NEW!!! Wallumetta newsletters available here
The Federal budget was handed down on 11 May and should have provided a way forward to Australia’s low energy future but as reported in the on-line journal The Conversation on 13 May ‘It’s a flight of fancy’.
In place of the approaches adopted elsewhere, the Federal government is betting heavily on alternatives that have failed previous tests, such as carbon capture and storage and ignoring internationally proven technology, such as electric vehicles.
The government is placing its hopes on a low-emissions technology plan. That means increased public spending on research and development to accelerate the commercialisation of low emission technologies. The problems with this approach are most obvious in relation to carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The government’s CCS funding is focused on capturing CO₂ from gas projects. This is despite the disappointing experience of Australia’s only CCS project so far, Chevron’s Gorgon gas field off Western Australia. Some 80% of emissions from the operation were meant to be captured from 2016. The process was delayed for three years, allowing millions of tonnes of CO₂ to enter the atmosphere. As of January this year, the project was still facing technical issues.
As the article concluded ‘The government’s emissions reduction strategy looks more like wishful thinking than a road map’.
In another article The Conversation reports (6 May) that one of the most successful emissions reduction policies Australia has deployed to date is the Renewable Energy Target (RET). The RET, established by the Howard government and expanded by the Rudd government, has produced more emissions reductions than most other similar policies combined.
The RET concept is simple. Energy retailers must buy a set percentage (currently 20%) of their energy from renewable generators. This results in new investment in wind, solar, and other clean technologies.
The more that are built the more prices fall (as they have recently), resulting in cost savings for consumers.
The Clean Energy Regulator runs the RET and ensures compliance. The Clean Energy Regulator administers schemes legislated by the Australian Government for measuring, managing, reducing or offsetting Australia's carbon emissions.
Carbon emissions from sources other than the power industry, such as transport, also need Commonwealth action. By using the RET framework, the Commonwealth could at least commence to achieve increased carbon reduction instead of funding gas fired power generators.
Frank Breen, President
The Society has been active in local conservation issues since 1966 and is well networked with the broader conservation movement across NSW.
The Society's Constitution states its Aims and Objectives as:
a. The education of the members and the community, particularly in the local area, in nature conservation and protection of the environment;
b. To promote ecologically sustainable land use and development;
c. To promote nature conservation including an adequate system of national parks, wilderness areas, nature reserves, wildlife refuges and corridors and urban bushland reserves; adequate protection measures for native wildlife;
d. Achieving satisfactory measures to safeguard the environment from all forms of pollution to ensure clean air, clean water and a healthy environment;
e. To work for the permanent retention and conservation of all natural areas in the local district and an increase in the area set aside for nature conservation and
f. To undertake the management of the Field of Mars Reserve with Ryde City Council as a major conservation project
We have a regular newsletter Wallumetta which is issued six times a year which attempts to update members on both local environmental issues and issues of wider impact. Our volunteer members keep the Visitors Centre open each weekend. Please contact us if you have concerns about threats to our local natural areas and the precious native fauna which depend on our sensitive bushland areas and waterways.
In the mid 1960s, with an increasing amount of waste needing disposal, Ryde Council looked to an expansion of the small tip in the Field of Mars Reserve. Council proposed to pipe Buffalo and Stranger's Creeks to facilitate a landfill area to a depth of up to 15m feet which could then be re-developed into playing fields. Local residents united to form the Anti-tip Action Group and lobbied to reverse Council's plans for a tip at the Field of Mars. The tip was moved to Porter's Creek which to this day still requires substantial funds to control the environmental damage arising from past use as a tipsite. With the Field of Mars saved the Society was established in January 1966.
In September 1966, Ryde Council advised the Society that it agreed to their proposal to development of the Field of Mars Reserve as a flora and fauna sanctuary. Hard work over following decades has seen restoration of old degraded areas of the Field of Mars and protection of the area as a Wildlife Refuge. A Visitors Centre was built and then the Environmental Education Centre which is visited by about 10,000 students each year.
On Saturday 17 April 2021 two groups of interested members and friends –a total of 22 and most armed with binoculars – enjoyed bird spotting walks led by our resident bird expert Cathy Goswell. The day was overcast but, as usual, several birds were seen and heard; notably there was a kingfisher near Buffalo Creek. These walks were followed by a barbecue + salad lunch, and our AGM, which featured presentation of reports on our operations during 2020. We thank Alister for conducting the election of our Management Committee for the coming year.
(subject to current Covid-19 restrictions)
FIELD OF MARS HERITAGE WALKS
On Saturday 19 June 2021 departing from the Field of Mars Visitor Centre at 10am and 1pm. Walks will be led by Phillip Ward who has roamed the bushland in the Field of Mars Reserve for over 60 years and is a founding member of RHHFFPS. Intimate knowledge of the history and features of the Reserve has been supplemented in recent times by additional information from others whose family and friends were connected with localities which are now within the Field of Mars Reserve. Each walk is planned to be of 2 hours’ duration, with medium difficulty. Limited numbers! - first come, first served. To register, email Alfred firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on 9879 6067. Please give your contact phone number, and state the number of persons registering and your preferred time.
Give your contact phone number, number of persons registering and your preferred time. Do not turn up without registering, as there probably won't be any spare places. When you come, bring drinking water, a hat and closed shoes.
*Rug hand-knitted and kindly donated to RHHFFPS by the Holy Spirit Yarnknit Group of North Ryde.