Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

Monday, 22 July 2019

What many frail aged Australians can expect if they enter a nursing home - maggots, rotten food and a starvation diet


ABC News, 16 July 2019:


PHOTO: Pictures supplied to ABC investigations as part of a crowdsourcing project on food in aged care. (Supplied)

..Cutting corners


Earlier, a roundtable of three chefs with almost 100 years of experience in a range of aged care services and kitchens between them suggested an answer to why food standards were so poor.

The commission heard the quality of aged care menus — described by one panellist as "the one thing [residents] get to look forward to" — came down to what the facility paid per resident.

For $16 a day, the residents of the unnamed facility Lindy Twyford manages were served salt-and-pepper squid, fillet mignon, and occasional portions of frozen but high-quality produce.

At the other end of the spectrum, a home spending $7 would rely on secondary cuts of meat and mass-ordered vegetables, some of which would be thrown out at the expense of serving sizes.
"You're having to cut corners, you're having to use frozen foods, you're having to use processed foods just to feed residents," chef Nicholas Hall said.
Mr Hall said food costs at some facilities he formerly worked at were inflated by an ordering system beyond supermarket prices, in one instance by as much as 100 per cent.

Chef Timothy Deverell raised concerns about the lack of training to create texture-modified foods, menus that had no input from residents until they complained, and food served on open-air trolleys that was often cold by the time it reached some residents.

Some homes would place food orders using a "restrictive" system in which a drop-down box offered just a handful of options, Mr Hall said.
Facilities would opt for finger food platters because they were "low-risk", cheap, and didn't require a chef.

Some meals would be repeated up to three or four times a week as providers made a bid to reduce costs.
"They're racing to the bottom to see who can feed for the lowest amount of cost," Mr Hall said

Maggots, rotten food


The commission was also told of one "upmarket residential aged care facility" which had a maggot-infested rubbish store between service trolleys and a nearby fridge containing enough rotten food to fill a trailer.

"[I've seen] reusing food that's already been out, served to residents and come back to the kitchen," Mr Deverell said.

"They use that for texture-modified diets."

Mr Hall said food safety audits were too infrequent and services were given advance notice, meaning extra cleaners could be hired to bring facilities up to scratch.

He said nutritionists failed to properly engage with residents and their needs…..

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Global grain crop yields expected to decrease due to climate change


“Agricultural production is vulnerable to climate change. Understanding climate change, especially the temperature impacts, is critical if policymakers, agriculturalists, and crop breeders are to ensure global food security. Our study, by compiling extensive published results from four analytical methods, shows that independent methods consistently estimated negative temperature impacts on yields of four major crops at the global scale, generally underpinned by similar impacts at country and site scales. Multimethod analyses improved the confidence in assessments of future climate impacts on global major crops, with important implications for developing crop- and region-specific adaptation strategies to ensure future food supply of an increasing world population.” [Chuang Zhao et al, July 2017, Temperature increase reduces global yields of major crops in four independent estimates]

Forbes, 1 September 2017:

Increased temperatures from climate change will reduce yields of the four crops humans depend on most—wheat, rice, corn and soybeans—and the losses have already begun, according to a new meta-study by an international team of researchers.

Humans depend for two thirds of their calories on these four staple crops, but yields of wheat are expected to decrease by 6%, rice by 3.2%, maize by 7.4%, and soybean by 3.1%.

"By combining four different methods, our comprehensive assessment of the impacts of increasing temperatures on major global crops shows substantial risks for agricultural production, already stagnating in some parts of the world," the scientists say in the study, which appears in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Yield increase has slowed down or even stagnated during the last years in some parts of the world, and further increases in temperature will continue to suppress yields, despite farmers’ adaptation efforts." The study, led by Chuang Zhao of Peking University, cites three other studies documenting declines in crop yields in Europe, Africa, India, China, Central and South America and other regions.

The study of studies was conducted by scientists in China, Germany, Belgium, Italy, France, Spain, The Philippines, and the United States, including the University of Florida, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University in New York. They hoped to settle a question that seemed to have produced conflicting results in the many studies they reviewed: what are the effects on crop yields of temperature increases from anthropogenic climate change?

The study rebuts an argument made by those who argue against mitigating climate change because they say higher CO2 concentrations will increase crop yields. That argument, the scientists say, fails to account for higher temperatures:

"While elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration can stimulate growth when nutrients are not limited, it will also increase canopy temperature from more closed stomata," the scientists say. The stomata are the pores plants use to exchange gases and moisture with the atmosphere. When plants close stomata because of higher temperatures they may conserve water but lose the ability to absorb CO2.

Higher temperatures can also increase atmospheric absorption of water in the plants and in the soil, provoke heat waves and stimulate pests and weeds.

The study anticipates that crop yields will improve in some areas because higher temperatures will lengthen the growing season, but it finds net losses worldwide.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The relationship between Monsanto & US regulators


“For once in your life, listen to me and don’t play your political conniving games with the science to favor the registrants……For once do the right thing and don’t make decisions based on how it affects your bonus.” [then EPA senior toxicologist Marion Copley writing to Jess Rowland as quoted in Meridian Institute article, 8 March 2017]

Bloomberg, 15 March 2017:

The Environmental Protection Agency official who was in charge of evaluating the cancer risk of Monsanto Co.’s Roundup allegedly bragged to a company executive that he deserved a medal if he could kill another agency’s investigation into the herbicide’s key chemical.

The boast was made during an April 2015 phone conversation, according to farmers and others who say they’ve been sickened by the weed killer. After leaving his job as a manager in the EPA’s pesticide division last year, Jess Rowland has become a central figure in more than 20 lawsuits in the U.S. accusing the company of failing to warn consumers and regulators of the risk that its glyphosate-based herbicide can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland told a Monsanto regulatory affairs manager who recounted the conversation in an email to his colleagues, according to a court filing made public Tuesday. The company was seeking Rowland’s help stopping an investigation of glyphosate by a separate office, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, that is part of the U.S. Health and Human Service Department, according to the filing.

A federal judge overseeing the glyphosate litigation in San Francisco said last month he’s inclined to order Rowland to submit to questioning by lawyers for the plaintiffs, who contend he had a "highly suspicious" relationship with Monsanto. Rowland oversaw a committee that found insufficient evidence to conclude glyphosate causes cancer and quit last year shortly after his report was leaked to the press……

The plaintiffs’ lawyers say Rowland’s communications with Monsanto employees show the regulator who was supposed to be policing the company was actually working on its behalf.
The unsealing of the court documents "represents a huge development in public health," said Tim Litzenburg, one of the lawyers suing Monsanto. Regulatory agencies, scientists, consumers and physicians "can see some of what Monsanto was actually engaging in behind the scenes, and how they have manipulated the scientific literature to date. That’s important to their decision-making, not just our lawsuits."

After the phone conversation with Rowland, the Monsanto head of U.S. regulatory affairs, Dan Jenkins, cautioned his colleagues not to “get your hopes up,” according to an email cited in the court filing.

“I doubt EPA and Jess can kill this,” Jenkins wrote. He may have spoken too soon. Another internal Monsanto memorandum unsealed on Tuesday said the ATSDR, as the federal toxics agency is known, "agreed, for now, to take direction from EPA."…..

The ATSDR announced in the Federal Register in February 2015 that it planned to publish a toxicological profile of glyphosate by October that year. It never did. The agency’s press office didn’t respond to multiple phone messages seeking comment. EPA representatives also didn’t immediately respond to phone messages seeking comment.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers said in another filing made public Tuesday that Monsanto’s toxicology manager and his boss, Bill Heydens, were ghost writers for two of the reports, including one from 2000, that Rowland’s committee relied on in part to reach its conclusion that glyphosate shouldn’t be classified as carcinogenic.

The EPA “may be unaware of Monsanto’s deceptive authorship practice,” the lawyers said.

Among the documents unsealed was a February 2015 internal email exchange at the company about how to contain costs for a research paper. The plaintiff lawyers cited it to support their claim that the EPA report is unreliable, unlike a report by an international agency that classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen…..

Note

Jess Rowland was Associate Director- Health Effects  Division, Office of Pesticides Program at the US Environmental Protection Agency. He appears to have retired in the first half of 2016.

Friday, 9 December 2016

The need for bee protection recognized



Euractiv.com, 29 November 2016:

After the two-year moratorium on three types of neonicotinoid pesticides, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) this month issued an unfavourable opinion on two of the chemicals, for uses that are still authorised. EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

Following EFSA’s conclusions confirming the toxicity of neonicotinoids for pollinators, the European Commission issued a moratorium on three chemicals: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. This moratorium expired in December 2015 and is currently being reviewed at European level.

But the scope of the suspension was narrow. It only applied to the treatment of seeds or soils for crops that are attractive to bees (except greenhouse crops and winter cereals) and the spraying of crops that attract the pollinators (except post-flowering and greenhouse crops).

According to a new opinion issued by EFSA, several uses of two of these chemicals (clothianidin and imidacloprid, produced by Bayer), including the treatment of winter cereals, still pose significant threats to pollinators such as bees and bumblebees. Only the report on thiametoxam is still to be delivered, and a similar conclusion is expected.

The two-year European moratorium (2013-2015) is currently under review, and these latest opinions from EFSA could lead to the implementation of a total ban. An outcome supported by the European Pesticide Action Network (PAN), which says these products are “near the end”.

France’s biodiversity bill, published in August, foresees a complete ban on neonicotinoids in September 2018, with possible derogations until 2020.


Chronic exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides has been linked to reduced survival of pollinating insects at both the individual and colony level, but so far only experimentally. Analyses of large-scale datasets to investigate the real-world links between the use of neonicotinoids and pollinator mortality are lacking. Moreover, the impacts of neonicotinoid seed coatings in reducing subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and increasing crop yield are not known, despite the supposed benefits of this practice driving widespread use. Here, we combine large-scale pesticide usage and yield observations from oilseed rape with those detailing honey bee colony losses over an 11 year period, and reveal a correlation between honey bee colony losses and national-scale imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) usage patterns across England and Wales.

The Australasian Beekeeper, 30 August 2016:

Honey bee populations in Australia are in crisis. The numbers of bees under the care of commercial honey producers are at an all time low. Commercial beekeepers wintering losses of thirty per cent are now accepted as the norm, according to Des Cannon, Editor of The ABK. Bee diseases have never been more prevalent in Australia. Every commercial beekeeper is battling disease and this battle is a full time job. A battle fought by beekeepers alone at the expense of their own time and money.

Eight out of ten (or more) commercial beekeepers are reliant on antibiotic to keep their bees alive. The choice is between dosing or death. Contamination of honey with antibiotic is a live issue. Yet the Australian government, honey packers and pesticide companies have not acknowledged the battle our beekeepers are fighting. In fact, it is a massive cover up. If we haven’t got a problem, we can’t fix it.

The frontline brandished by government, honey packers and pesticide companies to defer any concern for the honeybee is that ‘the Australian honeybee is not in decline, despite the increased use of this group of insecticides [sic. neonicotinoids] in agriculture and horticulture since the mid 1990’s’. This statement was taken from the ‘Overview Report, Neonicotinoids and the health of honeybees in Australia’, 2014, published by the APVMA, author Les Davis1. An unfounded statement and simplistic argument, contrary to the anecdotal evidence of beekeepers Australia wide. Estimates of hive numbers alone are not a true barometer of the health of Australian bees, the old law is ‘breed bees or gather honey’. Beekeepers today are faced with a situation of constantly see-sawing hive numbers as hives collapse and are supported back to health. Most hives in Australia right now are way down on bee numbers. Len Walker of Inverell, the head of one of Australia’s most experienced beekeeping families, claims fifty per cent losses of hives in his country. He states that a real sign of the present weakened bee populations is the fact that bees need to be checked for strength prior to going onto almonds.

Despite the government asserting good bee health in Australia, estimates of bee populations published by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and cited by the APVMA in correspondence to me still show a decline in managed hives. From 2006-2007 to 2014 there was a decline of 81,765 hives2. This makes the statement that ‘Australian honeybee populations are not in decline’ from the APVMA 2014 Neonicotinoid report a sham, if not a shame.

The European Union, Canada and the United States of America have partially or completely banned neonicotinoids based on a mounting body of scientific concern. The Australian government at least concedes the likelihood of complex sublethal effects of neonicotinoids, yet has not taken a stand on the use of neonics, which should be the underpinnings of any environmental management.

This begs the question to whose interests are the government vested in? The long-term sustainability of our beekeeping industry and food security or the dollar interest of pesticide corporations? Pesticide corporations continue to have a field day in Australia at the expense of our honeybees and beekeepers’ pockets.

There are over 900 scientific, peer-reviewed studies globally indicating that neonics are having severe negative effects on pollinators and suggesting regulatory agencies apply principles of prevention and precaution to all neonicotinoids.

The European Academies Science Advisory Council (April 2015)3, World Integrated Assessment advisory committee (Jan 2015)4 and the Belgian Superior Health Council (June 2016)5 have all reached the same conclusion through comprehensive reviews of independent and industry sponsored science. Furthermore they state that there are gaps in the science examining the complexity of ecosystem-wide sublethal effects. They raise concerns for the persistence, mobility and water solubility of neonicotinoids and call for a review of the adequacy of current toxic reference levels upon which the ‘safety’ of neonics are being reasoned3,4,5. Resultant is an EU wide ban of thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid. And the EU continues to review these pesticides and tighten regulations for all neonicotinoids. Montreal, Canada called a total moratorium on the use of all neonicotinoids on December 10, 2015. The irrefutable consensus is that neonics harm the honeybee. So why is Australia so far behind the rest of the world?......

In Australia neonicotinoids are everywhere. They are the most widely used pesticides. It is important to understand the way neonicotinoids operate within ecosystems and the neurological system of the honeybee to understand the full threat of these pesticides. What we are up against are chemicals that have insidious sublethal and complicated effects on bees and these effects are difficult to assess.

The honeybee is a highly social insect and relies on complex communication and navigational skills for foraging behaviour and hive survival. Previous studies have examined individual field behaviour only. But it is the ‘system’ aspect that needs to be observed9,10. Neonics disrupt and incapacitate the honeybee’s abilities to communicate and navigate; as a result the critical function at the colony level is damaged and breaks down6. Bees require a lot of grooming within the hive to survive. The last thing you feel like doing when you are sick is brushing your wife’s hair.

Neonicotinoids are completely water soluble and biologically persistent with a half-life of 19 years in heavy soil16. Seeds coated with neonicotinoid will contain the pesticide throughout the grown plant. The honeybee is routinely and chronically exposed to neonicotinoids by consuming pollen, guttation drops, nectar and honeydew11,13.

Treated seeds contains the highest concentrations of neonicotinoids. The broadscale use of neonics to coat seed rather than the discriminatory use of these pesticides as a last resort has become common practice in Australia, a practice banned in the EU and criticised widely3,4,5. The amount required for sublethal effects is three parts per billion. This equates to a pin prick divided many times in the bottom of a litre bottle. The coating on one clover seed in a litre of water is enough to kill your hive. The neonicotinoid on one coated corn seed is enough to kill 80,000 bees. One individual canola seed may contain 1 milligram of active ingredient4,13,14,16,18.

You may need to wonder about the water soluble neonicotinoid coating on hundreds of thousands of canola seeds after two inches of rain. Bees drink a lot of water. And where are your bees drinking from? Everyone has seen bees lined up around pools of muddy water in the canola paddocks. This is a main entrance into your beehives15.

Partial restrictions on neonics to crops that bees aren’t attracted to are futile due to the solubility of these compounds. Corridors and verges of native flora adjacent to agricultural lands (Ti-tree species near sugar-cane, and turnip weed as particularly important examples) are contaminated with neonic pesticides. The contamination from agricultural land is so far widespread, affecting underground water tables, wetlands, creeks and river systems and binding to soils4,15…….

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Dutch-owned super trawler Geelong Star 'vacuuming' the seas aroung 12 Mile Reef off Bermagui NSW


Courtesy of Australian Minister for the Environment, Liberal MP Greg Hunt, and an overly compliant NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Nationals MLC Niall Blair,  the Dutch-owned and operated super trawler Geelong Star is once more unsustainably harvesting NSW waters.

As small pelagic fishing grounds extend from the east coast of Tasmania and Victoria all the way up the New South Wales coast and into the waters of southern Queensland, the fact that the Abbott-Turnbull Government allowed this factory ship into Commonwealth waters when the former Labor Government had denied access to such super trawlers is something to consider between now and 2 July 2016.

Narooma News, 15 May 2016:
SPOTTED: Bermagui based commercial fisherman Jason Moyce spotted the Geelong Star working the bait grounds at 12-Mile Reef on the morning of Friday, May 13.

Moves to open more water to the controversial factory trawler Geelong Star don’t appear to have discouraged her from working grounds of Narooma and Bermagui.

The mid-water trawler appears to working off Bermagui right now in direct contravention to promises to keep away from the Canberra Yellowfin Tuna Tournament on this weekend. 

Bermagui-based commercial fisherman Jason Moyce spotted the Geelong Star working the bait grounds at 12-Mile Reef on the morning of Friday, May 13. 

Mr Moyce posted a photo of the trawler on social media commenting: “Doing its fourth lap of the 12... Doing 1-mile shots and then winching up! Smashing it!”.

The vessel is working the productive grounds off Bermagui on the day before the Canberra Yellowfin Tuna Tournament begins, contrary to the Small Pelagic Fishing Industry Association’s promise to keep away from game fishing tournaments.

And the continued focus of the trawler on the bait grounds off Bermagui and Narooma is raising concerns among game fishermen worried about localised depletion of fish stocks and also the economic impact of the vessel on local small towns reliant on game fishing……

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

How the Federal and Queensland Governments are betraying The Great Barrier Reef and the people of Australia


This billionare Gautam Adani and his family, through majority ownership of the Adani Group, are apparently considered favoured foreign investors by both the Abbott-Turnbull Federal Government and successive Queensland Governments.


He and his family are responsible for this…..


The bribery…..

ABC 7.30, 17 October 2012:

 Investigators have raised concerns about some of Adani enterprise's dealings with politicians and officials. In August the Auditor-General named Adani Power as one of the companies that received coal deposits from the Government at well below market rates. Gautam Adani declined our request for an interview, but the companies Australian CEO says Adani enterprises has always acted in accordance with the law…..

The Central Bureau of Investigation is now probing allegations of corruption and has opened files on at least seven unnamed companies. The Auditor-General says the lack of a transparent bidding process cost the Government $33 billion in lost revenue…..

Former Chief Justice Santosh Hegde is a well-known anti-corruption campaigner. Last year in his final act as Karnataka State Ombudsman, he released a detail report into the theft of iron ore by numerous companies which cost the state $3 billion in royalties. Justice Hegde's report found Adani Enterprises acted corruptly in the illicit transportation of iron ore in excess of the permitted quantity…..

Justice Hegde's report says the officials of ports department, custom, police, mines, local politicians and others received bribe money from Adani Enterprises.

The pollution…..

Business Standard, 24 December 2015:

Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has issued notices to Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) and two major companies handling coal at its terminal under pollution control norms for allegedly causing environmental hazard.

GSPCB has issued show cause notice to MPT, M/s Adani Murmugao Port Terminal Private Ltd and JSW's South West Port Ltd after it was noticed that the dust pollution emanating from the coal handling has increased in the port town of Vasco, 40 kms from here.

Board Chairman Jose Manuel Noronha said the companies and the port administration have been asked why their consent under Water and Air Pollution Prevention Act should not be withdrawn.

"The show cause notices were issued when it was noticed that the coal handling terminals did not take mandatory measures to control the pollution emanating from the coal dust," Noronha said.

The deaths…..

The New York Times, 22 March 2013:

This month, the first comprehensive assessment of the health impact of pollution from India’s coal-fired power plants was published.

The findings are grim. Scientists estimate that exposure to coal-related pollution caused between 80,000 and 115,000 premature deaths and more than 20 million asthma attacks in 2011-12.

The conclusion is particularly worrying, given that the World Resources Institute estimates that 455 new coal power plants are planned in India, more than four times the number that exist now.

UbAlert, 10 April 2015:

Madhya Pradesh: Five people, three laborers and two security guards, died mysteriously in a Neemuch-based private factory on Thursday when they stepped down to clean a 25-feet deep tank filled with impurities generated by oil milling. The incident occurred at Adani Wilmar Oil Limited located four kilometers away from Neemuch district headquarter. Investigation is going on as to what caused the deaths of the factory workers whether it was acid in tank or they died due to suffocation.

The exploitation….

The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 September 2014:

But a Fairfax Media investigation into the treatment of 6000 construction labourers at a luxury housing project in Gujarat owned by the Adani family has uncovered lax safety standards, underage workers and regular cholera outbreaks from contaminated drinking water.

It comes after Mr Adani's company was found in February to have failed to gain proper environmental approval for construction around India's largest private port, also in Gujarat - destroying mangroves and displacing local villagers.

The poor choice of senior management…..

ABC News, 12 November 2015:

Adani Australia's chief executive officer was in charge of an African copper mine which allowed a flood of dangerous pollutants to pour into a Zambian river, the ABC can reveal.
Jeyakumar Janakaraj has been chief executive of Adani's Australian operations since leaving Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Zambia in 2013.

Now KCM and its parent company Vedanta Resources are being taken to the High Court in London by locals who say pollution from the company's huge Chingola open-pit copper mine made them ill and devastated nearby farmland over a 10-year period from 2004.

Mr Janakaraj was director of operations of KMC when the company was charged in 2010 with causing a serious pollution spill, which saw a toxic brew of highly acidic, metal-laden discharge released into the Kafue River.

The river is one of Zambia's largest waterways and a source of water and food for about 40 per cent of the country's people.

The 31-square-kilometre KCM open pit mine in Zambia's Chingola region is described as the biggest copper mine in Africa, producing about 2 million tonnes of ore a year.

The 2009 annual report of KCM's parent company, London-listed mining conglomerate Vedanta Resources, said Mr Janakaraj was "responsible for overall operations of KCM".

"On [Mr Janakaraj's] watch, significant pollution events happened," lawyer Ariane Wilkinson of Environmental Justice Australia said.

"The court documents show that they discharged what's called a pregnant liquor solution into the Kafue River. That's a highly acidic, metal-laden pollutant, and that it changed the colour of the river."

KCM was prosecuted by the Zambian Government, and the company pleaded guilty to charges of polluting the environment, discharging toxic matter into the aquatic environment, wilfully failing to report an incident of pollution, and the failure to comply with the requirements for discharge of effluent.

The court was told the source of the contamination was the mine's tailings leach plant, with the pollution changing the colour of the Kafue River to "deep blue". The company was fined 21,970,000 Zambian kwacha (about $4,030).

A few months later, in 2011, a Zambian newspaper reported the company's copper mine had again polluted the river, and that environmental authorities were investigating.

The lies told….

The Age, 16 December 2015:

A Queensland court has found Indian mining company Adani exaggerated the economic benefits of its proposed Carmichael coal mine, including the amount of jobs and royalties the $16.5 billion project would generate…..

he court agreed the company had overstated the economic benefits that would flow from its project both in its environmental impact statement and in statements to the court.

Adani has promoted the project as a jobs bonanza for Queensland and its environmental impact statement forecast 10,000 jobs annually from 2024 and $22 billion in royalties.

But Adani's own witness Jerome Fahrer told the court this year the coal mine and connecting rail project would create an average of just 1464 jobs annually, an assessment Queensland Land Court president Carmel MacDonald agreed with.

"Dr Fahrer's evidence, which I have accepted, was that the Carmichael Coal and Rail Project will increase average annual employment by 1206 fte [full time equivalent] jobs in Queensland and 1,464 fte jobs in Australia," her judgment states.

President MacDonald also found Adani's modelling had "probably overstated the selling price of the coal and therefore the royalties generated by the project and the corporate tax payable".

The environmental danger....

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 2016:

But conservationists say the mine is an environmental disaster waiting to happen, citing particular risks to the Great Barrier Reef.

"It's an extraordinary decision, especially coming at a time when the Great Barrier Reef is experiencing its worst ever coral bleaching event," Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy said. "We know the bleaching is because of global warming, and Carmichael will only make that worse."

By Adani's own figures, the mine and its coal will emit more than 4.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. "The pollution from this mine is so big that it cancels the pollution cuts the Turnbull government committed to at the Paris Climate Summit," Ms O'Shanassy said.

The impact of such emissions could be terminal to the reef, according to Dr Veron. "The reef is obviously in dire straights, irrespective of what anyone says, and that's blindly obvious.

"There is extraordinary disconnect between science and the political action. Politicians think the mine is good because it's good for economy, but we are selling out the next generation of Australians as fast as we can go."

Dr Veron has devoted his life to studying coral reefs: he discovered more than 20 per cent of the world's coral species, and has been likened by Sir David Attenborough to a modern day Charles Darwin.

"Roughly a third of marine species have parts of their life cycle in coral reefs," Dr Veron said. "So if you take out coral reefs you have an ecological collapse of the oceans. It's happened before, mass extinctions through ocean acidification, and the main driver of that is CO."

Dr Veron recently travelled to Canberra to talk to government about the decline in the reef. "The politicians do listen to scientists, but that is the worst part of it," he said. 

"If this was all done out of sheer ignorance, that is sort of understandable. It's like child porn – you might say you don't know it exists, but if you know it exists and you do everything to promote it, then that's evil."

The granting of the Carmichael leases coincides with increased concerns over threats to Great Barrier Reef from land-based pollution, including sediments, nutrients and pesticides.

Australian Institute of Marine Science principal research scientist Dr Frederieke Kroon has told the ABC that government policies designed to keep the reef on UNESCO's World Heritage list are insufficient.

"Our review finds that current efforts are not sufficient to achieve the water quality targets set in the Reef 2050 Plan," she said.

The other danger….

The Age, 10 December 2015:

Last week billionaire businessman Gautam Adani paid a visit to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asking him to enact a special law to stop anyone challenging big coal and gas projects once they have been approved by government. This meeting raises questions about the relationship between government and big polluting companies.

The Prime Minister is entitled to meet with anyone he likes, you may very well say, but there are two issues here – one is the fossil fuel industry's direct access to power and the other is the implications of that on Australia's democracy.

Turnbull's back room meeting with international billionaire businessman Adani is an example of the warm reception the fossil fuel industry enjoys in Australia. This direct access to the highest office in our country is an unfortunate feature of our democracy, and speaks of the pernicious dynamic where money enables access to power. Just by the way, according to data released by the AEC, Adani donated $49,500 to the Liberal Party of Australia in the 2013-2014 financial year.

The state government manoeuvres....


Two groups fighting the mine in separate court battles have accused Dr Lynham of abandoning previous assurances that leases would not be granted until two existing cases were resolved.

Just eight weeks ago, Dr Lynham said he wanted to give certainty to Adani and "granting a mining lease in the presence of two JRs (judicial reviews) does not provide the certainty".

Separate Federal Court challenges brought by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners are yet to be concluded.

The Environmental Defenders Office - which is representing ACF in its challenge to the project's federal approvals - has already said it's considering challenging Dr Lynham's decision to grant Adani mining leases.

AAP has asked Dr Lynham to explain why he issued the leases despite the two outstanding challenges.

On ABC radio on Monday, he agreed there was a prospect of further court appeals.

The solemn vow and plea for assistance....

Excerpt from a 4 April 2016 email from Adrian Burragubba on behalf of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners:

The Queensland Government just betrayed us.

Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham wrote a letter to us in October, promising he would await the outcome of our Federal Court action against the Carmichael mine before considering issuing Adani with the mining leases. But today the Premier and the Minister double-crossed us.

Adani doesn't have our free, prior and informed consent to build their Carmichael coal mine on our land, and they never will.

The Queensland Government just rode roughshod over our rights and granted the mining leases anyway. They have given Adani the green light to ignore our opposition and to tear the heart out of our country. To destroy our rivers and drain billions of litres of groundwater. To leave a black hole of monumental proportions in our homelands.


The Minister has trashed our rights and pushed the leases out the door in one of the worst acts of bad faith towards Queensland's Indigenous people in living memory.

This fight will define our people and be a landmark moment for Indigenous rights in Australia. Can you help us fight for our rights and our country in court?

Adani and the Queensland Government think they can walk all over us but they've never seen anything like this. Our lands and our way of life, and the legacy of our ancestors, mean too much to our people for us to roll over.

Our resolve is doubled. Minister Lynham can issue all the bits of paper he likes, hide behind false claims of jobs and benefits, and pander to big coal for an unviable project.

But our people's rights are not expendable. This act of infamy will be challenged all the way to the High Court if necessary, and we will continue to pursue our rights under international law. 


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Liverpool Plains community getting the "Wrong Mine, Wrong Place" message out to China



The people of the Liverpool Plains in NSW Australia have a message for the Shenhua Group in China, who want to build a massive coal mine in the middle of their farmland.

The LPP community have spent $750,000 fighting this madness so far! There are more battles to come before we can save our water and precious Ag land – for more information on how you can add your support, visit: 
http://www.friendsoftheliverpoolplain... and help us win this fight.

Music by Luke Vassella
Shot/directed/edited by David Lowe and Eve Jeffery
Produced by Cloudcatcher Media

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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Abbott Government's mindless obeisance to foreign-owned multinational commercial fishing corporations has had the inevitable result


The 100% Dutch-owned subsidiary of Parlevliet & Van der Plas Beheer B.V. the Australian registered Seafish Tasmania and its super trawler hired from the parent company, the now rebranded Geelong Star, have been found to have committed the inevitable environmental crime associated with large factory ships – killing prohibited species as part of their by-catch.

The Abbott Government would have been well aware that classifying commercial fishing trawlers on length of vessel and not freezer storage capacity would lead to adverse environmental impacts but, in its mindless rejection of any measure put in place by the former federal Labor government, Tony Abbott & Co have shown that far-right ideology is more important that preserving sustainable food resources and biodiversity of marine life for the benefit of present and future Australian citizens.

The Guardian, 3 May 2015:

The Australian environment minister, Greg Hunt, has condemned as “unacceptable and outrageous” the killing of a dozen dolphins and seals by a factory fishing trawler.
The Geelong Star, a ship that environmental groups and some MPs wanted banned from fishing Australian waters, voluntarily returned to its home port after catching four dolphins and two seals on its second local outing.
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) had previously said the ship would face stricter controls after it also caught and killed four dolphins and two seals in its nets on its first trip.
Hunt released a statement on Sunday saying he was “absolutely appalled” by the news, ABC reported.
Hunt said he would write to the AFMA and to Tasmanian senator Richard Colbeck, the parliamentary secretary for fisheries and a strong defender of the trawler’s methods.
The Geelong Star has factory freezer capabilities but escapes a permanent ban on so-called super trawlers because at 95 metres it is under the 130-metre size limit.
Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson said the government should cancel the trawler’s fishing licence and management plan immediately.
“They’ve failed twice. The regulator has failed in its job to protect dolphins and seals and who knows whatever other marine life and the boat needs to go home,” he told ABC.
Colbeck released his own statement saying the further deaths of marine mammals was “very bad news and is not welcomed by anyone”.
He said the decision of operators Seafish Tasmania to “voluntarily return to port is appreciated”….

Friday, 3 April 2015

Abbott Government has given permission for Dutch-owned Seafish Tasmania and Parlevliet En Van Der Plas Beheer B.V. to bring a super trawler into Australian waters


FV Dirk Dirk now known as the Geelong Star
Photo: www.maritimetraffic.com

The FV Dirk Dirk owned by Parlevliet & Van der Plas Beheer B.V. based in The Netherlands, now rebranded the Geelong Star, is currently in or near the port of Albany in West Australia.

This refrigerated trawler has a gross tonnage of 3,181 and is 95.18 metres long, 14.50 metres wide, with a service speed of 14,000 knots.

It has freezing and holding capacities of 230,000 kg fish/day (230 tonne) and 91,000 cartons respectively.

The newly re-named Geelong Star comes from the same fishing fleet as the notorious FV Margiris which Seafish Tasmania and Parlevliet En Van Der Plas temporarily rebranded the Abel Tasman during its unsuccessful 2012 to 2014 attempt to fish these waters.

The Geelong Star is reportedly expected to take up to 16,500 tonne of fish during its initial trawl this year – only 2,000 tonne less than the larger super trawler Margiris was hoping to take in 2012. 

The Geelong Star’s maximum quota is an est. 47 per cent of the 2014-15 total allowable catch.

The Abbott Government intends to allow this ship to fish the Australian Small Pelagic Fishery which extends from the Queensland/New South Wales border, typically outside 3 nautical miles, around southern Australia to a line at latitude 31° south (near Lancelin, north of Perth).


In what appears to be a deliberate attempt to politically deceive, the government issued a media release on 12 February 2015 which ignored the antecedents of Seafish Tasmania.

Calling this company “Australian” when in fact it is a company merely registered in Australia but wholly-owned by Silver Pit B.V. a subsidiary of Parlevliet & Van der Plas which also has branches in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Lithuania.

The media release also ignores the fact that it is highly likely that the entire catch will be exported, so that there will be little benefit from the vessel's fish catch flowing to Australia either economically or as available food stock.

As for the potential for adverse environmental impacts – I doubt whether the Minister for Agriculture and Nationals MP for New England, Barnaby Joyce, has given more than a passing thought to this issue.


Unfortunately this report cannot rule out localised depletion of fish stocks given the number of variables in play when a large refrigerated trawler is operating within a fishery.

In 2012 the then Labor Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, stood up for the North Coast region and successfully lobbied to keep the Margiris out of Australian waters.

Based on his record to date, it would be foolish of anyone to expect the current Nationals MP for Page, Kevin Hogan, to stir himself.

Fishing fleets based on the NSW North Coast from the Clarence to the NSW-QLD border have been working towards achieving sustainable fishing practices and they bring millions of dollars annually to the regional economy, so it is disappointing to see the Abbott Government allowing a foreign-owned company to trawl in the NSW fishing zone when it has a history of breaching conditions* imposed by host countries.

Dutch pelagic group Parlevliet & van der Plas (P&P) fined €105,000 in an Irish Court in 2014.
In 2012 Parlevliet & Van Der Plasfined fined €595,000 in Cherbourg after the Maartje Theadora was stopped with €1.2million of illegally-caught fish in freezers.

Parlevliet & Van der Plas FV Jan Maria alleged to have dumped almost 1.6 thousand tonnes herring at sea to make room for fish with a higher market value (highgrading) in 2012-2013.

UPDATE

This was a Seafish Tasmania spokesperson in The Advocate on 3 April 2014:

Mr Geen said he expected his Dutch partners Parlevliet & Van der Plas BV involved in the proposed super trawler,  earmarked to operate out of Devonport and create about 45 jobs while fishing the Great Australian Bight,  would still be keen to pursue the venture pending a successful outcome on the court and expert review hurdles.
"The only thing that's clear is we would like the opportunity to catch our quota,'' Mr Geen said.
"We need to talk to our Dutch partners.
"We have not called them for a long time but as far as I'm aware they are still interested.

Note how carefully crafted is this misleading impression that Seafish Tasmania is an independent company in partnership with the Parlevliet & Van der Plas and not owned by this Dutch company.