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Gunns 13 Case Continues Today

Warrick Jordan
04.02.10 8:45 am

Media Alert

Thursday 4.02.2010

Gunns 13 Case Continues Today

What: First Gunns 13 court appearance since the settlement of the Gunns 20 case. Mentions in Hobart Supreme court for both Gunns vs. Gunns 13 and the Trade Practices Act suit against Gunns.

Where: Hobart Supreme Court, Salamanca Place.

When: Press conference at 11:30 am with Gunns13 spokesperson Warrick Jordan. Court proceedings begin at 9:15am(Court 2).

“The settlement of the Gunns 20 case was a huge victory for those who support free speech and the protection of Tasmania’s environment. The world needs to know, however, that Gunns continues to sue Tasmanians who oppose their environmental vandalism,” said Gunns 13 spokesperson Warrick Jordan.

“The Gunns 13 are still being sued. While Gunns continue to sue ordinary Tasmanians, and continues to destroy High Conservation Value forests, their hopes of being seen globally as a good corporate citizen are a hollow fantasy,” said Gunns 13 spokesperson Warrick Jordan.

“Gunns still maintains that they will sue to protect their ‘commercial interests’. As long as Gunns continue to secure those commercial interests by destroying Tasmania’s High Conservation Value forests and mistreating the Tasmanian community, people will oppose them,” Warrick Jordan said.

“Without being seen to improve their environmental and social credentials, Gunns’ business looks shaky at best. While they continue to sue their critics and continue to destroy High Conservation Value forests, it will be impossible for them to convince Tasmania, and the world, that they are moving away from their previous destructive practices,” Warrick Jordan said.

4 comments

Politics | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Environment | Legal

Australians very ‘uncomfortable’ with GM foods - Swinburne survey finds

Gene Ethics
04.02.10 6:33 am

Gene Ethics   NEWS MEDIA RELEASE

Australians very ‘uncomfortable’ with GM foods - Swinburne survey finds

Thursday, February 4, 2010: Australians remain very uncomfortable about eating genetically manipulated (GM) foods despite government and GM industry claims of growing acceptance. Swinburne University’s fifth National Science and Technology Monitor has found most people well informed about GM but still very mistrustful of the institutions that commercialise GM foods.

“A major target of public mistrust is Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company that owns patents on over 90% of all commercial GM soy, corn, canola and cotton crops that are grown,” says Gene Ethics director Bob Phelps.

“Monsanto’s management and shareholders should be ashamed of ranking absolutely last among the 541 trans-national companies assessed by the annual Geneva-based Covalence reputation index. It is a barometer of how the ethics of big businesses are perceived throughout society. Monsanto consistently fails ethics 101.

Covalence’s Ethical Quote score and rankings reflect the historical evolution of the positive and negative aspects of each of the 541 multinational companies’ ethical reputations. Swinburne’s survey asked 1,000 respondents how comfortable are with GM plants for food and the latest average score was 3.9 on a scale of 10 where zero is ‘not at all comfortable’.

“Monsanto must behave much more ethically if it hopes to win public confidence and trust around the world. The company’s poor reputation is bad for business as Monsanto’s last quarter loss reflects global disillusion with its comprehensive failure as a global corporate citizen. Public relations and political influence are not effective when customers mistrust you so much that they reject your products,” he says.

“As the biggest seed business, Monsanto’s great power over the global food supply and food security for billions of people must be exercised more responsibly than it has been throughout its long history.

“In the 21st century, poor corporate morality is unacceptable. Monsanto must develop and implement a strong code of ethical conduct to achieve its business goals and also fulfil its citizenship responsibilities.

“The Swinburne and Covalence findings should inform the West Australian government’s decision to end its ban on GM crops. Open slather and deregulation of commercial GM canola are irresponsible in light of public opposition and mistrust, and the exemption from the GM ban should be disallowed by parliament.

“Keeping South Australia GM-free will also be a major issue in the upcoming election on March 20. We applaud the SA government and opposition for both resisting the pressure that Monsanto admits to using.

“Australian food processors and shoppers are adamant that fully labelled GM-free foods must remain an option and our governments must ensure they permanently remain on the shelves,” Mr Phelps concludes.

NOTE TO EDITORS
1. Swinburne’s survey report is at: http://www.swinburne.edu.au/chancellery/mediacentre/media-centre/news/2010/02/attitudes-to-gm-agriculture-unchanged
2. Monsanto’s unethical rating is at: http://www.covalence.ch/index.php/ethical-rankings/across-sectors/

0 comments

Environment | Health

Environment policy put on Election Agenda

Tasmanian Environment Groups
03.02.10 6:38 pm

Media Release 3/2/2010

Environment policy put on Election Agenda

Tasmanian Environment groups have today put the environment firmly on the State Election agenda - calling for major policy commitments from all political parties between now and election day.

Today environment groups launched the ‘Joint Tasmanian Environment Groups’ 2010 Policy Agenda’, which outlines the key environment policy asks on a broad range of environment policy areas, including coasts, the marine environment, forests, Parks & climate change.  The groups believe that politicians have been a long way behind the broader community on the protection of Tasmania’s natural environment;

“We are looking forward to some big environment policy commitments from all three political parties between now and the State election,” said Dr Phill Pullinger, Director of Environment Tasmania, “I firmly believe that the political party that comes to the table with the biggest steps forward in environment policy will have the best chance of winning the election.  It is time for our politicians to catch up with our community on protection of Tasmania’s natural environment,” he concluded.

“Building a stand alone and fully resourced Department of Environment that integrates all environmental protection related agencies with the power and capacity to fully protect Tasmania’ s world-renowned natural and heritage values should be a bread and butter commitment that all three political parties can make” said Robert Campbell, President of the Tasmanian National Parks Association.

“Tasmania today has the biggest opportunity to find common ground over forests and solve the Tasmanian forests issue – we just need our politicians to listen and play a constructive role in finding a solution,” said Vica Bayley, from The Wilderness Society

“Our local community and the Tasmanian community has been absolutely clear – we love our coasts and want them protected,” said Jane MacDonald from Save Ralphs Bay Inc. “It is time for our politicians to commit to protecting our coastal environment and banning canal estate developments in Tasmania,”

“Tasmania should be the renewable energy island and commit to the ambitious but achievable goal of 100% renewable electricity generation by 2020, using truly renewable resources such as wind, solar and geo thermal and excluding the burning of native forest and native ecosystem biomass as an acceptable source of energy.  In the immediate term the Government should be introducing a substantial gross feed-in Tariff for households and businesses and commit to protecting all of our native ecosystems as natural carbon stores,” said Rohan Church, spokesperson for Climate Action Hobart.

The joint environment groups’ 2010 policy agenda was put together by Environment Tasmania and is attached.  Environment Tasmania is the peak body for Tasmanian environment & conservation groups – and represents over 20 Tasmanian environment groups with collective representation of over 5000 Tasmanians.

Download:
Policy_Agenda_-_Key_Policies.doc
ET_Environment_Policy_Asks.pdf

0 comments

Politics | State | Environment

Lilydale: Denied access

Concerned Residents of Mount Arthur
03.02.10 6:21 pm

Media Alert

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

9.50AM. AEST, February 3, 2010  

Independent Expert to conduct Crucial Hydrology study on potential impacts of forestry coupe on lilydale water

Dr Brian Finlayson (Associate Professor, University of Melbourne), and representatives of the Lilydale community, will be available for comment at 1.30 pm Friday the 5th February on site, Rocky Creek, Lilydale.  All media invited to attend (meet at junction of Mountain Road and Main Road).

Concerned local Lilydale residents have engaged independent expert in the field of geo-hydrology Associate Professor Brian Finlayson to conduct vital research not covered in the approved logging/plantation plan.

Without such research, the existing plan to convert 150acres of native forest to plantation directly above Lilydale town water intake on Rocky Creek, cannot allay residents’ fears that the quantity and quality of water to the town may be diminished.

On Monday, the Launceston City Council voted unanimously to support a motion, to oppose the commencement of the forestry operations until this study has been completed and the potential impacts properly assessed. The coupe falls within scenic protection, water catchment protection and area of regional significance zoning under the Launceston City Council planning scheme.

The Launceston City Council, and the Lilydale Progress Association have worked to try to secure access to the coupe (on private land) in order for Associate Professor Finlayson to conduct his research over the next two days. Unfortunately, to date, the landowner has refused access to the site.

A concerned group of local residents have written to Minister of Primary Industry and Water, David Llewellyn, and to the Forest Practices Authority seeking their intervention.

If access is not granted, Assoc. Prof. Finlayson will use available data supplied by the Launceston City Council and Ben Lomond Water, as well as site visits to surrounding properties in the catchment to make his assessment. A helicopter flight over the controversial area is also possible.

“It is most distressing that the situation has not been satisfactorily resolved” spokesperson for the Concerned Mt Arthur Residents group, Anthony Ross, said. “Here we have the dire situation that the relevant planning process has not done, and is not required to do the science on the potential impacts of this operation on this significant part of Lilydale’s town water supply, and yet work is about to commence. The local community, in good faith have agreed to pay for this vital research to be don but we simply should not be in this situation. The system has failed us dismally.” Mr Ross said.

66 comments

Politics | Local | State | Forestry | Economy | Environment | Legal

New Forest Industry Plan

David Llewellyn, MP Minister for Energy and Resources Tuesday, 2 February 2010
03.02.10 5:58 am

David Llewellyn, Minister for Energy and Resources, today welcomed the completion of the New Forest Industry Plan and congratulated the forest industry on its vision and commitment to innovation.

“The Plan, which has been based on independent advice from URS Forestry, represents an exciting glimpse of what the forest and wood processing industries might look like in Tasmania in ten years’ time,” Mr Llewellyn said.

“If they’re commercially realised, the opportunities outlined in the plan can only mean positive outcomes for all Tasmanians.

“Already we’ve seen $2.4 billion dollars of forestry investment in Tasmania as a result of the certainty and stability provided by the Regional Forest Agreement.

“We now have the prospect of further opportunities with around $2.5 billion of capital investment identified – and the real possibility of 2,000 highly-skilled careers as a result.

“Conversely, without this Plan and with the present storm clouds of reduced woodchip markets, we would not have the certainty we need for the industry into the future.

“It is vital that new development, in particular the proposed $2.6 billion Gunns’ pulp mill, come to fruition to provide that certainty.

“Without a pulp mill the full potential of the forest industry would be difficult to realise.”

Mr Llewellyn said that the plan aimed to:

·      expand existing pulp and paper production and restructure hardwood sawmilling capacity to include greater utilisation of plantation resources;

·      establish engineered wood product facilities with an ongoing focus on high-value products for domestic and export markets and sustainable bio-energy production;

·      increase supply chain efficiencies and increase the use of wood products;

·      enhance forest management practices and reduce the threat of wildfire; and

·      adapt to climate change and contribute to a reduction in Tasmania’s carbon footprint.

“These investments, plus the proposed Bell Bay pulp mill, will also provide secure opportunities for forest contractors,” Mr Llewellyn said.

“That security is needed in order to invest over $365 million in new harvesting and transport machinery.

“The Government will work in partnership with the forest industry to make these enormous potential benefits real.”

Mr Llewellyn said that the Plan looks towards a future which is increasingly focussed on native regrowth, plantation resources and a strong softwood sector.

“It also recognises the vital role the management of our managed native forests plays in providing access to world-renowned timbers for high-value products and world-class tourism infrastructure.

“It facilitates the maintenance of fire-fighting resources and provides fibre for papermaking.

“The State Labor Government is focussed on securing a sustainable future for the industry while delivering world-class environmental outcomes and real career paths into the future for Tasmanians.”

Mr Llewellyn said the Plan should give confidence to the Tasmanian community that the forest industry is moving forward with a sense of purpose, a clear plan for future sustainability and an unwavering commitment to world-class environmental outcomes.

6 comments

Politics | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment

Climate change plan gives green light for native forest power stations ignores protection of forests

Vica Bayley, Wilderness Society
02.02.10 8:00 pm

Following the release of the Tasmanian Government’s ‘wedges project’, environment groups today expressed dismay at the apparent lack of analysis and acceptance of the actual emissions from forestry activities and the immediate climate benefits that could be achieved by protecting native forests.

The report ignores the 2007 Tasmanian Climate Strategy[1][1] showing forestry was the biggest emitter of any sector in Tasmania and appears to give the green light to policy supporting the environmentally destructive and emissive option of burning native forests in wood-fired power generators.

“This climate change plan appears to have ignored the elephant in the room, the logging and burning of Tasmania’s carbon dense native forests and the desperate need to protect them,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for The Wilderness Society.

“Burning native forests in wood fired power stations is bad for climate change and bad for Tasmanian’s clean clever brand and the Bartlett government should immediately implement policy that rules out burning native forest biomass for electricity generation,” continued Mr Bayley.

Environment Tasmania spokesperson Jess Wright said that the wedges project was disappointing because it ignores the critical contribution that Tasmania’s unique natural environment can make to achieving deep, early reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Government should be establishing a substantial native forest conservation and restoration fund on private land, to deliver immediate greenhouse gas reductions whilst helping farmers and landowners contribute to Tasmania’s efforts to avoid dangerous climate change, ” said Ms Wright.

Environment groups look forward to participating in the ongoing process with the Tasmanian Climate Change Office, to ensure the best public policy outcomes are developed by the Tasmanian Government. To do this, Forestry Tasmania data related to actual logging emissions and carbon storage in native forests must be made available for public scrutiny.

1 comments

Politics | State | Economy | Environment

Book Launch: Flora and Fauna Guide to The Upper Florentine Valley

Ula Majewski Still Wild Still Threatened
02.02.10 7:29 pm

You are invited to celebrate the book launch of

Flora and Fauna Guide to The Upper Florentine Valley
a field guide to an area of much wonder, depicting and detailing over 50 colour pages of trees, shrubs, fungi, lichen, birds, insects and mammals.

5.30pm Thursday 11th Febuary 2010
Hobart Bookstore
22 Salamanca Square

Artworks and photography inspired by the Upper Florentine Valley ~ Music ~ Refreshments ~ Speakers including Margret Cashman Bailes - Local Bird Enthusiast; Dr Peter McQuillan - Senior Lecturer UTAS; Alan Lesheim - Photography

Please forward through your networks and bring all of your friends. Also see the lovely flyer attached and post in places of interest. Hope to see you all there.

Ula Majewski
Still Wild Still Threatened
Southern Tasmania
http://www.stillwildstillthreatened.org

“The Four Laws of Ecology ... All things are interconnected. Everything goes somewhere. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Nature bats last.”
Ernst Callenbach

0 comments

Politics | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | What's On

Cundall for court

Lucy Landon-Lane, Pulp the Mill
01.02.10 10:28 am

MEDIA ALERT

What: Court appearance for Peter Cundall and other protesters;

When: Wednesday February 3,  10am.

Where: Hobart Magistrate’s Court, Liverpool St.

Peter Cundall and other protesters who were arrested for protesting peacefully outside Parliament House on November 19, 2009 will be appearing at the Hobart Magistrate’s Court on the morning of February 3rd.

Mr Cundall said: “The high-speed approval process for a proposed pulp mill shamed democracy and disgraced our Tasmanian Parliament, bringing it into international disrepute and ridicule. People everywhere were appalled by what they saw as a brazenly-corrupt exercise. Fast-tracking the Pulp Mill Assesment Act with minimal debate, placed the operations of a major corporation and shareholder’s profits ahead of the needs and lifestyles of the Tasmanian people”.

“The overwhelming majority of Tasmanians are opposed to a massively-polluting, evil-smelling, greed-driven pulp mill being sited in the Tamar Valley or anywhere in the State. We will never stop protesting peacefully against the pulp mill and the undemocratic way the so-called approval legislation was rushed through Parliament by the major political parties – both of which continue to accept large donations from the proponents,” he said. 

Lucy Landon-Lane, spokesperson for Pulp the Mill said, “Tasmanians want to regain a healthy democracy.  We want a government we can trust in to look after the health and welfare of the majority of Tasmanians, rather than a government which cares only for unsustainable projects which deny the ordinary people access to their legal rights, clean air and water and a safe place to live in.” 

Peter Cundall and Lucy Landon-Lane will be available for comment after appearing in court.

Non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.

(Mahatma Gandhi)

Website: http://www.pulpthemill.org/index.html

10 comments

Politics | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Environment | Legal | Personal

TOXIC GROUPS SAY NO TO LABOR

Kay Seltitzas, Isla MacGregor Toxic Heavy Metals Taskforce
01.02.10 9:51 am

The Toxic Heavy Metals Taskforce Tasmania (THMTT) have today launched their Election Policy in the lead up to the March State election.

Members of the Taskforce have today taken their election campaign to the streets with a banner calling on Tasmanians to “Say No To Labor”.

Spokesperson for the Taskforce Kay Seltitzas today said ” We have no doubt that there has been a cover up on the heavy metal poisoning of residents in Rosebery and that the Government is responsible for this.

The Toxic Heavy Metals Taskforce have developed an Election Policy that outlines action required by the next Government to rectify the mistakes of the current Labor Government on the serious health issues caused by heavy metal poisoning for some residents in Rosebery:

1.  The Taskforce want an apology from a new Government (about) alleged non cooperation by residents in previous investigations conducted by   DHHS and EPAs and their appalling treatment of those residents and others (we say were)  excluded from the investigation.

2.  The Taskforce want a new Government to establish an Independent Population Based Health and Environmental Survey which will include an Animal Health and Garden Produce Testing Program.

3.  The Taskforce want a new Government to appoint a dedicated Health Advocate to provide support and resources for residents or former residents who have been diagnosed with or have symptoms of heavy metal poisoning and need to have specialist health assessments and treatment.

4.  The Taskforce want a new Government to provide long term emergency relief housing to enable residents diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning to evacuate from their properties to safe environments.

5.  The Taskforce want a new Government to reform the Contaminated Sites Legislation to include provisions for innocent landowners and to list properties at: 12 and 14 Murchison Street, Rosebery and 40 Clemons Street, Rosebery on the Contaminated Sites Register.

We need a new Government that prioritises peoples’ health before money” said Kay Seltitzas.

3 comments

Politics | State | Environment | Health

CONFIRMED - $220+ MILLION LOST ON POKIES IN 2009 ALONE

Kim Booth MP Greens Gaming spokesperson
01.02.10 5:36 am

And More Pokies in the Community – Labor Should Hang Head in Shame

http://www.tas.greens.org.au
The Tasmanian Greens today revealed that Tasmanians have lost a shocking $220, 032, 572 on poker machines over the year 2009, and that there are now more pokies in pubs and clubs than ever totalling 3, 671 machines.

Greens Gaming spokesperson Kim Booth MP demanded that the Bartlett government take swift action to remove pokies from the community and to wean itself off relying on pokies revenue, saying that is the only responsible course of action Labor can take.

“Tasmanians lost more than $18 million on pokies for the month of December 2009 alone, with the shocking total for the last twelve months reaching $220, 032, 572.  Tasmanians and our local economy cannot afford this,” Mr Booth said.

“Pokies losses have breached the $220 million per year mark, December saw the highest number of pokies in pubs and clubs then there were for any other month last year, and yet Labor continues to hide its head in the sand while holding its hand out for its cut of this shameful community rip-off.”

“December saw losses on pokies increase by a whopping $843, 741 from the November loss total, while the number of pokies rose from 3667 to 3671, both of these shameful figures are moving in the wrong direction.” [1]

“Anglicare’s recent and important report, Nothing Left to Lose, highlights the increasing trend of Tasmanians ending up before the courts and in gaol due to problem gambling and escalating debt, and with pokies losses hitting over $220 million in one year it is clear to see how and why this situation has developed.”

“Pokies must be removed from suburban pubs and clubs where they are inflicting serious economic and social harm – there is no other solution.”

The Tasmanian Gaming Commission releases the monthly pokies loss figures in arrear, published on the last day of each month.  Thus the December losses were released at the end of January this year.

[1] The maximum number of pokies permitted under the exclusive Deed of Agreement with Federal Hotels Ltd. is 3680.

Tasmanian Gaming Commission website link: http://www.treasury.tas.gov.au/domino/dtf/dtf.nsf/alls-v/CD36BFC11D136484CA2575E10006E703

8 comments

Politics | State | Personal | Society

TODAY: Summer Music in Tolosa Park

Michael McLaughlin, Glenorchy Council’s Community Cultural Development Officer
31.01.10 6:28 am

Jazz in the Park

Sunday 31st of January

12 Noon to 4pm

Summer Music In Tolosa Park, a series of free summer music events in beautiful Tolosa Park, Glenorchy, kicks off on Sunday January 31st with a four hour program of Jazz in the Park presented by the Hobart Jazz Club. 

Featured artists include Dixieland Express (traditional jazz);  Modern Operative (modern jazz) ; Kaye Payne’s eKlectiKa (Mainstream jazz, latin, swing, blues) and The Jazz Executives (traditional jazz). The four hour event from Noon to 4pm will feature the whole gamut of jazz from the traditional sounds of early American jazz standards to the bebop of the 1950‘s and 60’s to the contemporary sounds of jazz today.

Summer Music In Tolosa Park continues on Sunday February 7th with a treat for all lovers of Brass music with a two hour lunch time concert by one of Tasmania’s only A grade brass ensembles, the Glenorchy City Concert Brass.

Saturday 13th of February from 7pm sees one of Tasmania’s truly great summer events come to Tolosa Park - the B&E Symphony Under the Stars concert, hosted by popular media personality Tim Cox with your conductor Marc Taddei leading the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra through a wonderful evening of orchestral music.

Country music enthusiasts,  as well as interested new comers,  will enjoy the final event of the series on February 28th . From 11am to 4pm the Tolosa park Soundshell will host a five hour program of country music featuring accomplished musicians from four of Southern Tasmania’s most active country music clubs.  The day long program is brought to you by Country Gold , the Southern Tasmanian Country Music Club, Bridgewater and Friends Country Music Club and the Derwent Valley Country Music Club.  The event will also feature a fundraising BBQ by local service club, The Apex Club of Glenorchy.

While organizers are hopeful of fine weather and good attendances across the summer series, they do ask that patrons attending Tolosa Park plan for each event.

“ We encourage patrons to all four events to pack a picnic and in particular plenty of drinks. Tolosa Park has no commercial food outlets or food vans, so patrons need to be ware of that and plan accordingly.” says Michael McLaughlin, Glenorchy Council’s Community Cultural Development Officer

0 comments

What's On

Senator Abetz calls for the right to promote violent overthrow of government on TV

Melanie Barnes Socialist Alliance
30.01.10 7:44 pm

Senator Abetz’s claim in the Mercury today that (Venezuelan President)  “Chavez closed down TV stations for failing to broadcast his Presidential speeches” is ridiculous.

Socialist Alliance state election candidate Melanie Barnes, who visited Venezuela in 2006, said “In fact the TV stations were closed by the National Telecommunications Commission for failing to comply with the Law on Social Responsibility in Radio and Television.”

“The most notorious of these is RCTV who actively supported a coup d’etat against democratically elected President Chavez in April 2002. This kind of behaviour would not be tolerated in Australia and it is not in Venezuela either.  RCTV have continually violated broadcasting laws in Venezuela, before and after the election of Chavez.”

http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/2493

“Senator Abetz’s disparaging comments about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are an insult to the Venezuelan people who democratically elected him” said Barnes.

Barnes visited Venezuela as an observer for the 2006 Presidential elections.

“The Carter Institute declared these elections free and fair, as did other international bodies.  Chavez is hugely popular.  Senator Abetz is clearly misrepresenting the real situation when he calls Chavez a despot.”

The Venezuelan government, led by Chavez, have just nationalised supermarket chain Exito in response to price speculation offenses, breaking unfair dismissal laws, failing to pay minimum wages and failing to meet occupational health and safety standards.

(Trade Minister Eduardo Samán http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/5081)

“If we had this kind of leadership in Tasmania then our dairy farmers would not be being ripped off” said Barnes.

Authorised by Susan Austin, 225 Murray St, Hobart, 7000.

15 comments

Politics | National | Society

Gunns 20 decision welcomed

Phill Pullinger
30.01.10 10:14 am

Our Common Ground founder, and son of original Gunns 20 defendant, welcome’s Gunns decision as victory for all Tasmanians

The son of one of the original Gunns 20 defendants, and Our Common Ground founder, Phil Pullinger welcomed the decision by Gunns to finalise the four remaining matters in the Gunns 20 case, as a win for all Tasmanians who want to end the old fights around in the forest industry. 

Mr Pullinger said the decision reconciles one of the lowest points in the forest conflict and provides an opportunity for common ground.

“This is a tremendous chance for us to heal one of the worst wounds of the forest conflict, and together, find a new way forward. 

“We applaud Gunns for their willingness to step back from their legal position and we welcome any such efforts at reconciliation. 

“It also confirms what we’re hearing from timber workers and timber companies – that they want to move out of the old fights and into sustainable, responsible and more consultative industries. 

“The majority of Tasmanian’s don’t want this forest conflict – we want to live in a State where our industry is not in conflict with our natural heritage.

“Tasmania’s got a great future, with a thriving timber industry, beautiful forests and growing tourism. With this decision, we move one step closer,” Mr Pullinger said.

0 comments

Logging Mt Arthur: Don’t miss this meeting

Jeremy Ball
28.01.10 3:22 pm

Download:
council_meeting_01-02-10.pdf

How comfortable are you

- with forestry operations 100 metres above the intake of your water supply?

- coming face to face with a loaded log truck as it descends Mount Arthur Rd (singlelane, dirt, steep, blind corners)??

Commencement of operations at 186 Mountain Rd is imminent!!!

Please attend the meeting of the Launceston City Council on Feb. 1 at 1:00pm to give support to the following motion by Alderman Jeremy Ball:

(All concerned residents who are able to should make every effort to attend, as a packed council chamber is a sure way of showing Council the level of community concern.)

Notice of Motion
That in view of the potential negative impacts on Lilydale from proposed clear felling and plantation establishment in the Lilydale water catchment at 186 Mountain Rd
Lilydale, including,

* negative impacts on water quality and quantity,
* heavy vehicle impacts on road safety and infrastructure,
* health impacts of chemical spraying
* and loss of scenic amenity

and in view of the fact that under Launceston’s Planning Scheme the proposed coupe falls within a Water Catchment Protection Area, a Scenic Protection Zone and is in an Area of Regional Significance;
that council opposes the commencement of the forestry operation at 186 Mountain Rd until such time as the following actions are carried out,

1. A comprehensive, independent hydrological assessment by a person qualified in forest hydrology, analysing the short and long term impacts on Lilydale’s water supply, from clear felling and plantation establishment. (The community is willing to fund 50% of the cost of the study with the remainder to be funded by LCC and Ben Lomond Water. If BLW refuse to be involved then LCC to fund the balance)

2. An expert opinion to be sort on the impacts on downstream water quality from forestry operations and specifically an assessment of the coupe for impacts of sheet erosion contributing to water turbidity and siltation.

3. A list of all herbicides and pesticides to be used, and amounts to be used per annum, over the course of forestry operations in the area, as well as the method of application of these chemicals, to assist in determining the health risks to residents downstream from the coupe.

20 comments

Politics | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Health

Greens move to save renewable energy target with Private Member’s Bill

Senator Christine Milne
28.01.10 7:55 am

Hobart, Wednesday 27 January 2010

The Greens will move to ensure a flourishing Australian renewable energy sector by fixing the Rudd Government’s flawed Renewable Energy Target with a Private Member’s Bill when Parliament resumes next month.

“The extraordinary potential to power Australia from the sun, wind, ocean and earth is being undermined by badly designed Rudd Government policy,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said.

“It’s not just the Rudd Government’s climate credibility on the line here, but hundreds of jobs could be lost if the Renewable Energy Target is not urgently fixed.

“We can fix this problem so easily and I challenge Mr Rudd and Senator Wong to look at our proposal and work with us to make sure the renewables sector survives and flourishes.”

The Greens repeatedly warned that including solar hot water, heat pumps and multiplied rooftop solar credits in the renewable energy target would crash the price of renewable energy certificates (RECs), stopping commercial-scale renewable energy developments from getting off the ground. This would not have come to pass if Greens amendments moved at the time had been accepted.

“It was obvious in the design of the scheme that this would happen, but both the government and opposition refused to heed the warnings and rejected Greens amendments that would have prevented it,” Senator Milne said.

“Victoria’s Energy Minister, Peter Batchelor, and Senator Nick Minchin, as well as renewable energy industry representatives, have all highlighted this problem.

“This is typical of Mr Rudd and Senator Wong’s spin-over-substance approach to climate and clean energy.”

Senator Milne’s Private Member’s Bill would add RECs from solar hot water, heat pumps and the solar multiplier to the top of the target. This would ensure that the technologies are supported but do not crowd out large-scale renewable energy.

“This is not the perfect policy, but it is an achievable way to fix this problem quickly.

“Ideally, the Greens would like to see an energy efficiency target and a gross feed-in tariff running alongside the renewable energy target, supporting solar water heating, rooftop solar and much more. That would be the best way to drive a boom in zero emissions energy.

“The proposal to add these credits to the top of the target would effectively lift Australia’s renewable energy target, and that can only be a good thing.

“What this debacle has shown is that the 20% target massively undersold Australia’s renewable energy potential. We can and must aim far higher.”

0 comments

Politics | Local | National | State | Economy | Environment

Riding for Hope

Jim Playsted
27.01.10 7:01 pm

Greetings
Greetings all. Some of you may have heard of the ‘Ride for Hope’ proposal as a rally to help finance the replication of the Choir of Hard Knocks here in Hobart. We are called the Choir of High Hopes Hobart Inc and if you have a new Sthn phone book you will find us on the cover.
My name is Jim Playsted and for my sins I was asked to take an interim chair role for the Choir last year after a colleague who had steered them through incorperation was diagnosed with stomach cancer and could not continue. My initial exposure to COHH was the Salvo’s Sleep Out night at the Chancellor in the dead of Winter.
I’ve helped with a kids foundation for many years but nothing prepared me for this experience. COHH is the real thing and to take part is to confront the downside of so many lives - albeit on the way back from somewhere pretty grim but willing to re engage. ‘Rebuilding lives through song’ is the quote you will see on our letter head and that’s what happens. In just over 2 years 170 people have emerged from the shadows and taken the brave step to make themselves know and to want to belong to something again.
Needless to say the band of workers who run this are all very special people.
The group you see on the phone book are about 50 of them prepared to sing publicly. Slowly we are learning how to provide for the needs of choir members while also seeking to make a semi commercial venture out of it to ensure we pay our own way as much as we reasonably can and above all else remain financially sound to ensure longevity .
Thanks for reading all this if you have hung in so far!
Ride for Hope proposal
Here’s the reason for our requesting your support by bringing members on the inaugural ‘Ride for Hope’. The founders of the original Choir of Hard Knocks of TV fame are RecLink, a Melbourne based organisation who are seeking replication of this means of rehab via the arts or sport around Australia. This year we will end our seed funding of $20K per year to help us establish. We don’t want to be dependent on too many others and by the progress we are making will able to earn about half what it costs to run a group of this size from performances, plus the odd sponsor or Govt grant but a ‘one off’ annual fund raiser replacing the RecLink $20K will do 3 things.
1. It will cause the choir to show endeavour and gain the confidence of the community as the members seek to help themselves by performing for the Ride for Hope concert
2. It will give the community an opportunity to demonstrate caring for those less fortunate than most of us,  but who are also willing to try and help themselves.
3. And, it will ensure our volunteers have maximum time for their customers instead of lying awake at night wondering where the next $2 might be found
As a motorcyclist myself I could not help thinking ‘we can do that’.  And so the idea was born with support from Lord Mayor Rob Valentine who is himself a motorcyclist and great COHH supporter.
Since this may be the first you have heard about the proposed event - I reckon this is enough writing for now. The plan is 1,000 bikes @ $20/bike tax deductible. Elwick is booked for Feb 21st - see the flyer attached.
Preview Feb 2d
Please respond by call or email and for those who can - the COHH turn up at Scotts Church hall 29 Bathurst St in Hobart every Tuesday. Volunteers feed them after which they sing. Next Tuesday Feb 2d is first day back after our Xmas break but at 3.00pm for those who can, we will stage a 20 minute mini concert so you can hear them for yourself, see with your own eyes the benefit of this work and have a quick chat about the Ride for Hope. For those who can’t make it we will be there again the following and every Tues at 1.30pm for the rest of 2010.
Thanks for reading our story. Please take a look at the attachments and let me know if you can help us with a successful launch of the very first ‘Ride for Hope’.
Do please send this on to others. We have gained the blessing of the Tasmanian Motorcycle Council for the ‘Ride for Hope’ but I have no way of knowing what that means for coverage of clubs, hence this email broadcast.  The quote I most use is from the founder of the Choir of Hard Knocks - a quiet bloke from Melbourne called Peter Cullen. “Jim” he said - “Governments are full of agencies to stop people from drowning, but nobody teaches them how to swim”.
B/regards
Jim Playsted

Deputy Chair

Choir of High Hopes – Hobart Inc.

http://www.choirofhighhopes.com

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Jim Playsted

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What's On

Moves by Forestry Tasmania Gunns to seek FSC certification represent a victory for GetUp members

Simon Sheikh, GetUp
27.01.10 3:33 pm

News that Gunns and Forestry Tasmania are working towards Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for the Tasmanian forestry industry, as well as statements by Premier Bartlett supporting the change, represent a victory for GetUp members campaigning against the proposed mill.

GetUp National Director, Simon Sheikh, said that this a great validation for GetUp members, who for years have been calling on Gunns and Forestry Tasmania to meet FSC requirements and other responsible environmental standards.

“This is long overdue” said GetUp National Director, Simon Sheikh, “but it signals that Premier Bartlett and Gunns are finally heeding the call of the community, thanks to the commitment of GetUp members to this issue and the work of our partners in the pulp mill campaign.”

However, Simon Sheikh cautioned that FSC certification does not solve all the problems with the Tasmanian forestry industry or the proposed mill. “This is a step in the right direction, but still leaves native Tasmanian forests open to logging, unless they are identified as ‘high conservation value.’ We need a commitment from Gunns and Forestry Tasmania to use plantation timber exclusively in all of their operations.”

“In addition, the proposed pulp mill still poses a number of problems for local industries and the local community, including the release of effluent into the Bass Strait and the fact that the process will not be totally chlorine free.”

Simon Sheikh noted how global markets are demanding sustainability from forestry products. “Sustainability and best practice environmental standards are not only good for the environment and the Tasmanian community—they are a necessity for the future of the Tasmanian forestry industry in today’s world.”

“In the coming state election, both the Labor and Liberal parties need to commit to achieving a responsible and sustainable forestry industry that reflects international best practices and Tasmanian values. That will require fair, inclusive and transparent democratic process that engages the Tasmanian community.”

About GetUp: GetUp.org.au is an independent movement to build a progressive Australia. GetUp brings together like-minded people who want to bring participation back into our democracy. GetUp has over 340,000 members nationwide, more than every political party combined. http://www.getup.org.au

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Politics | Local | National | State | Democracy Tasmania | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment

GetUp supports Raverty advertising campaign

Simon Sheikh, GetUp
27.01.10 12:54 pm

Today Tasmanian and media legend, Peter Cundall, is launching a TV ad campaign from non-partisan group, Our Common Ground. GetUp National Director, Simon Sheikh, said that GetUp is proud to lend its support to this campaign, helping to ensure that it reaches every Tasmanian.

“This ad tells the real story of the Gunns Pulp Mill. Time and again the voice of the community has been ignored and their interests dismissed in favour of unchecked corporate power.”

The ad features Dr. Warwick Raverty, former member of the Resource, Planning and Development Commission (RPDC) in Tasmania, which reviewed and seriously criticised the proposed Gunns Pulp Mill for the Tamar Valley.

Tragically, and inexcusably, Gunns and both major parties walked away from the Commission and ignored its well-founded conclusions. Mr Raverty eventually resigned as a result of ‘undue political influence’ in the process.

Simon Sheikh noted the importance of the ad and its message. “Dr. Raverty establishes the direct link between the pernicious influence of money in politics and environmental catastrophe.”

GetUp members have been campaigning against the pulp mill for over 2 years, because of the danger it represents to Tasmania’s old growth forests and the environmental and economic hazards for local industries and the local community.

GetUp members have also been campaigning to limit political donations at all levels of government, to curb the influence of major corporations, like Gunns, and give power back to the community.

Simon Sheikh said that “this ad shows that a polluted political process leads inevitably to bad outcomes for the environment, the community and future generations.”

About GetUp: GetUp.org.au is an independent movement to build a progressive Australia. GetUp brings together like-minded people who want to bring participation back into our democracy. GetUp has over 340,000 members nationwide, more than every political party combined.
http://www.getup.org.au

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Politics | Local | National | State | Democracy Tasmania | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment

Our Common Ground launches new hard hitting ad calling for a restoration of democratic process

Ahmet Bektas, Our Common Ground
27.01.10 12:47 pm

Our Common Ground will today launch a hard-hitting new television advertisement highlighting abuses of democratic processes to please old-style logging interests.

The ad calls for the interests of ordinary Tasmanians to be put ahead of large timber companies.

The advert features pulp and paper mill expert Warwick Raverty — a former member of the Resource, Planning and Development Commission (RPDC) assessing the Gunns Tamar Valley Pulp Mill development.

Mr Raverty was responsible for assessing the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill, and resigned due to ‘undue political influence’ in the process. He said that the way Labor and Liberal politicians changed the process corrupted Tasmanians’ faith in their democracy.

Our Common Ground said recent comments by the Premier and Gunns about moving towards sustainable forest certification shows the message is finally getting through.

“Tasmanians and world markets have been very clear what they want,” said Ahmet Bektas of Our Common Ground. “Finally, politicians and companies are paying attention. But Tasmanians expect to be heard after elections, too, which will require clear commitments from all parties that abuses of democracy will end.”

In the ad, Raverty refers to both major parties ramming through legislation that prevented ordinary Tasmanians from appealing any decision – “even in cases where the process was corrupt”.

“The way in which the Liberals and Labor rushed the Legislation through, with the extraordinary concessions provided to Gunns ignored the advice provided about the negative impacts on the environment and the community,” he said.

Our Common Ground said it’s a message that will get louder. ” While Gunns had a role, politicians’ failure to follow democratic processes is the key problem.

And if politicians think abuses of democracy will be forgotten in election years, they’re wrong.

Tasmanians and world markets expect better,” said Mr. Bektas.

Our Common Ground is a non partisan, cross-section of groups and individuals determined to end old fights that are keeping Tasmania divided. The OCG TV ad campaign is being supported by private donations, the national progressive, non-partisan group Getup and by the Wilderness Society, a member of Our Common Ground.

The launch will feature former ABC gardening host Peter Cundall.

Press Opportunity: 11am, Grand Chancellor Hotel, Launceston

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Politics | Local | National | State | Democracy Tasmania | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment

Tasmanian Aboriginals commemorate Invasion Day

Jennifer Wakefield, Tim Dobson
26.01.10 1:53 pm

On January 26, around 150 Tasmanian Aboriginals and their supporters marched to Parliament House Lawns in Hobart to both commemorate the Aboriginal lives lost after the British Invasion of 1788, but also to protest the fact that the invasion is celebrated as Australia day.

Spokesperson Nala Mansell-McKenna said “January 26th commemorates the day the British first stepped on Australian soil. Their aim was to rid themselves of the Aboriginal race, and to do so they raped, murdered, invaded & thieved. It’s the date the whites took everything and we lost the lot, how could any reasonable person celebrate such a tragedy?”

The rally was addressed by local Aboriginal activists Jim Everett and Sara Maynard, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Legal Secretary Michael Mansell and Socialist Alliance activists Melanie Barnes and Jenny Forward.

Barnes told the crowd “We must understand why the major parties don’t want to change the date. To do so would require honesty about the foundation of the Australian nation, that is, it’s founded on rape, murder, theft, genocide and dispossession. To recognise this would mean you would be required to do a lot more than change the national day.”

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Society

Jackeys Marsh Forest Festival

Lisa Yeates
26.01.10 5:17 am

5th-7th February.
Diana Anaid, Barons of Tang, The Stoics, Lucy Thorne, The Gin Talking, Debra Manskey, Emma Wild & so much more.
Forest Arts Trail, Workshops and kids fun,
Tix: $80-w’end, $40 day (conc. avail).
http://www.forestfestival.org

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What's On

CALL FOR AUSTRALIA DAY DATE TO BE MOVED

Nick McKim MP Greens Leader
26.01.10 4:15 am

To Allow All Australians to Celebrate

The Tasmanian Greens today called for Australia Day to be moved to ensure it call be celebrated fully by all Australians, including the Aboriginal community.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that Australia Day should be about bringing all Australians together, but this cannot occur when it is celebrated on a date that marked a disenfranchising of the Aboriginal nation.

“Australia Day should be a day that all Australians can celebrate, and while it falls on the 26th of January this will never occur.”

“The Greens would like to see an alternative date proposed out of respect for the Aboriginal community, and as an important step forward for reconciliation for the whole Australian community,” Mr McKim said.

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Politics | National | Society

BURNET PROPOSAL TO CALM SALAMANCA TRAFFIC

Helen Burnet Greens Alderman & Deputy Lord Mayor Hobart City Council
25.01.10 8:22 am

Greens Alderman and Deputy Lord Mayor Helen Burnet will tonight propose significant changes to how traffic is managed in Salamanca Place.

Ald Burnet, a fan of making urban spaces more people-friendly, has proposed that the Council consider for Salamanca Place:

. A shared zone for pedestrians, vehicles and cyclists
. Removing parking from the building side of Salamanca Place
. One-way vehicular traffic flow

The suggested scope of Salamanca Place to be considered would span from Gladstone St to the silos.

“I believe that these alterations not only fit in with the changes mooted by the State Architect for Sullivan’s Cove but also re-define what is important to add to the vitality of an area of our great city.

“Removing cars from the building side would set off the unique streetscape of the Salamanca wharehouses, and provide a much more pleasant prospect for those who are outside dining and enjoying the many activities Salamanca has to offer.

“Whilst there is a relatively wide footpath, Salamanca is a place that attracts 1000’s of locals and visitors each day who walk past and into restaurants, businesses and through laneways and arcades to Battery Point and the Salamanca Quarry. Having more space to stop, shop and enjoy would surely be welcome.

“Parking for deliveries could be accommodated through specific times, as they are in other parts of the city, such as the mall.

“A shared zone would be relatively easy to install in this area. Motorists entering the zone would realise through visual cues that they are sharing the road space, giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists. 30km/hr is often considered a suitable limit for a shared zone, and provides a safer atmosphere for slower moving pedestrians especially.

“Add to that greater predictability of traffic with a one-way flow, and so much of the road could be used as people space.

Local resident Fiona Peate raised concerns with Alderman Burnet last year.

Ms Peate’s main concern was improvements for pedestrian safety and amenity.

Alderman Burnet believes the time is right to make these changes. “With the Council’s Inner City Development Plan almost under way, and the Sullivan’s Cove Master Plan’s release, this is a very good time to consider improvements for Salamanca to not only improve traffic movement, but also how people enjoy their experience there too.


W: http://www.helenburnet.com.au

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Politics | Local | Environment

Unions welcome Asbestos Report and call for action

Simon Cocker
25.01.10 6:47 am

Tasmanian unions today welcomed the release of a report dealing with asbestos in Tasmania and called on the State Government to act swiftly to enact its recommendations. 

The report recommends a whole of government approach to dealing with asbestos and the establishment of a dedicated asbestos unit to improve asbestos management and removal in Tasmania.

“The Minister, Lisa Singh has acted swiftly to get this report off the ground and should be congratulated for her work so far,” Unions Tasmania Secretary, Simon Cocker said.

“The creation of a dedicated asbestos unit and a co-ordinated approach to prioritised asbestos removal will put Tasmania at the forefront in asbestos management policy instead of lagging behind the other states.”

“Each year more Tasmanians are diagnosed with asbestos related diseases and at the moment it is almost impossible for them to make workers compensation claims. We need a fair “no fault” compensation scheme for asbestos disease sufferers as soon as possible.”

“The Government now has an opportunity to take action to help protect future generations of Tasmanians from exposure to this deadly carcinogen and to help fairly compensate those who are suffering.”

“The union movement has a core commitment to safer workplaces and looks forward to working with the Minister and any other person or organisation that shares that commitment,” said Mr Cocker.

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Politics | State | Health

BARTLETT GOVERNMENT’S SECRET $239,000 GIFT TO GUNNS

Kim Booth MP Greens Pulp Mill spokesperson
24.01.10 11:21 am

Was it Deceit, or is it Corruption? Greens Call for Parliamentary Inquiry to Uncover the Truth

http://www.tas.greens.org.au
The Tasmanian Greens today announced that they will be calling for a full Parliamentary inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the secret expenditure of $239,000 on a culvert for Gunns, in return for an emailed commitment from Gunns to only pay for the culvert if it achieves finance for its controversial Tamar Valley mill. 

Greens Pulp Mill spokesperson Kim Booth MP said the Bartlett government’s secret gift of a $239,000 in public money to a private company is borderline corruption, and the fact that the culvert was constructed after the Premier had made his infamous claim that he was drawing a ‘line in the sand’ over further assistance for Gunns’ pulp mill proposal also raised serious questions about the credibility and honesty of David Bartlett himself.

“These are very, very serious matters that go to the heart of good governance and healthy democracy. The secret transfer of public money to a private company is the sort of behaviour that would be condemned by all Australians as corruption if it occurred in a third-world country,” said Mr Booth.

“Despite reporting a profit of $64.5 million dollars in 2007-2008, Gunns used poverty as an excuse to have the public pay for its new culvert.”

“The secret expenditure of $239,000 of public money on private infrastructure without any firm contract or proper arrangement in place raises serious questions about the probity of this Labor government, not to mention the potential for outright corruption.”

“This culvert was constructed well after David Bartlett claimed that he was drawing a ‘line in the sand’ over financial assistance for Gunns’ pulp mill proposal, and the Premier must now reveal exactly when he discovered this arrangement and why it was kept from the public for so long.”

“A lot of the publicly-funded infrastructure along the East Tamar Highway appears to have been constructed specifically for the proposed pulp mill, and the Greens will be calling for a full public inquiry into every cent of public money that this Labor Government has spent on Gunns’ private proposal for a pulp mill, especially the secret gift of a $239,000 culvert without any firm arrangement for repayment,” said Mr Booth.

Comment HERE: Yes Mr Gay (3)

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Close EFSA’s open doors to industry!

Suzy Renckens: http://www.testbiotech.org
24.01.10 10:23 am

Joint letter sent by NGOs to alert the EU Commission

Munich / Brussels - Four NGOs, Testbiotech, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO Brussels), Friends of the Earth (FOE Brussels), and Lobbycontrol are now jointly addressing the EU Commission about a scandal involving a leading member of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) who moved directly into the agribusiness company Syngenta. They are calling for a thorough investigation of the circumstances and urging the commission to take immediate action.

“So far no appropriate action has been taken by the EFSA”, says Christoph Then from Testbiotech. “The Commission must react to this new case of an EU official going through revolving doors. There is a clear conflict with the legitimate interests of the EFSA”.

It was recently made public that the former head of the EFSA’s GMO panel, Suzy Renckens, had become Head of Biotech Regulatory Affairs for Europe, Africa and Middle East (EAME) at Syngenta just one month after she quit the EFSA. In her own words, Ms Renckens now lobbies for Syngenta to influence EU decision-making on genetically engineered organisms. This is the very same issue she was responsible for regulating with the EFSA.

“In cases like this, a tightly enforced cooling-off period is essential for several reasons. Former staff members and especially decision makers from EU authorities can exploit their previous status to unduly influence their former colleagues. However the EFSA did not raise any objections or impose any obligations in relation to this direct move into industry of one of its leading staff members,” explains Nina Katzemich from Lobbycontrol.

Members of EU public services are supposed to ask for approval from their institutions for any new post within a period of two years of leaving. The EFSA only appeared to act on this conflict after it was highlighted by the NGO Testbiotech. EFSA sent several e-mails to Ms Renckens at the end of 2009 reminding her of her obligations – long after she was informed about the new situation. Ms Renckens had already informed EFSA in May 2008 that she had started work at Syngenta.

Link to the letter to the EU Commission: http://www.testbiotech.org/sites/default/files/letter%20commission%204%20ngos_EFSA.pdf

More information about the case of Suzy Renckens: http://www.testbiotech.org

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Politics | Environment | Health

FOOD PACKAGING PLASTIC HARMS BABIES AND CHILDREN

National Toxics Network PO Box 173 Bangalow NSW 2479 http://www.ntn.org.au .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
24.01.10 10:08 am

The National Toxics Network (NTN) is today renewing calls for the Australian Government to protect public health and ban the use of the controversial plasticizer, Bisphenol A (BPA) following a turnaround by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which now has serious concerns about the health effects of BPA exposure, especially to babies and children.

“The US FDA has this month revised its assessment of BPA based on new testing methods which can detect subtle effects of chemicals. Along with the National Institutes of Health, the FDA now acknowledge there are serious concerns with respect to developmental and reproductive impacts in infants and children exposed to BPA,” says Dr Mariann Lloyd Smith.

“BPA is an industrial chemical which has been used extensively since the 1960s in plastic food and beverage containers and in children’s products like shatter-proof baby bottles and the epoxy linings of canned foods. It leaches out of products and we all get exposed to it,” says Dr Lloyd Smith.

“The new studies the FDA looked at have also confirmed earlier findings in 2008 that showed the more BPA measured in peoples urine, the higher their rates of heart disease and diabetes. The research also found a link between abnormal liver enzymes in people with high BPA levels, suggesting the chemical alters liver functions”.

“In 2007, 38 independent international scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health and the US Environmental Protection Agency, reviewed 700 studies on BPA. They concluded that people are exposed to levels of BPA exceeding those that harm lab animals and noted that infants and fetuses are the most vulnerable”.

“The published findings also concluded that low doses of BPA during pregnancy can have profound effects on fetal prostate, breast, testicle, mammary glands and brain development in animals.”

“BPA is a known endocrine (hormone) disruptor that can do damage at very low levels of exposure. That alone is cause enough for regulators to act to remove it from products,” Dr Lloyd Smith.

“Previous studies also linked prenatal exposure to BPA with increased risk of cancer, significant increase in cell tumors of the testes, alteration to the number of chromosomes, uterine damage and obesity.”

“Meanwhile, comments by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) that levels of BPA exposure are very low and aren’t a significant health risk, do not reflect the current scientific consensus and are not in the public’s best interest,” says Dr Lloyd Smith.

“FSANZ also claim the problem of BPA contaminating baby bottles is not their problem, rather the responsibility of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. It appears no regulatory agency in Australia is looking after the health of Australians.” 

US FDA Update on Bisphenol A (BPA) for Use in Food: January 2010

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm064437.htm

Bisphenol A: Expert Panel Consensus Statement: Integration of mechanisms, effects in animals and potential impact to human health at current exposure levels. Reproductive Toxicology (2007) 24:131-138. 

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Libs seek briefing on Tamar River silt report

Sue Napier MP Shadow Minister for the Environment Liberal Member for Bass
24.01.10 9:18 am

The Launceston City Council’s decision to hand over responsibility for the Tamar River to the State Government is not surprising.

The Tasmanian Liberals have approached the Council seeking an urgent briefing on the GHD sedimentation study to ensure we fully understand the full nature of the problems, recommended solutions, and the costings of the four options that were considered by Council. 

As I understand it, the preferred option of a full dredging program would cost $1m a year, as well as the over $5m capital investment in an appropriate system of dredging.

There is no question that the silt problem needs to be addressed.  Whilst the catchment management study being undertaken by NRM North, which is due in April, will also be important in that, the real problem is that the silt in the Tamar River needs to be removed for any long term benefit, as it will just wash back up into the basin with the tide if it is just moved on down the river.

At least we have some good research and studies to guide the next strategy, which needs a State Government-established River Authority to take action, and better manage the catchment issues in cooperation with all stakeholders.

An obsession of TT: Geoff Smedley: Tamar: The fight is lost

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FORESTRY - COMING TO A SUBURB NEAR YOU!

Helen Burnet Greens Alderman & Deputy Lord Mayor Hobart City Council
23.01.10 1:01 pm

A bid by a local developer to have a private timber reserve on the foothills of Mt Wellington has raised concerns for the Greens on Hobart City Council.

Greens Alderman and Deputy Lord Mayor Helen Burnet said she was incredibly surprised when she heard of the application. “The Forest Practices Board will be considering whether or not 60.6 hectares of land is suitable for logging, clearing then becoming a plantation. This is on the doorstep of Mt Wellington Park, and in the backyard of Lenah Valley residents.”

According to the report (Development & Environmental Services Agenda,
18/01/10) for the Council meeting on Monday*, the land is visible from the pinnacle of Mt Wellington, which receives over 300, 000 visitors per year.
Ald Burnet said, “Potentially this could have a serious impact on tourism, but it is the implications for local residents that should be considered, and not least of all the local environment and water catchment.

“The land up for logging is habitat for endangered species such as the Mangana beetle and Fairy lantern, and has high biodiversity value. It is also subject to various forms of erosion, is steep in areas, and does not have the infrastructure to support the machinery required for logging operations.

“One major area of concern for me is any possible disturbance to the Brushy Creek Rivulet, which flows into the New Town Rivulet catchment.”

Under the current Planning Scheme “forestry” is an undefined use and therefore discretionary, whilst the new Draft City of Hobart Planning Scheme
2009 prohibits forestry within that zone of Hobart.

“There is a discrepancy between the old and the new giving this developer the window of opportunity to put in such a proposal.” I am not hearing that this is what people want in their suburbs, and I am certainly not expecting that they will want to see this industrial practice marring the beautiful vistas from Mt Wellington”, Ald Burnet said.

Lenah Valley resident and fellow Greens candidate for Denison, Kartika Franks was shocked at the prospect of logging operations in her suburb. “I can’t believe that this would even be considered in Hobart and I do not believe forestry is an appropriate activity for Lenah Valley. What does this represent on the boundary of Wellington Park, so close to our beautiful Mt Wellington?” Ms Franks said.

*On Monday evening the Full Council will consider endorsing a letter already sent by the General Manager opposing the application.

W: http://www.helenburnet.com.au

Politics | Local | National | State | Forestry | Gunns | Economy | Environment | Legal

Pulp mill referendum call

Peter Wilson Interim Vice-President of Communication Ethics & Sustainability Party http://www.esparty.org
22.01.10 5:59 am

Ethics & Sustainability Party

MEDIA RELEASE

January 21, 2010

The Tasmanian Division of the Australian Democrats have yesterday called for a referendum on the proposed Gunns Pulp Mill at Bell Bay to be conducted in conjunction with the March 20 Tasmanian state election, as a final opportunity to right the wrongs in the approval process.

However Ethics & Sustainability Party spokesperson, Peter Wilson says that such a referendum would be best conducted once the project has been fully and independently assessed by the Planning Commission (renamed from RPDC). The conclusions of such an assessment would be integral to the average Tasmanian reaching a well-informed opinion on the issue.

The Ethics & Sustainability Party does not oppose development and believes a pulp mill could help build a sustainable pulp and paper industry creating much needed jobs and providing economic stimulus in Tasmania. However any such large-scale development must be fully and independently assessed to reduce risk of unintended major impacts for the immediate surrounds of the pulp mill as well as on the state.

“Regarding the cost of holding such a referendum not in conjunction with the March 20 state election, based on enquiries we have made with the Tasmanian Electoral Commission that would be $170,000 or around $0.50 per Tasmanian elector if conducted as a mailout ballot along the lines of a local council elector poll. If voting were optional, those Tasmanians who still don’t have an opinion would not be required to participate. We consider this a good thing as it would provide a more representative picture of where only the informed and interested Tasmanians’ views are clustered on the Tamar pulp mill issue”, Mr Wilson said.

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