January 2014

Big risk for Liverpool Plains residents

Chinese mining company Shenhua has quite a battle on its hands.  It has loudly and proudly promised employment, investment, and royalties for the Gunnedah region, if its Watermark coal project goes ahead, but locals are publicly calling “foul” on Shenhua’s claims. Residents have managed to stuff the NSW government’s letterbox full of appeals against the

Roll up, roll up, it’s coal magic

by Richard Denniss in The Queensland Times

Bundaberg is experiencing a flurry of exploratory drilling for coal deposits. The local mining sector is buzzing, and its investors are trumpeting the region as Queensland’s newest coal centre.  They promise jobs, money, and a shiny white rabbit from under their hard hat! The Bundaberg community isn’t convinced.  They fear the coal mine expansion will

Another way to look at the impact of coal

by Rod Campbell in The Newcastle Herald

Mining industry lobby group the NSW Minerals Council this week released yet another report on mining’s importance to the NSW and regional economies.  Not surprisingly, the report contains lots of big numbers.   But this report, like many before it, is a case of ‘‘what’s true isn’t surprising and what’s surprising isn’t true’’. Let’s start

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

PR spin is big business

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

When politicians lie, make things up or simply get important things wrong, we take for granted that it is the role of their political opponents to highlight such errors. Our politicians are so focused on each other’s words that a mere slip of the tongue can become a news story for days. This isn’t so for

July 2013

June 2013

More than just greenies against Newcastle’s T4

by Richard Denniss in The Newcastle Herald

Last month, PWCS management halted development of its controversial T4 coal terminal after downgrading its demand projections, citing falling commodity prices and the shifting global energy market. Considering the opportunistic nature of the proposal, this was always likely to be the case. The company’s environmental assessment used historically high estimates for steaming and coking coal

Mining’s real contribution

by Richard Denniss in Gloucester Advocate

Politicians often claim that mining supports local communities such as Gloucester through job creation and attracting investment. However, Gloucester’s experience has been one of sluggish growth, environmental degradation and job losses in agriculture – the town’s biggest industry. Mining companies, including Yancoal and AGL, may tell communities that their business is the key to success,

Can we trust Clive? Commercial in confidence coal mines

by Richard Denniss in The Conversation

Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal claims its Galilee Coal Project, which will create four underground mines, two open-cut mines, and 468 kilometres of railway line in central Queensland, will bring economic prosperity to the region. In its recently-released supplementary environmental impact statement, however, the company refused calls to release its modelling. Without it, the public is

Silence of the logging lambs

by Richard Denniss in The Australian Financial Review

Last week, under the guise of a forestry “peace deal”, the Gillard government committed $350 million of new industry assistance and other handouts in exchange for the Tasmanian government passing legislation that imposes an unprecedented restriction on free speech. There is nothing new about Australian taxpayers subsidising native-forest logging, but there is something unique about the

Imposed silence a threat to…whom?

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

Are freedom of speech, freedom of association and the freedom to protest left-wing or right-wing issues? While Senator George Brandis was thundering away this week about the importance of a free press, I’m not sure his liberalism stretches to supporting Julian Assange and the desire of WikiLeaks to ”let the information free”. Similarly, while the

Tasmanian Forests Agreement: liberal society needs an alternative

by Andrew Macintosh in The Conversation

Fred Gale’s article, Tasmanian Forests Agreement: deeply flawed, worth backing, provides interesting insights into the views of one segment of the Tasmanian community that supports the Tasmanian Forest Agreement. However, he fails to fully grasp many of the fundamental reasons for continuing opposition to the deal and its associated legislation. Most notably, there is no

Silence on peace deal is telling

by Richard Denniss in The Canberra Times

Two weeks ago, I explained the consequences of the Australian Conservation Foundation, The Wilderness Society and Environment Tasmania support for the so-called ”forest peace deal” in Tasmania. The deal obliges them to cease all protests that might impede the ability of native forest loggers to sell their woodchips, take active steps to help silence other

May 2013

The real cost of mining exposed

by Mark Ogge in Maitland Mercury

Last week, the former NSW Treasurer and Minister for the Hunter Michael Costa attacked current Opposition Leader John Robertson for his comments suggesting the Labor Party was planning to phase out coal mining. Mr Costa labeled the move a betrayal of the party’s traditional voters. Michael Costa’s concern for the jobs of devout Labor voters

Limiting Australia’s ballooning coal exports is good for the economy

by Richard Denniss and Mark Ogge in The Conversation

Last week, Greenpeace released a report calling for a halt to Australia’s burgeoning coal exports and pointing to the catastrophic climate impacts they would cause. In response, Mitch Hooke, chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia, took a standard industry line: “the proposal to stop Australian coal exports won’t stop global coal use –

Bulga’s David toppled coal industry Goliath

by Richard Denniss in Lithgow Mercury

NOBODY could have predicted that the might of Rio Tinto would be challenged by Bulga, a tiny NSW town of 300. Certainly, nobody could have predicted that Bulga would win. But when the Land and Environment Court overturned the NSW government’s approval for the expansion of Rio Tinto’s Warkworth coal mine, citing that the project’s

Can Tassie see the deal for the trees? Peace comes at a cost

by Andrew Macintosh in Crikey

Passage of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement Bill in the state’s lower house effectively ended three years of negotiations between the forestry industry and environment groups. The deal is being celebrated by many as a resolution to the 30-year conflict over native forests in Tasmania and a win for the environment and economy. Nothing could be

April 2013

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