MONTEFIORE DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL
Image – Daily Telegraph
With the Sydney North Planning Panel overriding Hunter's Hill Council, the controversial Montefiore multi-storey development proposed with Urbis Pty Ltd WILL proceed to a Gateway determination by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
A recent meeting of Hunter's Hill Council rejected this action after community speakers objected to the proposed multi-storey apartment towers. Montefiore argued an increase in the height and floor space ratio is its only commercially viable option and the only one that would allow it to preserve on site trees and heritage items. It will require an increase allowed under the Hunter's Hill Council Local Environment Plan 2012.
The Gateway process will entail public consultation and possibly a public meeting early this year. Residents are encouraged to make submissions.
NEWS FROM THE NATURE CONSERVATION COUNCIL (NCC) – HABITAT CLEARING
NCC wants part 5A of the Local Land Services Act' to be altered and biodiversity offset loopholes scrapped. These steps are needed in order to stop widespread destruction of habitat.
Australia is the only developed nation named as a 'global deforestation hotspot' and NSW is the worst-ranked state in the country. Habitat clearing for agricultural development is now the biggest cause of environmental loss in NSW with 50 million trees being destroyed every year.
PLASTIC WASTE REDUCTION
NSW generates over 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year, with only 12% being recycled. The NSW Government has released its Plastic Plan - Next Steps. It follows up on 2022 bans targeting straws, cutlery and other problem plastic items… but NSW languishes in 5th place behind Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT on reducing problem plastics, and Boomerang Alliance wants NSW to start catching up. Among other targets, they would like to see all disposable coffee cups and single use plastic food containers phased out by 2027.
GOOD NEWS! We can now have our soft plastics and other things collected from our home and sent off to be recycled. City of Ryde Council is now running this as a trial for a year. See https://www.recyclesmart.com/our-app and download the app.
Microplastics and Nanoplastics in Bottled Water
Précis of an article by Ellen Phiddian, published by Cosmos 10 January 2024.
Bottled water is filled with even more microplastics and smaller nanoplastics than previously thought, according to a new study from US researchers. Using lasers, the scientists imaged hundreds of thousands of previously invisible plastic particles in bottled water.
Bottled water has more microplastics in it than tap water, both from the bottles and the processing. But a study published in the peer review journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a peer reviewed journal of the National Academy of Sciences, used newer technology to find 10 to 100 times more microplastic than older estimates.
After testing three off-the-shelf bottled water brands, they found a litre of bottled water contained, on average, 240,000 plastic fragments. Concentrations ranged from 110,000 fragments per litre to 370,000 fragments per litre.
Most of these fragments – 90% – were nanoplastics, the remaining 10% were microplastics.
Because they’re difficult to track, the health effects of microplastics and particularly nanoplastics are poorly understood.
Ironic!...The most common plastic in the water was polyamide, which likely comes from the filters used to purify bottled water. Another common type of plastic was polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which is what most bottles are made of.
AUSTRALIA NEEDS BIG MONEY OUT OF POLITICS
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has this goal to save species and climate.
We often see big businesses disregard environmental damage, slow the transition to renewable energy sources, and steamroll genuine community concern.
It's time we end corporate influence over Australian politicians. An opportunity is here now.
A government committee has just made strong recommendations to reform the way elections are funded and run. But without people power to uphold the recommendations, the Albanese Government’s responses risk having massive loopholes that allow political parties to keep receiving big money from powerful corporate interests.
We can strengthen the legislation by writing to our local Labor Senator/s now about what you'd like to see in the proposed bill responding to recommendations.
ACF has written a letter to get started, or you can send it as is.
Key issues are:
1. Secret slush funds from big corporations, fundraising dinners and political front groups
2. Dangerous misinformation to be limited by strong laws for truth in political advertising
3. Limits on donations and spending to ensure political parties can’t rig the system
4. Community advocacy needs to be protected, and not tied down with red tape.
MONITORING THE NSW BIODIVERSITY CREDITS MARKET
IPART has published its Annual Report for 2022-23
The biodiversity credits market aims to connect buyers and sellers to trade credits at a price that reflects the efficient cost of offsetting biodiversity. A well-functioning credits market is important to ensure economic development takes place in a way that conserves our unique natural environment.
The report found several key challenges affecting fundamental aspects of the market such as pricing, transaction costs and barriers to entry. It recommends priority actions to remove price distortions and ensure government interventions focus on reducing entry costs and making the market more accessible and easier for landholders and development proponents to trade.
BOOMERANG ALLIANCE CAMPAIGNS
Looking Forward to 2024 - Critical Campaigns:
1. Continue the phase-out of unnecessary and problematic single use plastics
2. Making reusables commonplace, including a phase-out of disposable cups and containers for takeaway
3. A mandatory (and national) Product Stewardship Scheme for packaging
4. Even better performing container refund schemes.
5. We need to reduce the amount of plastic we use; require companies to take responsibility; and protect our oceans and waterways.
TOONDAH HARBOUR WETLANDS UPDATE
The campaign to save this vital habitat for migratory shorebirds will involve activities organised by the “Mud Army” (Toondah Alliance) near the site on the Sunday following World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2024.
Toondah Harbour wetlands are threatened by a development proposal of Walker Corporation, who wish to disregard the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
Toondah is a breeding ground and staging site for several species including the vulnerable bar-tailed godwit, whose migrations involve travel to far-off places including China and Alaska – see map.
This campaign is being supported by several organisations including Birdlife Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation who provide proforma letters you may use to write to Minister Plibersek and Premier Miles, in support of the campaign. A ministerial decision on the proposed development is due to be made in April.
FRACKING TO BE BANNED IN CHANNEL COUNTRY – News from Lock the Gate Alliance
On the Friday before Christmas, the QLD Miles Government has announced they are locking in protections for the rivers and floodplains of the Lake Eyre Basin from new oil and gas. The full ban on all new oil and gas on the floodplains will commence in August 2024, with new unconventional gas (fracking) exploration and production banned from now. Companies holding conventional exploration licences have until August 2024 to apply to move to production.
This win results from years of hard work, led by Traditional Owners, graziers, the Far Western Queensland community and people from South West Queensland.
The rivers in this area are some of the last free-flowing desert rivers in the world - they sustain a clean, grass-fed beef industry and hold cultural significance for Traditional Owners of the land. Oil and gas would have wreaked havoc on this fragile ecosystem and put precious cultural sites at risk. Without this protection, we could have seen thousands of fracking wells drilled across the landscape and millions of litres of water sucked out of groundwater systems.
NATURE REPAIR BILL – A HUGE WIN FOR COUNTRY!
From email@example.com, December 2023
The Lower House is set to pass the Nature Repair Bill in Parliament. This legislation not only aims to enhance biodiversity outcomes but also mandates that all future unconventional gas projects undergo independent scientific assessments to evaluate their impact on ground and surface water. This requirement will apply to all future fossil fuel projects, throughout the country.
Traditional Owners and environment groups have been fighting for over a decade to stop these projects, that catastrophically damage the health of water, country and communities.
The Greens, Labor and independents aligned to pass the Nature Repair Bill. This federal law comes at a time when state laws have been relaxing in favour of gas expansion. It will close fracking loopholes, ensuring fossil fuel companies will no longer be able to bypass environmental laws that allow them to destroy waterways by taking unlimited amounts of water, and reconsider leaching ponds full of fracking chemicals that breach in times of heavy rains.