Cutbacks to marine protection in the Coral Sea will meet fierce opposition in the Senate, and even the ocean is predicted to fight back.
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An election promise to be science-based has been ignored in changes proposed to the national network of marine sanctuaries, the Save Our Marine Life alliance of 25 national and state environment groups said. Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has released maps detailing planned cutbacks to protection of coral reefs and key feeding and breeding areas around Australia, but particularly in the Coral Sea. Tourism jobs will also be placed at risk, particularly in the valuable dive and whale watching sectors, if Australia’s reputation as a destination for unspoilt nature experiences is damaged, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society. “Australia will trump even Donald Trump if it implements these cut backs,” AMCS director Darren Kindleysides said. “No other nation has chosen to go backwards in the protection of its ocean estate. In the US, the Trump administration has launched a review, but Australia is now at the end of its review, ordered by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2013. “All Australians will be justifiably distressed to know that science evidence supporting an increase in protections for marine life has been thrown out the window,” Mr Kindleysides said. More than 3.5 years after the Abbott Review of national marine sanctuaries was launched, commercial fishing has emerged as the biggest beneficiary. Large areas of Queensland’s Coral Sea, as well as sanctuary protections off the coast from Western Australia, the Northern Territory and NSW could be scrapped to make way for an expansion of long-line fishing and seafloor trawling. [caption id="attachment_27693" align="alignnone" width="300"] Long-line fishing. Image courtesy of fish.gov.au / Fishing Research and Development Corporation.[/caption] “The threat to jobs, local businesses and to the survival of unique marine life could be avoided if the government instead chose to create an evidence-based balance for Australia’s oceans,” Michelle Grady, oceans director from the Pew Charitable Trusts said. “The government-appointed review panel reinforced the importance of marine sanctuaries and Australia’s leading marine scientists have informed the Environment Minister of the threat to the productivity of our oceans if sanctuaries are removed,” she said. “Fishing is an important part of Australian life and economic activity, but so is our tourism sector and the opportunity for all Australians to experience nature unspoilt by industry. The success of our ‘blue economy’ depends on securing a healthy marine environment, not in undermining it.” Senate fight on the horizon The Labor Party is proud of the protection plans it established and is promising a fight. In 2012, Labor released what it says was the world’s largest network of marine national parks and protected areas. The network was said to be based on the latest science and extensive community consultation. Midwater trawling is to be reintroduced and it will be now be possible for long-lining to start at the southern tip of the Coral Sea reserve and continue all the way to the northern boundary. “Labor will not stand by and see our precious oceans be attacked. Labor will fight to prevent any backward steps on ocean protection.” The Greens will join The Turnbull Government's attempts to gut ocean protections will face a fight in the Senate and at the next election, the party declared. Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens spokesperson for Healthy Oceans, said: "Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has released draft maps showing protections for coral reefs and critical ecosystems will be gutted around Australia. “If the Turnbull Government wants to pick a fight with Australians who love our oceans then they will get one as any attempt to gut ocean protections will face a disallowance in the Senate. “This is the worse possible time to be scaling back environmental protections, it will make us into another international embarrassment just as we have witnessed with LNP climate vandalism." The Reef will suffer The Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles slammed the Federal Government’s proposal to decrease the Coral Sea marine park protected area by 76 per cent. “This latest Federal Government Marine Reserves review proposes to cut protections for our marine life and their habitat. “This is another example of the Turnbull Government walking away from the Great Barrier Reef. “Marine Protection is not only good for the environment it is good for the Queensland tourism industry and the 64,000 jobs in supports. Will the ocean fight back? Shifting storms will bring extreme waves, seaside damage to once placid areas, a recent study found, concluding that sea level rise is no longer the only impact climate change will bring to the world's coastlines. What is claimed to be the world’s most extensive study of a major stormfront striking the coast has revealed a previously unrecognised danger from climate change: as storm patterns fluctuate, waterfront areas once thought safe are likely to be hammered and damaged as never before. [caption id="attachment_27692" align="alignnone" width="300"] The June 2016 ‘superstorm’ that battered eastern Australia caused widespread damage to homes and infrastructure, including these homes in Sydney's Collaroy Beach.[/caption] The study, led by engineers at University of New South Wales in Sydney, was published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Scientific Reports. “If you have waterfront property or infrastructure that has previously been sheltered from the impacts of extreme waves, this is worrying news” said Mitchell Harley, lead author and a senior research associate at UNSW’s Water Research Laboratory (WRL). “What this study confirms, is that simply by changing direction, storms can be many times more devastating. And that’s what we’re facing in many locations as the climate continues to change.” Ian Turner, director of WRL and a co-author, said sea level rise was no longer the only factor at play when preparing for the impact of climate change on waterfront areas. “Shifts in storm patterns and wave direction will also have major consequences, because they distort and amplify the natural variability of coastal patterns.” The study relied on data collected during the June 2016 ‘superstorm’ that battered eastern Australia, one of the fiercest in decades: it inundated towns, smashed buildings, swept away cars and infrastructure and triggered hundreds of evacuations across a 3,000 km swathe from Queensland in the north all the way to Tasmania in the south. Three people died and there were more than 80 rescues from stranded cars. [post_title] => Senate fight looms over the deep blue sea [post_excerpt] => Cutbacks to marine protection in the Coral Sea will meet fierce opposition in the Senate, and even the ocean is predicted to fight back. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => senate-fight-looms-deep-blue-sea [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-25 12:19:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-25 02:19:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27691 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27492 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-28 17:04:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-28 07:04:46 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27493" align="alignnone" width="215"] Image courtesy of the Australian Marine Conservation Society.[/caption] Comment - Charles Pauka Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles was chuffed to welcome a Deloitte Access Economics report identifying the social, economic and iconic asset value of the Great Barrier Reef at $56 billion. “This highly anticipated report confirms the outstanding value of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Miles said. “But it could be even higher as the research did not seek to place a financial value on the tremendous biodiversity and the natural wonder value on a global scale. “It also confirms the Palaszczuk Government’s record investment in improving Great Barrier Reef water quality is justified, with two-thirds of people surveyed willing to pay for its continued existence and protection.” Which is where the problem lies: the Palaszczuk Government is also dead-keen on the Adani Carmichael mega-coalmine going ahead, which is widely predicted to further wreck the reef. [caption id="attachment_27494" align="alignnone" width="300"] Is this the handshake that will kill the reef?[/caption] Steven Miles continued: “The Great Barrier Reef is incredibly precious to all Australians, and the international community - and this report confirms that. “We have committed $175 million over five years, plus a boost of an additional $100 million for improved reef water quality outcomes. “This means we are investing more than $63 million in 2017-2018, which is almost double the annual funding provided by previous governments.” The Minister said the research showed the Great Barrier Reef contributed $6.4 billion in terms of the value added to the economy and over 64,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2015-2016. 64,000 vs. 1,400 So how many jobs would Adani’s supposedly $16.5bn mine contribute? The most optimistic estimates so far have topped out at 10,000 jobs, but more likely in the 1,400-range. “The government promised to focus on job creation and this report demonstrates the Great Barrier Reef is critical to supporting jobs in Australia. “The report also rightly identifies an opportunity and need for action on a universal level to protect the reef. “As the report clearly recognises, protecting the Great Barrier Reef is not only an Australian or international priority – it is a human one.” I just wonder if Mr Miles has spoken to his Premier about that? Because the two – a healthy coral reef and a mega-coalmine – may not be able to co-exist. “The Great Barrier Reef and other World Heritage reefs are in grave danger from climate change, mainly driven by the burning of coal. Incredibly, almost half of all shallow water corals in the Great Barrier Reef died in the last two years due to a massive underwater heatwave,” said Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) spokesperson Imogen Zethoven. “Yet the Australian [and Queensland] governments appear hell-bent on making the problem worse by pushing ahead with Adani’s monstrous coal mine, talking up a coal-fired power station next to the Great Barrier Reef. “The [two governments are] not only placing our Great Barrier Reef and the 70,000 jobs that depend on it at grave risk: [they are] endangering the future of World Heritage coral reefs around the world. These places are the crown jewels of our global ocean. They belong to the world community. “In the face of so much loss of coral over the last three years, it defies belief that [they are] ignoring this global tragedy," Ms Zethoven said. [caption id="attachment_27495" align="alignnone" width="300"] Sediment-laden water flowed from Adani's Abbot Point facility into the Caley Valley wetland recently.[/caption] [post_title] => Coal or coral? The Queensland Government seems undecided [post_excerpt] => The Great Barrier Reef is worth $56bn, according to Deloitte Access Economics. How does Adani's Carmichael coalmine fit into it? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => coal-coral-queensland-government-undecided [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-30 11:39:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-30 01:39:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27492 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25995 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-01-16 12:42:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-01-16 01:42:50 [post_content] => NSW local councils have been asked to comment on proposed changes to the regulation of water cooling towers in an attempt to prevent future outbreaks of Legionnaires Disease. An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in March 2016 was tracked back to an infected water cooling tower in Sydney’s CBD and this spawned the NSW Health discussion paper asking councils for feedback on the new regulations. Building owners – some of whom are councils - are responsible for checking water cooling towers every month, cleaning them every six months and getting them certified every year. As well, local councils must keep a register of water-cooling systems in their area, including details about inspections. Legionnaire bacteria can cause a nasty bacterial lung infection, which can be fatal in about 10 per cent of cases, and can be transmitted when a person breathes in contaminated water vapour, dust or soil. Legoinnaire pneumophilia bacteria can contaminate airconditioning towers, spas and shower heads and they live in warm, stagnant water, making water cooling towers some of the riskiest sites. Towers usually sit on top of large buildings forming part of the water-cooling system. A pool of water is sprayed over pipes to cool the air inside the building and then recirculated, making the warm water susceptible to infiltration by bacteria. The infected water droplets can then drift out into the street. The NSW Health recommendations include:
- Minimum standards for testing and inspecting water-cooling towers
- Independently audited risk management plans for operating and testing cooling towers
- Testing laboratories to notify local councils of cooling tower test results where bacteria levels are elevated
- Local government can ask for additional testing and results, if needed
- Baw Baw Shire Council, Warrnambool City Council (both in Victoria) and Richmond Valley Council (NSW): Low energy street lights. The CEFC says that Australia-wide, street lighting is estimated to cost more than $400 million annually in energy and maintenance. Baw Baw's upgrade is expected to save $160,000 and Warrnambool’s $100,000.
- Tumut Shire Council (NSW): lighting upgrade, air conditioning system upgrade and the installation of solar panels to reduce its administration building's grid electricity consumption by over 60 per cent.
- Central Goldfields Shire Council (Victoria): installed solar PV, energy efficient lighting and upgrades to air conditioning systems to lower the energy costs and carbon emissions by about 14 per cent across its leisure centre, resource centre and council offices.
- Wagga Wagga City Council (NSW): will halve its Oasis Aquatic Centre's energy costs to save approximately $276,000 by installing a cogeneration unit. The new system will provide up to 85 per cent of the centre's electricity demand and will supply hot water for space heating and for the swimming pools and cut carbon emissions by up to 55 per cent in the first year of operation.
The Great Barrier Reef is worth $56bn, according to Deloitte Access Economics. How does Adani’s Carmichael coalmine fit into it?
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