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Protecting our heritage and our future from Morrison’s band of marauders

As Scott Morrison plays to a Queensland audience to launch his government’s supposed “gas led recovery”, absent is any mention of climate change, the environment, water and biodiversity. Which is hardly surprising since they patently don’t give a toss about such things.

In June last year, the Australian National Audit Office published their findings on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s handling of approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The EPBC Act defines nine matters of national environmental significance, which are:

  • world heritage properties;
  • national heritage places;
  • wetlands of international importance;
  • listed threatened species and ecological communities;
  • listed migratory species;
  • protection of the environment from nuclear actions;
  • Commonwealth marine areas;
  • the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park; and
  • protection of water resources from coal seam gas development and large coal mining development.

On this most important of area’s for Australia’s heritage and future, the findings were appalling.

“Despite being subject to multiple reviews, audits and parliamentary inquiries since the commencement of the Act, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s administration of referrals, assessments and approvals of controlled actions under the EPBC Act is not effective.

Governance arrangements to support the administration of referrals, assessments and approvals of controlled actions are not sound. The department has not established a risk-based approach to its regulation, implemented effective oversight arrangements, or established appropriate performance measures.

Referrals and assessments are not administered effectively or efficiently. Regulation is not supported by appropriate systems and processes, including an appropriate quality assurance framework. The department has not implemented arrangements to measure or improve its efficiency.

The department is unable to demonstrate that conditions of approval are appropriate. The implementation of conditions is not assessed with rigour. The absence of effective monitoring, reporting and evaluation arrangements limit the department’s ability to measure its contribution to the objectives of the EPBC Act.”

The report also specifically states that “Conflicts of interest are not managed.”

There are countless examples of Ministers, particularly Josh Frydenberg and Barnaby Joyce, pressuring, or overruling, the Department to give approval to projects proposed by Liberal party donors.

The Australian Conservation Foundation raised concerns with the ANAO about the capacity for political interference to shape what should be independent recommendations, such as those relating to the proposal for a marina and apartment complex on an internationally-significant wetland at Toondah Harbour, or the approvals of Adani’s groundwater plan.

“That the Department does not monitor or report, internally or externally, on the efficiency or effectiveness of its regulation of referrals, assessments and approvals is damning.

The report highlights that the Department has effectively stopped documenting how the decisions it recommends would deliver environmental outcomes.

It shows how failures of training and internal policy are leading to poor and unlawful decision making and staffing cuts have driven a decline in regulatory performance.”

Australia is a world leader in mammal extinctions. Three Australian animals have been declared extinct since 2009. Nearly 2,000 Australian plants, animals and ecosystems are threatened with extinction. These are just the ones we know about. In the 20-year history of Australia’s national environment law, an area of threatened species habitat larger than Tasmania (7.7 million hectares) has been logged, bulldozed and cleared.

If you care about our unique flora and fauna, our water resources, our magnificent reef, our agricultural land, the threat from climate change – understand that, under a Morrison government, all these things are up for sale.

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28 comments

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  1. Geoff Andrews

    Yippee! Welcome back. (Now I’ll read your piece!)

  2. Michael Taylor

    Is it too much to hope that the incoming Biden administration might jolt Morrison into action on climate change? Or do we wish to keep cementing our place as an international pariah?

    I’m going with the latter.

  3. Matters Not

    When it comes to Climate Change Biden is certainly not biding his time.

    During his first moments in the Oval Office on Wednesday, President Biden returned the United States to the Paris climate accord and directed federal agencies to begin unraveling Donald Trump’s environmental policies — the first step in what Biden has vowed will be a sustained effort to safeguard the nation’s air and water, protect endangered species and combat climate change at home and abroad. … Nearly half of the regulations the new administration is targeting come from the Environmental Protection Agency, on issues as varied as drinking water, dangerous chemicals and gas-mileage standards.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/01/20/biden-climate-change-inauguration/

    No doubt Albo’s already issued a (comparative) release so as to grab a headline or two?

  4. Kathryn

    How does Morrison get away with the appalling installation of gas fracking and coal mining in the Labor State of Queensland? Why isn’t the Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, kicking up a Royal stink to prevent the smug, smirking megalomaniac and self-admitted regressive climate-change-denying environmental vandal, Morrison, from destroying pristine environments for the sake of disgusting polluting gas fracking and mining with much of the product being exported overseas? It is simply outrageous that the ONLY time this lazy, non-achieving prime minister gets up out of his deck chair is to summon the destructive services of greedy, multinational corporate mining predators to dig our environment into oblivion for the sake of a hollow profit – most of which is probably going overseas!

  5. Vikingduk

    Unfortunately, MT, I think you’re right.

    On a brighter note, courtesy of SMH, world’s first domestic hydrogen battery made in Australia.
    . . . Most crucially a unit that creates and stores hydrogen power, has been developed by Australian company, LAVO, working with uni of NSW.

    The LAVO battery, about the size of a large fridge, can be hooked up to an existing array of solar panels. Inside it, electrolysers use that power to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen oxygen vented and hydrogen stored in a patented hydride — a fibrous metal alloy not to dissimilar to iron filings in appearance — in canisters inside the unit for use as needed.

    . . . Unit could store three times as much power as the largest popular commercially available wall mounted batteries. The system costs about $34,000,had a lifespan about three times longer than current lithium batteries and should last 30 years. When hydride is degraded it can be melted down and reused. Because the hydrogen is stored in a solid state inside hydride, system avoids the risk of fire the battery is already on the market.

    The battery would not only act as a hot water service but also as something like a domestic power bank, with users able to remove cylinders of charged hydride to power household items such as bbqs and bicycles.

    Much easier to export as well, far safer than hydrogen stored under pressure or converted into ammonia. SMH, 21/1/2021.

    If the will was there, why coal? Why gas? Why initiate extinction? Are we that braindead?

    FFS, wake the fuck up.

  6. Matters Not

    Re:

    How does Morrison get away with … Why isn’t Annastacia Palaszczuk, kicking up …

    Morrison and Palaszczuk are seen to be rather good at their chosen profession as is evidenced by the fact that they win elections. As strongly recommended by many ‘experts’, here and elsewhere, they actually listen closely to what the majority of the voting citizens want and then act accordingly.

    Isn’t that what democracy is supposed to be about?

  7. Kaye Lee

    Perhaps if the electorate was told the truth instead of propaganda and political spin, they would make better decisions.

    And surely there is a responsibility for our leaders to lead rather than just react to polls? Populism can get really ugly.

    I guess it depends on whether you think your job is stewardship in the national interest or re-election.

    Some have the courage and integrity and vision to inspire us to follow – they are rare

  8. Matters Not

    Re:

    was told the truth instead of propaganda and political spin … would make better decisions.

    As determined by whom? Lots of possibilities but perhaps not so many in a liberal democracy where such decisions supposedly reside with the electors.

  9. Kaye Lee

    I haven’t yet subscribed to the ‘alternative facts’ or ‘facts are contentious’ bandwagon.

    Certainly. we can have different opinions about some things – the harm that burning fossil fuels is doing shouldn’t be one of them. The evidence is in.

  10. Michael Taylor

    As determined by whom?

    MN, I think we all have a moral duty to be truthful.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  11. DrakeN

    Moral?
    Michael, really!
    Such filthy language.
    You’ll never get ahead that way.

  12. Carole

    No wonder the National Audit Office is being starved of funding. It’s one of the few departments doing its job efficiently and fearlessly. I expect it’s funding will be further reduced. Premiers should not think that they have no obligation to ensure their actions align with international climate change targets . Heads of all levels of government have a responsibility to ensure we leave a habitable planet for our children.

  13. Keith

    Thanks, Kaye Lee, I had missed seeing your articles and commentary.

    The oxymoron is that the LNP wish to make profits at a huge cost.

    The costs:

    Emissions from fossil fuels kill humans, reported by various Medical Journals
    Fossil fuels amplify climate change which also kills humans; the extreme events created do damage to infra-structure, businesses, farms, homes and jobs.
    The biodiversity on which we depend is being destroyed.

    Each day there are articles which refer to scientific research which inform the state we are in. These articles are not published in Murdoch outlets which comprises a significant percentage of Australian media.

    The cost from single major events can amount to billions of dollars.

  14. Kaye Lee

    Keith,

    I can feel the restraint you are putting on yourself to keep that to so few very important words. Well done.

    I despair at times on how to make people realise how important this is. And how rife corruption is. It’s hard to be succinct.

  15. Andrew J. Smith

    If Morrison and the LNP want to cut through in QLD, on behalf of fossil fuels and mining, simply request Bob Brown to do a caravan and/or Dick Smith/Bob Carr to spruik people or ‘population growth’ as the problem, i.e. a source of emissions and other related environmental issues. This then will draw attention away from industry, governments’ lack of strong environmental policy/regulation and promote apathy in electorates (especially if there is a ‘cost’ or ‘tax’ linked to sensible environmental measures e.g. ditching RON92 petrol, which is cheap and dirty).

  16. wam

    Great stuff, kaye, illustrating that these ‘meists’ have not a skerrick of interest in the welfare of flora and fauna(including perceived labor voters). Loved: “The absence of effective monitoring, reporting and evaluation arrangements.” These necessary actions are hidden under the ‘review’ which is classic Sir Humphrey ‘outcomes decided no need for evidence to the contrary. An example was turnbull’s nearly half a $billion to a company of 4, involving ‘lucy’, to fix the reef even at 1% that is over a $1m each to this charity? A review of robodebt left scummo’s children still accepting the concept of punishing rorters on the taxpayer, except themselves, and welfare recipients, like pensioners and the disabled are next. Similarly the indue rort of $12k a head. ‘Larry Anthony was the deputy chairman of Indue up until 2013 but his trust company, Illalangi, still owns substantial shares in Indue. more at: https://newpolitics.com.au/2019/08/28/indue-and-the-small-matter-of-political-corruption/ No wonder scummo avoids any ICAC thoughts(is Albo???) ps spot on Keith, biden is in from the start and trump is so gutless even the proud boys are losing interest.

  17. Geoff Andrews

    I wonder what really happened in the Queensland coalfield electorates.

    Bob Brown and his caravan of crazies career around the coalfields foolishly hoping that their stunt might influence electors in half a dozen inner city electorates in the capital cities.
    After the distribution of preferences of One Nation, Bob Katter, Arnold Palmer et al, it inevitably comes down to a battle between the Nationals & Labor and Labor loses.
    Naturally, it’s the Greens fault. That bloody caravan must have caused all of Pauline’s and Bob’s and Arnold’s supporters to change their second preferences to Nationals! No! the caravan embarrassed the Green supporters so much THEY switched to the Nats or that enough National voters voted twice,
    Of course, there’s always the possibility that enough right wing Labor voters in 2016 jumped ship in 2019 because Labor ran such a brilliant campaign (psst don’t mention franking credits and didn’t the backroom PR guys do such a good job?)

  18. corvusboreus

    To any ludopathic coprolite who financed the parasitic gambling industry by putting money on a Trump victory; I hope your indulgence in backing evil idiocy cost you dearly.

  19. wam

    Wow Geoff Andrews with insight like that labor must have lost sitting members everywhere?? I am looking for how the loonies got their reward up from $6m to $9m, a 50% payrise, not from the latte mob but from thin ai? With scummo actually bolting in. With the balance oozing from your mob to PHON and the vestigial remains of xenophon. Heard of rex the opposition leader?? Perhaps understanding boobby, the caravan and the diludbansimkims is an ex-loonie loving male thing and current loonies cannot see how the boys have made the loonies secretive and untrustworthy??
    Wow a 4 loonie reply and NW Tassie, where you may be closer, to go!!!

  20. Michael Taylor

    corvus, what a pleasure it is to see you.

  21. Kaye Lee

    wam, your irrrational hatred of the Greens is also unintelligible. If Labor ran a decent campaign then they wouldn’t have to worry their pretty little heads about Bob Browne. He is a private citizen with a certain viewpoint that obviously some Queenslanders share.

    I have also noticed that Greens policies always get adopted by major parties a few years later. Funny that isn’t it. Marriage equality was bad, until it wasn’t. Targets for renewable energy were bad, until they weren’t. The Greens are our conscience and the rest of the polititical parties catch up later on.

    Your constant reference to loonies is…..ironic.

  22. corvusboreus

    Michael,
    As a loony loser (by defacto default) who occasionally consorts with loopy leftist lugnuts, I appreciate your polite sentiments.
    I raise a dram (Balvenie Carribean cask, no less) to the vague hope that antipodean progressive politics can ditch their tribalistic feudalism and concertedly collectivise efforts enough to obtain and maintain majorative democratic federal governance.
    Slainthe.
    Ps, Concentrated ethanol is particularly good for enhancing short-term optimistic delusions.

  23. wam

    true god and the bible, crow, I am ludopathetic and lost my $20 (not insignificant to a pensioner) with but a second’s sorrow at depriving the church plate to the septics having 4 years of great joy without a real loonie in the white house and with a fabulous woman vice president who has already caused rupert to expose himself as a continuing sexist, racist wanker with a disgusting cartoon.
    Indeed Kamala Harris and biden combination is a continuation of the first septic president to conquer my americophobia.
    ps he who lost my cash is a gutless loser and I am another loser who thought he could be trouble but he wimped and ran like a coward he cannot do any leading.

  24. wam

    Good one kaye, irrational?
    The evidence is there for anyone to see.
    The timing was for maximum effect on coal. The image was clearly presented, the existing jobs in coal would be at risk if labor won (fitzgibbon kerfuffle??) and no future jobs if labor won QED.
    Is that irrational??
    The greens were deliberate in the route and destination. I maintain that was with a strategy to re-inforce the southern latteists that worked spectacularly in taking cash from labor but failed by losing any relevance in the balance.
    As for the crow how could anyone think a coalition between a party with one seat is feasible. That is closer to irrational??
    ps
    Michael, I agree the crow and kaye are amongst the top rank of your writers and are revered.

  25. corvusboreus

    Anyways, collective good luck with facilitating any constructively coherent informational discourse amidst all the tribalistic trolling and sloganeer sledging.
    Returning to transmissional greyzone, corvus out.

  26. Geoff Andrews

    Wow, wam. Still recovering after 24 hours from your stinging sarcasm.but the question remains: who jumped ship & why?
    There may have been the very small percentage of PHON et al voters who voted Labor last time because they don’t understand how the preference system works; I know a couple of people who always vote against the sitting member or others who alternate their vote between left & right and then there’s those in the right wing of Labor who, knowing The Greens are loonies (like the loonie Labor left), just had to jump ship to save those dozens of jobs diggin’ it up an’ movin’ it out and bugger the rest of ya an it’s all I can do any’ow.

    You assert that Brown presented an image:
    “The image was clearly presented, the existing jobs in coal would be at risk if labor won (fitzgibbon kerfuffle??) and no future jobs if labor won QED.”

    Labor’s PR gurus could have refuted this with a firm,”We do not have a firm policy on coal or climate change!” But they didn’t: they were possibly doing a focus group on whether Bill’s speech impediment was an impediment.

    So what IS Labor’s policy on phasing out of coal or does it vary from electorate to electorate? If you had a policy, the latte drinkers down south didn’t fall for it assuming your whinge about $6 million to $9 million (yippee!) is correct.

    On another matter:
    I believe I am the only reader of AIMN that has, at times, great difficulty following your postings, which I read avidly when I can understand them. Sometimes they read like all the clues of a crossword puzzle strung together with or without punctuation or capitals just to see if we’re alert or notes written during a particularly intense high.

    For example, from above: “Perhaps understanding boobby, the caravan and the diludbansimkims is an ex-loonie loving male thing and current loonies cannot see how the boys have made the loonies secretive and untrustworthy?? Wow a 4 loonie reply and NW Tassie, where you may be closer, to go!!!”

  27. DrakeN

    Geoff Andrews, wam very rarely makes sense in a rational way, his/her cryptic style(?) is indicative of a disordered, but fixed in its ideas, mind. It also indicates that s/he believes that her/his rambling ranting is in some way satirical, clever and original. For my self I only read his/her stuff when, like you just have, someone has responded to his/her ramblings. No, you are not alone in having difficulty in making sense of his/her effluence.

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