Aboriginal Land Rights

aboriginalsVarious sources report concern with the Commonwealth Government’s push for 99-year leases and the Forrest Report recommendation that Aboriginal land to be privatised so as to be bought and sold. Essentially, the Commonwealth and Northern Territory governments want Aboriginal traditional owners to agree to converting current ownership to 99 year lease titles so that they can fund public housing, facilities and infrastructure. Ian Viner’s letter to the editor (Alice Springs News) notes that the 99 year lease undermines the land-rights act.

He writes that – “ The truth of the matter is that the grant of 99-year leases to the Commonwealth is not necessary. The Land Rights Act expressly has provision for the grant of leasehold interests in traditional lands under conditions which preserve the traditional ownership of the Land Trusts and the in-built protections of the Act
It is wrong of the Commonwealth to promise funding for community infrastructure, including public buildings and housing only on condition of the handing over of 99-year leases. That is coercion or bribery no better than the exchange, colonial-style, of “beads and bangles” by which Indigenous people around the world were deprived of their traditional lands. Those days should have long passed out of Government thinking and policies.

The situation is worse when it is understood that the money the Commonwealth promises to spend if a community agrees to a 99-year lease will be the Aboriginal people’s own trust money taken from the Aboriginal Benefit Account (ABA). That really is a smoke and mirrors promise.

Water Wars

NSW Premier Mike Baird promised to restore confidence in the State Government after being elected unopposed as Barry O’Farrell’s successor; but can he do so?. The proposed Water NSW Bill that will abolish the Sydney Catchment Authority may hinder this goal. The plan is to create an entity to be called Water NSW. According to Isabel Mcintosh of the Protect Sydney’s Water action group:
“communities in NSW are concerned that the corporatizing of water management will remove government accountability for the drinking water of 4.5 million people. “SCA has been a steward for a clean, healthy drinking water supply for Sydney’s population. The loss of its specialist expertise when it comes to Sydney’s catchments and dam infrastructure will weaken this protective oversight. It also moves responsibility for damage from approved long-wall mining in our catchments one step further from the Premier. “Sydney is the only city in the world where mining is allowed in publicly owned water catchments. “Longwall mining is cracking river beds and damaging precious swamps. A coal seam gas licence also blankets the special areas. “The SCA has opposed mining activities in the Sydney water catchments in the past in the name of water protection. “The Sydney catchments are already damaged by coal mining, losing three billion litres a year from flow diversions caused by mining, and companies have been prosecuted for pollution of rivers and streams. “Recently the SCA investigated the possibility for all areas surrounding the reservoirs to be legislated as exclusion zones, but this was ignored by government. If the SCA lacked authority to protect Sydney’s drinking water catchments from longwall mining expansion, or even to secure changes to mining plans, what hope have the people of Sydney that a corporation will? The corporate role is to act in the interest of their shareholders, not the common good. A resource as important as the drinking water of greater Sydney should be governed and regulated in the public interest. To do otherwise is neglect “.

“Protect Sydney’s Water” is an alliance of more than 50 community groups from across Sydney, the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Blue Mountains that are calling on the NSW Government to protect Sydney drinking water catchments from destructive mining practices. More information can be found at :

The NSW Greens of course do not support fracking and certainly not the pollution in water catchment areas. If you want to show anti-fracking sentiment- Greens MPs Jeremy Buckingham and Jan Barham have printed bumper stickers and leaflets to promote campaigns. They are free to those who can put them to good use.. Use this link if you would like a free bumper sticker:

Vale the Carbon tax

Sinclair Davidson supports the repeal of the carbon tax and suggests that  “ Australia should fully commit to participating in a global solution to global warming – but until then, pursue our own interests” ( http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-17/davidson-goodbye-to-the-all-pain-no-gain-carbon-tax/5597614) . Do you agree? Or, are you more aligned with The First Dog on the Moon’s take on the death of the carbon tax?

antarticaI guess the key question is – What is Australia’s ‘own interest’ ? Should we be concerned with rising sea levels? Chaotic weather patterns? The demise of animal and plant species?


Opinion on Gaza

The Greens NSW have condemned Labor and the Coalition for their silence on the Israeli government’s sustained and unrelenting military attack on Gaza. Greens NSW Upper House MP David Shoebridge has condemned Isreal’s actions. David’s reasons can be found at:
Tell us what you think!!!


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