The Hunter region is vulnerable to global changes in the market for coal and this could leave thousands of people jobless, landscapes unrehabilitated and the region in economic recession if there are no plans and actions in place to stimulate job creation in alternative industries.
The region can prosper regardless of declines in the coal industry, but it needs support and investment to diversify before coal declines. The Hunter Renewal Project has been working for the last three years to secure funding and a locally-led process to guide the region’s renewal as the world decarbonises, with the support of Lock the Gate Alliance.
In the last month they secured the first steps towards these two crucial goals.
The NSW Deputy Premier made a commitment earlier last month to dedicate at least $25 million a year to diversification in coal mining communities, through a new program called Royalties for Rejuvenation. A statutory Hunter Expert Panel will be set up involving unions, community groups, local government and business, to guide planning and investment for the region’s diversification.
Experience around the world has shown that a strong, community-led process and dedicated public funding are crucial to successfully create new jobs and opportunities during major structural change. And it comes just in time, as the International Energy Agency advised that meeting climate change goals will see coal use worldwide fall by 90% over the next thirty years.
There is a lot more to do… The Hunter Renewal Project has been working across the community in the Hunter, with unions, environment groups, small business, local and state government and are committed to collaborating locally to secure the Hunter’s future as coal markets decline.
CYCLISTS DAMAGE BUSHLAND
In the Field of Mars Reserve, we have seen damage by cyclists who created their own off-track bike paths with berms and erode rocks by using electric mountain bikes. Recently, we received the following news from Jan Primrose, spokesperson for Protecting Your Suburban Environment Inc. (PYSE):
Social media posts by the mountain bike lobby groups say they are "environmentalists" who "love the bush" and that their tracks cause no damage to the bushland, let alone the endangered ecological communities and areas of threatened species on the Westleigh site [near Thornleigh].
But this photo shows extensive damage caused at Westleigh by these tracks. The damage is not caused by bushwalkers and should not have occurred. Legalising these tracks now would be the antithesis of good environmental management by Council of this ecologically sensitive site. Pouring tons of fill onto these areas, as Hornsby Council's mountain bike report recommends, is an appalling solution. It will simply bury evidence of the damage, and wash off again.
Berowra Valley Needs Your Help!
Plans for Hornsby Park and Westleigh Park will determine outcomes for recreational facilities and environmental management for decades to come. Please help persuade Hornsby Council that good environmental management is essential, by making an individual submission by 2 June 2021. Even just one or two sentences will help! A handy information guide is provided by STEP Inc: https://mcusercontent.com/8c1039a8091e19e0ac06397a7/files/526cadf9-aa7f-a191-3b2c-4b4fe375db32/Hornsby_and_Westleigh_Park_Master_Plans.pdf
Send submissions to Hornsby Shire Council at email@example.com and consultants: firstname.lastname@example.org
News from Planet Ark - by Rachael Ridley 3 May 2021
Planet Ark partner BINGO Industries has officially opened the world’s largest and most advanced dry mixed-waste recycling facility at its Eastern Creek Recycling Ecology Park in Western Sydney. The $100 million facility is fitted with world-leading resource recovery and manufacturing technology, enabling BINGO to drastically increase the number of materials diverted from landfill and manufacture them into new products on-site. The recycling plant is expected to recover approximately 90% of materials, keeping them out of landfill.
When fully operational in July 2021, the plant is expected to process up to 7,000 tonnes of materials a day or 300 tonnes per hour. It will be capable of processing a wide variety of waste including materials from the Construction and Demolition (C&D) and Commercial and Industrial (C&I) sectors. According to the latest data from the 2020 National Waste Report, these two sectors combined generate 80% of Australia’s core waste.
Construction of the facility was supported by a $5 million grant from the NSW Environmental Trust as part of the NSW Government’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded through the state waste levy. Substantial investment from business and government in waste solutions signifies a shift from the linear ‘take, make, dispose’ mindset towards a circular model that sees waste a resource to be kept in circulation at the highest value for as long as possible. The project will create a further 100 permanent employment positions once operational.
The facility fortifies BINGO Industries’ position as a leader in Australia’s growing circular economy. The advanced on-site screening, sorting and processing technologies will not only allow more materials to be recovered but also produce a higher quality end product. The majority of these materials will be manufactured at the facility into new building and landscaping products made from 100% recycled content available for purchase by building and infrastructure companies, landscaping businesses, councils and the general public.
BINGO's Eastern Creek site now has two Materials Processing Centres (MPC):
From Josh Meadows, Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) Media Adviser… In response to the federal government’s Threatened Species Strategy 2021–2031, the ACF’s nature campaign manager Basha Stasak said: “The Morrison government’s new 10-year Threatened Species Strategy is an improvement on the previous five-year plan, but unless the core issues of inadequate funding and weak laws are addressed, it will fail to deliver.
“There are significant improvements in this strategy – in particular we welcome the high-level objective on protecting priority places.
“But the forces that have made Australia a world leader in mammal extinctions are strong. Australia’s unique biodiversity, evolved over millions of years, is under threat like never before from a combination of land clearing for mining, agriculture and new suburbs, supercharged bushfires and other impacts of climate change.
“Our governments have an appalling record on protecting Australia’s unique species.
“Even some animals that are officially honoured are actually neglected. Victoria’s faunal emblem, Leadbeater’s Possum, is critically endangered. In 2015 the federal government promised ‘a revised Recovery Plan will be completed by mid-2016, driving action to turn around the decline of the Leadbeater’s Possum.’ Six years later, we are still waiting.
“Under this new strategy, funding for threatened species falls well short of what’s required.
“ACF estimates approximately $1.69 billion a year is required to genuinely tackle Australia’s extinction crisis. This is substantially more than is currently allocated to biodiversity protection in the federal budget.
Beyond funding, we need to fix our national environment laws.
“The Threatened Species Strategy works in conjunction with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act – a law the Samuel Review showed is not working.
“Without the government undertaking the reforms proposed by Professor Samuel, we won’t arrest the downward trajectory of our wildlife.
“The previous five-year strategy failed to deliver, largely because of inadequate funding and weak national environment laws. Our species can’t wait another 10 years.”
Award winning IBM headquarter buildings at 55 Coonara Ave Pennant Hills are adjacent to Cumberland State Forest. They were designed to accommodate some 2000 staff but now Mirvac has submitted a Development Application (DA) for their demolition. As part of the DA, Mirvac wants to clear-fell existing critically endangered Blue Gum High Forest (BGHF) and Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest (STIF)within the site. We believe the current buildings should, instead, be repurposed together with the retention of 450+ BGHF and STIF trees.
Mirvac claims the trees to be cleared were planted by IBM; in fact these are natural regrowth and form part of the site's critically endangered ecological communities which include a colony of endangered Dural Land Snails which must not be removed or relocated.
An overwhelming number of objections have already been submitted and the deadline is now extended to 31 May 2021 so please ACT NOW! to make a submission. A handy guide for submissions has been provided: https://www.forestindanger.org.au/take-action-submission-guide
For more information about issues and concerns surrounding this site, see https://www.step.org.au/index.php/item/364-last-attempt-to-stop-the-mirvac-development-plans-for-the-ibm-site
Ivanhoe Estate building works continue, with this “State Significant Project” being undertaken by Frasers, on behalf of the NSW State Government.
Meanwhile, Transport for NSW have started widening Herring Road between Epping and Waterloo Roads to provide a dedicated northbound bus lane. Project entails upgrading three intersections along this roadway, and further removal of up to 41 trees in Herring Road and Ivanhoe Place. Transport for NSW claims that they plan to replace each removed tree and work with City of Ryde Council to identify potential locations for plantings within the local area.
For detailed information see https://roads-waterways.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/evolution-of-macquarie-park/herring-road.html
These works are part of a suite of projects in the stimulus package announced by the Federal Government to help support economic growth and jobs creation in the post COVID-19.
Happily, our efforts in the early planning stages were successful in saving the remnant Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest along Epping Road. This natural area remains undamaged (so far).