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The Network is a blog of progressive political and social comment --- with an occasional spice of spirituality thrown in for flavour.
The Network comes from the life experiences of Miss Eagle - otherwise known as Brigid O'Carroll Walsh. Brigid has a wide range of experience in politics, trade unions, corporates, and government. Her environmental interests are in water, land, food and waste. She wishes she knew more about soil, birds, and plants.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
The Charter of Rights - Eureka's founding document : Australia's first document of participatory democracy : an event to celebrate
Sustainability Victoria community engagement events in the Grampians Region : #Horsham & #Ballarat :
Sustainability Victoria is hosting a series of ‘Community Conversations on Climate Change’ across regional Victoria throughout October and November 2015.
The purpose of these events is to bring together representatives from across the community sector (community groups, not-for-profits, schools, local government) to connect with each other, share lessons and exchange knowledge about leading climate change projects in the region and from across the state, and to inform Sustainability Victoria’s future program design and community engagement offer.
In the Grampians region, there will be 2 events:
Horsham, Thursday 22 October – 9.45am to 1pm (concluding with lunch)
Ballarat, Wednesday 28 October – 9.45am to 1pm (concluding with lunch)
Please put one of these dates in your diary.
An invitation including all the event details with a full agenda will be sent shortly.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
From the Galilee Basin Alliance:
John Burnett and other landholders found that railway routes were being designed to cross their land to take coal from the Galilee Basin to ports on the coast. They formed the Corridor to Coast group which endeavoured to get involved in the process to have some input based on local knowledge and a desire to achieve long term benefits for the State of Qld that would not only provide minimum impact for the local.
GBA note Corridor to Coast successfully worked with the The Mackay Conservation Group during their lobbying. Hear John Burnett, at the 17th minute of the Property Rights Australia speech, link below.
About John Burnett
A member of another of Queensland’s bush dynasties, John Burnett, 60, has been at the forefront of the campaign against the loss of agricultural land to mining. His cattle station “Frankfield’’ – one of six prime grazing properties owned by the Burnett Group – will feel the impact of rail corridors transporting coal from mega-mines proposed in the in the Galilee Basin by Indian resources giants Adani and GVK, as well as Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal. Sons Doug and Steve both manage properties. The family last year celebrated a 100-year connection to the base property – Bendemeer north of Clermont.
Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe: Chinaman's garden, Frankfield
1884 watercolour over pencil on wove paper on cardboard 15.3 x 22.8 cm
Gift of the artist's son in her memory 1964, Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Gift of the artist's son in her memory 1964, Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
A reply to a letter sent to Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment :
Thank you for your email concerning the Carmichael Coal Mine in Queensland.The Australian Government is committed to protecting the environment, including the Great Barrier Reef and addressing climate change.Over the next decade, more than $2 billion will be invested in improving the health of the Reef. We have also implemented a new shipping plan to provide additional protection for the Reef.When the Coalition was elected, the Reef was under threat of being listed as in-danger by the World Heritage Committee. After significant new funding investments and policy changes to ban capital dredge disposal, the Committee has held Australia up as a global role model in the management of the Reef and our Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan.We are also committed to addressing climate change and are well on track to achieve our emissions reduction target by 2020 and have set a target of a 26-28 per cent reduction by 2030 based on 2005 emissions. This is a strong and credible target and will see Australia make one of the most significant contributions per capita with emissions reducing by at least 50 per cent.In regards to the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, the Federal Court recently, with consent of all parties, formally set aside the approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). This related to a technical, administrative matter and, to remove doubt, the Department advised that the decision should be reconsidered.The decision was taken after a thorough environmental impact assessment process occurring over several years. The assessment looked at impacts on all relevant nationally protected matters, including the ornamental snake and yakka skink and included strict conditions to protect these two species. Another key species for which there were robust protections put in place is the black-throated finch, with approximately 31,000 hectares required to be protected. The project approval also included world-class environmental conditions for the protection of water, including a requirement for the return of at least 730 mega-litres of water per year for ten years to the Great Artesian Basin.We will now be reconsidering the approval decision on the project. While we appreciate you may not support this project, the Government is required to assess these projects under environmental law without fear or favour in accordance with our strict national environmental laws.Thank you for writing on this matter.Yours sincerelyDeb CallisterAssistant SecretaryAssessments (Qld, Tas, Vic) & Policy Implementation BranchEnvironment Standards DivisionDepartment of the Environment
Friday, October 2, 2015
URGENT: Galilee Basin Mines impact on water : Statutory right to groundwater for mines proposed to commence!
URGENT MESSAGE FROM THE GALILEE BASIN ALLIANCE
Statutory right to groundwater for mines proposed to commence!
1 October 2015
What is proposed?
The loss of your public rights of appeal on underground water licences for mining companies. This amendment affects a significant amount of our underground water.
The proposed Alpha and Kevin’s Corner Coal Mines alone would involve taking an estimated 176GL, or 70,400 Olympic swimming pools worth of underground water over 30 years.
Currently mining companies have to apply to get a water licence, the application is publicly notified and then submitters (for example graziers or community groups concerned about water) have the right to appeal the decision on the water licence to the Land Court.
These community rights would be lost if the proposed amendments are commenced. Our current Ministers want this removal of rights to go ahead!
We support the positive changes WROLAA introduces – including obligatory make good agreements (although with some improvements needed), cumulative impact management, adequate monitoring and reporting obligations – but let’s not lose community appeal rights with respect to water licences.
Why is this bad?
- We need full public scrutiny of the impacts of major mines on groundwater. Removing water licence requirements seriously undermines that scrutiny. The decisions made by the Land Court in cases like Alpha Coal  and other Galilee Basin mines assume there will be later public scrutiny of an application for a water licence and the potentially major impacts on groundwater. And it’s simply unfair to change the rules when projects are part way through assessment and when citizens have made decisions as to whether to participate based on an existing array of rights.
- Even for development applications for shopping centres, our legal system provides the community with submission and appeal rights to the Planning and Environment Court for independent merit assessment. Impacts to our precious groundwater by large scale mining activities deserve the same scrutiny against community concerns.
- It’s contrary to Labour statements, as quote above. This State Government has further committed to open, accountable, transparent governance. This move is contrary to those commitments; silencing those concerned with impacts to groundwater in Queensland.
Help save our groundwater resources!
1. Spread the word – share this news and why it is bad with your networks.
2. Speak to your local parliamentarian about this issue and tell them what you think.
3. Write to Minister Lynham and Minister Miles and tell them your concerns, even a short email will do:
Hon Dr Anthony Lynham
Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
PO Box 15216, CITY EAST QLD 4002
Hon Dr Steven Miles
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
GPO Box 2454, BRISBANE QLD 4001
Whose idea was this?
By way of background, in late 2014 the LNP government introduced the Water Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (Qld) (WROLAA) which proposed to drop public rights of appeal on water licences and instead provide the mining industry with a statutory right to take associated underground water (water that is necessary to remove for the extraction of the actual resource). Prior to being elected ALP opposed this idea, committing to:
“Repeal the Newman Government’s water laws which will have a detrimental effect on the Great Barrier Reef catchment systems and allow for over allocation of Queensland’s precious water resources.”
And further stating:
“The Water Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 takes the errors of the Murray-Darling Basin and seeks to repeat them by facilitating the over-allocation of water for large ‘coordinated projects’ and mines. This legislation passed while 75 per cent of Queensland was drought declared and landholders are struggling to find water.
The Opposition also does not support make good arrangements being dependent on a resource company coming to the conclusion that they have impacted on a landholders’ water bore. If water is extracted on an unsustainable basis from the Great Artesian Basin it will be lost forever.
Only a Labor Government will ensure the sustainable management of our State’s water resources based on the principles of ecologically sustainable development. By repealing this legislation a Labor Government will restore the fundamental legal right to object and say no to a nearby mining development.”
Apparently their position has changed.
We can’t allow this to go ahead.
 Water Act, s206(4)(i) and Water Regulation, Sch 2, allows a holder of a mineral development licence or mining lease (or listed entity) to apply for a water licence. Water Act, s208 provides for public notice of water licence applications (limited exceptions to public notification in s209). For people who have made a properly made submission there are rights of internal review (s862(1)(a)) and appeal to the Land Court (s877(1)(b)).
 Hancock Coal Pty Ltd v Kelly & Ors and Department of Environment and Heritage Protection(No. 4)  QLC 12.
 WROLAA s11 proposes to insert Chapter 12A Part 1 in the Mineral Resources Act which includes s334ZP ‘Entitlement to use underground water’ and s334ZR associated authorisation. WROLAA s10 proposes to delete s235(3) of the Mineral Resources Act which states there is no entitlement to water.
 Queensland Labor, Saving the Great Barrier Reef: Labor’s plan to protect a natural wonder, January 2015.
 Letter Tim Mulherin former Labor MP to Kate Dennehy, Lock the Gate, 22 January 2015.