Environment & Biodiversity
06 Sep 2011
The federal government should not featherbed the big mining corporations by rebating state royalties, and Barry O'Farrell should get his facts right on the carbon price, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
"The Gillard government is in a bind over its feeble mining tax. Already, $100 billion is being lost over the next 10 years from the public purse. This is money which should be going to hospitals, housing, schools, dental care or developing high-speed rail," Senator Brown said in Hobart.
"Mining company profits leapt 15.2 per cent to near $25 billion in the three months to June. The states have a right to increase royalties. But the Commonwealth is wrong to repay that money to the miners.
"As far as saying to the states, ‘well, you can't increase royalties', that again will cost the taxpayer. Ultimately, unless the government amends its own watered-down mining tax, we may end up with the federal taxpayer subsidising the states and the mining companies getting off scot-free.
"But Premier O'Farrell's claims on the carbon tax don't add up. The carbon pricing package negotiated by the Greens will be a boon for clean energy jobs in New South Wales," Senator Brown said.
New South Wales has enough clean energy potential to power 3,000,000 homes, remove pollution equivalent to 3,300,00 cars and create 6,600 jobs.
- Clean Energy Jobs in Regional Australia, Climate Institute, 1/3/2011
"It is also notable that both the New South Wales and Victorian modelling has nothing at all to say about the damage that unmitigated climate change would wreak on their economies," Senator Brown said.
05 Sep 2011
The reporting of yet another loss for Ta Ann despite massive public subsidies is raising the spectre of the company as the new Gunns of Tasmania's native forest, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
"Ta Ann has reported an $11 million loss in the last financial year, which follows on from losses in 2006, 2007 and 2008," Senator Brown said.
"Since it began operation in Tasmania, Ta Ann has made a net loss of about $18 million, despite receiving $10 million in direct public subsidies and being housed in premises which cost Forestry Tasmania $22 million and which it runs at a loss."
"To get itself to a profitable position the company has reported that it needs to increase its sales price by 28% at a time when markets for wood products are slow to non-existent. That won't happen. It would need a huge drop in the value of the Australian dollar."
"When public money is poured into poor business models in forestry, we have less to spend on our hospitals, schools and national parks," Senator Brown said.
01 Sep 2011
1 September marks one year since the Australian Greens signed an historic agreement with Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Labor Government.
The Gillard agreement has achieved outcomes for Australians in terms of passage of bills and lack of confrontation between the houses. We have consultation instead of confrontation.
The agreement was reached after the Greens secured a breakthrough win with Adam Bandt in the lower house seat of Melbourne and a record number of senators, and contains detailed policy and accountability mechanisms.
One year on many of these are now in place.
21 Aug 2011
"Some might call the predicted thousands of trucks descending on Canberra ending up as hundreds (ABC, 21/8/11) a ‘flop', but these Australians have every right to a peaceful presence on the parliamentary lawns," Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
"It seems like the prime qualification to be there is to be angry about something - these are Abbott's angry people," Senator Brown said.
"But it seems their views on some issues are fairly shorted sighted, very ‘me-now'."
"The number of angry people in Canberra tomorrow will increase much more than the numbers of truckers arriving in town," Senator Brown predicted.
30 Jun 2011
Greens Leader Bob Brown today urged politicians of all stripes to engage in a mature debate about ownership of Australians' assets, including farm land and minerals wealth.
"The Australian Greens have one initial solution - the Foreign Acquisitions Amendment (Agricultural Land) Bill 2010 jointly sponsored by Christine Milne and Nick Xenophon - with all acquisitions by foreign interests to be subject to a proposed $5 million threshold," Senator Brown said in Hobart.
"The bill was introduced into the Senate on 24 November 2010 and was subject to a Senate Inquiry which reported on 16 June 2011."
"The bill provides legislation for a national interest test which includes factors such as national security, any impacts on competition and global industry or market outcomes, any impact on Australian tax revenues, any impact on the Australian economy or community, the character of the investor, and requires online publication of applications of interest in agricultural land."
"There would also be penalties for when a foreign person acquired agricultural land without notifying the Treasurer."
29 Jun 2011
Transcript is after the break
23 Jun 2011
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown says that the anticipated millions of dollars of taxpayers' money for logging companies should not flow if 572,000 hectares of high conservation value forests are not first protected in national parks.
"We will study today's agreement but we will not adopt it if it entrenches Malaysian logging company Ta Ann in our forests until 2042, or sets future forest destruction by industrial logging at levels making protection of the 572,000 hectares impractical," Senator Brown said.
15 Jun 2011
In Senate question time today, the federal Minister for Forests Joe Ludwig told Greens Leader Bob Brown that no federal money had been sought or offered for Gunns' proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill.
Senator Ludwig said he would seek more information on Senator Brown's concern that the proposed area of Tasmanian high conservation value forests to be protected in the long-awaited forests agreement had been cut from 610,000 hectares to 592,000 and that there are proposals to cut this further in the interests of Malaysian logging company Ta Ann.
Quoting new figures showing 3,644 native animals were drawn out of unlogged forests using grain baiting on to clear-felled areas and shot in the Southern Forests last year, Senator Brown asked if this slaughter had Commonwealth approval.
Again, Senator Ludwig said he would seek to get more information for the Senate.
11 Jun 2011
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown today welcomed news that a consortium of buyers had put a bid in for the Triabunna woodchip mill to establish a new tourism venture.
"Triabunna is the gateway to the east coast and beautiful Maria Island but at the moment the scenery is blighted by the woodchip mill," Senator Brown said in Hobart.
"A tourism venture will provide job certainty for the town's 800 people as well as Tasmania."
"This is a watershed moment for Tasmania's economy and job prospects. It is perfect for Tasmania's branding as an island of wild and scenic beauty, featuring economic excellence."
"I congratulate Graeme Wood and Jan Cameron. And I hope local, state and federal governments will get behind this pivotal proposal which promises to uplift Tasmania's economic prospects."
10 Jun 2011
Deep seabed mining threatens our oceans and the marine environment of our neighbours, particularly Papua New Guinea where seabed mining experiments are going unchecked, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
"The Australian Greens are calling for scrutiny of what deep seabed mining means for the health of our oceans and our own country's natural marine resources and fisheries into the future," Senator Brown said in Hobart after ABC TV's Catalyst program examined deep seabed mining.
"On a recent visit to Papua New Guinea, the Chairman of the Bismarck Solomon Seas Indigenous People's Council and Vice-Chairman of the Madang Indigenous People's Forum, John Simoi, raised concerns about the rapid approval of the Solwara I project in the Bismarck Sea and the lack of adequate safeguards," Senator Brown said.
"Our government has given the go ahead for Nautilus to use us as guinea pigs, to experiment," Mr Simoi said.
"Nautilus Minerals, based in Singapore, which has the world's first seabed mining operation controlled by robots, in the ocean south of New Ireland, plans to extract minerals that are going to make somebody somewhere very wealthy and dump tailings straight into that marine ecosystem. The threats of that form of process are global," Senator Brown said.
The Senate is scheduled to vote next week on Senator Brown's motion:
That the Senate -
(a) recognises that the Solwara 1 Project in the Bismarck Sea off Papua New Guinea plans to mine copper and gold at a depth of 1 600 metres and is the world's first deep seabed mining project;
(b) acknowledges that full-scale undersea excavation of mineral deposits globally has potential to remove parts of the sea floor and damage the ocean's health as a result of leakage, spills and damage caused by increased toxicity and sediment from tailings; and
(c) calls on the Government to establish an inquiry, to report by 1 October 2011, into seabed mining to assess:
(i) the level of interest in seabed mining in Australian waters and in waters in the region neighbouring Australia,
(ii) the potential impact on the marine environment and resources if this industry develops, and
(iii) the need for regulation or a regional agreement to manage and reduce the potential for this industry to impact on marine productivity.