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Desalination problems: ecological, environmental, democratic and production volume

Earth Matters, 31 Aug 2009
On the pristine coast of southern Victoria construction of one of the world’s biggest desalination plants is set to go ahead. Earth Matters talks to local campaigner Stephen Cannon, oceanographer Jochen Kaempf and water expert Peter Coombes about the risks of and alternatives to this ‘silver bullet’ approach to water supply problems. File Download (28:58 min / 13 MB)

Port of Hastings: Polluters win against Hastings coastal lifestyle and environment

Yesterday a friend and I walked for four hours across the mudflats and estuarine lakes along a path and boardwalk among the mangroves of Hastings port - Ramsar-listed wetlands. We stopped on a bridge and recorded an amazing percussion symphony of frogs for about 15 minutes. Richard Laverack writes how furious he is at the imminent imposition the electorate 400 ha of heavy industry in a crazy plan to transport more and more imported cars in a world on the brink of fossil-fuel depletion and in a state where we still have refugees from fires caused by the hottest temperatures ever recorded. See inside for more.

After six days of anti-Rally protestor vilification, rock throwing allegations admitted to be false

In a Media Release, Katie Milne the one Tweed Shire Councillor who stood steadfastly with her community against the invasion of her region by the environmentally destructive World Rally race last weekend, demanded to know why Repco Rally organiser Garry Connolly allowed media vilification of anti-rally protestors to escalate for nearly a week knowing that allegations that anti-Rally protestors had thrown rocks at cars to be false. In the meantime, accounts of attacks against protestors by Rally supporters, including the hurling of projectiles, went unreported by the newsmedia.

See also "Car rally rock attack story false" in the SMH of 10 Sep 09, "Missile shatters Rally car" in the Northern Star of 7 Sep 09. "Rock throwers halt world rally event", in the Herald Sun of 4 Sep 09.

Bulldozing freeways through residents' rights

Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc have called for the withdrawal of the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Bill 2009. President Brian Walters SC has called it “an affront to democracy as well as to good planning." He says that it will lead to damage to the environment and public assets. It suggests that its proponents are in league with developers instead of upholding the community’s interests.”

Draconian Major Transport Projects Facilitation Bill 2009 must be stopped in Upper House - Victoria

Proposed law will exempt the State Government from its own laws and concentrate decision making power into one or two Ministers. A draconian piece of legislation, the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Bill 2009, has been brought into the Parliament . Your help is necessary to have this bill stopped in the upper house. Only the Liberal-National Coalition, by voting with the Greens, can stop this bill in the upper house. Victoria is under almost constant assault from a despotic government, which is seeking more and more power beyond the control of the people. But all is not lost. It is possible to beat them by supporting opposition review in the upper house of the Victorian Parliament. We have done it before.

Call for resignation of incompetent Immigration Minister

In a letter to the Melbourne Age, Mark O'Connor, author of "Overloading Australia" noted that contrary to his earlier claims that immigration had been "slashed", Immigration Minister Chris Evans has recently admitted we have "an unprecedented, unplanned migration wave". In 2008 he claimed net immigration was half what the Bureau of Statistics had said it was. Whether this is through design or incompetence, Evans is clearly serving vested interests at the expense of ordinary Australians and, accordingly, should resign.

See also Overloading Australia - new book about Australia's overpopulation problem of 23 Jul 09 by Sheila Newman, Review by sociologist, Katharine Betts of Overloading Australia of 8 Apr 09, "Migration rules set for revamp" in the Age of 31 Aug 09, Want job, will travel in the Age of 31 Aug 09, Workforce ripe for the picking by John Sutton, national secretary of the CFMEU in the Sydney Morning Herald of 31 Aug 09.

Lindsay Tanner's Climate change balancing act

Lindsay Tanner knocks the Greens for disagreeing with Labor and failing to “build coalitions with others who have different views”. Lindsay says this helps prevent any action occurring. But if you know Labor, ‘action’ means more of the same: more population growth, more debt and more deals with the big polluters – property development and infrastructure expansion.

REPCO Rally injunction raced through court up blind alley

"We knew we were gone when the Judge said,
'Time's up, you’ve got one more issue you can raise.' We hadn’t even started. We had only just got past the argument where she dismissed both our ecologists’ reports." Before it has even been run, the REPCO car race has damaged local democracy with impacts far exceeding local boundaries. Environment and democracy, go hand in hand. Environmental destruction and corruption follow closely behind destruction of democracy through unbridled commerce. We think that all judges in the land should be concerned about this.

See also: Repco Rally route - the calm before the storm of 26 Aug 09, URGENT! Contact Peter Garrett re Injunction to stop Repco Rally of 29 Aug 09, Removing Environ laws results in violence"of Sep 5, 09.

Starving for gas

As the newsmedia clamours to whip the public into acceptance of the deal to sell the estimated 40 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Gorgon gas fields to the Chinese in a deal worth AU$50 billion and Liberal and Labor politicians try to claim the most credit for the deal, Professor Julian Cribb argues that we may well find ourselves, in future, without the sufficient gas to manufacture nitrogen based fertilisers necessary to maintain Australia's agricultural productivity.

Article by Professor Julian Cribb originally published on Online Line Opinion on 27 August 2009. The version here is slightly updated. Join in the discussion, there or here.
See also: Global Food Crisis pages on Science Alert, Garrett defends Gorgon approval in the SMH of 27 Aug 09, Gorgon gas project 'environmental vandalism' by Naomi Woodley for the ABC's PM of  Aug 09, Gorgon gas deal could set inflation hare running on the ABC news of 19 Aug 09,Joe Hockey claims Coalition credit for $50bn Gorgon gas deal byNicola Berkovic in the Australian of 19 Aug 09.

What can happen to community groups when they brave VCAT

This interesting letter about the experience of a citizen representing a group's appeal at VCAT vindicates the citizen, educates others about the VCAT attitude, and shows VCAT up.

NSW Shooter Bill meeting last night in Pymble (25-8-09)

A jam packed meeting with both sides represented. Why so much public money to gun lobbyists and private parties when wildlife carers get nothing? It should be emphatically noted that every member of the NSW govt refused to attend or be on the speakers panel.

VicForests sued for illegal logging

This is what we are used to reading about Borneo and the Amazon. Now we can read it about Victoria. In fact, it is happening all over the world. Bad governments are simply going ahead doing awful things in a place near by. What makes you think your government is any different? Are you watching them? Are you helping to protect your forests?

ETU: Bligh's secret hard-hat tour will not fool Queenslanders

On 24 August, Queensland Premier announced plans to conduct a 4 day tour to convince the Queensland public of the necessity of her AU$15 billion public asset fires sale. This, she insists, is necessary to pay for the building projects which she claims are necessary to keep Queensland's economy moving. However, as Peter Simpson, Queensland Electrical Trades Union branch secretary pointed out, thr Premier has kept the tour itinerary secret.

Also published on Save Our Public Assets. See also: Bligh defends asset sales, works program by David Barbeler in the Brisbane Times of 24 Aug 09, Anna Bligh to tour state projects in defence of asset sales by Steven Wardill in the Courier Mail of 25 Aug 09, Bligh begins whirlwind tour to justify asset sales by Chris O'Brien on the ABC on 25 Aug 09.

"Billionaires for Privatisation" to star in tomorrow's West End rally and march

The newly formed "Billionaires for Privatisation", featuring luminaries from
recently bailed-out banks through to coal company fat cats will walk
arm-in-arm with "Anna Blight" tomorrow morning at an anti-privatisation
in West End.

Time/Date: 11am Sat Aug 15, Meet @ Lizard Statue, Boundary St, West End
March to Bligh's Office (90 Vulture St)
Original article by Paul Benedek published on
See also: Stop Thief! Rally on 15 August to stop theft of Queensland's public assets.

Stop Thief! Rally on 15 August to stop theft of Queensland's public assets

Tell Anna Bligh to get her hands off OUR public assets!

Time/Date: 11am Sat Aug 15
Meet @ Lizard Statue, Boundary St, West End
March to Bligh's Office (90 Vulture St)

See also

Screening of "9/11 Blueprint For Truth" this Sunday at Brisbane Square Library

A screening of "9/11 Blueprint For Truth" this Sunday 16th August at 3pm at the Brisbane Square Library. The DVD was produced by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 (

Also (very late notice), please attend the Brisbane Truth Action for August on Tuesday at Central Station from 11AM. Truth Action protests are to be held on the 11th of each month all over the world until justice is achieved for all the victims of 9/11.


Australia's population growth accelerating- set to double in 38 years - we need to STOP!

The estimated resident population of Australia at 30 June 2008 was 21.4 million people. This was an increase of 1.5 million people or 7.7%. Australia reached those numbers with an average growth rate of 1.5% per annum. Since then the growth rate has increased again, up to 1.9, which gives a doubling time for our population of 38 years.

Not good.

Sam the koala loses another battle and is euthanased - we are all very sad

We just learned, to our great sadness, that "Sam" the koala who was rescued from a burn-off gone wrong, has been euthanased due to severe structural damage from chlamydia. We salute the carers who looked after her and extend our deep sympathy.

Let it lie, Labor

Judy Bamberger asks of the Federal Government, "Instead of wasting media minutes, your effort, and my (taxpayer's) money calling for Turnbull's head, focus instead on establishing reasonable policies to help our country move toward a more sustainable life style."

Ipswich Unionists protest Queensland fire sale

350 people rallied outside Queensland Transport Minister Rachel Nolan's office on July 31, in protest at the Bligh Government's moves to sell off public assets. No-one, besides Nolan herself spoke in support of priviatisation at a subsequent community forum.

Original article by Paul Benedek published on

See also: "Minister claims rail sale will create jobs" in the Queensland Times of 17 Jul 09, "Angry retort on rail sell-off" in the Ipswich News of 23 Jul 09, "Opposition fires up over QR sale" in the Brisbane Times of 22 Jul 09.

Tweed Council gag a corruption threat

Sylvia Hale, NSW Greens MP and Local Government spokesperson has slammed Tweed Council for imposing a ban on its Councillors disclosing information to the media.

Queensland Unions to ramp up anti-privatisation campaign

Unions will stage a protest against privatisation outside the office of Rachel Nolan, the Queensland Minister for Transport.

Where: Booval Professional Centre, 125 Brisbane St Ipswich
When: From 2PM, Friday 31 July.

Also published on

9/11 Families, First Responders and Survivors to take New York City to Court over Denial of NYC CAN Initiative Ballot Placement

Although 66% of New Yorkers want a new and proper investigation into the events of 11 September 2001, and 70,076, more than 40,000 in excess of the required 30,000, have signed a petition asking that the question of holding an inquiry be put to a ballot, when general elections are held in November, the Clerk of New York City has refused to accept the petition.

The New York City Coalition for Accountability Now ( is determined to fight this arbitrary and outrageous denial of procedural fairness in the courts. Please give generously to so that the perpetrators of 9/11 can be unmasked and brought to justice.

The included article has also been published on and

Ratepayers should resist costly Gympie asset sell-off and development

GYMPIE Regional Council plans to sell off industrial land at Tin Can Bay, Monkland and a home at Kilkivan to raise revenue because council income from ratepayers only funds a $40m budget. Apparently the Council has already committed itself to spend $115m. Surely only a council of half-wits would not have foreseen the need to cut expenditure with the global financial crash and the parlous condition of the state budget? Friends of Rainbow Beach say that, far from saving the ratepayers money, the council's plans to sell off assets will cost residents of Gympie Region even more.

Queensland Government to seek advice on privatisation from companies bailed out by US and UK taxpayers

In a media release on behalf of the Queensland branch of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), branch secretary Peter Simpson questioned the Queensland's decision to pay as much as AU$200 million to two companies Merrill Lynch and the Royal Bank of Scotland, who recently went bankrupt, for advice on privatisation, for advice on its privatisation fire sale.

Also published on

Artesian basin water auction sells out environment and farmers

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon is calling on the NSW government to halt tomorrow's auction of 1,200 mega litres of water from the Artesian Basin in Walgett that was saved through the Commonwealth and landowners' funded Cap and Pipe the Bores Program.

Victoria: Urban Boundaries Expansion is another name for Lebensraum

Developers, led by Planning Minister Justin Madden, in a move reminiscent of Hitler's tanks on Poland, are poised to invade and bulldoze the green wedges to enrich themselves, with the same excuses for aggression of ‘lebenraum’ – living space - despite the objections of the people who live there. Is there a Churchill in Victoria with the guts to stop the bulldozers or will the government sacrifice democracy completely? Here is a submission that spells out what the damage will be if the Opposition allows the government to legitimise the totalitarian aggression of “lebensraum” – Urban Boundaries Expansion.

Melbourne's garden, Uno's Garden and the Urban Growth Boundary - by Catherine Manning

What do children, bandicoots, Melbourne's Green Wedges and the Garden of Eden have in common? This poignant submission to a developer-dominated government about a children and bandicoots' garden goes right back to the garden of Eden, retold again and again, this time in Uno's garden and a garden with 'protected' bandicoots near Clyde, Victoria, on the edge of the Green Wedge.

Yet more problems for persecuted cockatoos - West Australia

“I have personally given all my energy and strength to bring the plight of these birds to every Australian and beyond. I have at times put the birds before my family..." Glenn Dewhurst, Black Cockatoo Conservation Team, West Australia. Now, however, the team feels that it is under attack and stonewalled by government. How long can these wildlife warriors personally sustain the unreasonable pressure on them to desist from preventing the West Australian Cockatoo from dying out? See also, Threatened West Aust Black Cockatoo gets help and Help save West Australian black cockatoo from extinction, phone Glen on 0417 988 872.


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