Showing posts with label marine protected areas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marine protected areas. Show all posts

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

A trio of Great Barrier Reef Foundation directors decline to appear before a senate committee inquiry


On 19 June 2018, the Senate referred the 2018-19 Budget measure Great Barrier Reef 2050 Partnership Program to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report on 15 August 2018.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation made a written submission on 2 July 2018.

Yesterday it sent one of it newest directors (who apparently joined the board in the second half of 2017) and its managing director to give evidence before the inquiry.

However, three directors are seeking to avoid attending this inquiry  - John M Schubert (Chair), Grant King and Paul Greenfield.

This unwillingness is likely to be less about scheduling problems and more about close associations with petroleum, gas, mining* and finance industries, the foundation's membership list as well as the identity of donors who gave over $1.4 million to the foundation in 2017.


Three directors of a Great Barrier Reef charity entrusted with almost half a billion dollars in public money have refused to give evidence to a Senate inquiry scrutinising the controversial deal, raising the prospect they will be forced to appear.

Confidential Senate committee documents seen by Fairfax Media show that despite being offered five dates at which to attend the inquiry, the directors of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation say they are unavailable for questioning, variously citing overseas travel commitments, medical appointments, board meetings and other unspecified engagements.

The inquiry was launched following the Turnbull government’s decision to grant the small, business-focused charity $443 million to help rescue the reef.  The foundation has previously said it would “fully co-operate” with the probe.

The contentious Great Barrier Reef Foundation grant is to be spent on projects such as water quality improvements.

The Senate committee had specifically requested their attendance. The trio comprises the organisation’s chair John Schubert and board members Grant King and Paul Greenfield. Mr King is president of the Business Council of Australia and Dr Greenfield chairs the foundation’s scientific committee.

The foundation has advised that managing director Anna Marsden and another director, John Gunn, will give evidence.

The grant was awarded without a tender process and the government’s own expert agencies were not invited to apply.

The foundation plans to use the grant to leverage additional funds from the private sector.….

Fairfax Media understands the committee will ask the directors to find suitable dates to give evidence and advise them that the committee has the power to summon witnesses. According to the Parliament website, Senate committees rarely need to exercise such powers as witnesses are “normally very willing to place their views and the information they possess before the Senate to assist in an understanding of issues”…..

details of the deal show the foundation will receive almost $45 million to cover administration costs incurred by disbursing the funds. Fairfax Media previously reported the foundation would receive an upfront payment of $22.5 million plus interest. The recently published grant agreement shows the interest will be capped at $22 million, and any additional interest will be spent on reef projects.

The agreement also shows many aspects of the deal will remain confidential, including the strategy used by the foundation to attract private sector funds.

Greens oceans spokesman Peter Whish-Wilson criticised the secrecy and questioned the influence businesses would exert over how the grant was spent.
“How much of it is going to be used to promote the companies and essentially greenwash some of these businesses that are key polluters?” he said.

Businesses involved in the foundation include heavy polluters such as AGL, Peabody Energy, Shell, Rio Tinto and Qantas.

In a statement, the department said it accepted that the foundation “does not wish information about who it might approach or the strategies it might employ in its fundraising to be made public”.

The administration costs were “ reasonable given the scale of the grant” and any entity, including a government agency, would need adequate funds for such purposes, it said.

The department said the attendance at Senate hearings "is a matter for the foundation".

* The Great Barrier Reef Foundation classes Rio Tinto's RTFM Wakmatha (a Post Panamax bulk carrier on the Weipa to Gladstone run) as the foundation's research vessel in its so-called mission to save the reef.

UPDATE

As of 7.35pm 31 July 2018 the transcript of yesterday's public hearing has not been published.

However, mainstream media is reporting that Ms. Marsden gave evidence that in April 2018 Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull and Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg met privately with the Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, John Schubert.

At this meeting an unsolicited and unscrutinised offer of over $45 million as a lump sum grant was made to Schubert as chair of the foundation.

This private meeting goes a long way towards explaining Schubert's reluctance to be questioned during this Senate inquiry.

Three former bankers meeting to carve out a large chunk of taxpayer dollars, probably felt comfortable enough to speak freely on a number of subjects.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

The political endorsements of extinction by Turnbull, Berejiklian and Palaszczuk governments continue




Wild fish stocks in Australian waters shrank by about a third in the decade to 2015, declining in all regions except strictly protected marine zones, according to data collected by scientists and public divers.

The research, based on underwater reef monitoring at 533 sites around the nation and published in the Aquatic Conservation journal, claims to be the first large-scale independent survey of fisheries. It found declining numbers tracked the drop in total reported catch for 213 Australian fisheries for the 1992-2014 period.

The biomass of larger fish fell 36 per cent on fished reefs during 2005-15 and dropped 18 per cent in marine park zones allowing limited fishing, the researchers said. There was a small increase in targeted fish species in zones that barred fishing altogether.
"Most of the numbers are pretty shocking," said David Booth, a marine ecologist at the University of Technology Sydney. “This paper really nails down the fact that fishing or the removal of large fish is one of the causes” of their decline.

Over-fished stocks include the eastern jackass morwong, eastern gemfish, greenlip abalone, school shark, warehou and the grey nurse shark. The morwong catch, once as common as flathead in the trawl fishery, dived about 95 per cent from the 1960s to 109 tonnes in the 2015-16 year to become basically a bycatch species……

…Peter Whish-Wilson, the Greens ocean spokesman, said the new research was largely based on actual underwater identification – including the Reef Life Survey using citizen scientists. It suggests fishing stocks "are not as rosy as the industry or government would like us all to think".

"This study also shows that marine parks can be successful fisheries management tools but we simply don’t have enough of them or enough protection within them to deliver widespread benefits," he said.

"The new Commonwealth Marine Reserves are woefully inadequate and won’t do anything to stop the continuing decline in the health of our oceans."


Humane Society International Australia (HSI), represented by EDO NSW, is seeking independent review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) decision to approve a lethal shark control program in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

HSI has lodged an appeal in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) which will require a full reconsideration of the approval of the shark control program. The 10 year lethal control program targets 26 shark species in the Marine Park, including threatened and protected species. The appeal is based on the public interest in protecting the biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.....

As apex predators, sharks play a vital role in maintaining the health of the Great Barrier Reef. HSI is concerned about the ongoing impacts caused by the use of lethal drumlines which are known to impact not only on shark species but also dolphins, turtles and rays. HSI is calling for non-lethal alternatives for bather protection.


Forest covering an area more than 50 times the size of the combined central business districts of Sydney and Melbourne is set to be bulldozed near the Great Barrier Reef, official data shows, triggering claims the Turnbull government is thwarting its $500 million reef survival package.

Figures provided to Fairfax Media by Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy show that 36,600 hectares of land in Great Barrier Reef water catchments has been approved for tree clearing and is awaiting destruction.

The office of Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg did not say if his government was comfortable with the extent of land clearing approved in Queensland, or if it would use its powers to cancel permits.

The approvals were granted by the Queensland government over the past five years. About 9000 hectares under those approvals has already been cleared.

Despite the dire consequences of land clearing for the Great Barrier Reef – and billions of dollars of public money spent over the years to tackle the problem – neither Labor nor the government would commit to intervening to stop the mass deforestation.


Freedom of information laws are an important mechanism for making government decisions transparent and accountable. But the existence of such laws doesn’t mean access to information is easy.

It took a three-year legal process for the Humane Society International (HSI), represented by EDO NSW, to access documents about how the Australian Government came to accredit a NSW biodiversity offsets policy for major projects

The NSW policy in question allowed significant biodiversity trade-offs (that is, permitting developers to clear habitat in return for compensatory actions elsewhere) seemingly inconsistent with national biodiversity offset standards. HSI wanted to know how the national government could accredit a policy that didn’t meet its own standards.

Despite Australia being a signatory to important international environmental agreements and accepting international obligations to protect biodiversity, in recent years it has been proposed that the national government should delegate its environmental assessment and approval powers to the states, creating a ‘one stop shop’ for developers.

The original FOI request in this case was submitted in early 2015, during a time when Federal and State and Territory Governments were actively in consultation on handing over federal approval powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). This was to be done in the name of efficiency, with the assurance that national standards would be upheld by the states.
Over 60 documents finally accessed by HSI show this was a false promise. The documents reveal that federal bureaucrats in the environment department identified key areas of the NSW policy that differed from federal standards.

Despite this, the policy was accredited.

Accreditation meant that the NSW policy could be used when approving developments with impacts on nationally threatened species found in NSW, instead of applying the more rigorous national offsets policy.

In the time it took to argue for access to the documents, NSW developed a new biodiversity offsets policy as part of broader legislative reforms for biodiversity and land clearing. Unfortunately, the new NSW biodiversity offsets policy continues to entrench many of the weaker standards. For example, mine site rehabilitation decades in the future can count as an offset now; offset requirements may be discounted if other socio-economic factors are considered; and supplementary measures - such as research or paying cash - are an alternative to finding a direct offset (that is, protecting the actual plant or animal that has been impacted by a development).

While there have been some tweaks to the new policy for nationally listed threatened species, there is still a clear divergence in standards. The new policy, and the new NSW biodiversity laws, are now awaiting accreditation by the Australian Government.

How our unique and irreplaceable biodiversity is managed (and traded off) is clearly a matter of public interest. And on the eve of a hearing at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the federal environment department agreed and released over 60 documents. While it was a heartening win for transparency and the value of FOI laws, it was a depressing read when these documents revealed the political endorsement of extinction.

Friday, 13 April 2018

No wonder I don’t buy Japanese goods – including those now 100% Japanese-owned well-known Australian brands



The Strait Times, 31 March 2018:

This undated file picture released on February 7, 2008, by the Australian Customs Services shows a mother whale and her calf being dragged on board a Japanese ship after being harpooned in Antarctic waters .PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese whaling vessels returned to port on Saturday (March 31) after catching more than 300 of the mammals in the Antarctic Ocean without facing any protests by anti-whaling groups, officials said.

A fleet of five whalers set sail for the Southern Ocean in November, as Tokyo pursues its "research whaling" in defiance of global criticism….

The fleet caught 333 minke whales as planned without any interruption by anti-whaling campaigners, the Fisheries Agency said in a statement…..

Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission moratorium on hunting, but exploits a loophole that allows whales to be killed for scientific research.

Tokyo says the slaughter is necessary for in-depth knowledge of whale behaviour and biology, but it makes no secret of the fact that whales killed in the hunts often end up on dinner plates.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Environmental disaster in NSW a herald of things to come given impacts of climate change are being felt in coastal communities and coastal waters



The Newscastle Herald, 1 February 2018:


THERE are fears thousands of “ravenous” kingfish that escaped a state-government jointly run fish farm off Port Stephens will devastate the marine park's wild fish population.
Up to 17,000 predatory yellowtail kingfish, used to being fed automatically, are now hunting in the marine park waters after 20,000 escaped last week from a fish-farm sea cage, described as a "fortress pen", that was destroyed in rough seas. About 3000 fish have been recaptured.
The future of the controversial joint NSW government and Tasmania-based Huon Aquaculture project, which is 18 months into a five-year research trial, is under a cloud following the loss of almost half its stock with a retail value of more than $2 million.
Conservation groups and local tourism operators described the multi-million dollar project as a “disaster” threatening the pristine marine park's delicate ecosystem.
Marine Parks’ Association chairman and whale watching tour operator Frank Future said fisheries staff “repeatedly assured” the community the pens could handle waves up to 15 metres.
According to Huon, the “fortress pens” were designed to withstand “high energy, exposed sites, frequently receiving storms swells and gale force winds”.
“The pen that had the release was mangled and now we have thousands of mature kingfish released into the wild, nothing will be safe from them,” Mr Future said.
“They are voracious feeders and from what I understand they are ravenous. Once they realise they won't get any food in the form of pellets they'll be eating anything they can find. I don't want to think about the impact on wild species.”
The commercial-scale kingfish trial at Providence Bay - the result of an existing offshore research lease being boosted to 62 hectares - includes five pens, each about 60 metres across, two that were stocked with 20,000 fish each. There is capacity for 12 sea pens in the trial......

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Reef 2050 plan to restore outstanding universal values of the Great Barrier Reef decade by decade questioned in the wake of back to-back bleaching events


On 8 December 2017 the Australian Academy of Science made a submission to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority consultation on the Coastal Ecosystems Position Statement.

This submission made the following points:

* The federal government Reef 2050 Long-term Sustainability Plan to restore the “Outstanding Universal Values” of the Great Barrier Reef decade by decade is no longer tenable following back to-back bleaching events.

* Climate change is a clear and present challenge to the ongoing health of the Great Barrier Reef.

* Almost all “historic” and “legacy” stressors to the Great Barrier Reef remain today, and most of them continue to escalate — for example, land clearing, maintenance dredging, ship anchoring, and coastal recreational fishing pressure.

* There is a need to avoid further environmental damage through better management of stressors.

* Monitoring of drivers or stressors, including so called “legacy” drivers, should be included as a subject of research and management.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

A reminder that the Government of Japan still allows its whalers to slaughter whales in the Antarctic section of the Australian Whale Sanctuary


Australian Whale Sanctuary, www.environment.gov.au
In 2015 Environmental Defenders Office ( EDO NSW) received instructions from Sea Shepherd Australia to help them obtain information from the Commonwealth Government relating to illegal whaling practices by Japanese vessels in the Southern Ocean

The resulting application was refused by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, requiring EDO NSW to press their client’s case with the Commonwealth Information Commissioner. 

In May 2017, the Information Commissioner ordered the release of the documents and this video was made public in the following November.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Castle Hill, Townsville carries the message "STOP ADANI"


A major heritage-listed landmark shows that not everyone in Townsville, Queensland, appears to be happy with becoming a mining FIFO dumping ground hub for the financially dubious multinational Adani Group ……

Castle Hill aka Cutheringa Mountain est elevation 264 metres
Image: Townsville Bulletin, 16 October 2016


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Under Turnbull Government's new plan "38 out of 44 marine parks will be open to trawling, gillnetting and longlining, 33 will be open to mining, and 42 exposed to the construction of pipelines"



Canberra Times, 17 September 2017:
In the corridors of Parliament House that day, as I met MPs of every stripe, I felt a great sense of promise, even pride. And it seemed for a while such hope was not misplaced. In 2012, after an exhaustive scientific process and wide community consultation, Tony Burke declared a system of marine national parks, one of the biggest and best in the world, the most significant conservation gain in Australian history.
That took courage. Because it put science before politics, prudence ahead of expediency. And it was popular. But as soon as he came to power in 2013 Tony Abbott announced an immediate moratorium on these parks and instigated a review. The purpose was purely political. To delay implementation, corrode consensus and deny the science. A move straight out of the culture warrior's playbook.
After decades of forward-thinking leaders, the nation had fallen into the hands of a man whose loyalties were only to the past. It was a low moment. But Abbott's reign was as brief as it was fruitless. It was a relief to see him replaced in 2015 by a man who'd actually done things, who believed in the future. Malcolm Turnbull did not scorn science. He seemed to understand the value and fragility of our natural estate. So there was new hope the marine parks review would now be expedited and redirected towards real conservation outcomes. With coral reefs bleaching and miners pressing for even more coal ports and seabed to drill, the need for protection had only grown more urgent.
Well, that moment of promise is long gone. Turnbull's period in office has basically been a hostage drama. The bargain he made with powerbrokers rendered him captive to the party's most illiberal wing, and if his performance on climate, energy and marriage equality aren't evidence enough, last month's announcement that marine parks would be slashed beyond all recognition puts it beyond dispute.
The agents of inertia control his government. And what's worse he's looking like a hostage who's begun to identify with his captors. How else to explain his radical lurch backwards on parks? The draft management plans recently released for consultation by Josh Frydenberg don't just signify the gutting of the national system, they represent the largest removal of protection for Australian wildlife in our history. What the government is proposing is a nihilistic act of vandalism. Forty  million hectares of sanctuary will be ripped from the estate. That's like revoking every second national park on land. Under its new plan, 38 out of 44 marine parks will be open to trawling, gillnetting and longlining, 33 will be open to mining, and 42 exposed to the construction of pipelines. In total defiance of the scientific advice upon which the original system was designed, 16 marine parks will now have no sanctuary zones at all.
The science shows that partial or low-level protection simply doesn't work. What the government is putting forward will radically diminish protection of habitat. It will also undermine sustainable regional economic development. What began as a quest for excellence based on the best possible science is now so miserably degraded it's turned the greatest step forward in marine conservation into a regime that doesn't even aspire to be second-rate.
Draft management plans for Australian marine parks/reserves:
                                                                         



South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserves draft management plan

As one South Australian voter put it after reading about the Turnbull Government's intentions; FFS ! These guys are proof that there are no time machines. Otherwise someone from the future would come back and mulch the pr*cks. (quote supplied)

Voters in NSW North Coast electorates should be aware that:
* Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan supported this review and to date has never voted against his party’s position in the House of Representatives. Therefore it is highly likely that he will vote for any government bill which will reduce marine park and marine reserve protections.
*Nationals MP for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker supported this review and to date has never voted against his party’s position in the House of Representatives. Therefore it is highly likely that he will vote for any government bill which will reduce marine park and marine reserve protections.
* Labor MP for Richmond Justine Elliot does not support a reduction in marine parks and marine reserve protections.

Brief background


The Turnbull government has released draft management plans for the nation's marine parks that amount to an "unprecedented roll-back" of protections, a coalition of 25 environmental groups say.

The long-awaited draft plans were released on Friday and propose changes to the 3.3 million square kilometres of Australia's protected offshore regions expanded in 2012 by the Gillard government.

The area of marine parks open to fishing would jump to 80 per cent from 64 per cent now, if the changes were to pass through parliament, WWF-Australia said.

"This is a huge step backwards for marine protection," Richard Leck, WWF's head of oceans, said. "Australia used to be seen as a global leader in marine conservation. That will no longer be the case if these proposals are implemented."

Other proposed changes would strip Shark and Vema reefs of  marine national park status, while Osprey reef - one of the world's premier dive sites - has lost more than half its protection, Tony Burke, Labor's environment spokesman said.

"Five years ago, Labor make the second largest conservation decision in history. Today the Turnbull Government announced the largest undoing of conservation ever," Mr Burke said….

Of particular concern to the green groups is the Coral Sea Marine Park, where a substantial area previously given the maximum protection had been reduced……

Ms Grady said the government had chosen to ignore the science contained in independent reviews that backed the original zones.

"All Australians will be justifiably distressed to know that science evidence supporting an increase in protections for marine life has been thrown out the window," Darren Kindleysides, director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

UNESCO REPORT - "Assessment: World Heritage coral reefs likely to disappear by 2100 unless CO2 emissions drastically reduce"


Excerpts from United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage Coral Reefs: A First Global Scientific Assessment, 23 June 2017:


Seventy two percent of World Heritage reef properties (21 of 29) have been exposed to severe and/or repeated heat stress during the past three years. Within the three years of the current global bleaching event (mid 2014-mid 2017), 18 World Heritage reefs (62%) were in the highest impact category (dark red) at either one or both stress levels (Table 1c,d). A further three properties were exposed to recurrent bleaching stress (red) or a single severe stress event (orange). This illustrates the dramatic impact on coral reefs during this period, which has seen three consecutive years of record global temperature (2014, 2015 and 2016), and reflects an increase in bleaching frequency from that seen in the prior decades. Only four properties (14%) escaped bleaching-level heat stress during this three-year bleaching event: Brazilian Atlantic Islands (Brazil), iSimangaliso Wetland Park (South Africa), Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park (Sudan) and Socotra Archipelago (Yemen)…..

Coral mortality during the third global bleaching event has been among the worst ever observed, including at World Heritage reefs; e.g., Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Papahānaumokuākea (USA) and Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles)…..

Papahānaumokuākea (USA) and the Great Barrier Reef (Australia), among the most spatially vast of all World Heritage properties…..

Coral communities typically take at least 15 to 25 years to recover from mass mortality events such as destructive cyclones and mass bleaching events. If the frequency of mass mortality events increases to a point where the return time of mortality events is less than the time it takes to recover, the abundance of corals on reefs will decline. Consequently, the frequency of stress events that reached or exceeded the 4°C and 8°C-week DHW thresholds was calculated for each World Heritage reef-containing property (Table 1) to detect if the bleaching frequency exceeded the best-case rates of recovery.

This analysis showed that World Heritage properties containing coral reefs have been increasingly exposed to heat stress during recent years. Nearly half (13) of the 29 World Heritage Listed reef properties were exposed to levels of heat stress that cause coral bleaching, on average, more than twice per decade during the 1985- 2013 period

Download full report here.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

CCRAP and the Adani Group


Adani Mining Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of India's largest coal trader the Adani Group, intends to dig an enormous hole in the ground costing over $16 billion and the odd billion or two it can extract from gullible federal and state governments in Australia.

This hole known as the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project will comprise six open-cut pits and five underground mines; supported by five mine infrastructure areas, a coal handling and processing plant, a heavy industrial area, water-supply infrastructure, 189-kilometres of rail line (Adani has applied for a $1 billion loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund to build the rail link), as well as off-site infrastructure including a workers' accommodation village and airport.

All of this running roughly parallel with the Great Barrier Reef and the Abbott Point port required to ship all this coal overseas at considerable risk to fresh water security, coral sustainability and marine biodiversity.


To facilitate its aim of environmental vandalism for corporate profit the Adani Group has registered the following companies which are all currently operating out of an office tower in Eagle Street, Brisbane:

Abbot Point Operations Pty Ltd
Adani Abbot Point Company Pty Ltd
Adani Abbot Point Holding Trust
Adani Abbot Point Terminal Holdings Pty Ltd
Adani Abbot Point Terminal Pty Ltd
Adani Australia Coal Terminal Finance Company Pty Ltd
Adani Australia Coal Terminal Holdings Pty Ltd
Adani Australia Coal Terminal Pty Ltd
Adani Australia Company Pty Ltd
Adani Australia Holding Trust
Adani Minerals Pty Ltd
Adani Mining Pty Ltd
Carmichael Rail Finance Company Pty Ltd
Carmichael Rail Holdings Pty Ltd
Carmichael Rail Network Holdings Pty Ltd
Carmichael Rail Network Holdings Trust
Carmichael Rail Network Pty Ltd
Carmichael Rail Network Trust
Carmichael Rail Pty Ltd
Carmichael Rail Pty Ltd
Galilee Transmission Holdings Pty Ltd
Galilee Transmission Holdings Trust
Galilee Transmission Pty Ltd
Mundra Port Holding Trust
Mundra Port Holdings Pty Ltd
Mundra Port Pty Ltd

Juice Media put this mocking video together to let the Adani family and the world know what many people in this country think of this mining scheme.

Thanks to Simon Chance for this link

Published on Dec 4, 2016
The Australian Government just released this advert about the proposed Carmichael Coal Mine and it's surprisingly honest and informative. 

6 WAYS YOU CAN HELP STOP CCRAP:

1. Tell PM Malcolm Turnbull you don't want your tax dollars to be used to subsidise CCRAP: https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/gr...
2. Join GetUp!'s Fight for the Reef: https://fightforthereef.getup.org.au
3. Donate to the Wangan & Jagalingou defense fund: http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/donate
4. Follow the Wangan & Jagalingou on Facebook to keep up to date with the campaign to stop CCRAP on their lands: https://www.facebook.com/WanganandJag...
5. Find out more about the Wangain & Jagalingou traditional owners: http://wanganjagalingou.com.au
6. Share this video.
CREDITS: Written & created by Giordano. Performed by Matylda. Voice by Lucy. Thanks to Adso, Kajute, Miriam, Anthony, Adam, Benna, Damian, Dave and Dbot for helping out! Photos and Footage of Wangan & Jagalingou people used with permission from Wangan & Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Council.  Please SUPPORT the Juice Media to help us make more videos: https://www.patreon.com/TheJuiceMedia

BACKGROUND

Financial Review, 6 December 2016:

Challenges:

Finance – There is a reason the Galilee Basin has been left undeveloped for the past 50 years. For a start, it's close to 500 kilometres from ports on the coast, meaning whoever is going to build the project has to outlay billions of dollars to get the project built. And the quality of the coal is not as good as others in the closer Bowen and Surat Basin.
India's Adani Group also has to find $10 billion to finance the project. There are also questions raised about whether the project is economically viable after a plunge in the coal price following the end of the coal boom. But even though the price of thermal coal has recovered to above $100 a tonne in recent months, it is less relevant because Adani is using the coal for its own power stations rather than selling to other customers. The Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis director Tim Buckley – a vocal critic of the project – says Adani's parent company is struggling with current market capitalisation of equity at $US1.1 billion, against which it has net debts of $US2.4 billion.

Environmentalists – Adani's Carmichael project has become the lightning rod for anti-fossil fuel activists and environmentalists who want to stop the building of any new coal mines in Australia. It also fits into the narrative about Australia's changing energy mix – from one dominated by coal and gas to renewable energy such as wind and solar. Environmentalists claim the extra coal exports will damage the World Heritage-protected Great Barrier Reef, although it has received environmental approval from both state and federal governments. As the Turnbull government releases its 2017 climate review this week, the argument over the Adani mega-mine also ties in with the debate about whether Australia,- which has one of the largest emissions per capita,- should be building another large coal mine that will release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Well-funded and media-savvy environmental groups have also been very effective in targeting banks about lending to the Carmichael mine. Some banks, under pressure to make sure they look like good corporate citizens, have promised not to lend to any future coal mines.

Legal activism – One of the reasons the project has been progressing at a snail's place the past seven years is because environmental and Indigenous groups have used the legal system to their advantage and challenged virtually every aspect of the project. The mining lease, environmental authority, and native title have been challenged by a range of parties, including the Australian Conservation Foundation, little-known group Coast & Country as well as Indigenous group, the Wangan and Jagalingou. They have successfully held up the project, resulting in the former Abbott government threatening to change the laws to make it harder to challenge big mining projects.

Last month, two legal challenges were thrown out of court, leaving three appeals – two before the full bench of the Federal Court over the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act and native title, and there is also a judicial review of Adani's port expansion at Abbot Point which has been brought by local residents in the Whitsundays – before the project can be given the green light.

Scandal  – The Adani Group has been plagued by allegations of corruption surrounding its projects in India. Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani is one of India's richest men, whose personal wealth was valued at $7.1 billion in 2014 by Forbes magazine. There have been allegations of environmental vandalism in relation to the development of the Port of Mundra, which is owned by Adani, as well as claims of tax evasion. Adani's Australian chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj has also been dragged into the scandal by failing to disclose his history running a mining company in Africa that pleaded guilty to serious economic harm. So far, none of these allegations have failed to bring down any of Adani's executives, but it adds to the controversy over the project.

UPDATE

ABC News, 21 December 2016:

Giant Indian conglomerate Adani, which plans to build one of the world's largest coal mines in Queensland's Galilee Basin, has set up a complex network of companies and trusts in Australia which are owned in one of the world's major tax havens, the Cayman Islands.

The Adani Group is also attempting to shift ownership of the existing Abbot Point coal port — which it bought for $1.8 billion — to a Singaporean company ultimately owned in the Cayman Islands.

An exhaustive search of company filings and documents across the globe has cast light on this opaque structure of ownership and control.

It has alarmed environmental activists and legal experts, who fear it could make it harder to gain compensation from Adani in the event of an environmental disaster from Adani's planned mine and port expansion on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.

"I've been a businessman for most of my life, as well as an environmental activist, and the risks are great," said Geoff Cousins, former Optus CEO and chairman of the George Paterson advertising agency, now a board member of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

"With these kinds of approvals of big mining operations or port operations, you always get a set of conditions that the Government puts on.
"But those conditions aren't worth anything if, when something goes wrong, you try to find the company responsible and either it has no money or if it has money it's in a tax haven and you can't reach it."

It is a view echoed by David Chaikin, a professor of business law at the University of Sydney.
"The advantage of having the money in tax havens is that you are able to conceal the source of money, the use of money, and also to minimise tax," he said…..

Adani has created four companies and two trusts in Australia for the rail project.

The parent company for all these entities is Carmichael Rail and Port Singapore Holdings Pte Ltd, a company registered in Singapore where the corporate tax rate is 15 per cent.

This Singapore parent company is in turn owned by Atulya Resources Limited, a private company controlled by the Adani family and based in the Cayman Islands.

The port expansion has a similar structure: five companies and two trusts in Australia, ultimately controlled by Atulya Resources in the Cayman Islands……

Adani has created four companies and two trusts in Australia for the rail project.

The parent company for all these entities is Carmichael Rail and Port Singapore Holdings Pte Ltd, a company registered in Singapore where the corporate tax rate is 15 per cent.

This Singapore parent company is in turn owned by Atulya Resources Limited, a private company controlled by the Adani family and based in the Cayman Islands.

The port expansion has a similar structure: five companies and two trusts in Australia, ultimately controlled by Atulya Resources in the Cayman Islands.

The port expansion has a similar structure: five companies and two trusts in Australia, ultimately controlled by Atulya Resources in the Cayman Islands.

The vast expansion of the coal port planned by Adani has sparked enormous controversy.

It will involve dredging 1.1 million tonnes of spoil from the ocean near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and poses a potential danger to the environmentally-sensitive reef, which is listed on the World Heritage Register.

Critics say the company structure set up by Adani raises serious concerns about the value of strict environmental approvals placed on the project.

Ownership of the existing Abbot Point Coal Terminal is in limbo.

Adani bought a 99-year lease over the coal port in 2011 for $1.8 billion through a company listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (AZPEZ).

That company said it "sold" the port three years ago to a Singaporean-based Adani family company "subject to regulatory and lenders approvals".

But the sale has not been completed, because of objections by the State Bank of India, which lent Adani $US800 million ($1.1 billion) for the port purchase.

In its latest filings with the Australian corporate watchdog, Adani still lists the port as being owned by the Bombay-listed company.

But ASPEZ's 2016 annual report said it had "recorded the divestment" of the port to Abbot Point Port Holdings Pte Ltd, Singapore: an entity which lists as its sole director Vinod Shantilal Adani, the brother of Guatam Adani, head of the Adani Group, and which is ultimately owned by Atulya Resources in the Cayman Islands.

Transferring ownership of the critical port infrastructure to a Caymans Islands' company "means it will be unregulated, unaccountable," Tim Buckley, director of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analytics told the ABC.

"It will be non-transparent to the Australian Government as to what is going on, who owns it, who are the directors. To me it is a matter of national security."

Companies and trusts created by Adani for the proposed Carmichael mine are ultimately owned by Adani Enterprises, a publicly-listed company in India, but the control flows via a company registered in the tax haven of Mauritius, Adani Global Ltd.

Adani Global Ltd. is based at Suite 501 St James Court, St Denis Street in Port Louis, Mauritius, and since 1998 has operated as a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Limited which was incorporated in March 1993 as Adani Exports Ltd with the name change effected in 2007.

In October 2010 Adani's Australian subsidiary, Adani Mining Pty Ltd, made an application for approval of the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project.

On 14 October 2015 the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment granted approval of 'controlled action' subject to conditions following re-consideration of project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

In 2014 Adani and Posco had agreed to build rail line in Australia and the following year Adani signed an MoU with Australia's Woodside Energy for Energy Cooperation.

Adani media release, 25 November 2016:

Adani welcomes court decisions Adani Group today welcomed decisions by the Queensland Supreme Court to dismiss activist lead appeals against the granting of a Mining Lease and an Environmental Authority in relation to the company’s planned $21 billion coal project. The company said the decisions were further positive steps towards starting work in the September Quarter 2017 on the Carmichael Mine in central western Queensland and associated projects – a near-400km rail line and port expansion at Abbott Point. Adani said it would now examine the full decision documents and make no further comment.

Adani letter to the Indian stock exchange, excerpt, 8 December 2016:


Live Mint, 21 December 2016:

Adani Enterprises Ltd is aiming to start production at its $16 billion integrated mining project in Australia by end of 2020, after facing a four-year delay because of stiff resistance from environmental groups. 

In an interview, group chairman Gautam Adani brushed aside concerns about the group’s indebtedness and said it was looking at investment opportunities in sectors such as defence, coal conversions and water. He added that the group continues to explore opportunities in the mining sector as it looks at an integrated “pit-to-plug” strategy encompassing mines, rail and the port sector. 

The Carmichael mines in Galilee, Australia, will produce about 25 million tonnes of coal a year in fiscal 2021. The group has invested close to $4.5 billion in the first phase, Adani said. It is planning to use the coal to fuel its Mundra and Udupi power plants. 

Adani also said he sees the ports business—one of the group’s most successful ventures so far—to meet its target of setting up 200 million tonnes of cargo handling capacity by the end of 2018, two years before schedule.