Monday, March 30, 2015

Infantile Greenies and the "threatened" future of a pretty Tasmanian parrot

The article below is from the environmental writer at the Australian far-Left "New Matilda" magazine so its truthfulness cannot be assumed  -- but the interesting thing is the approach of the article. It is typical of "stop everything" environmentalism.  It offers no compromise and no middle way.  Instead of assisting informed decision-making it just does its best to build a roadblock to action. 

In those circumstances, if there are foolish decisions made about environmental matters the Greens are partly responsible for that.  Most of Tasmmania is locked up under environmental regulations so there has been no balance at all so far.  The voters have clearly grown tired of that and gave Tasmania's conservatives an unprecedented clear victory in the last State election.  The conservatives are now doing what they were elected to do -- unlock some of the locked-off areas.  It would be so much better if they could do it in a consultative way with all parties -- but compromise is unknown to Greenies.  "We want it all" is their juvenile cry. 

A more mature Greenie response to what the voters have clearly asked for would be to suggest alternative areas that could be opened up that did not threaten environmental harm.  But in a long article (only partially excerpted below) there was no whisper of that.  They are emotional toddlers

Concerns over the Abbott government’s plans to “deregulate” the environment and give up much of its environmental powers to the states found a compelling voice this week, as revelations emerged that the Tasmanian government approved logging in contravention of expert advice, knowingly pushing an endangered bird much closer to extinction.

It’s the sort of industry-first approach that environmental lawyers and conservationists are concerned could become far more common under the federal government’s so-called ‘One Stop Shop’ reforms.

The policy would drastically diminish the federal environment minister’s portfolio and see state governments - which stand to gain much more from big developments, mining, and forestry - vested with assessment and approval powers over matters of national environmental significance.

The government says the ‘One Stop Shop’ will cut red tape without a drop in environmental standards but documents obtained by Environment Tasmania under freedom of information laws, released earlier week, have raised serious questions over the state’s commitment to conservation.

The Hodgman government has approved the logging of at least three out of five areas of forest which provide key breeding habitat for the endangered Swift Parrot, it was revealed, despite repeated advice from experts that it will hasten the species’ already steep decline to extinction.

“Conservation objectives for the species at the [local] and regional scales will not be met” if the areas are logged, scientists within Tasmania’s environment department warned.

Less than 1,000 breeding pairs of Swift Parrot remain. Each year the bird undertakes the longest known migration of any parrot, to breed on the east coast of Tasmania.

The areas the Tasmanian government has now approved for logging are high-quality nesting habitat that are known to host large numbers of the just 2,000 remaining individuals during breeding season.

Cutting down forests in this breeding habitat, scientists within the department warn in one email, “will result in the continued loss of breeding habitat that has been identified as being of very high importance for the species with the further fragmentation of foraging habitat”.

“This cannot contribute to the long term survival of the species.”

Put simply, “there is no scientific evidence to support the position that continued harvesting of breeding habitat will support conservation objectives for the species”.

Ordinarily, where matters of national environmental significance such as threatened species are involved, the federal Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act would be triggered and the Commonwealth government would be tasked with ensuring conservation outcomes are met.

For the Swift Parrot, though, there was no federal safeguard.

The Tasmanian government was allowed to issue the approvals, and ignore the expert advice, because of a deal with the federal government, known as the Regional Forestry Agreement (RFA).

It’s a deal that is remarkably similar to the wholesale hand-over of powers the Abbott government is pursuing through its One Stop Shop reform.


A solid win for the conservatives in NSW

The Coalition is on track to win 53 seats, with Labor set to secure 34 and the Greens appearing likely to win four.

Just 20 minutes earlier, Opposition Leader Luke Foley addressed the Labor Party faithful at the Catholic Club in Lidcombe to concede defeat at 9:20pm and was full of praise for his political opponent. "Mike Baird took over the leadership of the Liberal Party and the Government when his Government had entered very stormy waters and he steered the ship to safety," he said.

"He is a formidable opponent. He's at the peak of his popularity. He's also an honourable opponent. "Right through this campaign Mike Baird and I have both ensured that it was never personal.  "I want to thank Mike for the way he's conducted himself during the course of this campaign."

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the result showed voters were willing to embrace reform.  "It certainly did show that if the people understand the nature of the reform and people understand the problem, then they'll be happy to be part of the solution," she said.

"And I think, given the outcome in Victoria and the outcome in Queensland, there was a sense that the Australian people weren't ready for reform.

"Well, this has proven that that is not the case and that people are understanding of the challenges that can come from an economy that was, quite frankly under Labor, in the doldrums."


Australia to sign up to China-led Bank

Australia will join the club of more than 30 countries negotiating the set-up of a $100 billion China-led development bank.

After holding out for months, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Sunday that Australia intends to sign up to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

China is promoting the bank as a vehicle to help combat an estimated $8 trillion infrastructure gap in the region over the next decade, but the US has reservations about the venture.

Signing on before Tuesday's deadline allows Australia to participate as a prospective founding member in negotiations to set up the bank.

Mr Abbott says key matters to be resolved include its board of directors having authority over major investment decisions, and that no one country controls the bank.

But he says good progress has been made on the bank's design, governance and transparency in the past few months.

Treasurer Joe Hockey says infrastructure upgrades in Asia, funded by the bank's loans, would benefit Australian exporters and commodities in the medium to long term.

"We could massively increase our exports of iron ore to India if there were better port facilities," he told reporters in Tasmania.

Australia wanted similar governance positions to other multi-lateral banks.

Mr Hockey said the UK, Germany, Italy and France's interest had helped sway the decision.

Those countries joined the queue to sign up after Beijing reportedly dropped its veto power over the bank.  "(It) has been encouraging for Australia to know that it truly is a global organisation," Mr Hockey said.

Trade Minister Andrew Robb said it was imperative that Australia was at the table because improved infrastructure would help drive growth and demand in Asia Pacific countries.

Federal Labor accused the government of dithering on the issue for too long.  "I think it's important to be confident about the institutional arrangements of the bank, but the best way to do that is through engagement with China," Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek told reporters in Sydney.

Russia and the Netherlands also signed up to the bank this weekend.

Australia will miss a meeting in Kazakhstan early this week because it has not yet signed a memorandum of understanding.  There will be another two rounds of discussions on the bank's structure and governance before countries will formally sign on.

There's speculation Australia might invest up to $3 billion in the venture.

The Australia China Business Council said the bank was an excellent opportunity to help shape the region's future.


How rogue union milked the workers and gave it to the ALP

A FORMER High Court judge has found serious union wrongdoing in the Queensland building industry and recommended criminal charges against a union boss with strong links to the Palaszczuk Government.

The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption found there were bribes, extortion, secret commissions and “other unlawful payments’’ involving members of the CFMEU, a powerful union and Labor backer whose members in Queensland include Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller and Jim Pearce, the Member for Mirani.

There were no suggestions of impropriety by Miller or Pearce although Justice John Dyson Heydon’s interim report to Parliament was scathing against their union.

“The evidence indicates that a number of Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union officials seek to conduct their affairs with a deliberate disregard for the rule of law,’’ Heydon said.

“That evidence is suggestive of the existence of a pervasive and unhealthy culture within the CFMEU, under which the law is to be deliberately evaded, or crashed through as an irrelevance.’’

He said union officials “prefer to lie rather than reveal the truth and betray the union”.

“The reputations of those who speak out about union wrongdoing become the subject of baseless slurs and vilification,’’ Heydon said.

He recommended criminal charges against key CFMEU officials including Queensland secretary Michael Ravbar, a personal friend of several unionists who are now members of Parliament.


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