Yellow Box Dispatch — September 2016

 

Yellow Box Dispatch September 2016

 

We have less than four weeks until the election of a new Assembly for a four year term.

We are the first Australian jurisdiction to have major party support for 100% renewable electricity and a zero net emissions timeframe. Well done Canberra. We have a plan to have 100% electricity from renewable energy by 2020 … but we don’t have a post-2020 plan to get to zero net emissions overall. So, to hear from candidates about their policies on the environment and climate change come to our forum to be held lunchtime Thursday 29 September at the Pilgrim Centre.

The Environmental Defenders Office ACT is seeking support for their campaign to obtain ACT government funding to replace the loss of their federal government funding. See the article below and follow the links to send a letter to ACT candidates.

What will candidates say in election mode about Minister Gentleman’s proposed suburb of Thompson on the bank of the Murrumbidgee? The case for the development has not been made in the community consultation – instead evidence has piled up against it!

There is a human side to the election and how we look after people can help reduce impacts on the environment. The Conservation Council has joined with other peak organisations around Canberra to develop a shared statement of issues.

Beyond the election, Fossil Free ANU is calling on alumni to not make donations to the University until the ANU agrees to divest from fossil fuel investments.

There’s always something to do as you can see from the environmental events below.

And save the date for Conservation Council Spring Mingle Friday 4 November. It’s always a great event – including the ACT Environment Awards announcements – and we will also have some interesting aural presentations this year!

Regards

Larry O’Loughlin
Executive Director

Election forum – still plenty to do on environment and climate change

All current political parties in the ACT Legislative Assembly have now committed to strong climate change targets. But there is still more to do. How do we actually get to those targets? Will we keep leading Australia and most of the world in driving down emissions and developing new approaches?

What are the political parties doing about other environmental issues (see some of our issues here)? How are they going to manage municipal waste into the future given that all parties refused to set reduction and recycling targets when legislation went forward earlier this year? How are they going to stop the impact of this expanding city on our unique biodiversity? Does any party have the courage to support cat containment across the whole city, not just some of the new developments? How are they going to deal with transport and planning to deal with the fact that after 2020 over 60 per cent of Canberra’s emissions will be from transport?

All these questions and more are there to be answered at the Conservation Council-350.org election forum 12 noon Thursday 29 September at Pilgrim House with:

  • Mick Gentleman MLA, Minister for Planning and Land Management — ACT Labor
  • Nicole Lawder MLA, Shadow Minister for the Environment — Canberra Liberals
  • Michael Mazengarb, Candidate for Brindabella — ACT Greens

We will make sure other candidates at the event are visible too!

Make your booking now so we can gather milk crates for spare seats!

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Evidence piles up against development while government tries distraction

The western Greenway community panel –  the consultation process for the proposed suburb of Thompson – has now met three times.

The panel has been told that the concept for a new suburb in the area – on the bank of the Murrumbidgee, adjacent to or on top of existing sporting and recreational activities and over Aboriginal and European heritage – came from Purdon Planning and went to the Land Development Agency (LDA) who then asked Purdon Planning to do more work on the concept.

The panel had asked the Government for a report on the possible impacts of the suburb on the Murrumbidgee water quality. Instead the panel was given a presentation on the ACT Healthy Waterways (Basin Project). There are no Basin projects proposed for western Greenway. None of the other areas with proposed projects seem to have similarities to western Greenway. Perhaps the real link was exposed with a question about the Government spending millions of dollars improving Murrumbidgee water quality while proposing to build a polluting suburb almost on the river itself!

The panel discussed the award-winning 2012 Tuggeranong Town Centre Master Plan and its proposals for adding thousands of residents to the town centre itself. The Master Plan said of the area proposed to be suburb Thompson: “Residential, commercial, retail, clubs, drink establishments and restaurants are not recommended as being appropriate for this area.” and “The Murrumbidgee River is only 600m from the town centre. The river is an alternative open space experience to the town park and paths around the lake. Access to the river helps make this urban centre unique.”

The panel was asked to identify studies that might need to occur before development in the western Greenway area. However it was not clear to many on the panel why there should be studies in a new area before first considering development in the town centre.

While there seemed to be no strong support on the community panel for a suburb in the area panel members recognise there are other issues to focus on for consultation. The Government seems happy to extend the consultation further without taking the suburb concept off the table.

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Fossil free ANU alumni

Fossil Free ANU is calling on all ANU alumni and community members to support our campaign and take the pledge not to donate until it has divested from fossil fuels! After five years campaigning on this issue, we’ve seen incremental, grudging steps towards socially responsible investment, but no moral leadership. Now, we’re seeing if money talks.

The ANU is currently undertaking a philanthropy drive and soliciting donations from alumni. Tell ANU that you don’t approve of their continuing investment in the fossil fuel companies causing climate change. Tell ANU to make your donation fossil free.

Read More

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Shared statement for ACT election

The Conservation Council has been working across a range of environmental issues leading to the Legislative Assembly election and has also been working as part of the Peaks Forum – a range of social, health and community organisations – to develop a shared statement on community issues.

The statement was signed by 20 organisations and launched 29 August 2016 as ACTCOSS hosted a panel of the current party leaders as part of the ACT Election campaign. As Susan Helyar ACTCOSS Director wrote in the ACTCOSS newsletter the “statement seeks to frame the election by inviting candidates to see city infrastructure, services, social infrastructure, the local environment and economic development as linked underpinning resources that we need to invest in and harness in unison if we are to achieve a fair, prosperous and sustainable Canberra over the next ACT Legislative Assembly.”

The event heard announcements from each of the leaders. ACT Labor Party through Andrew Barr pledged $1 million to build bulk-billing GP centres in Tuggeranong and Molonglo and also said there would be further announcements on affordable and accessible housing. The ACT Greens through Shane Rattenbury said they would freeze public transport fares for the period of the next Assembly and they would implement a housing affordability policy, including having someone from the social and affordable housing sector on the Board of the Land Development Agency. They also promised action on universal housing design and to do more on the quality of private rental housing.

The Canberra Liberals, through Jeremy Hanson in response to a question, stated support for 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020, a reduction in greenhouse emissions of 40% on 1990 levels by 2020 and zero net emissions by 2050.

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EDO ACT seeking your support

The Environment Defenders Office ACT is seeking ACT Government funding to fill the gap created by the Federal Government’s funding cuts and is asking you to use your voice at election time.

Follow this link to send a letter to the leaders of all major parties in the ACT, either using the letter already written or delete the text and write your own.

Go to Environmental Defenders Office – ACT Facebook page for more information.

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EVENTS

Gardening for renters

What: Join Canberra Environment Centre and the Tenants’ Union ACT in this hands-on workshop where you’ll learn about gardening tips and tricks that’ll keep your landlord happy. We’ll talk about a range of cheap and portable gardening ideas for your balcony/courtyard/backyard and ways to maximise your rental property’s potential. Make your own small and budget-friendly wicking pot to take home at the end of the workshop.

When: Saturday, 15 October, 10am – 12pm

Cost: $5 Register here

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Frogwatch training

What: Learn how to survey for frogs with Frogwatch experts. The evening will start with an introductory seminar from 6pm–7.15pm, followed by a practical session from 7.15pm–8.30pm in the form of an easy walk around the Wetlands to put new found theory into practice. A light supper will be provided.

Organiser: Woodlands and Wetlands Trust

Note: You can attend one session or both, however it is highly recommended that the seminar is undertaken if you haven’t done Frogwatch before.

When: October 1, 6pm – 8:30pm light supper provided

Where: Jerrabomberra Wetlands, 2 Dairy Road, Fyshwick, ACT 2609

Cost: $10 Bookings essential here 

Read about ACT and Region Frogwatch http://ginninderralandcare.org.au/frogwatch. Find more about our local frog species and listen to their calls http://fw.ginninderralandcare.org.au/frogs

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‘Art of Nature’ – WABA Members’ Exhibition

What: Wildlife and Botanical Artists annual Members’ Exhibition, ‘Art of Nature’, showcasing the extraordinary artworks produced by WABA members. There are prizes awarded for best artwork in four categories: 2-D work, 3-D work, Best in Show and People’s Choice, along with a raffle prize. See waba.net.au for more information

Where:
Woolshed Gallery, Strathnairn Arts Association, 90 Stockdill Drive, Holt ACT 2615

When:
24 November – 4 December inclusive, opening event Saturday 26 November 2016

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Consultation on ACT Healthy Waterways (Basin Project)

What: Preliminary sketch plans for up to 25 projects across six catchments as part of ACT Healthy Waterways (Basin Project) have been prepared for community consultation including specific information about proposals projects including access and thoroughfares, potential impact on existing vegetation, proposed landscaping, location/relocation of paths, cross sections, embankment treatments and dam heights.

Info: Visit https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/act-healthy-waterways for more details on the projects and feedback.

Print copies: if you would like copies to distribute to your contacts, email your name and postal address including how many you want to [email protected]

Community consultation is until Friday 30 September.

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National Environment Meeting 2016 (NEM2016)
Hope in The Dark

What: NEM2016 has an exciting program of forums, keynote speakers, workshops, and opportunities to build connections for your important work. NEM2016 has been extended to include public and academic streams, allowing environmentalists from across Australia to share knowledge and skills

Who: ​Hosted by Greenpeace Australia Pacific, in partnership with Nature Conservation Council of NSW and Sydney Environment Institute

When: The National Environment Meeting will be held 20-23 October 2016

Where: University of Sydney

Register here

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