Archive for the ‘Queensland’ Category

Queensland children’s health at risk – need to re-introduce fluoridation of water

November 14, 2016
diagram-fluoride

New Queensland Health data shows 3223 children aged 10 and under required hospital treatment in 2013-14 for dental caries (the scientific term for tooth decay or cavities).

More than 51 per cent of Queensland five to 10-year- olds who attended public dental clinics in 2014-15 had decay in their baby teeth. On average, four teeth were affected.

Decay in Queensland children aged five to 10 was 20 per cent higher than national averages to 2012-14 and 33 per cent higher in the permanent teeth of nine to 14-year-olds.

Queensland’s Chief Dentist Dr Mark Brown said he was concerned by the “high level of tooth decay” in children, describing it as “a significant problem”.

In terms of population, about three-quarters of the state has water fluoridation – up from less than 5 per cent before the Bligh government made fluoridated water supplies mandatory for communities of more than 1000 people in 2008.

But since 2012, changes made under former premier Campbell Newman have allowed councils to pull out of fluoridating water supplies.

“My concern is for the quarter of the population in regional and rural Queensland who don’t have access to fluoridation,” Dr Brown said. “That community is being left behind when most Australians now have access to water fluoridation.”.

Australian Dental Association state fluoride spokesman Dr Michael Foley said there was no doubt water fluoridation reduced the risk of decay.

  “We’re spending a fortune on general anaesthetics for kids with dental decay,” he said. “It’s stupid. Water fluoridation saves truckloads of money in saved dental costs.”

Dr Foley said he would like to see the State Government take control of fluoridating drinking water, rather than local councils. (more…)

The extraordinary ignorance of Barnaby Joyce, about renewable energy

March 7, 2016

Joyce, Barnaby

Memo to Barnaby: If you want cheap electricity, nuclear is not the answer, REneweconomy, By  on 4 March 2016 [good graphs]  There’s right, and there’s wrong… and then there’s Barnaby Joyce. Joyce – Australia’s LNP minister for agriculture who was recently sworn in as deputy leader of the entire country – was right when he declared the cost of electricity bills to be one of the uppermost issues for Australian consumers, in an interview with the Adelaide Advertiser on Thursday.

He was wrong, however, when he suggested that the answer to the issue of electricity prices was not renewable energy, but nuclear, what he described as the “the ultimate renewable energy”.

Joyce, as we learned in our piece last year, “Barnaby Joyce’s renewable energy target: 100% ignorance” is one of the biggest opponents of wind farms in the Coalition, and it’s a little ironic to see that his electorate is about to became a major renewable energy hub, with two large wind farms and solar farms to be built near Glen Innes.

So it’s not necessarily surprising that he took another pot shot at renewables in the Murdoch media today……….

Back in 2013, he made his feelings clear, when he lamented to the Senate the “insane lemming-like desire to go to renewables” in Australia, and questioned what it would do to the national economy.

What is a little surprising is his endorsement of nuclear as a suitable and cheap alternative for new electricity generation in South Australia, as old coal-fired power is retired, when this is precisely the opposite finding arrived at by various recent and significant studies on the subject, not least of all the SA Royal Commission into nuclear power for Australia.

To be fair to Joyce, the Commission’s findings were a little confusing, in that they ruled out nuclear power as a viable alternative for Australia, but urged authorities to consider it anyway. But on the subject of nuclear generation for South Australia, the conclusion was clear: it wasn’t viable in the state for the foreseeable future (2030), even with a significant carbon price and a sharp reduction in the cost of capital.

Another major report from November 2015 – this time based on research undertaken by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Worley Parsons in Australia and Ernst and Young, and peer reviewed by the Australian Government Bureau of Resource Research Economics (BREE) – came to a similar conclusion.

The 362-page Australian Power Generation Technology Report essentially ruled out nuclear power for the whole of Australia, revealing that the technology was becoming more and more prohibitively expensive, at around double the capital cost estimated three years ago – and double the cost of competing technologies.

The collaborative research effort from more than 40 organisations, including the CSIRO, ARENA, the federal government’s Department of Industry and Science and the Office of the Chief Economist clearly showed, in fact, that solar and wind would be the cheapest low carbon technologies in Australia……http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/memo-to-barnaby-if-you-want-cheap-electricity-nuclear-is-not-the-answer-60837

Transporting radioactive trash across Australia – a very bad idea

November 14, 2015

radiation-truck

Goondiwindi mayor raises issues over transport of nuclear waste to Queensland, ABC News 13 Nov 15  The Mayor of a southern Queensland region shortlisted to store nuclear waste is concerned about how it will be transported, but is keeping an open mind to the proposal.

Oman Ama, 250 kilometres southwest of Brisbane,is one of six sites earmarked by the Federal Government, including three in South Australia, one in New South Wales and one in the Northern Territory. Goondiwindi Mayor Graeme Scheu said he did not want to jump to conclusions.

“The main question around it would be transportation, where it goes, so, so many questions that we don’t even have an answer for and the facts,” he said……..

The Federal Government is offering sweeteners to the community that agrees to house nuclear waste…..

Transporting waste to Queensland ‘total lunacy’

National secretary of the Australian local government nuclear free zones secretariat, Ipswich councillor Paul Tully, said “total lunacy” had overtaken the Federal Government.

Mr Tully said the federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg will put major cities across southeast Queensland under threat with hundreds of trucks a year carrying nuclear waste across the region.”They will be transporting nuclear waste from the Lucas Heights reactor west of Sydney and other parts of Australia to Queensland,” he said.

“We don’t want Queensland to become the dumping ground for dangerous waste from NSW.”

He said similar plans in 1989 for a radioactive waste dump at Redbank in Ipswich had been thwarted after major environmental concerns were raised.

Kirsten Macey from the Queensland Conservation Council said regional communities should not be used as the scapegoat for a “dirty” nuclear industry. She wants the waste left in Sydney.

“We believe that where the regulator is – where they have the capacity to store it and monitor it, that’s where the nuclear waste should be stored,” she said. “That’s at Lucas Heights where the nuclear waste is being generated.”http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-13/mayor-goondiwindi-transport-nuclear-waste-queensland/6937570

Policies of Parties in Queensland election

January 30, 2015

Election 2015 – Policy Platforms   PAINTING FAKES, 28 Jan 15   “……..Of all the minor parties,
the Greens are the ones who have taken policy issues most seriously.  The Greens grew out of the conservation movement and are still often perceived as an environmental party.  However, over the years they have evolved into a more rounded progressive party.  Despite never having had a member elected to the Queensland parliament – and this is not likely to change on Saturday – they have a specific Queensland policy platform that runs to over one hundred pages.  This is not developed specifically with this election in mind, but has been put together over a number of years to clarify what the Greens stand for.
It covers a wide range of issues under five headings – Natural Environment, covering biodiversity, water quality, food and agriculture, animal welfare and fishing; Social and Democracy, which includes policies about political accountability, criminal justice, ageing and disability, gambling and gender identity; Economics and Energy, which includes climate change, policies about various industries and policies on government finance; Built Environment with policies about transport and planning; and Human Services which includes education, health, social housing and reproductive rights.  You probably won’t be surprised to learn that their policies are fairly consistently progressive or “left” – on environmental issues in favour of conservation, on economic issues in favour of better regulation and more equity and sustainability, on social issues in favour of better services and more public provision, and on “moral” issues in favour of gay marriage, abortion and euthanasia……..

If you were to compare the two major parties solely on the basis of their election promises, you would probably end up feeling depressed at the quality of the alternatives.  Most of the policies on both sides are very specific, playing to a particular region or interest group.  There is a lot of “rollback” in the Labor policies, a lot of items funded by assets sales (sorry, “leases”) in the LNP’s.

Beyond the question of quality and vision, you have a choice between a moderate, centrist party interested in a notion of balance between economy, equity and environment, and a party that sees government as about economic development, delivering specific items of infrastrucute and a narrow range of mainstream services.  Neither really has any kind of focus beyond the next three-year electoral cycle……..http://paintingfakes.blogspot.com.au/

Many organisations, including church groups join in Alternative G20 Summit, call for Climate Change to be on G20 Agenda

November 6, 2014

Australia: Alternative G20 ‘People’s Summit’ planned for Brisbane, Asian Correspondent, By  Nov 04, 2014  BrisCAN-G20 will stage Visioning Another World: The G20 Peoples Summit, a three-day festival packed with events. Programs include conversations, symposiums, creative activities, cultural performances, education, and peaceful demonstrations. It will take place in various locations in Brisbane, aiming to bring together local and international thinkers to collaborate on broad themes such as the economy, growth vs sustainability, environment, climate change, earth rights, dispossession decolonisation, and other issues of social justice. BrisCAN–G20 is concerned about social and economic disparities perpetuated by G20 and the systems it represents.

Various groups and NGOs will join the summit including the Friends of the Earth, OXFAM,  National Congress of Australia’s First People, International Trade Union Confederation, Australian Greens and Palm Island Community.

Church Communities call for stewardship

Church groups have also been pressing for environment to be included in the G20 summit.Eleven Brisbane ministers from five churches have formed alliance to call for the Abbott government to pay attention to one of the most pressing issues of the time.

The dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Reverend Peter Catt, who also serves as the group’s spokesperson, said the government did not understand how the economy and the environment are deeply linked, and how the economy operates and how it depends on the environment. Dr Catt views the environment as the foundation of economic growth, prosperity, and “human flourishing”. Noting Christianity’s principle of stewardship, he said, “the Earth is a precious gift and that humans are called to act as stewards.” He added:

Climate change is a deep concern. The G20 leaders should be showing leadership and discussing it at the top of their agenda when they meet in our city.“It would be wonderful if a meeting held in our city led the way to sustainable life and a healthy economy.

The ministers call on the Australian Government, which has control of the agenda, to deal with climate change as a priority.  http://asiancorrespondent.com/127944/australia-alternative-g20-peoples-summit-set-in-brisbane/

Stifling calls for climate change on theG20 agenda – Tony doesn’t want it

November 4, 2014

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmBrisbane G20: Airport vetoes #onmyagenda climate change billboard, Brisbane Times November 3, 2014  brisbanetimes.com.au senior reporter Brisbane Airport Corporation has vetoed a “political” billboard asking for climate change to be added to this month’s G20 conference.

The billboard – backed by nine national and international conservation groups – was planned for Brisbane International Airport.

A second billboard is being unveiled in Peel Street at South Brisbane on Monday.

The groups wanted world leaders and their delegates to see the billboard as they arrived in Brisbane. The #onmyagenda campaign encourages people to tweet G20 leaders asking them to include climate change as a stand-alone item on the G20 agenda.

Climate change issues have been on the agendas at eight previous eight G20 summits.

It is not on the agenda in Brisbane.

G20-censorship

The decision comes as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Sunday released its most recent report on the impact of climate change.

The report found that the world must stop almost all greenhouse gas emissions through a phased elimination of fossil fuels by 2100 if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged companies to disinvest from fossil fuel-based industries.

In broad terms, the UN IPCC report finds there are “multiple pathways” available to keep global warming below two degrees.

All of these pathways require “substantial” cuts to greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades, and “near zero” emissions by the end of the century, the report’s authors concluded.

BAC told Fairfax Media the billboards were rejected last Wednesday because they were  deemed to be “political”.http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/brisbane-g20/brisbane-g20-airport-vetoes-onmyagenda-climate-change-billboard-20141103-11fzdm.html#ixzz3I9Xt6bP9

Black Hawk helicopters, commandoes, surveillance planes – welcome to Brisbane’s G20

November 4, 2014

Commandos and Black Hawk helicopters stage operations in Brisbane CBD as G20 security ramps up http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-03/g20-security-ramps-up/5861514

By Francis Tapim G20 security preparations are ramping up in Brisbane, as commandos and Black Hawk helicopters flooded the Eagle Street Pier area in a counter-terrorism training operation last night.

Around 50 personnel dressed like commandos, armed with semi automatic rifles and wearing body armour staged the training exercise on Sunday.

Courier Mail photographer Marc Robertson stumbled on the operation, and said there were four helicopters “only a few feet from the buildings”.

G20-security-1`

“I counted about 50 blokes wearing paramilitary uniforms, combat pants, and wearing body armour carrying full automatic weapons,” he said.

“They are not wearing any insignia at all… there was a lot of action in amongst the buildings.

“There were guys with night vision goggles running around the boardwalk, it was obvious that it was a training exercise and it had been left until after midnight before any of this action took place.”

There was no official information about the operation, but Queensland police confirmed they had been assisting with traffic control for a G20 training exercise in the CBD.

Meanwhile, the RAAF said the public would notice increased activity in the skies over south-east Queensland in the lead-up to the summit.

It said fighter jets, Black Hawk helicopters and surveillance planes would increase patrols, and conduct training exercises. Commander of ADF support to the G20 Major General Stuart Smith said the training period would allow the military to sharpen their response skills.

Military style security in Brisbane for the G20

November 4, 2014

G20 security: Soldiers man checkpoints in inner-Brisbane ahead of summit ABC News 4 Nov 14 By John Taylor Soldiers and police have begun stopping and searching vehicles going into G20 restricted zones in inner-Brisbane.

Checkpoints have been set up at Milton and Spring Hill to search for explosives and weapons, manned by military personnel who have served in war zones.

G20-police-violence

Major General Stuart Smith said the soldiers and police would be involved in the searches over the next fortnight, using high-tech latest equipment.

“You’ve got soldiers here that have got experience in Afghanistan doing high-profile search techniques and they’ve done specific rehearsals to build them up in cooperation with the police over the last few months,” he said………

More than 900 soldiers will be helping with security during G20 and have spent months training for every eventuality.

Barricades to go up as ‘countries take over hotels’

Barricades and fencing will begin appearing around Brisbane city from next week, G20 Assistant Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said………

At the weekend, two people were served with notices prohibiting them from the G20……..

On Sunday night dozens of soldiers with machine guns and body armour took part in an exercise in the CBD…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-03/soldiers-to-man-g20-checkpoints-in-brisbane-for-searches/5863054

Uranium industry lackey Campbell Newman erodes community rights

October 3, 2014

To many Traditional Owners, these places are known as sickness country, or poison country, and are often considered sacred. Upsetting the poison and letting out into the landscape would be a disaster, particularly in the life giving and food providing Mitchel River basin.

The Bill, passed in parliament in early September, gives the Coordinator General the power to exclude community objection rights over some of the largest mining projects

Newman,-Campbell-jackbootsMining companies now have more rights than the community in Newman’s Queensland http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/01/comment-mining-companies-now-have-more-rights-community-newmans-queensland  1 Oct 14    Queenslanders have more reason than ever to be concerned about uranium mining in the sunshine state. By  Andrew Picone Back in 2012 Queensland Premier Campbell Newman made a series of ‘crystal clear’ commitments to keep the door closed to uranium mining in Queensland. In a letter to former ACF CEO Don Henry, Newman wrote “I take this opportunity to reaffirm my statements, made before the last election, that the State Government has no plans to approve the development of uranium in Queensland”.

It proved to be one of his first broken promises. Just a fortnight later this commitment was dumped, without any independent assessment or community consultation. Uranium mining would not just be permitted in Queensland, the Premier started actively encouraging uranium mining companies to set up shop in the sunshine state.

Fast forward to 2014 and Queenslanders have more reason than ever to be concerned. In an echo of the heavy handed police state politics that so characterized former Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke Petersen, the Queensland government’s hand-picked co-ordinator general will now have sole authority over major new mining projects.

Proposed legislative changes introduced in the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014, literally rushed through the Parliament at five minutes to midnight on September 9th 2014, in particular provision 47D entitled ‘restriction in giving of objection notice under the Environmental Protection Act’ – should sound the community alarm.  

All large scale resource developments including the majority of coal, bauxite and uranium mines that are deemed by the government to be ‘State significant projects’ may no longer eligible for objection from anyone including farmers near or under the mining lease, neighbours, local communities or organised groups, or local Councils.

That means companies like the French nuclear corporation Areva who are currently exploring the Carpenteria Basin in Cape York and the Gulf country for uranium deposits may find themselves immune to community objections if they decide to advance their current uranium mining projects from the exploration to the construction stage. For the record, Areva have stated that it believes Australia has the potential to host uranium resources equivalent to a country like Kazakhastan producing about 4000 tonnes of uranium per year.On Cape York Peninsula, Areva have largely flown under the radar, but are believed to have been interested in exploring in the Mitchell and Alice River basins and areas further south and south west. Much of the country subject to recent exploration has been identified in old geological report as having detectible levels of surface radiation.

To many Traditional Owners, these places are known as sickness country, or poison country, and are often considered sacred. Upsetting the poison and letting out into the landscape would be a disaster, particularly in the life giving and food providing Mitchel River basin.

But regardless of whether you live next door, downstream or elsewhere, your rights to contest mining proposals has just been sunk. The Newman Government has just passed the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014 and when enacted as law, will take away your rights to contest 90% of mining projects according to the Environment Defenders Office.

If you wanted to object to Waratah Coal’s China First mine in defence of the Bimblebox nature refuge, too bad. If you live in Townsville and don’t like the idea of a uranium mine a couple of hundred kilometres up stream, I’m afraid you’re no longer entitled to object. The same goes if you live in Brisbane and you think the Laura rock art up on Cape York is more important than a coal or diamond mine.

This year we hope to see the Queensland Government finalise negotiations with Traditional Owners to deliver national park status to Shelburne Bay, a jewel in the crown of Cape York Peninsula. Minister Cripp’s would do well to remember that it was the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland that objected to that mine in 1985. But under the proposed laws introduced by the Minister for Mines, the spectacular dunes and habitats of Shelburne Bay would have been lost forever, with no right to contest such proposals available today.The Bill, passed in parliament in early September, gives the Coordinator General the power to exclude community objection rights over some of the largest mining projects. In addition, what the government call ‘low-risk’ mines, or standard applications’ will also be exempt.

As for high-risk mines, community objection rights have been diminished and councils, landholders and others will only narrowly defined grounds for objection – none of which have anything to do with the environment. These amendments to Queensland’s laws are absolutely appalling and a true travesty of democracy. Mining companies, both small and large, can now run roughshod over anyone with no redress.

As the Abbott government talks up a vision to develop Northern Australia with short-sighted and ill-informed plans for mass industrialisation of an already water-starved landscape to turn it into the food bowl of Asia, the community ought to be deeply concerned about the erosion of our democratic rights to stand up and make our objections known.

Andrew Picone is ACF’s Northern Australia Project Officer, he is based in Cairns
 

Queensland government won’t mind exporting uranium through Great Barrier Reef

August 14, 2014

Darwin and Adelaide likely export hubs for Queensland uranium (includes audios) ABC Rural  By Marty McCarthy 14 Aug 14  “……….Mr Sweeney also says he’s not convinced by the Queensland Government’s assertions that Queensland ports won’t export uranium in the near future, negating the need for transfer to Darwin or Adelaide. “The Queensland Government has had a number of direct opportunities to rule [exporting from Queensland] out and it hasn’t,” he said.

“They’ve kept the door open for future uranium exports from a Queensland Port, and particularly from the Port of Townsville.”

“We’ve seen in both the Federal Government’s energy white paper, and in clear statements by the Australian Uranium Association, an industry body, a desire to develop an east coast port for uranium exports,” he said.

Mr Sweeney suspects Townsville is the most likely city to become a future Queensland-based export hub for uranium, despite Mr Cripps’ saying it is unlikely. “The Ben Lomond [uranium] project is 50 kilometres up the road from Townsville, now you join those dots and you get a picture of ships through the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

Canadian miner Mega Uranium, although interested in the Ben Lomond site, it is yet to announce plans to re-open it.

However, a French-owned mining company is spending millions of dollars on uranium exploration near remote towns in north-west Queensland, in a race to be the state’s first uranium miner since the ban 32 years ago.

AREVA Resources has drilled more than 90 holes since late 2012, and managing director Joe Potter says the company plans to continue searching.

“The change in policy and the certainty around the ability to mine uranium in Queensland has given us the confidence to press on with our exploration and see if we can become the first uranium miner,” he said.

The company plans to continue searching around Cloncurry, west of Mt Isa, later this year……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-13/queensland-looks-to-adelaide-anddarwin-to-export-uranium/5666458