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Labor offers Fed cash to Horticulture Australia to identify priority climate-research objectives to start 2009

Posted by waterweek on 12 October 2007

Federal Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Kerry O’Brien, last Friday announced that if Labor was elected to government there would be additional measures to help agriculture adjust to the impact of climate change, reported The Canberra Times (4/10/2007, p.36).

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Posted in Climate, Federal Election, Policy, Politics, Water Week Vol 0415 | Leave a Comment »

Old friendship between Greens leader Brown and Peter Garrett ends over Tamar Valley pulp mill; Brown to fight on

Posted by waterweek on 10 October 2007

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown had turned his back on former environmental pin-up boy and old friend Peter Garrett, wrote Mark Worley in The Mercury (6/10/2007).

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Posted in Federal Election, Policy, Tasmania, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Greens outrage at Labor, Liberal support for pulp-mill: won’t direct voting preferences to either party in Tas

Posted by waterweek on 9 October 2007

The Greens labelled him a sell­out and the Prime Minster called him chicken – either way, Peter Garrett could not win after he announced Labor would back Malcolm Turnbull’s ap­proval of a pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley, wrote chief political correspondent Phillip Coorey in The Sydney Morning Herald (5/10/2007, p.4).

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Posted in Federal Election, Water Week Vol 0414 | Leave a Comment »

Gunns Tasmania mill’s fate hangs in balance: Fed Cabinet refuses to make a decision after Government chief scientist gives thumbs down to mill in current form; Gunns told to agree to more stringent effluent controls

Posted by waterweek on 3 October 2007

According to Sue Neales, chief reporter of The Mercury, (27/09/2007, p.5), Federal Cabinet refused to make a decision on the future of the world’s largest pulp mill, the $1.9 billion Tasmanian mill, after being told last week that government chief scientist Jim Peacock had recommended, after a four-week inquiry, that the Federal Government not approve the mill in its current form unless proponent Gunns agreed to incorporate more stringent effluent controls.

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Posted in Federal Election, Policy, Tasmania, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Australian Greens could hold balance of power in the Senate after the next election, Liberal Senate leader Nick Minchin says

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The Greens would hold the balance of power in the Senate after the next election, even on the strong primary vote being recorded for Labor at present, the government Senate leader Nick Minchin had warned, reported to Laura Tingle in The Australian Financial Review (12/7/2007, p.5). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Federal Election, Policy, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Turnbull announces government funding of $1.25 million to support development of first cash to water markets to group in own electorate

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Malcolm Turnbull in a report entitled “Support for Water Markets” announced on 6 September 2007 government assistance to the formation of water markets.

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Posted in Federal Election, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

Greens support Federal plebiscite bill says Greens leader: Positive for democracy

Posted by waterweek on 27 September 2007

The Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Democratic Plebiscites) Bill 2007 could be the greatest contribution to democracy the government has made in its time in office, Greens leader Senator Bob Brown said in the Federal Senate on 17 September 2007.

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Posted in Federal Election, Water Week Vol 0412 | Leave a Comment »

Greens leader wants plebiscites to allow local input on all major infrastructure decisions: pulp mills, desal, nuclear power plants and Queensland council mergers

Posted by waterweek on 27 September 2007

Amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Democratic Plebiscites) Bill 2007 deserved support, said Greens leader Senator Bob Brown in the Federal Senate on 17 September 2007.

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Posted in desalination, Federal Election, qld | Leave a Comment »

Water Bill and programs flowing from it being kept well away from Treasury: Labor MP

Posted by waterweek on 20 September 2007

The head of the Treasury, Ken Henry, the senior economic adviser to the government, had expressed serious reservations about government policy development in relation to water and climate change, said Labor MP Anthony Albanese in the Federal House of Representtaives on 14 Auguist 2007.

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Posted in Emissions, Energy, Federal Election, Policy, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Fed Govt failure to commit $90m to goldfields super pipe extension means Victoria’s Central Highlands Water must increase family water bills: MP

Posted by waterweek on 20 September 2007

The issue of water security was top on her list of priorities; and not far behind that issue was the cost of that water, said Labor MP Catherine King in the Federal House of Representatives on 15 August 2007.

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Posted in Domestic, Federal Election, Policy, Victoria, Water Security, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Labor cries foul on Govt’s electoral enrolment changes: even after AEC’s campaign at least 100,000 people will not be enrolled and will lose their vote

Posted by waterweek on 20 September 2007

The Review of certain aspects of the administration of the Australian Electoral Commission report made some reasonable and not very controversial recommendations about the administration of the AEC, ALP MP Michael Danby told Federal Parliament on 17 September 2007. He said he was sure that an incoming government would give them due consideration but that the early close of enrolment period was opposed by Labor. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in australia, Federal Election, Policy, water, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

“A plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel”: Howard’s support for Tamar pulp mill in Tas

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

The proposed pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley was at the forefront of John Howard’s mind because it represented one part of his last-ditch plan to turn the polls around and snatch electoral victory, wrote Dennis Shanahan in The Australian (15/9/2007, p.19).

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Posted in Deforestation, Federal Election, Plantation forestry, Policy, pollution, Project Approvals, Public Opinion, Tasmania, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Tasmanian pulp mill debate crosses Strait to create ripples in federal politics

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

The best efforts of both major parties to quarantine the Tamar Valley pulp mill debate south of Bass Strait continued to fail dismally, according to Matthew Denholm reported The Australian (15/9/2007, p.31).
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Posted in Deforestation, Federal Election, Plantation forestry, Policy, Project Approvals, Public Opinion, Tasmania, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Details of complex history of Tasmanian pulp mill assessment laid bare in Legislative Council

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

The history of the hearings on the application for a permit to construct a proposed pulp mill by Gunns was detailed by T.L. Martin in the Tasmanian Legislative Council on 28 August 2007.

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Posted in Deforestation, Federal Election, Plantation forestry, Policy, Project Approvals, Public Opinion, Tasmania, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

SA State Government urged to run proposed Adelaide desalination plant on nuclear power

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

According to Craig Bildstien, the City editor of The Advertiser (13/9/07, p. 23), the State Government has been urged to run its proposed Adelaide desalination plant on nuclear power.

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Posted in desalination, Energy, Federal Election, SA, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

98.7 per cent of poll respondents say “No” to Tasmanian pulp mill

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

An online reader poll this week had revealed an unprec­edented level of opposition to the pro­posed Tasmanian pulp mill, reported the Wentworth Courier (12/9/2007, p. 7).

Rigorous assessment to be undertaken: “There were 776 responses to our question ‘Should the pulp mill pro­ceed in the Tamar Valley?’ with 98.7 per cent of voters answering ‘No’,” the newspaper reported. “In response to the poll, the federal Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said voters in Wentworth would expect him to undertake a com­prehensive environmental assessment of the project. He said his extended six-week deadline had allowed for that. ‘The assessment process I have put in place with an independent review by the chief scientist has now been acknowledged, even by opponents of the pulp mill, as a thorough and rigor­ous one,’ Mr Turnbull said.”

Fast-tracking challenged: “The figures echo a recent Newspoll in the northern Tasmanian electorate of Bass,” the Wentworth Courier said. “Of a sample of 400 voters the poll found that more than half were against the construction of the mill. Debate over the $2 billion Gunns pulp mill has been played out in Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate after a critical advertisement funded by businessman Geoffrey Cousins. Mr Cousins’ advertisement in the Courier challenged the MP over fast-tracking the environmental assess­ment process of the mill.”

Mill “will have no significant impact” say owners: “Pulp mill company Gunns responded with its own full-page advertisement last week, claiming the residents of Wentworth were being subjected to a campaign of misinformation,” the newspaper reported. “Gunns said the project would have no signifi­cant impact on the local environment or the tourism and wine industries. In a forum at Waverley RSL last week, Greens leader Bob Brown con­demned Gunns’ comments, saying the mill was ‘an absolute assault on the atmosphere of this planet’.”

Wentworth Courier, 12/9/2007, p. 7

Posted in Federal Election, Project Approvals, Public Opinion, Tasmania, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Frightful Federal rush: Assessment of practical operation of Water Bill impeded by absence of RIS

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

A Water Bill had been in development for several months through various intergovernmental working groups but the Explanatory Memorandum had failed to include a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS)(16/08/07).

No draft: Earlier versions of the Bill had been circulated to some peak stakeholder rural, commercial and environmental groups. However, no exposure draft or outline had been publicly released before introduction of the Bill into Parliament on 8 August. Some believed that this was partly due to the politically sensitive nature of the negotiations regarding key principles underlying the Bill.

RIS ensures transparency:The Explanatory Memorandum did not include a RIS. Under the government’s Legislative Handbook, a RIS had to be prepared for all proposed new or amending legislation which directly affected business or which had a significant indirect effect on business or restricted competition.

RIS analyses viability: One of the major benefits of having a RIS prepared and incorporated in the Explanatory Memorandum was that it often provided a useful analysis of the practical operation of how key provisions in the Bill would affect businesses and other related stakeholders.

Omitting a RIS: Whilst the Explanatory Memorandum did not say why a RIS was not included, it was understood that the reason was that the Bill’s focus was more of a planning and management framework, and it was only regulations of instruments made under the Bill which would have had a sufficient effect on business to warrant a RIS.

Numerous obstacles: Although this was arguably true, the assessment of the practical operation of the Bill was impeded by several factors. These included the lack of a RIS, the extremely short time allocated to the relevant Parliamentary inquiry and the scheduling of debate less than one week after introduction, particularly given the length and importance of the Bill.

Reference: Bill McCormick, Science, Technology, Environment, and Resources Section, Water Bill 2007 – Angus Martyn and Paula Pyburne Law and Bills Digest Section, Parliamentary Library Information – analysis and advice for the Parliament, Parliament of Australia Department of Parliamentary Service, 14 August 2007, no. 30, 2007-08, ISSN 1328-8091.

Erisk Net

Posted in Federal Election, Law, Policy, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

SunWater customers face reduced allocations, but still have to pay for their agreed water allocation; Nats MP airs farmers’ grievances in Qld parliament

Posted by waterweek on 14 September 2007

Nationals MP Ray Hopper (Darling Downs) told the Queensland parliament on 8 August 2007 that farmers were going broke due to allocations which had to be paid for but did not provide enough water to deliver.

Farmers fare badly due to allocations: Hopper said: “A massive number of SunWater customers have contacted me about their reduced allocations. They still have to pay for their agreed water allocation. The department has to seriously look at this situation. We have farmers out there going broke due to the allocations”.

Crop lost, allocation payment still due: “I know of one potato farmer in Bundaberg who had a certain water allocation so planted a crop taking into account the water that would be given to him and now it has been cut back to three per cent. He is going to lose thousands of dollars in crop yet he still has to pay for the allocation. We have people from St George in the same situation. This is just one example. Throughout the past 18 months SunWater has continued to charge one family business $32,000 per quarter in water charges even though there was little water to deliver in which to generate the cash required to pay those accounts. When they informed SunWater in May of their inability to pay the latest account their remaining water supply was cut”.

“Unacceptable” conditions as farmers mired in debt: “These people were trickling water to grow lucerne and oats to provide drought fodder not only for them but also for farmers in the surrounding area. Their water was cut because they could not pay an account for water that they were not getting. It is simply unacceptable. The minister and his department must look at the situation and help these people. These people received a threat seven days after the account fell due. They had no choice but to further increase their debt, in the middle of the worst drought in history, to meet this demand. The next SunWater account is $32,000 and is due in 20 days. They have just borrowed money to pay their last account for water that they have not got and have been charged another $32,000 for water that they will not get. This is simply unacceptable”.

Only 16pc water availability; 96pc payments due: “For the past 18 months their water availability has been 16 per cent of their entitlement. They have had to pay 96 per cent of the water charges. That is a cost of $125,436”.

Reference: Ray Hopper, Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Water Member for Darling Downs, Member for Darling Downs, First Session of the Fifty-Second Queensland Parliament, Queensland, 8 August 2007.

Erisk Net, 11/8/2007

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, Drought, Federal Election, Grains, Policy, Price, qld, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

NWI Clause 77 risk-sharing formula, if available water is reduced in future and agreed by all governments and supported by farmers, says Minister Turnbull

Posted by waterweek on 14 September 2007

Any suggestion that clause 77 of the bill introducing the National Water Initiative (NWI), which talks about risk sharing, amounted to compulsory acquisition, showed a misunderstanding, said Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, in the Federal House of Representatives on 14 August 2007.

Risk sharing is not acquisition: “The fact is that compulsory acquisition is ruled out in this bill,” the Minister said. “It is not part of the government’s policy, and we have made it express in the legislation that there is no power for compulsory acquisition. However, a central plank of the reforms under the National Water Initiative was to move from the old system of volumetric licences to water access entitlements that are a perpetual or ongoing share of the available resource. If the amount of water available in the future is reduced— and this is canvassed and contemplated in the NWI as a possibility—a risk-sharing formula applies to spread those risks between water users, the states and the Commonwealth. The bill achieves the codification of the Commonwealth’s NWI responsibilities for risk sharing. That is not acquisition. The legal status of water entitlements is not affected.”

Arrangements widely supported: “Importantly, through these arrangements, the government is meeting its NWI commitments,” Turnbull said. “These arrangements have been agreed to by all governments and are supported by farming organisations and farmers around Australia and have been ever since 2004. So, with respect to the member for Grayndler, he misunderstands the nature of the legislation and indeed the National Water Initiative itself.”

Reference: Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Federal Member for Wentworth, House of Representative, Commonwealth, 14 August 2007.

Erisk Net, 19/8/2007

Posted in Allocations, Drought, Emergency, Federal Election, Law, mdb, Policy, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »