"To date, I understand that 2,268 jurisdictions in 39 countries have declared a climate emergency. It is the one issue about which there is widespread global consensus. It presents a common threat to all countries and no country can isolate itself from it. However, to effectively tackle climate change, there must be an equal focus on population growth and the disastrous effect it is having on the earth's natural environment. To date, there is little evidence of governments doing that.
Video of debate facebook All Labor and Liberal members voted down this simple but inspiring and compassionate motion. It was like watching people walk past a person trying to help someone bleeding on the road after a traffic accident, saying that maybe the bleeding had gone on 'long enough' but it wasn't up to them to help.
Title was South Australia's Parliament to debate Julian Assange's plight this coming Wednesday - Why won't Canberra? Update, Sun 6 Nov 2022: Parliament will be sitting Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this coming week.
The girls needed a break. The university term had just finished and so had "lock-down". Students, Isla and her two housemates, Chloe and Emily, were anxious to escape Melbourne. Emily's friend Olivia who was studying at Adelaide University had been trying, for more than a year, to entice Emily over for a visit, and this seemed the opportunity. Of course all three girls would go over together and, as they all yearned for a seaside experience, after spending so much time in their rented inner suburban house, they booked into an apartment for five nights in Glenelg, not far from Emily. It would be great! They could go for walks along the beach every morning!
It was a very dull, cold, day when they left for Adelaide. They all felt both relaxed and excited. It had been a long term of study, and the first lock-down had been very stressful. University social life had been virtually non-existent since before Easter, with "social distancing", and then, for Isla, episodes of self-isolation, when travelling from Melbourne to her family in Hobart and back.
It was marvellous to get away and be on the open road! It felt almost as though normality was settling over the pandemic-stricken state. They stopped in Ballarat for a coffee, not sitting down in the cafe, as they would normally have done, but taking their drinks in disposable cups, each with a treat from the bakery, to a nearby park. Isla was in high spirits and, as the apricot filling of her danish pastry registered on her taste buds, she had an allover feeling that things would be OK.
They arrived in Adelaide the same day, just on sunset. Their GPS took them through the now lit up streets of Adelaide, to their accommodation in Glenelg. The accommodation was somewhat bizarre, in that it looked quite conventional as part of an old but well maintained brick house, but there was only one rather minimal sofa and low rafters in various inconvenient places, so they had to bend over to make their way from the living room to the kitchen and to their bedrooms. The establishment was run by an elderly couple who had a ten year old daughter. Unsolicited, the woman, who was probably in her mid sixties, gave them a long explanation of her in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment at an advanced age, resulting in a degree of fame and a much yearned-for daughter. She even showed them an ancient magazine featuring an article about this event! After such a long drive, the girls actually longed to unpack and relax, so were grateful when Samantha finally said good night, leaving six slices of bread for their morning toast.
That first evening, the girls took it in turns to lie on the sofa in front of the television, with legs dangling over the edge. The other two lay on the floor, on sleeping bags they had brought, in case they needed to sleep in the car. Such is the lottery of booking accomodation on the Internet!
The next morning they met Olivia, a third-year architecture student who, it was clear, had very much missed her former Bendigo school mate, Emily
In Adelaide it was possible to do far more than one could in Melbourne, where galleries, theatres, cinemas, and many restaurants, were closed, but in Adelaide there was some theatre and they took the opportunity of seeing The Book of Mormon as well as visiting wineries and galleries.
They had not been taking much notice of the news, as they were on holiday, and did not want the be continually brought back to reality. One day, though, their leisurely breakfast was interrupted by a knock on the door. It was Samantha, with her daughter Ellen by her side. Samantha was prone to histrionics and, in overly dramatic terms, conveyed to the girls that Melbourne was going into a second lock-down! The girls greeted this news almost with amusement, but Samantha was frantic. She was under the illusion that the girls had to return to Melbourne before it was locked down, or they would not be able to return at all! Isla reassured Samantha that they had the situation in hand and would still probably be leaving on the allocated day.
After Samantha and Ellen left, the girls started making plans. This lock-down did change things, but they knew they were not locked out of Melbourne. In fact, this was their opportunity to escape being locked in!
Did anyone want to return to Melbourne? Definitely not! Isla decided on the spot to return to Hobart and continue the next term of her course online, until Melbourne was unlocked. After all, she would be doing the course online, anyway, if she were in Melbourne. The year had been so disrupted, with cancelled placements and very few physical meetings with her fellow students and lecturers. She went online and booked a flight from Adelaide to Hobart, on the day they would have returned to Melbourne. Emily would return to Bendigo and Chloe would return to Shepparton. They had come over in Emily's car and Emily would drive Chloe home to Shepparton, before returning home.
They made the most of their last few days in Adelaide. On the day of their departure, Emily drove Isla to the airport, and then continued with Chloe back to Victoria. The parting at the airport was quite emotional, as none of them knew when they would return to the house that, together, they had called home all year.
Isla had a three hour wait for her flight, but once she was in the departure lounge, she relaxed with a course-related book she happened to have brought with her on important minerals in root vegetables. Her phone was charged so she was entertained. Two hours after takeoff, Isla was collecting her luggage from the carousel at Hobart Airport. Her sister, Bea, was waiting for her, and she was overcome with relief She had not realised how stressed she had been over the past few months, but now she was back to normality. It was was as though she had come from a different country!
They pulled into the driveway of their suburban Hobart home, overlooking the Derwent River. As one of her relatives once said, "You don't live in Hobart unless it's in a house with a view!" This had seemed a terribly privileged and amusing thing to say at the time, but now she appreciated the somewhat isolated privilege enjoyed by Tasmanians. She raced inside to be greeted enthusiastically by Terence the sheepdog. They both rolled on the carpet in delight at seeing one another. She and Bea debriefed for the rest of the afternoon until their mother, Kate came home from work.
The rules in Tasmania for a person returning from interstate were self-isolation for 2 weeks. Isla was resigned to this, and she did not really care, as she knew at the end of those two weeks, that she would be free. The Tasmanian Government had kept its population safe, and for this she was forever grateful.
When the two weeks were up, Isla stepped outside and headed towards the yacht club. Solitarily, she strolled along the beach. Never before had the water looked clearer, the sky such a pure blue, and the quiet of the morning enveloped her, at the same time seeming to give her space to expand her consciousness.
This is Australia in 2020. The quality of life is different in each state and bad luck for you if you are in the wrong state. Isla was lucky to escape Victoria, as there are now few freedoms for its inhabitants, due to the Covid 19 virus raging through the state. Other states had all but eliminated the virus, but things went badly wrong in Victoria, and this has put other states in jeopardy. It will be a long time before the people of Victoria can actually fully occupy and enjoy their own state and their own country.
South Australian authorities have allegedly approved the slaughter of 200 ‘pest’ wombats by a Yorke Peninsula farmer, sending shock waves right across the community.
Traditional Owner Quenten Agius raised the alarm today after learning a farmer leasing the farmland from Aboriginal Lands Trust plans to kill 200 endangered hairy-nosed wombats living in a major breeding colony.
Mr Agius says local South Australian authorities have approved the ‘extermination’ of the wombats over claims they were damaging the farmer’s equipment when he runs them over.
Mr Argiss is calling on the Yorke Peninsula District Council, Aboriginal Lands Trust, The Department of Water and Environment, and Fraser Ellis MP to revoke the decision.
According to the Aborginal Elder, 12 wombats were illegally shot in the area recently by the same farmer (see picture).
“The brutality has disgusted our community. The community has not been consulted so I am speaking out as a Traditional Owner for those with no voice, and the community residents.
“We are connected to these animals, they feature in our cultural knowledge of evolution. Like us, these animals have lived on the land for thousands of years and we need everyone’s help to protect them from genocide. It must be stopped before it happens.”
He estimates just 640 hairy-nosed wombats are left on the Yorke Peninsula and that wiping out 200 from the Point Pearce breeding grounds would put the local colony on the verge of extinction.
“If hundreds of wombats are massacred, our children may never get the chance to see a wild living wombat. It makes me ill to think these wombats are going to be slaughtered.”
Quenten Argius, Traditional Owner, Adjahdura/ Narungga and Ngadjuri Elder
Owner/operator: Aboriginal Cultural Tours SA
Apex marine predators choose whom they hang with, researchers reveal. White sharks form communities, researchers have revealed. Although normally solitary predators, white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) gather in large numbers at certain times of year in order to feast on baby seals.
These groupings, scientists had assumed, were essentially random – the result of individual sharks all happening to turn up in the same area, attracted by abundant food.
Now, however, a group of researchers including behavioural ecologist Stephan Leu from Macquarie University in New South Wales, Australia, have used photo-identification and network analysis to show that many of the apex predators hang out in groups which persist for years.
To make the findings, Leu and colleagues including Charlie Huveneers and others from Flinders University and the Fox Shark Research Foundation, both in South Australia, as well as French government research organisation CNRS, spent four and half years taking multiple photographs of almost 300 white sharks gathered around a seal nursery in the Neptune Islands in the Great Australian Bight.
Through the images they were able to identify individual sharks and, to their surprise, found that many were seen in proximity to specific others far more often than chance would determine.
“Rather than just being around randomly, the sharks formed four distinct communities, which showed that some sharks were more likely to use the site simultaneously than expected by chance,” says Dr Leu.
“The numbers varied across time, and we suggest that sex-dependent patterns of visitation at the Neptune Islands drive the observed community structure.
Our findings show that white sharks don’t gather just by chance, but more research is needed to find out why."
The paper – published in the journal Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology – is the latest research to change perceptions about the behaviour of apex fish.
In August 2019 another group of scientists, led by Macquarie University’s Robert Perryman, established that manta rays (Mobula alfredi) also have structured and persistent social relationships that can be described as communities.
The South Australian Liberal Government is preparing the ground for a cheap labour flood by axing labour hire laws targeting migrant worker exploitation. The question of whether or not South Australian’s actually want this people flood is far more problematic. Back in October last year, the lobby group representing migration agents warned that South Australia’s population growth could fall to zero, and economic problems would worsen, following visa reforms by the federal government. Thankfully, this false alarm was ridiculed by former South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill, who rejected the Migration Institute’s special pleadings. Article by Leith van Onselen, first published at https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/09/and-now-for-the-crush-loading-of-adelaide/ on September 21, 2018.
As Melbourne and Sydney rage builds, the answer for the living standards destroying growth lobby (property, banks, retail) is South Australia, via Domainfax:
Prime Minister Scott Morrison threatened to “pull levers” to get growth under control on Thursday, including sending international students to regional universities to relieve urban congestion as he puts together a formal population policy.
“Up in the north, they want more population, in Adelaide they want more population,” he said.
“I can tell you, in the outer suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, they don’t.”
The South Australian Liberal Government is preparing the ground for a cheap labour flood by axing labour hire laws targeting migrant worker exploitation. From The ABC:
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman has announced the State Government will seek to repeal the Labour Hire Licensing Scheme which was put in place by the former state government.
The scheme, which came into effect earlier this year, includes stricter penalties for wrongdoers and a requirement for all labour hire companies to be licensed.
The amendments successfully passed SA Parliament in November 2017 and stemmed from a Four Corners investigation alleging the exploitation and underpayment of migrant workers at various companies.
“The whole regime will go,” Ms Chapman told the ABC.
“The labour hire laws were established on ideology and they’ll be repealed on common sense…
The move has been met with both support and outrage, with Business SA applauding the repeal but the Opposition and SA Unions vowing to fight against it.
Let’s recall what the parliamentary inquiry into establishing a modern slavery act said:
9.146 The Committee recognises that recent Commonwealth, state and territory inquiries have highlighted the role that unscrupulous labour hire companies play in contributing to the exploitation of migrant workers…
9.150 While the Committee acknowledges that a labour licensing scheme is no ‘silver bullet’ to stopping exploitation and modern slavery, it considers that taken together with the Australian Government’s existing measures and the recommendations of this report, it will assist to improve protections for migrant workers…
9.152 The Committee recommends that the Australian Government establish a uniform national labour hire licensing scheme, consistent with recommendations by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement, the Joint Standing Committee on Migration and the Senate Education and Employment References Committee. This licensing scheme should incorporate random audits and unannounced inspections of labour hire firms to ensure compliance.
We can’t have that! The horribly conflicted Migration Council wants less protections and it must have its way.
The question of whether or not South Australian’s actually want this people flood is far more problematic. Back in October last year, the lobby group representing migration agents warned that South Australia’s population growth could fall to zero, and economic problems would worsen, following visa reforms by the federal government. Thankfully, this false alarm was ridiculed by former South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill, who rejected the Migration Institute’s special pleadings:
“In South Australia over the last five years, during the Census period 2011 to 2016, (we) grew at five per cent,” he said. “That’s faster than France, it’s faster than the UK, it’s faster than the US. So in international terms population growth has been quite robust.
“In international terms, (we are) growing like a chemistry experiment. We are growing at twice the rate of the growth of the OECD, three times the rate of the growth of many countries around the world.”
When challenged about the state’s decline in population growth relative to other Australian states, he said: “We’re not running a high population growth strategy.”
“Look if you want to spend an hour and a half in traffic or spend over a million dollars for a home and actually deal with the crime and the dysfunction and the disunity that occurs in some of those other fast-growing places you’re welcome to it, but we like it here.”
During a subsequent debate, South Australia’s then opposition leaders warned that the state’s population was growing too slowly, which earned another strong rebuke from former Premier Jay Weatherill. From News.com.au:
South Australian party leaders have butted heads over population growth at a debate hosted by the SA Press Club on Friday.
While SA Best leader Nick Xenophon and opposition leader Steven Marshall highlighted the state’s rate of growth as an area of concern, Premier Jay Weatherill said he was “not a high population growth person” and neither was his government.
“The notion that we’re a slow growing state is nonsense, it’s just that the rest of Australia is growing like a science experiment,” he said.
Here’s the chart of South Australia’s population growth:
Hardly looks like an “area of concern”, does it?
Then again, Jay Weatherill lost the election. So perhaps SA wants a new dose of falling living standards. Here’s the chart of South Australia’s labour underemployment and underutilisation rates (some of the highest in the land):
The irony is that the SA labour market has been hollowed out by manufacturing-destroying exchange rate lifting policies of the growth lobby. Now it will be internally deflated instead.
Get set for the crush-loading of Adelaide. Rising house prices, falling wages and reduced amenity for all.
http://wombatawareness.com/2015/02/UPDATE 26-02-2015 - The millionaire bequest fell through! Brigitte and the wombats of South Australia are now facing a truly awful situation. She has set up a donation site in absolute desperation, no amount too small: https://www.chuffed.org/project/wombatssoontobehomeless and we hope our readers will spread this news. No-one else is helping the wombats in SA on a large scale and long term; wombats are starving, dying of mange and being killed by cars and farmers. As you know they are adorable and precious... and really worth saving. Thanks for any help.
The strange and unforgivable decline in wombat appreciation in the 20th century
The reputation of the wombat declined over the 20th century and is now at an unforgivable all time low. People may be interested to read "Rossetti's Wombat: A Pre-Raphaelite Obsession in Victorian England". This lecture by Harold White Fellow, Angus Trumble, at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, 16 April, 2003, gives a little-known history of wombat appreciation in Britain by 19th century poets, who called the wombat "the most beautiful creature of all". Here is a quote from a description written about 200 years ago, about a pet wombat which was taken to England (not that we approve the kidnapping of wombats to England):
"The wombat, burrowed in the ground whenever it had an opportunity, and covered itself in the earth with surprising quickness. It was quiet during the day, but constantly in motion in the night: was very sensible to cold; ate all kinds of vegetables; but was particularly fond of new hay, which it ate stalk by stalk, taking it into its mouth like a beaver, by small bits at a time. It was not wanting in intelligence, and appeared attached to those to whom it was accustomed, and who were kind to it. When it saw them, it would put up its forepaws on the knee, and when taken up would sleep in the lap. It allowed children to pull and carry it about, and when it bit them did not appear to do it in anger or with violence."
Whilst we do not approve of kidnapping wombats, we do approve the peaceful and positive interaction with them and wonder why it does not happen more frequently in Australia. Perhaps it is because we have been misled by our governments and education system to believe that they are unapproachable. Maybe this is another case for Gloria O'Possum to investigate.
Wombat Awareness Organisation Ltd., Research Conservation Education Rescue Unit
A hairy-nosed wombat community at Portee Station where this rare and persecuted animal is being rehabilitated and protected.
The site of the Wombat Awareness Organisation Ltd., Research Conservation Education Rescue Unit tells the rest of the 20th and 21st century story and that is where to go to purchase a little piece of outback Australia for the wonderful hairy-nosed wombat.
Here is a delightful film (link has been updated to new address)about this wombat refugee community in South Australia, run by Brigitte Stevens and her partner, Frank Mikela. It certainly bears out the earlier reputation of the wombat as a lovable and cuddly animal.
You may also sponsor a wombat, like this one, called, "Turty".
It is great to see a big effort being made to help wombats and the people who care for them with such dedication.
UPDATE September 21, 2010Millionaire bequest due in 12 months - but money urgently needed now
Brigitte Stevens still needs funding urgently, but urgently only for another 12 months or so, when the release of the first million dollar installment of an $8m bequest is scheduled to come through. Only recently has the news arrived that a US horse-racing millionaire has left to this organisation for wombats!
The millionaire's family has chosen to remain anonymous. According to Kim Wheatley, "US millionaire leaves estate to Wombat Awareness Organisation, the millionaire visited the organisation a couple of years ago to meet wild wombats.
He was shown the shameful conditions in which the South Australian government's laws and wildlife monitoring have reduced the wild population.
"I took him out into the wild population and showed him wombats with mange, wombats that were starving to death and wombats with burrows from motorbike tyres," she said.
Brigitte has another paid job just to pay the bills the organisation generates. According to Kim Wheatley's article, last year's vet fees amounted to $70,000. Now Brigitte hopes to buy two new properties and to run a 24 hour free veterinary advice clinic.
Ms Stevens - who works to help pay bills, including last year's $70,000 vet fees - wants to buy two properties in the Murraylands and run a 24-hour free vet advice phone clinic. But she is having trouble simply maintaining the Wombat Awareness Organisation at the minute, since the first installment of this bequest is still a long way off - around 12 months.
Please consider helping these kind and dedicated people to make it through to the time this windfall arrives.
In an enlightened move for the Greens, the party in SA is actually acknowledging the strong and obvious link between living standards, environmental conservation and climate change – something that shouldn't be so obscure for the rest of the party with an environmental focus!
Mark Parnell MLC is the current sitting Greens member in the Legislative Council, and supports the protection of the environment and everyone's right to live in a just, humane and healthy world. Policies dominated by the vested interests of property developers, and corporations that feed of population growth, are contrary to these aims.
The South Australian Greens’ policy also appears at odds with that of the federal Greens, which states that “an Australian population policy must consider the geographical distribution of human settlements rather than just concentrate upon population size”.
The Australian: Greens preference fringe group pushing zero population growth This article is "premium content" behind a Murdoch media paywall. If asked to pay or provide personal details to view this diatribe, we recommend you don't. - Ed
The “geographical distribution” of our human settlements is largely in our coastal cities, our “green belt”, fringing the world's driest continent. Avoiding the population size in the debate has been characteristic of the Green's population policy – which is more an apology rather than something they can actually implement.
The SA Greens say “part of reducing our ecological footprint requires reducing the rate of population growth”. While the Greens, and most other “green” groups, concentrate on the footprints of individuals, and living sustainably, they ignore the absolute overall growth in the number of feet! It's a convenient diversion, and intellectual dishonesty to stay politically correct.
“The Greens will aim to stabilise South Australia’s population within a generation,” is a policy platform says. Thanks to years of high growth rates, slowing down the momentum takes time, but at least there should be a stable population if we start now, with this generation. We owe it to future generations that the nation, the planet, we hand down to them is largely intact, and there is room for move for innovation, quality lifestyles, conservation and existing ecosystems, - and that they are not crushed by the greed of this generation's pro-growthists!
Mark Parnell, an upper house MP and leader of the Greens in South Australia, said “zero population growth on this planet is absolutely inevitable”. However, the ABS reveals that South Australia's fertility levels are below the other states, at 1.89, compared to other States of over 2.0 in Tasmania.
The desired “growth” will be from net overseas immigration levels, running at 60% of our population growth nationally, not from the number of children being born. It's artificial growth, socially engineered by Federal and State governments.
The SA Green's population policy says that: South Australia, even with its relatively small population, has a disproportionately large ecological footprint. In fact, if everyone in the world were to live like us, we would need more than three planet Earths to provide us with the all the resources we consume and deal with all the waste we produce....In South Australia, both the number of people and the per-person consumption are increasing, intensifying our unsustainable impact. Improvements in technology may help reduce our impact, but we also need to stabilise our population and deal with overconsumption and waste.
We need a new approach to prosperity that challenges the underlying assumptions of growth and consumption.
Parnell recognises that his policy on population are at odds with the Greens at national level. Stabilising our popualtion needs to be a national target, and a good start is at State level.
Once land is subdivided, planning laws are made maleable and flexible, and “growth” becomes ingrained into the culture and texture of the economy, it becomes inevitable.
The executive of the SPGN is comprised of former members of the Australian Democrats, scientists, accountants and IT professionals. With the demise of the Democrats, they have morphed in to a millennial ‘save the earth’ party. The SPNG’s aim is to “Reduce Australia's rate of population growth to zero as rapidly as possible. If the resulting stable population is still environmentally unsustainable then work to reduce the size of the population until we achieve environmental sustainability.”
For too long, our nation's demographic patterns causing record-breaking rates of growth have been artificially manipulated, without public debate, and democratic reference.
How Stop Population Growth Now will seek to implement its zero population growth policy:
1.Reduce immigration. Australia's present very high rate of immigration has been foisted on the Australian public without any chance to vote on this issue. -
2.Strongly discourage families of more than 2 children, whilst continuing to welcome 1 or 2 child families. “We do not favour any coercive strategies for family planning such as the Chinese one-child policy but we do not believe that couples should be encouraged or rewarded to have families of more than 2 children through baby bonuses or other benefits”.
The so-called “population control” agenda has been corrupted by the mainsteam media to assert that the party will malignantly “control” the number of children families will be allowed to have. It's hardly any vision of humans being invasive vermin like rats, ravaging the Earth! Most of our population growth is due to government immigration policies, (running at 60% of our population growth) to propagate the housing industry, and not based on Australia's fragile landscape of increasingly hostile weather patterns, declining living standards, ecological damage from urban expansion, rising fuel prices and declining jobs.
UPDATE September 21, 2010: Millionaire bequest due in 12 months - but money urgently needed now.
On 7 August 2009 I wrote an article about the Wombat Awareness Organisation, which also referred to some interesting 19th century attitudes to wombats in Britain. On September 21 we learned that, although Brigitte Stevens still needs funding urgentlyfor another 12 months or so, after that the organisation expects the release of the first million dollar installment of an $8m bequest from a US horse-racing millionaire! So rarely do wildlife carers get the recognition they deserve for giving recognition and rights back to our fellow creatures. How wonderful to know that there are some rich people in the world who are not, apparently, entirely given over to land speculation and undermining democracy.
To see the whole article:
For the whole article, with the update at the end, see, "Hairy-nosed wombat, South Australia - rescue effort well worth supporting"
Media Release: 3 August 2009
In response to today's news that the Queensland government is still considering activating sleeper licences to the Cooper Creek system, the coordinator of Fair Water Use (Australia), Dr Ian Douglas, is today reported as saying: "The Rudd Government stands condemned for its failure to put an end to the dysfunctional and conflicting governance arrangements that have brought the Murray-Darling to its knees."
He went on to say that "State premiers and water-ministers show no interest in looking at the big-picture and addressing the ever-increasing threat to Australia's water future."
Dr Douglas indicated that the evidence of the chaos continues to build chronologically:
- The Victorian Government's imposition of a 4% cap on the trading of
water licences out of the state
- Commencement of construction of the North-South Pipeline by the Brumby Government, a project described by the Senior Advisor on Water Issues to the President of the United Nations General Assembly as "about the stupidest idea that has ever been conceived"
- The decision of the Rann Government in SA to pursue High Court action against the Victorian cap
- The declaration of an NSW embargo on trading of water licences to prevent further purchase of environmental water by the Federal Government
- The statement by NSW Premier Rees that his government may join its SA counterpart in the High Court challenge
- The announcement by Victorian Premier Brumby of a slow and partial phase-out of the 4% cap in return for a $ 300 million cash pay-out from the Commonwealth
- Confirmation by SA Premier Rann that his government intends to persist with its High Court challenge
- The NSW government's auction of water rights to the groundwater of the Great Artesian Basin, in direct conflict with the Federal Government's Cap-and-Pipe initiative
- The environmental havoc being wreaked as a resul t of the Rann Government's construction of water-regulators in the Lower Lakes
- The Queensland government's reported intention to activating sleeper licences to the Cooper Creek system, which may have major environmental consequences and threaten the public water supply to the South Australian outback community of Innamincka
Dr Douglas' statement concluded: "Fair Water Use will continue to lobby Mr Rudd until he supplies answers to vital questions that we and the senior water advisor to the United Nations have been asking him for many months; questions that all concerned Australians are entitled to pose", namely:
- Whether his Government is giving urgent consideration to the declaration of a State of Emergency to enable it to override the self interest of the States and allow meaningful action to be taken to address the multiple, non-drought, causes of the crisis?
- Whether his Government is giving urgent consideration to the establishment of a Royal Commission of Enquiry into the management and governance of the Murray-Darling Basin: past, present and future?
- If he is not contemplating the above actions, would he please detail the reasons why he believes that the crisis does not warrant such an approach?
See also: "Qld Govt told to keep hands off SA water" on the ABC on 3 Aug 09, "Artesian basin water auction sells out environment and farmers" of Jul 09, "'Last undefiled waterway' threatened" by Asa Wahlquist in The Australian of 13 Jul 09, fairwateruse.com.au.
Contact: Ian Douglas (National Coordinator)
Authorised by: Ginny Brown
Media Coordinator media[AT]fairwateruse.com.au
Letter to Caroline Batty, Manager, Population Policy Unit, Department of Trade and Economic Development (DTED) in South Australia
Thursday 9th April, 2009
Dear Ms Batty,
In light of the following points:
(a) that over two-thirds of our overall water use is in food production, and
(b) the Murray-Darling Basin is receiving its lowest inflows in 117 years of record-keeping, and
(c) the irrigation water supply to most of the Food Bowl has collapsed, and
(d) Adelaide's proposed $1.3 billion desalination plant will provide part of the water needed for households but only a tiny fraction of the water that would be needed for food production; and
(e) continuing predictions from the top climate scientists in the country and the world that droughts are likely to get worse; and
(f) the recent rises in fertiliser costs to farmers; and
(g) the widely-accepted fact that crude oil production has reach a "ceiling" worldwide and is likely to decline in the coming years due to lack of investment,
I am very interested to know how the Population Advisory Group intends to meet its stated goal to "support the achievement of South Australia’s Strategic Plan targets to grow the South Australian population"?
Does the Group intend to come clean with the State Government and the public about the fact that our country is set to soon become a net food importer if we continue to increase our population? Does the Group intend to come clean with the public about the fact that, as well as absolute reductions in fuel and energy use (due to declining oil production and increasingly strict emissions targets), there will need to be a steep and ongoing reduction in per-capita consumption in order to "make room" (both metaphorically and literally) for all of the additional people?
Of course, there are food choices that could greatly reduce our land- and water-footprint, enabling us to accommodate more people. For instance, countries like Bangladesh manage to keep their population very high and their footprint very low through a highly successful culture of abject poverty. Does the Group have a similar vision for South Australia? Has the South Australian population been consulted to find out if they desire a lifestyle and diet similar to that of a typical Bangladeshi?
Below is a recent letter to my local MP and councillors on these issues. I expect it (and this) to be the first of many such letters.
Dr James Ward
Ph.D., B.Eng.(Civil) (Hons), B.App.Sc.(Env. Mgt)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of Chemistry, Physics & Earth Sciences
Letter to member of Parliament about democratic and other concerns re population policy in South Australia
The Hon. Mark Goldsworthy MP, Member for Kavel
The Hon. Isobel Redmond MP, Member for Heysen
The Hon. Jamie Briggs MP, Member for Mayo
Mayor Ann Ferguson, DC Mt Barker
Cr Lindsay Campbell, DC Mt Barker
Cr Jason Kuchel, DC Mt Barker
Cr Kathy Brazher-Delaine, DC Mt Barker
Cr Lyn Stokes, DC Mt Barker
5th April, 2009
Dear Mr Goldsworthy,
I am writing to express my gratitude for your taking the issue of population growth to Parliament [See also at end of this article], and to add my voice of disgust at the current Labor government's deliberate assault on Mount Barker, Nairne and Littlehampton (as well as other areas targeted for unnecessary growth).
My wife and I moved into the old township of Nairne in mid-2007. As first-home buyers, in part we were forced to move here by unaffordable house prices elsewhere, but the truth is that we both cherish the country lifestyle - we have some chickens, ducks, vegetables and fruit trees, happy relationships with neighbours and the local shopkeepers who know us by name. However, in the State Government's relentless pursuit of population growth, they apparently wish to abolish all desirable
aspects of this country lifestyle, in favour of short-term economic rewards (read: profits to property developers). To quote the State Treasurer, Kevin Foley, "the population is rising, and that's a damn good outcome." As with most people, I violently disagree.
Very scary numbers (like 400,000) are already being touted for this area. If that nightmare came true, we might as well all be living in one big, filthy city covering the whole of the Hills, with no culture of place whatsoever. As the Member representing citizens from this happy and attractive part of the world, I ask that you fight this proposed development with all of your power. I understand that your party may also have been pro-development in the past, but let us not forget the
Liberals' true heritage as a conservative party. If there ever was a time when we needed conservative thinkers, it is now in the face of the reigning Government's reckless push for a population explosion.
Of course, as conservative thinking people we must bear in mind that it is impossible for the proposed experiment in population growth to be successful. Like a population of bacteria on a Petri dish, the human population cannot increase forever. I direct you to the Ronald Wright's small book "A Short History of Progress"; the book contains numerous
sobering examples we would do well to learn from before embarking on this doomed quest for more growth. Another excellent book, only just released, is "Overloading Australia" by Mark O'Connor and Bill Lines, which provides the irrefutable case against further population growth in this country.
As you know, in the case of the modern industrialised global economy, we have now reached an upper limit to global oil production. The International Energy Agency has finally endorsed the reality of Peak Oil, predicting a global energy supply crunch. Right on cue, last year we witnessed the first collapse of some of America's "suburbia" - it doesn't take a genius to connect the dots: as fuel prices skyrocketed, the car-dependent suburban lifestyle became rapidly unsupportable, the
collapse of vulnerable mortgages ensued as people were no longer able to meet their financial obligations, and this generated what we now call the Global Financial Crisis. This is discouraging further investment in oil production, so it is fair to say we have begun the bumpy descent.
We would be well-advised to compare the example of the failed suburban experiment in America to the State Government's proposed experiment in endless growth in the Adelaide Hills. The magnitude of the proposed growth betrays a total disregard for the limitations on the world's fuel and energy supply that all intelligent and informed people now accept as real and extremely serious. As global fuel supplies contract further, the existing suburbs will be hit hard as they were in the US, let alone any proposed new car-dependent suburbs in semi-rural Adelaide Hills.
For brevity I will not go into water scarcity in detail (this tends to receive more media coverage in any case). Suffice to say that increasing the population increases the demand for domestic water supply, but more significantly it increases the demand for irrigated crops and pasture. Not only are we experiencing water restrictions at home, but the area under irrigated land is in decline due to limits to water abstractions in the Murray Darling Basin. To increase the population now would force
us onto tighter water restrictions in our homes (we've already said goodbye to green lawns, long showers, and children playing under sprinklers), but it would also generate higher food prices due to the water-scarce farming situation.
I must state that I am not opposed to development, as long as all future development is negotiated to be within certain very reasonable requirements. As a starting point, the bare minimum requirements are that all new developments must be:
- Commuter-independent, through a strong local job market (i.e. Mt Barker CBD), and - Car-independent through full provision of public transport and safe cycling facilities, and
- Energy-independent through suburb-scale renewable power generation, and
- Water-independent through stormwater and wastewater recycling, and
- Food-independent through local (including suburban) production, and
- Within prescribed, and unchangeable, limits such that biodiversity and aesthetics are maintained forever
These are completely reasonable obligations in the face of widely accepted global (and national) shortages in water, energy, fuel and food, and ongoing biodiversity loss. If property developers and governments are happy to work together to meet these obligations, then as a citizen I am happy for such developments to take place. However, if the vision they have for our future is one in which we are all crammed in like sardines with only the distant memory of what it was like to be able to afford fuel, or water-intensive products like beef and milk, and only a distant memory of such amenities as cars, fountains, swimming pools, air conditioners or warm baths, then let us encourage them to move to India or China and ask the residents there if they are happy - please don't let the Rann Government force such conditions on us here. The people simply do not want the growth, and any effort to hide this fact is grossly undemocratic.
I trust that you will take this on board and continue campaigning for the abolition of the State Strategic Plan's population target. You are not alone!
Dr James Ward
Ph.D., B.Eng.(Civil) (Hons), B.App.Sc.(Env. Mgt)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of Chemistry, Physics & Earth Sciences
Here is the document where Mark Goldsworthy questions the rate of growth in South Australia from
WILL THE PLAN FOR GREATER ADELAIDE BE THAT GREAT FOR HILLS RESIDENTS? Email this page Back
Friday, January 09, 2009
Mark Goldsworthy MP, Member for Kavel, announced today that he will undertake extensive community consultation within the local community as a result of the Rann Labor Government’s plans to allow the urban sprawl to continue in the Hills as part of their Plan for Greater Adelaide.
Mr Goldsworthy said whilst the State Government would be conducting their own consultation, they have a poor track record as has been experienced recently with their Country Health Plan and the water resources issues for the Mount Lofty Ranges.
“The Rann Government claims they consult with the community, yet the community feel the Government makes the decision and then tells them what is to occur, all in the spin of consultation”, said Mr Goldsworthy.
Mr Goldsworthy will contact residents and businesses in Mount Barker, Nairne and Littlehampton to gather their comments about the proposed expansion of housing in the district. He wants to know what people think about increased population, increased traffic, and increased demand on already stretched services such as schools, health and police.
Mr Goldsworthy’s consultation will include those service providers, being schools, health, police and others.
Mr Goldsworthy said the comments he has already received are that the services are now at or near capacity and it doesn’t appear the Government is doing much to meet the current demand. If the Government hasn’t been able to address current community expectations, what commitments will they give to provide improved services and infrastructure in line with their plans to reach the 2 million population target in the State? To give an example, car parking at the new Park and Ride in Mt Barker was at capacity virtually from day one, with bus services also full to capacity. The second freeway interchange is continually ignored by the State Labor Government and there are other examples.
“Some people tell me that housing development in the Hills is at a point where we should consolidate our current position and that it is at the limit, with now being the time to stop and properly assess the situation.”
“I understand the concerns already put forward by academics and the SA Farmers’ Federation, for example, the continued growth of residential development into prime agricultural and horticultural land”, said Mr Goldsworthy.
“I support economic development and sustainable growth, in a manner that is not detrimental to other important factors that impact on our community such as social and environmental effects. Some of my concerns are the fast rate in which the Rann Government is acting to expand the housing development, the impact on infrastructure and services, the loss of agriculture to the Hills, and the destruction of the Hills environment.”
“I undertake to ensure the local community is properly consulted about what they want to take place in their area. My community survey will go out in the coming two months to residents in Mt Barker, Nairne and Littlehampton who are most affected by the developments, however, anyone is welcome to contact me at any time to inform me of their views”, Mr Goldsworthy said.
“I intend to compare the results of my consultation with that of the Government’s, to hold them to account and to ensure that the wishes of the local community are heard loud and clear” Mark Goldsworthy said.
Address: 20 Main Street, Lobethal SA 5241
The Property Council of Australia's "Sustainable Urban Growth Conference" was the scene of lively protest for the first time as demonstrators against unsustainable population growth and infrastructure expansion handed out leaflets about peak oil and population to incoming conference participants. See also the second part of: Melbourne 2008: Life in a destruction zone
Today outside the Property Council's "Sustainable Urban Growth Conference", there was some unexpected - but long awaited - activity. For one hour during the registration at the beginning of the conference 9 people from Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) and Beyond Oil in South Australia (BOSA) greeted conference attenders with a big SPA banner and handouts for all the delegates.
Placard: Sustainable Growth is a scam!
Their placards were much in evidence, bearing slogans, including, "Sustainable Growth is a SCAM", "Sustainable Growth oxyMORONIC", "TODs mean too many BODs". etc.
Most conference attenders received a handout from the demonstrators. SPA Member and ex-Democrat, Dr John Coulter, was interviewed by Channel 10, although noise from traffic made this hard to hear.
Property Council Australia (PCA) conference organisers looked stunned as demonstrators posed for photographs with international invited speakers, but many in the throng appeared to have a good time.
Protest outside more cost effective than ticket to conference
The cost of attending the "Sustainable Urban Growth Conference" is beyond the means of most ordinary people. Protests outside such events seem like the only way that Australians can show what they think of the policies that the PCA boasts of influencing the government to adopt.
From a Property Council powerpoint presentation slide
Policies to grow Australia's population, reduce the taxes that property developers, investors, financiers and realtors pay, and policies for endlessly renovating and extending big infrastructure and housing, despite constant resistance from people whose lives are adversely affected by these policies, which increase the cost of living and decrease quality of life.
BOSA hits the right target
Beyond Oil South Australia is a group which supports radical action by government and individuals to cope with a future constrained oil supply and high petroleum prices. It seeks to bring about a clear understanding of where economic growth is leading and that growth requires an increasing oil supply. It supports population stabilisation and eventual reduction.
Population sociologist compares situation in 2002 at the Bracks Melbourne Population Summit
Population sociologist, Sheila Newman, who wrote The Growth Lobby and its Absence (2002) about how Australia is dominated by the growth lobby and France is not, commented, "I handed out a press release on behalf of SPA Victoria naming the members of the growth lobby's peak body (which was APop then and is now the PCA) on the steps of the Steve Bracks Melbourne Population Summit in 2002. The Financial Review ran the press release in its entirety, but SPA failed to take the matter up more widely, which always struck me as a tragic lost opportunity, because, since then the growth lobby has become frighteningly powerful and population growthism has been quasi-normalised by governments with the help of the mainstream press. Recently, however, Mark O'Connor came out with a book called Overloading Australia, which was distributed by SPA and which talked about the Growth Lobby."
Growth lobby undermining democracy
"It is great that they are now linking the push for population to the development lobby. Children should be taught of this menace to democracy and sustainability at school."
Newman said that, "Unfortunately democracy has gone out the window as government simply takes its directions from the PCA and similar growth lobby groups, which are internationally powerful and very wealthy. With the public almost excluded from decisions about their towns and cities, there is nothing left to do but picket the lobby groups."
"Let's hope that this is the beginning of a whole new trend in grass-roots democracy." Newman is also the editor of The Final Energy Crisis, (Pluto Press, UK, 2008), which is about Peak Oil, alternative energies and population scenarios.
Michael Lardelli of BOSA can be contacted on E-mail: michael.lardelli[at]adelaide.edu.au or phone: (08) 8303-3212