Media releases

TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade election scorecard media release

Friends of the Earth Adelaide welcome the initiative shown by FOE Melbourne with their ranking of parties and candidates on trade related issues, especially the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Media release June 17, 2016

Parties and candidates rated on trade issues

Today the TPP Unions and Community Roundtable Coalition, of which Friends of the Earth is a founding member, has released a Federal Election 2016 TPP Scorecard ranking all currently elected parties’ and independents’ stance on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In order to accurately score the parties and politicians on their commitment to disabling the TPP, the Roundtable asked two questions:

If elected, will you:
1: Vote against the enabling legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
2: Introduce or support legislation to ban ISDS in all trade agreements?

So far the TPP Union and Community Roundtable has received responses from the ALP, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team, Glenn Lazarus and Andrew Wilkie. As evidenced by their ticks on the scorecards, the Greens, Xenophon, Lazarus and Wilkie all responded with an unambiguous “Yes” to both questions.

However, the response from the ALP demonstrated an alarming vagueness, stating that Under Australia’s treaty-making arrangements the Parliament must examine trade agreements. The review of the TPP by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) was not concluded at the time Mr Turnbull caused the dissolution of the Parliament. The TPP will be examined by JSCOT in the next Parliament whoever forms government – that’s how our treaty system works; and that A Shorten Labor Government will not agree to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in new trade agreements. A Labor Government will seek to remove these provisions from existing trade agreements and work to ensure ISDS provisions do not prevent governments from pursuing legitimate public policy goals.

Friends of the Earth TPP and trade spokesperson Kat Moore said “time and again, the major parties have bluffed their way through questions regarding the TPP, committing to nothing, whilst meanwhile our sovereignty is being eroded, and our environment, health, jobs and basic freedoms put at risk.… Read more >>

MAJOR ENVIRONMENT GROUPS REJECT INQUIRY REPORT INTO CHARITABLE STATUS

MAJOR ENVIRONMENT GROUPS REJECT INQUIRY REPORT INTO CHARITABLE STATUS

Media Statement, Places You Love Alliance

Key Australian environment groups today called on the Federal Environment Minister, Mr Greg Hunt, to reject recommendations of a report of an inquiry into the charitable status of environment groups.

The CEOs of WWF, The Australian Conservation Society, The Wilderness Society, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Friends of the Earth and the Nature Conservation Council of NSW issued the following statement on behalf of the Places You Love alliance:

Report here, including a dissenting report by Labor members.

The Report of the Inquiry into the Register of Environmental Organisations correctly recognises the enormous contribution environment groups have played in safeguarding Australia’s precious yet fragile environment, protecting icons from the Great Barrier Reef to the Franklin River.

However, the report contains a number of deeply flawed and dangerous recommendations, including an arbitrary requirement to spend a quarter of donor funds on ‘environmental remediation’ and a draconian attempt to clamp down on the type of work organisations conduct.

This flawed Inquiry, initiated by the Abbott Government and driven by a small handful of conservative MPs with the support of the mining industry, failed to uncover any evidence to justify removing the charitable status of any environment group.

We welcome the dissenting statements made by Liberal MP and committee member Jason Wood, raising significant concerns about the two most dangerous recommendations. (*See excerpts below).

We have identified two highly flawed and dangerous recommendations in the report.

Recommendation 5

The recommendation requiring environment groups spend at least 25 per cent of their supporters’ hard-earned money on ‘environmental remediation’ is ludicrous, imposing a huge bureaucratic burden on both the government and organisations, particularly small groups working with local communities. In Canada, the same policy experiment failed dismally, creating enormous red tape with no resulting public benefit.… Read more >>

NATIONAL NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP IN SA: TROJAN HORSE FOR AN INTERNATIONAL NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP?

MEDIA RELEASE

Friday 13th November 2015

NATIONAL NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP IN SA:

TROJAN HORSE FOR AN INTERNATIONAL NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP?

The Federal Government has released the shortlist of six sites for the location of a national radioactive waste dump.  Three of these sites are in South Australia.

Friends of the Earth Adelaide is cautious about the Federal Governments genuine commitment to a voluntary site nomination and selection process.

“The test will be how the government handles community opposition, how inclusive and transparent the site selection process will be, and how it will handle the issue of existing South Australian legislation banning the establishment of a nuclear waste dump,” said Nectaria Calan of Friends of the Earth Adelaide.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012, the Act governing the site selection process, over-rides existing state legislation prohibiting the establishment of a nuclear waste dump.

“Will the Federal Government impose a nuclear waste dump on states that have legislated against it, or communities that do not want it?” asked Ms Calan.

“The location of a waste dump cannot simply be decided through individual nominations,” said Ms Calan.  “It affects the wider community, particularly those in close proximity to the site.  Radioactive contamination knows no property boundaries.  The principle of voluntarism extends beyond the individual where an action has wider ramifications,” continued Ms Calan.

“There is yet to be an independent inquiry into all our radioactive waste management options, so the nominations process is premature,” said Ms Calan.

Additionally, here in South Australia the Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle is considering the feasibility of an international nuclear waste dump.

“Will a national nuclear waste repository in SA be the trojan horse for an international high level nuclear waste dump down the track?” asked Ms Calan.

“Rather than considering existing nuclear waste in Australia as an intractable problem, the SA government and some proponents of the nuclear industry seem to consider radioactive waste a business opportunity and want to import it, astounding given that so far globally there has been no success in establishing even one facility for the long term storage of high level waste.”

“ The one deep underground repository for intermediate level waste that does exist, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico, saw an incident in February last year where a waste barrel exploded, leading to an aboveground release of airborne radiation, after only 15 years in operation,” said Ms Calan.… Read more >>

Media Release: THE APPEARANCE OF BIAS – NOT A GOOD LOOK

MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday 5th November, 2015

THE ROYAL COMMISSION INTO THE NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE:

THE APPEARANCE OF BIAS – NOT A GOOD LOOK

Today the Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle will be hearing oral evidence from London based insurance company Nuclear Risk Insurers, on the subject of insuring against a nuclear accident.  On 1st October 2015, Dr Timothy Stone, member of the Royal Commission’s Executive Advisory Committee, was appointed director of this company.

“How critically will evidence given by this company be treated, when a member of the Executive Advisory Committee is also one of its directors?” asked Nectaria Calan of Friends of the Earth Adelaide.

On Friday 30th October GE Hitachi gave oral evidence to the Royal Commission on their new PRISM reactor design.  GE Hitachi is a global nuclear alliance between General Electric (US) and Hitachi (Japan).  Hitachi is the parent company of Horizon Nuclear Power, a UK energy company developing new nuclear power stations, of which Dr Stone is also a director.

“Dr Stone’s connections with these companies highlights the broader issue here, which is his direct involvement in the nuclear industry, regardless of whether companies he’s employed by are giving evidence. He also owns Alpha-n Infrastructure, an elusive company with a partially built website which promotes nuclear power. This interest has not been disclosed by the Royal Commission on its website,” said Ms Calan.

Dr Stone is not the only Royal Commission member directly involved in the nuclear industry. Julian Kelly, its Technical Research Team Leader, is currently the Chief Technology Officer of Thor Energy, a Norwegian company focusing on the use of Thorium in nuclear reactors.

“If you’re directly involved in the very industry the Royal Commission is considering expanding, you potentially stand to gain something if a recommendation is made that this industry expand. … Read more >>

Media Release: Nuclear is the wrong direction for SA

MEDIA RELEASE     13 August 2015

Three leading environmental organisations – Conservation SA, the Australian Conservation Foundation and Friends of the Earth, Australia – have submitted a detailed joint submission to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission which forensically details an extensive series of nuclear myths and false assumptions.

“South Australia’s future lies in renewable energy, not nuclear.  It’s cheaper, safer and quicker to roll out,” said Conservation SA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins.

“This week’s axing of hundreds of jobs from Olympic Dam should raise huge questions about growth potential in the nuclear industry. With renewables, we can be in charge of our own destiny, not dependent on decisions made in corporate boardrooms on the other side of the world,” he said.

“Much of the nuclear promotion in SA is premised on the idea of a global nuclear ‘renaissance’, said lead submission author Dr Jim Green. “In fact, the nuclear renaissance is stone cold dead.

There are fewer reactors now than there were a decade ago. Nuclear fuel cycle markets for enrichment, conversion and fuel fabrication are oversupplied. And as the continuing job losses at Olympic Dam demonstrate, the uranium market is extremely weak and will remain so for years,” he said.

As well as highlighting the contested and constrained status of the current nuclear sector the 248 page report makes a compelling case that the industry’s future will be no brighter.

“So-called Generation 3 reactors projects such as the French EPR and Westinghouse AP1000 are in trouble, with multi-year delays and multi-billion dollar cost blowouts,” said Dr Green. “So-called Generation 4 reactors are decades away and, as a recent report by the French government concludes, safety claims made by Generation 4 advocates do not stand up to scrutiny.”

Many environment, public health and Aboriginal groups have expressed concern that the Royal Commission is being used by the nuclear industry as a Trojan Horse in an attempt to open national and international radioactive waste dumps in SA.… Read more >>