Friday, 20 June 2014

New bill denies natural justice

Peter Anderson, Central Qld grazier, photo sourced PRA 2014 conference.

The property rights and principles of natural justice of landholders will be severely compromised by certain provisions in the Mineral and Energy Resources Bill tabled in the Qld Parliament on June 5. Quite simply, this Bill just once more pushes the balance even more in favour of the mining companies at the expense of the landholders.

Please click on [this link] to a letter from Glen Martin of Shine Lawyers for a very readable summary of some very worrying aspects of this new bill.

The submission deadline for this new bill is June 30. This is far too short of a time span set in the busy timeframe of the end of the financial year to understand a long, complex new bill and amendments to 5 other existing resources acts.

PRA urges all Queenslanders to contact their local member of parliament, write a letter to the editor and to write a submission to the parliamentary committee [link] if only to say nothing more than that before such sweeping changes are made wide public discussion should be allowed in a time frame more suitable to the length, complexity and grave implications of this new bill.
Newspaper article from the Chinchilla News May 15

George Bender farms in the very productive Hopeland district and this article was published in his local newspaper The Chinchilla News on May 15.

George was concerned about how close coal seam gas infrastructure could be build to his family farm as was outlined in a review the Qld government released in the lead up the very concerning new bill tabled on June 5.

George had every right to be concerned because in the new bill it appears that CSG & mining exploration and then following gasfields and mines will be allowed as close as 200m from
- A residence
- A place of worship
- a childcare centre, hospital or library;
- school
- a cemetery or burial place;
- aquaculture, intensive animal feedlotting, pig keeping or poultry farming

200 metres is the restricted distance; if you own anything that is not in the above list there are no restrictions.

Peter Anderson (photo top of the page) addressed the PRA conference in Roma on June 13, 2014. Peter and his family run a vertically integrated cattle breeding, finishing and feedlot operation at Clermont and Alfa, Central Qld.
In recent times the Anderson family's cattle operation has become threatened by mining lease applications in the Galilee Basin. The concern to the operation in the future is the threat of mining operat...ions to underground water impacts on bores that have sustained their cattle operation for many years, especially in drought when they rely on bores after dams go dry. Attempts to strike meaningful Make Good Agreements with international mining companies that recognises this legitimate concern has seen land holders like us in an untenable situation.

The Anderson's and their neighbours were forced to take their very real concerns to the Land Court were they had a significant win that set good precedents for other landholders. Read more [here] 
If the new Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014 is past in its current form the ability for neighbours to object to any new mining or coal seam gas project will not be available. The property rights and principles of natural justice of landowners will be severely compromised by the  proposed changes.

For Those attending the PRA conference it was very evident the personal & emotional toll this battle has had upon Peter due to the stress of not having his issues addressed by the neighbouring Coal Project and the disregarded impacts on their water supply for their cattle and livelihood

Barry Rich with daughter Elyse, photo sourced, Land Court sides with grazier

"The Rich family were among a group of Wandoan landholders who challenged in the Land Court a $7 billion Xstrata mining development on their doorstep because of concerns over dust, noise, odour, vibration and health impacts on cattle and people.

And while his small court victory will see the Xstrata mine pit moved at least 3km from his home, it has been a five-year battle to provide some certainty for Mr Rich's feedlot enterprise."

To read more click on the link in the photo caption.
If the new Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014 is past in its current form the ability for neighbours to object to any new mining or coal seam gas project will not be available. The property rights and principles of natural justice of landowners will be severely compromised by the proposed changes.

Neville Stiller, photo sourced, Farmer sick of CSG workers camp
Wandoan district farmer, Neville Stiller, without any consultation had a 600 man workers camp for a QGC gas pipeline built close to his house. Under existing Qld law there is very little consideration given to neighbours to coal seam gas projects.
For more information click on the link in the photo caption
In the new Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill this situation has been rectified. Property Rights Australia supports the advancement of rights afforded to impacts on neighbours outside a resource authority boundary or a property boundary. It is long overdue and should be standard across all policies, regulations and legislation.

However the positives in the bill are overshadowed by new provisions that erode landholders rights.

UPDATE #1 June 21
Good news the parliamentary committee has extended the submission period to Wednesday 9th July.

Please keep sharing this post, the extension only gives a greater time to get submissions in. The parliamentary committee needs to know that some of the provisions in the bill are unreasonable for landholders.


Selective reporting on the Union Royal Commission

Check out this very clever, funny satirical poem that cuts to the AWU slush fund scandal.

Kel richards

Listen to Kel Richard's poem [here] 
Kel Richards has been a broadcaster for a long time and up to when he shifted to commercial radio in August 2010 he had been with ABC for 30 years.
Also this week on ABC TV by chance I watched a show that I rarely view - Media Watch.
First of all The Australian newspaper was lambasted for its article on plain packeting cigarettes increasing tobacco sales. The Australian replied later in the week with the counter accusation that Media Watch used  "selec­tive quoting". See - What Media Watch package didn’t tell us  
Media Watch followed in their program with another story, Union Royal Commission story lacks prominence on ABC TV News where The Australian received some praise and the host station, Aunty no less was chastised.
"The story has allegations of
Political slush funds.
And lying to a Royal Commission

And tangled up in the middle of it is former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who in the 1990s was lover and lawyer to this man, Bruce Wilson.
He’s a former boss of the Australian Workers Union in Victoria and a man who could be charged with fraud, according to counsel assisting the royal commission.

On Friday, Wilson’s evidence to the commission was front page news in The Australian and the Telegraph. But it was nowhere to be seen on the cover of these Fairfax papers. And amazingly it was missing entirely from the previous evening’s 7pm bulletins on ABC TV in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin.

The day before, when evidence was given about wads of cash being handed to Ms Gillard to fund her home renovations ... ABC TV’s 7pm bulletins in three of those capitals also failed to report the news.
While in Sydney it was down the bottom of the bulletin just before the sport.

The Australian’s Hedley Thomas has been leading the charge on this story for a couple of years.
The ABC has done little and has long been accused of refusing to investigate
Up till now, perhaps, one might have given the ABC the benefit of the doubt.

But with sensational evidence being given under oath last week to a Royal Commission there is surely no justification for ignoring it."


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Peter Spencer: Finally will present his case

NSW farmer Peter Spencer outside the High Court, Canberra
Peter Spencer will finally be allowed to comprehensively present his case to the court on the 24th November after over six years of overcoming many obstacles. If successful the case will set a precedent to make governments of all descriptions to think twice before the arbitrarily taking property rights

The case centres around the right of the Australian Commonwealth to acquire carbon credits from farm land, without compensating the farmers, or landholders. The 2010 Senate Inquiry found that the carbon credits available from the various States’ Vegetation Management acts were used by the Commonwealth to meet the Kyoto protocol.

Peter Spencer has been out of the media for some time as a result of a media blackout imposed by the NFF’s Australian Farmer’s Fighting Fund which was for a time funding him. Now with the end in sight the AFFF has withdrawn their funding.
Please follow [this link] and listen to the audio of the interview with ABC radio NSW Country Hour reporter, Michael Condon. 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Powerlink update for the PRA conference field trip

By Kerry Ladbrook, PRA Board Member 
Kerry Ladbrook with microphone & PRA chair Joanne Rea centre at the field trip to "Sydeva", Yuleba June 12 2014

Powerlink Qld , a Government Owned Corporation, have been contracted by the private Coal Seam Gas Companies to supply high voltage power to Origin & Santos infrastructure in the North West Surat Basin.
In 2013 landholders in this area highlighted  through an e-petition that was presented to Parliament that this was resource requested infrastructure for the benefit of the coal seam gas industry and should not be coming under the the Acquisition of Land Act 1967 but the Petroleum & Gas Act.
In this particular area, landholders are impacted by multiple high voltage infrastructure.  “Sydeva” has three high voltage powerlines interconnecting between 3 switching stations on neighbouring properties.  All three of the lines on “Sydeva” enter or exit from the Yuleba North Substation which is located on our property “Bulah” approx. 7 kms to the North West.  Yuleba North Substation is the central hub & has 5 high voltage powerlines emanating from the substation. These range from 275000 volt Tower construction to 132 000 volt concrete pole construction. There will be an estimated 9000 vehicle movements associated with its construction. In total there are 8 sub or switching stations and all are interconnected with high voltage power lines in the North West Surat area.
With the support of Howard Hobbs, the local member for Warrego, our issues have been raised with his colleagues in State Parliament. 
Landholders are still experiencing difficulties with the Powerlink approach although minor policy changes have been implemented that enable landholders to access expert costs required to detail compensation earlier at the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Stage and before Community Designation. 
Before this policy change, landholders were expected to meet their own costs until compensation was agreed upon which negatively impacted on their ability to negotiate.  Powerlink Qld does require quotations to be provided and accepted before the new process can commence.
Powerlink Qld has tremendous power under the Acquisition of Land Act, so do make sure they act responsibly with clean weed washdown certificates prior to any entry (which has been a serious issue not adequately addressed when PQ first began to access our land), consult properly resulting in line or substation movements if needed and detail compensation early utilising the new policy change process. 
PRA board members Trent Hindman & Kerry Ladbrook
at the PRA field trip to "Sydeva", Yuleba, June 12 2014
If there are major issues do not hesitate to beat on the door of your local members Office or involve the Resource Company requesting the infrastructure and make them take responsibility for what is really just another one of their contractors.
Once Community Designation occurs, landholders lose significant rights.  There is only one avenue to follow under the ALA and that is community designation.  There is no second tier for commercial linear infrastructure which is a serious flaw that needs changing in the Acquisition of Land act 1967.
There are a number of points as landholders we have raised that we would like detailed in legislation for this type of development to protect our rights & address the impacts from this type of development  and these include:
·        Recognition and payment of landholder time throughout the process.
·        Payment of compensation at a commercial rate
·        Ongoing annual payments for the life of the projects- expected to be 50-80 years .
·        Acceptable access protocols with emphasis on fresh & current weed washdowns prior to entry to landholdings. 
Origin and Santos to their credit have recognised that this high voltage infrastructure is resource requested and not community driven, and are now detailing annual “ goodwill” commercial payments for the life of the Coal Seam Gas Industry or 30 years (whichever is the lesser). 
This is a separate payment to the “one off” payment made under the Acquisition of Land Act by Powerlink  and  the two are not connected. .

Previously published related articles

It's time to recognise time  


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Cooling Temperature Trend Establishing Across Northeastern Australia

Reblogged (with permission) fromJennifer

The Hon Greg Hunt MP,
Minister for the Environment.
Dear Minister Hunt,
I wrote to you on 4th March 2014 with concerns that the claims made by the Bureau of Meteorology that 2013 was Australia’s hottest year on record, are somewhat deceptive. In that letter I explained that the official temperature record has been truncated to begin in 1910 (thereby excluding the hot years of the Federation drought) and that the method used to calculate the annual average temperature for Australia is not transparent.
I’ve since come to understand that the annual average temperature for 2013, which the Bureau claimed was a record, is in fact a wholly contrived valued based on modeling of temperatures, rather than the averaging of actual recorded values. That is, careful scrutiny of the Bureau’s methodology shows that recorded temperatures at locations across Australia are submitted to a two-step homogenization process that can have the effect of changing the entire temperature trend at specific locations. A weighted mean of these ‘homogenized’ values is then used in the calculation of the Australian annual mean temperature. In turn, the ‘homogenized’ values are used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which gives advice back to the Australian government on global and Australian temperature trends.
A problem with this approach is that it can deliver an impression of climate change which accords wholly with expectations. But, it is reality that Australians should be planning for, so it would be better if the Bureau used real data, rather than modeled output when reporting temperature trends. Indeed to quote Aldous Huxley, ‘Facts don’t cease to exist because they are ignored.’
At the invitation of the Sydney Institute, I will be giving a talk on 25th June 2014, that shows the detail of how this methodology is applied, using the locations of Bourke in western NSW and Amberley in Queensland as case studies. I encourage attendance from the Bureau to scrutinize my presentation for accuracy. Indeed, all Australians should have a clear understanding of the nature of the data used in the calculation of important and highly publicized temperature statistics. All Australians should also have access to a realistic assessment of current temperature trends.
Very recently it was brought to my attention that Graham Williamson wrote to Rob Vertessy, Director of Meteorology at the Bureau, also querying the claimed increase in temperatures. Mr Williamson, in his letter of 27th May 2014, specifically asked why the Bureau of Meteorology did not acknowledge the 15-year hiatus in global warming as detailed in the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, Chapter 10, AR5). In reply to Mr Williamson, Neil Plummer from the Bureau has suggested that the IPCC is simply referring to a slow down in the rate of global warming, rather than a pause as such. Given the IPCC reports are based on temperature trends derived from ‘homogenized’ data, rather than real observational records, I am concerned that they may also not be giving a true picture of recent climate change. To reiterate, even the IPCC is using modeled output rather than real data.
As part of ongoing research into natural rainfall patterns in Queensland, Professor John Abbot and I have been studying the temperature record for northeastern Australia, as temperature is a key input variable in our neural network models (e.g. Abbot and Marohasy 2014). Considering the data from the late 1800s until 1960, a cooling trend is evident, followed by warming between 1960 and 2001. In contrast, the last 12 years show quite dramatic cooling, Table 1. All three periods have occurred while greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, have been increasing in concentration in the atmosphere.
Our analysis of the maximum temperature trend for the years 2002 to 2013 is based, not on the modeled temperature values used to generate official temperature statistics, but on the unadjusted observed temperatures also available from the Bureau of Meteorology website. The thirty-one sites across Queensland were chosen on the basis that there is a continual temperature record for the period 2002 to 2013 at each of the locations. We choose 2002 as the start date, as the data suggests a change in trend at about this year from warming to cooling. This is consistent with published studies by astrophysicists and physicists (e.g. Nicola Scafetta 2010, Abdussamatov 2012, and Lu 2013) and closely follows the timing of the last solar maximum (eg. NASA update 02/05/2014, While Table 1 is limited to Queensland, preliminary assessment of data from NSW, Victoria and the Northern Territory also suggests the onset of a cooling trend.
This information is in stark contrast to the information in the State of the Climate Report 2014 recently published by the Bureau and also CSIRO. The report states that “warming over Australia has been consistent” and temperatures are “projected to continue to increase, with more hot days and fewer extremely cool days.”
In order to reconcile the information in Table 1, with the claims in the State of the Climate Report 2014, it is important to realize that, like the calculation of the annual mean temperature for Australia, data present in the report is based wholly on modeled output. That is observed temperature values have been first passed through a two-step homogenization process involving the application of complex mathematical algorithms.
It is important to make a distinction between output from a computer model and real data. In his bookScience and Public Policy: The virtuous corruption of virtual environmental science Aynsley Kellow, Professor and Head of the School of Government at the University of Tasmania, shows through many examples, including from climate science, how a reliance on computer models over the last 30 years as well as the infusion of values, has produced a preference for virtual over observational data. But the Australian public and Australian industry deserve much better from the Bureau.
As an Australian scientist with a keen interest in public policy and temperature records, I ask you as the Minister ultimately responsible for the activities of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, to consider how you might reconcile increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide with a falling temperature trend, and what needs to be done if we are to adequately prepare as a nation for the possible onset of a period of sustained cooling.
Yours sincerely
Dr Jennifer Marohasy
Adjunct Research Fellow
Central Queensland University
Letter from Jennifer Marohasy to Minister Greg Hunt, 4th March 2014
John Abbot and Jennifer Marohasy, 2014. Input Selection and optimization for monthly rainfall forecasting in Queensland, Australia, using artificial neural networks, Atmospheric Research, Volume 138, Pages 166-178.
Nicola Scafetta, 2010. Empirical evidence for a celestial origin of the climate oscillations and its implications, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Volume 72, Pages 951-970.
Habibullo I. Abdussamatov, 2012. Bicentennial decrease of the total solar irradiance leads to unbalanced thermal budget of the Earth and the Little Ice Age, Applied Physics Research, Volume 4. DOI: 10.5539/apr.v4n1p178
Qing-Bu Lu, 2013. Cosmic-ray driven reaction and greenhouse effect of halogenated molecules: culprits for atmospheric ozone depletion and global climate change, International Journal of Modern Physics B, Volume 27, DOI: 10.1142/S0217979213500732