Yellow Box Dispatch July 2017

Welcome to our monthly report to all of you who have been registered on our mailing list. Here’s a report of some of our recent activities.

Thank you to all of our wonderful supporters who made a 2016-17 tax deductible donation. We greatly appreciate your support.

The Conservation Council ACT Region has made representation to the Government that there needs to be an Environment Impact Statement (EIS) on the Molonglo Valley Stage 3 urban development.

We had some exciting events this month including the Bushfire Symposium which was well attended and very succesful. Congratulations to the NPA and Clare Henderson for their hard work in bringing it together.

Our Environment Exchange series of lunchtime dialogues has been very popular this year and we have three more sessions to go. See our Environment Exchange schedule for semester 2 below.

The Conservation Council and 20 of our members have been invited to attend community opening of an upgraded recycling facility!

The StopAdani movement is going from strenth to strengh nationally including multiple protests held weekly in Canberra.

And there’s more events below!

Please forward this Yellow Box Dispatch to people who might be interested in reading it or looking at the pictures.

We would love to hear what your member group’s activties have been, please send updates through to us. 

Regards

Larry O’Loughlin
Executive Director, Conservation Council ACT Region

Environment Exchange – Beyond Gas

On Tuesday we held a very successful Environment Exchange on the theme of Beyond gas: moving away from the “transition” fuel. We had a diverse range of speakers and very passionate audience reasulting in an informative and varied discussion. There is always delicious food, snacks and tea and coffee to enjoy while networking with guests. Larry even made chocolate muffins for this event!

Thank you to our speakers:

  • Will Yeap, Branch Manager Gas Networks, ActewAGL Distribution
  • Jessica Stewart, Sustainability Manager, Riverview Projects
  • Dr Hugh Saddler, Adjunct fellow at the ANU and a member of the ANU Energy Change Institute
  • Dr Kaveh R. Khalilpour, senior research fellow with the Energy Change Institute, at the ANU.

It is currently a mandatory requirement for development in Canberra (Territory Plan, Estate Development Code, p14) that gas be provided to each block. Will this always be the case? Our speakers were conflicted over whether we can we move beyond gas. This is mainly due to the nuanced implications over compromising safety, security and affordability with carbon neutrality.

For more information check out our Bush Captial Blog! 

Check out the rest of our Environment Exchange series here.

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Bushfire management: a successful community symposium 

This event was a community symposium to discuss research, strategies and expectations for fire management in the ACT in a changing environment and was a huge success.

 

 

Christine Goonrey- Bushfire Symposium Convenor, Member Bushfire Council, Vice-President, National Parks Association of the ACT – writes:

“Over two days over 110 people gathered to discuss fire management. The Symposium was attended by a mix of experts, researchers, Government officials, the ACT Minister for Environment who is also Minister for Emergency Services, the Commissioner of the Emergency Services Agency, the Conservator of Flora and Fauna, Parkcare / landcare volunteers, rural leaseholders, members of the Rural Fire Service, Community Fire Units, environment organisations and officers from Victoria’s Country Fire Service.

The symposium identified what has changed over the past ten years and what challenges and opportunities lie ahead. The ESA Commissioner identified the event as the start of the process for community engagement on the next Strategic Bushfire Management Plan which is due to be completed by 2019.. A learning network is being established so interested people can keep up to date as that process unfolds.”

 

As Christine says: Acronyms and fire management: if only they could put out the flames.

See more photos of the event on our Facebook Page.

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Stop Adani National Protest at Parliament 

The Stop Adani alliance has organised to hold a mass peaceful protest on the lawns of Parliament House on 10th August at 10am. They are creating a human sign so needs lots of people to make this happen and be as big and powerful as possible. The protest is highlighting the $1 billion of tax payers money in the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility loan. 

If you would like to be involved and for more information email Elle Lawless [email protected] 

Invitation to attend community opening of upgraded Recycling Facility

The Conservation Council has been invited to provide 20 people to attend the official community opening of the upgraded Recycling Facility at Hume Saturday 19 August 2017, 1pm – 3 pm. This is a great opportunity to see the Materials Recovery Facility run by Re.Group and the ACT Government and to see the upgraded technology and equipment and how it helps sort, bale and process the ACT’s residential recycling.

There will be opportunities to experience the plant in action, ask questions and join the celebrations with complimentary food and drinks. “You will learn about how the ACT Government’s waste and recovery targets, and all about product life cycles (glass, plastics, metals and paper/cardboard).”

There will be a FREE ACTION bus departing from Platform 10, Canberra City bus interchange at 12.30PM and returning to the city again at 2.30PM. There will also be some parking at Hume in the designated car-park.

This community opening is also an event as part of National Science Week 2017 and a range of community groups has been invited. Children are welcome. Wear toe-covering shoes and warm comfortable clothes and respect heavy equipment which shoves, sorts, munches and bales.

If you would like to register through the Conservation Council for the visit please send your name, email address and phone number to Elle [email protected]conservationcouncil.org.au

Spaces are limited to 20 so be quick!

Sometimes it’s worth getting antsy 

The Conservation Council joined with a campaign led by the Invasive Species Council to obtain support from Ministers to support a national fire-ant eradication program.

As a signatory on the fire ant statement of concern, we were pleased that on 26 July in Melbourne at the national agriculture ministers meeting state, territory and the federal governments confirmed their support for a fully funded 10 year fire ant eradication program.

As well-known greenie Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said: “We know if fire-ants become established in this area, it won’t just be the loss to the environment and agriculture, but also the loss of lives, and the change in our recreational standard of living.”

The decision by Ministers to support the program is a huge achievement – it will be one of the largest biosecurity operations ever undertaken in Australia. If successful it will save Australia billions of dollars, preserve agricultural production and native wildlife and save human lives.

The Invasive Special Council media release is here and pointed out that fire ants are a serious environmental, human and agricultural pest in Australia. If not eradicated they will have a greater impact on Australia than rabbits, cane toads, foxes, camels, wild dogs and feral cats combined, costing more than $1 billion each year.

This decision is backed by an independent expert report commissioned over two years ago. The report concluded that fire ant eradication is technically feasible and in Australia’s interest and outlined both the risks of not eradicating and the costs of a full fire ant eradication program.

The Conservation Council ACT Region has an interest in biosecurity issues especially as they relate to invasive species and we are also very pleased when there can be national approaches to environmental issues. It was good to be a small part of a campaign that has had a positive result.

EIS needed on Molonglo expansion

The Conservation Council ACT Region has made representation to the Government that there needs to be an Environment Impact Statement (EIS) on the Molonglo Valley Stage 3 urban development.

The Canberra Times article ACT government seeks to bypass environmental process for new Molonglo suburb reported that the Government had sought an exemption from producing an EIS. Documents relating to the exemption are available on the Directorate website which show the Land Development Agency (LDA) applied to the Minister for Planning for an EIS exemption under the Planning and Development Act 2007 s211 (pp258-262).

Although the LDA is now succeeded by the Suburban Land Agency and the City Renewal Authority from 1 July 2017 and the process will be carried forward probably by the Suburban Land Agency and the Environment Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate.

The Conservation Council has objected to an exemption from preparing an EIS because:

  • There is no plan of management for the Molonglo River Reserve. Development should not occur unless areas of natural value have been identified and measures put in place for their protection.
  • Development in Molonglo has not complied with national Matters of National Environmental Significance requirements under the national EPBC Act, eg identification of the Kama Nature Reserve buffer. Kama is a valuable reserve, and there is supposed to be a buffer to protect those values from the impact of urban development.
  • The proposal would traverse the habitat of the Pink-tailed worm-lizard (Aprasia parapulchella) which is a vulnerable species.
  • The DA proposes use of offsets which do not have the level of accountability to guarantee the stated desired outcome of no net loss of biodiversity.
  • There will be substantial clearing of native vegetation in a native vegetation area
  • It is not clear that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage is adequately respected and protected.

An EIS is prepared by the proponent and sets out their view of the environmental impacts and appropriate responses to those impacts. Not all responses are adequate to deal with the impact so an EIS will not necessarily lead to environmental protection. However, an EIS will help draw attention to significant issues.

The pink-tailed worm lizard, whose habitat includes parts of the Molonglo area to be opened for suburban development.

The pink-tailed worm lizard, whose habitat includes parts of the Molonglo area to be opened for suburban development.

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 Nominate for Landcare Awards

Get nominations in now! ACT nominations for the 2017 Landcare awards close 31 AugustThe Landcare Awards are open to groups, individuals, organisations and activities that care for the land including: Landcare, Bushcare, Dunecare, Rivercare, ‘Friends of’ groups, farmers, professional farming systems groups, natural resource management, Junior Landcare (including day care centres, primary and secondary schools, youth groups, scout groups, etc.), Urban Landcare, and Indigenous Landcare.

The ACT is not eligible for the coastcare awards (yeah, biased against us but how long before sea levels rise 500 metres?) however there are several categories of award which go on to the national level. So please look around at all the great Landcare work and consider whether there is a group doing great work that should get recognition.

[Link above is: https://e-award.com.au/2017/landcareawards/newentry/about.php in case it falls out in transition]

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Stop Adani protests across Canberra 

Stop Adani Canberra, who meet every Monday night 5.45 at the Conservation Council, have participated in the nation wide Commonwealth bank week of action. They held five protests outside banks across Canberra including Mawson and Jamison. This approach called “neighbourhood actions” results in the group being more diverse and inclusive to members based across the city and thus more accesible. While it also keeps the pressure on the bank to follow Westpac’s lead and publicly rule out funding Adani. The Commbank Board of Directors will soon be deliberating on their new climate change policy and the group demand that they commit to no new coal – and that means no Adani. This week the group dressed in a “Save our Reef” and “Save our Snow” theme to highlight the impacts of climate change made worse by the fossil fuel industry and continued increased emissions. The “Save our Snow” banner is heading to the Monaro highway this weekend to say hello to all of the ski traffic. More on their Facebook Page and they are always happy to welcome new members.

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Environment Exchanges 2017 — part two!

Environment Exchange events are held monthly to provide for informed, in-depth discussions on environmental issues in the region. Member groups are encouraged to attend and to publicise the events to their members and supporters.

The Conservation Council ‘Environment Exchange’ series is held at the Renewable Energy Hub, 19-23 Moore Street, Turner (just off Barry Drive).

All events are scheduled from 12-2pm starting with a light lunch (donations welcome). The first series for 2017 resulted in intresting, lively and productive discussions with all events being well attended with good food and fun conversation. To see the summaries check out our blog posts. 

Events are (click to book):

Please forward this to people who might be interested in attending and encourage them to book online to reduce food wastage and stress.

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EVENTS 

National Tree Day 2017 Planting on Mount Majura

WHO: Molonglo Catchment Group

WHAT: Join the Friends of Mount Majura to celebrate National Tree Day 2017 on Sunday 30 July and help with the planting of local trees, shrubs and flowering ground-cover plants in the nature park behind (east of) “The Fair” and in the Mt Majura nature reserve . The planting holes will be dug prior to the event and water delivered so all we need are volunteers to help with planting, watering and mulching the seedlings.

WHEN: Sunday 30 July 2017, from 1.00pm to 4.00pm; volunteer registration opens at 12.45pm; Please come early for a demonstration on “How to plant”

WHERE: Mount Majura nature reserve behind (east of) The Fair in North Watson;  Access park entrance intersection Tay St and Ian Nicol St close to the volunteer registration point or via nature park entrance Antill St roughly opposite Carotel for a 5-10 minutes walk to the planting site.

BRING: Bucket, trowel or small mattock if you have one; Important: please label your items with your phone number so that we can reunite any left-behinds with the owner.

WEAR: Garden gloves, appropriate clothing and foot wear, wrap up warmly.

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Farmers Markets #StopAdani Survey with the AYCC

WHO: The Australian Youth Climate Coalition

WHAT: With the #StopAdani survey well under way, we are getting out in the community to ask everyone what they think about Adani.Meet us at the EPIC Farmer’s Market at 9am! We will be providing a conversation training for any new volunteers, and anyone who wants to brush up on their skills.

BRING: If you’ve got an AYCC tshirt, bring it along!

WHEN: Saturday the 5th of August at 9am

WHERE: Epic farmer’s Markets, off Northbourne near Mitchel.

The Organisation for World Peace National Conference 2017

WHAT: OWP National Conference 2017 will be held at Australian National University, Canberra on 12th of August (full day Saturday).
Registration fee of $10 is is for covering the cost for lunch/snacks. (The follow up email regarding the registration fee will be sent out shortly)
Recommend: Semi-formal attire, bring writing equipment (pens, colored pens, laptop etc), drink bottle.
Check out the conference schedule here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ze–ez-LKMX7mCKAASFRxtICHpyqDuM3g2zIn1is-xM/edit?usp=sharing
Register here:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdXcssmp3vq6jZpA52n-988OVHcWRgEc4pbVu_HilgFDvN8tw/viewform?c=0&w=1

WHEN: 12 – 13 August

WHERE: Australian National University

Making Zero Waste Products 

WHAT: In this hands-on workshop Waste Free Me’s Bianca Jurd will show you how to make 3 common household products: One for your body, one for the kitchen and one for sanitising all household surfaces using non-toxic and easy to source ingredients, many of which are commonly found in your kitchen. Bianca willalso talk the quick and easy hacks to drastically reduce your household rubbish, about buying ingredients in bulk (and how to re-use the packaging it comes in or avoid packaging altogether), the benefits of using each ingredient and incorporating the Zero Waste challenge into a busy lifestyle.

WHEN: 8 August, 6-8 pm

WHERE: Canberra Environment Centre

Bring: Please bring three glass jars of varying sizes.

TICKETS: Please find them here, the $30 prices cover materials and expertise.

World Ranger Day – Documentary Screening ‘Cultivating Murder’

WHAT:  On the 29th July 2014, just outside the town of Moree NSW, Glen Turner was shot dead. He was a father of two, a loving partner, and an Environment Protection Officer. From the murder itself, to the Supreme Court trial in Sydney, Cultivating Murder is a mystery.  Working under the radar, filmmakers have been gathering evidence and testimonies, piecing together the details of that fateful day, which will have reverberations for years to come. The film is a portrait of a devastated family, of a murderer, and a divided rural community.

The screening of Cultivating Murder is to mark ‘World Ranger Day’ and $10 from every ticket sold will be donated to the “Thin Green Line Foundation” which helps to train and support Rangers and their families in low economic areas to protect wildlife (often at the cost of their lives). Complementary cheese and wine provided.

WHEN: Mon July 31 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

WHERE: Jerrabomberra Wetlands Offices 2 Dairy Rd Fyshwick

IMPORTANT: Not suitable for children under 12 years of age. Film length: 1 hour 30 minutes. Bookings essential at https://jerrabomberrawetlands.org.au/event/world-ranger-day-documentary-screening-cultivating-murder/

This is a partnership initiative between ACT Parks and Conservation Service, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Woodlands and Wetlands Trust.

Exclusive screening of ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’

WHAT: The ACT Greens and Johnathan Davis for Tuggeranong proudly present an exclusive screen of ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ by Al Gore.

While the Australian release date is the 24th August, we have been able to secure an early screening for our friends and supporters.

IMDB says ‘A decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change into the heart of popular culture comes the follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution’.

WHEN: 5:30pm for a 6pm screening, Sunday 20th August

WHERE: Limelight Cinemas, Tuggeranong Hyperdome

BOOKINGS: $20 ticket price includes movie ticket, drinks and popcorn.
Purchase tickets at: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/exclusive-screening-of-an-inconvenient-sequel-tickets-35875465483

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Solar House Day Bus Tour 

WHAT:  Join us for a bus tour to view our region’s best climate appropriate energy-efficient homes.

WHEN: 30 July 2017 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

WHERE: Meeting Point ACT Chapter 2A Mugga Way Red Hill ACT 2603

BOOKING ESSENTIAL: Please visit our website architecture.com.au/act to buy tickets.

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Climate Café: How can the ACT continue to lead in building a zero emissions economy?

WHAT: The ACT Government has set ambitious targets of reducing emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2020 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.   So what does this mean for transport, energy use, buildings and waste treatment in the ACT?   And what would a zero emissions future look like?

Dr Stephen Bygrave, Executive Director of the Climate Change and Sustainability division, will kick off the discussion with a short presentation on the ACT’s emission reduction journey so far and what it will take to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Pizza and drinks provided!

WHEN: 31 July 2017 12:15 pm – 1:45 pm

WHERE: Frank Fenner Seminar Room B141B48, B48A, Linnaeus Way, Acton ACT at the ANU

REGISTER: http://climate.anu.edu.au/news-events/climate-caf%C3%A9-how-can-act-continue-lead-building-zero-emissions-economy

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