those who can supply it. To lodge offers of accommodation log on to http://bushfirehousing.org/
     
    Our community bushfire help page is at http://www.ourcommunity.com.au/bushfirehelp
     
    If you have any updates to this page or want to add a listing   contact us here   
     

     

    VNPA bushfires 2009 fact sheet

    The Victorian National Parks Association has prepared a Q&A fact sheet about the Victorian Bushfires 2009 which can be downloaded from VNPA Victorian bushfires 2009

     

    question on bushfire regulation

    Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- My question is for the Minister for Planning and is in relation to the new building standards for bushfire protection. Back on 11 March in this place in relation to the CSIRO's research he stated:

    This is the highest standard we can achieve on the basis of all the work that has been brought together ...

    He also stated:

    The national standard has been through an incredibly thorough process. The CSIRO has gone through it with a fine-tooth comb ...

    I was therefore surprised to hear on AM this morning the CSIRO expert -- I gather it is the relevant expert -- claiming that this is a significant weakening of the code. Since the minister made that statement, has his government received or sought any independent advice from the CSIRO?

    Hon. J. M. MADDEN (Minister for Planning) -- I welcome Mr Barber's question, because it is a very astute question from Mr Barber, given that he is obviously listening to the radio in the morning. It is very useful for him to listen to the radio. I will bet you other members of the opposition wish they had been listening to 3LO this morning as well.

    Mrs Coote -- It's not 3LO any more; it's 774. You're wrong!

    Hon. J. M. MADDEN -- Thank you very much.

    Honourable members interjecting.

    The PRESIDENT -- Order! Mr Leane!

    Hon. J. M. MADDEN -- We as a government have recognised the need for people affected by the bushfires to start the rebuilding process, to return to their communities and to re-establish their lives. That is why we have introduced tougher building standards for homes, targeting high bushfire risk areas, to help better protect lives and property.

    We have adopted the highest Australian standard available. It is the most stringent and is better targeted than the previous standard. I just want to make that absolutely clear. The standards committee, of which the CSIRO is a member, considered the new bushfire standard over a number of years and consulted widely.

    This standard was agreed on and was due to be adopted nationally in May 2010, but in light of the devastating bushfires we brought forward the adoption date to allow Victorian communities to rebuild their homes to that higher standard.

    The new building standard has six risk categories or bushfire attack levels, compared to the current four categories. These new requirements ensure a more detailed risk assessment for each building site, addressing different levels of exposure that could result from different levels of fire attack. I am advised that the CSIRO supported the 1090 kelvin temperature in its formal response to the Australian Building Codes Board consultation regulatory impact statement, the temperature which the majority of other stakeholders, including the fire authorities, supported and which the board, the Victorian government and the Australian Capital Territory government have adopted. I understand that the CSIRO did not raise any other technical or policy matters in that submission. It is worth bearing that in mind.

    Can I also reinforce that under the previous standard only homes in certain bushfire-prone areas were covered. The new standard is statewide, allowing for a site-by-site assessment of homes to offer people across the state the highest protection available.

    We also announced that the royal commission would inquire into all aspects of the recent bushfires including questions relating to improving fire safety of housing and other buildings, and materials used in construction. If further recommendations or comments or qualifications are made by the royal commission, the government will look at adopting those.

    To assist homeowners whose principal place of residence was destroyed by the bushfires, the bushfire appeal fund announced that all homeowners will receive a rebuilding and recovery grant of $50 000. This consists of $35 000 for rebuilding and $15 000 to replace contents and will assist people in meeting any extra or additional costs of rebuilding, particularly if it means raising the standard of the housing in line with the building code. This will allow people more certainty and more confidence. We are committed to ensuring that we do what we can on the best possible advice on the best possible available standard -- that is, a national standard -- and we have adopted this sooner rather than later to assist people with rebuilding their lives.

    Supplementary question Mr BARBER (Northern Metropolitan) -- The minister did not say yes or no in response to my initial question. Does he stand by the statement, 'This is the highest standard that we can achieve.'?

    Hon. J. M. MADDEN (Minister for Planning) -- I welcome Mr Barber's supplementary question. Can I say that there are a number of areas that put in no doubt at all that this is the highest available standard. One is the flame temperature on which this standard is based, which I understand is 1090 kelvin. That is certainly much higher than any threshold that has been in place before. After investigations into the most recent bushfires we may find, as I think the preliminary advice is, that the threshold will be even greater, because the flame temperature was quite high, between 1300 and 1400, so I would expect that there will be comments made in relation to that.

    But in terms of a national approach on a highly technical standard, I think we can have confidence that this is the highest standard.

    It is also the highest standard above and beyond what was presented before, because whereas this applied to areas under various planning overlays, or bushfire-prone area nomination, this will be applied to all dwellings for which a building permit is sought going into the future. All dwellings will be considered. Even for people living in the suburbs all dwellings will be considered in this light. Given the description within that standard and the prescriptive nature of the threshold issues and the tests, those issues will either be discounted immediately or people will fall into one of the six risk category areas and the permit will be assessed accordingly. I am confident that this is the highest possible standard that can be attained. I am confident that the scope of all dwellings right across the state makes it the highest possible standard.

    No doubt there will always be views on what can or what could or what should happen, in relation to standards. This has been through a thorough process. Standards Australia has voted on it and it has been adopted. If there are those who have either a sense that it should be a higher standard in any particular technical area, no doubt they will have the opportunity to make submissions to the royal commission. If there are any recommendations made by the royal commission, we will consider those thoroughly, with the hope of implementing them in one fashion, if that is possible.

     

    -- Greg Barber MLC State Member of Parliament for Northern Metropolitan Ph: (03) 9348 2622 Facs: (03) 9348 2699 Suite G01, 60 Leicester Street Carlton 3053