Sunday, November 25, 2007

a great day for the australian environment!

HOO BlOODY RAY! - link to the 'another world is possible' set on flickrThe 24th of November 2007 - the day Australians overwhelmingly voted to end the 11 year reign of John Howard's Liberal (read 'conservative' or 'neo-conservative') government.

This is great news for Australian environment !

Not least because the former Government's egregious, arrogant attempts to undermine international climate treaties - sadly largely successful, thanks to the connivance of the Bush administration - on behalf of the coal-lobby will ensure that our continent continues to warm and dry out for decades, no matter what beneficial actions we undertake now!

What a legacy - and what an appalling failure of leadership!

(His government's demise was ultimately sealed, of course, by the bridge-too-far class-warfare of his Industrial Relations 'reform' program!)

With a Labor Government now in Canberra and the Greens holding the balance of power in our Senate there is now much to be done for those who actually value the Australian environment.

And with the Howard government convincingly cast out (and no Liberal Party representative in any office higher than Lord Mayor in any state or territory across the continent!) this is a crucial time to undo the damage wrought by more than a decade of solid federal environmental ignorance.

now is the time to save the river! - link to the katarapko creek and murray river national park pagesOf all the blatant manifestations of the failings of the Liberals the inability to act in the face of the catastrophic collapse of Australia's only major river system was the most striking.

We may - literally - never recover. But we must restore what we can, bearing in mind that the Murray Darling system is not an irrigation ditch and cannot be treated solely as an adjunct to boosting profitability for agribusiness.

Naturally our primary producers are of vital importance, particularly in an era where an awareness of the issue of the carbon impact of 'food miles' is constantly increasing. But the river is a natural system, and will never properly function to support agriculture until it is able to sustain itself as a healthy one. A suffocating obsession with economic primacy is what has led us into the dire situation we now face in the first place!

now is the time to save arkaroola - link to the Save Arkaroola Sanctuary pool on flickrSimilarly, we come to the issue of the major focus of this blog at this time; mineral exploration and the attempt to mine uranium in the heart of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.

Howard's defeat and Labor's ascension is a blow to all who would choose to attempt to mine Uranium in a wilderness sanctuary. Not only do the Greens hold the balance of power, one of the new Green Senators is a South Australian, and her party now holds sway along with a feisty South Australian Independent, who would reasonably conclude that the people of SA do not want to see the Arkaroola Sanctuary violated in this manner.

Uranium advocates may well point to the recent 'conversion' of the ALP on the U mines issue. This certainly has some truth. But if they think that that will amount to an endorsement in this particular case, I suggest that they might do well to think again!

Firstly, state Labor need no longer compete for any putative economic 'credibility' with Canberra; a cooperative approach should now be the norm. Consequently I find it hard to conceive of a Labor party flush with an unprecedented victory, and needing to confirm its credentials as an environmental manager, allowing this one to pass, whether at the level of assessment of a state Class A Zone, or regarding the project's approval under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

Of course, if state premier Mike Rann had simply intervened swiftly when this mine was first proposed, as he did in the case of the same company making an attempt to prospect for Uranium on the Fleurieu Peninsula last year, everyone - and the sanctuary itself - would have been spared a lot of unnecessary disturbance!

1 comment:

thanks for your contribution - bill - i'm genuinely sorry about having to switch on the 'moderation' process but comment spammers have really been cluttering up this journal!