Greens call for commitment to keep developer donations out of NSW politics

The Greens have written to all political parties registered for next year's state election, seeking their commitment to reject donations from donors that are currently banned by state law, regardless of the High Court's findings in the McCloy challenge.

('Greens want parties to spurn donations if ban overturned', Sydney Morning Herald, 6 August, page 8, http://j.mp/smh140806)

In late July Newcastle Mayor Jeff McCloy issued a writ to overturn the ban on donations from property developers as well as the tobacco, gambling and alcohol industries. He is also seeking to prevent ICAC investigating a $10,000 donation made by one of his companies to the campaign of Newcastle Liberal MP Tim Owens.

Liberals & Nationals back fracking as Gloucester residents get shafted

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham condemned the government's renewal of AGL's Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL 285) over the Gloucester Valley, saying it was the start of fracking in NSW again and that local residents were being given less protection than those in Western Sydney.  

Coal seam gas activity is banned within 2km of urban areas, however, AGL has been given permission to frack within a few hundred metres of houses at the outskirts of the town of Gloucester.

"This is a clear signal that the Liberal and National parties are pro-fracking and pro-coal seam gas," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

Presumption of innocence takes a hit with Bail Law reforms

Ugly, divisive and uninformed politics has produced the NSW government's recently announced bail law reforms, which are not founded on evidence, are not supported by key stakeholders and ultimately will not make NSW a safer place.

NSW Greens MP and Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"These proposed changes take the Bail Act back 10 years to a complex, technical and unprincipled scheme where the presumption of innocence is largely lost.

"It is an ongoing problem in NSW politics that both the Coalition and Labor undermine public confidence in our world-class criminal justice system in pursuit of cheap media copy.

"The Greens have faith in the ability of our judges and magistrates to protect the public interest and rationally apply the existing risk-based bail laws.

Concerns over Parramatta Road redevelopment

The state-owned development organisation, UrbanGrowth NSW, has revealed in a closed-door briefing an increase in the number of new dwellings for its Parramatta Road Urban Renewal Program.

When the plans for redeveloping the Parramatta Road corridor were announced, the state government flagged its potential to add 25,000 dwellings. That figure according to UrbanGrowth is now 50,000.

200,000 native ducks shot dead by amateur hunters in NSW

New figures released today show that almost 200,000 native ducks have been shot dead by amateur hunters in NSW over the last five years. This industrial scale killing is said to be for the protection of rice crops.

The scale of the killing has lead to calls for an end to the amateur hunting of our native ducks and a commitment from the government to funding for non-lethal control measures.

See reporting in today's Sun Herald here. See letter from Office of Environment and Heritage here.

Greens MP and firearms spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"Every one of the ducks that is killed is a native bird and it is a tragedy that we are seeing the organised slaughter of so many of our native animals.

"Many people think duck hunting was ended in NSW years ago, but the fact is it continues to this day and hundreds of thousands of these beautiful native animals are being killed.

Call for urgent investigation into Sydney home asbestos

Revelations that Mr Fluffy-type loose asbestos has been installed into some Sydney homes by a company based in Rozelle requires immediate action by the NSW Government.

Greens Member for Balmain Jamie Parker today called on the NSW Environment Minister to direct the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to urgently and thoroughly investigate the operations of Rozelle-based Bowsers Asphalt Pty Limited which was reportedly using loose fill asbestos from at least 1955.

"The current inquiry in the ACT is revealing alarming facts about what was known and ignored decades ago," said Mr Parker.

McCloy's writ exposes real intent of High Court challenge to developer donation ban

A writ filed in the High Court by Newcastle Mayor Jeff McCloy seeks to bring down not only the ban on developer donations but also to stop the ICAC investigation into a donation he admits his company made to a staffer of then Newcastle Liberal candidate Tim Owens, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

('Newcastle mayor admits donation', Sydney Morning Herald, 2 August, page 12, http://j.mp/smh140802)

The writ shows that Cr McCloy:

*   admits that one of his companies made the $9,975 donation on 21 March 2011;

*   was the subject of a compulsory examination by ICAC on 25 June 2014 in relation to the donation;

*   and his companies intend to continue to make political donations "in connection with future New South Wales elections, to the extent permitted by law";

*   is arguing that the ban on political donations from property developers as well as from the alcohol, tobacco and gambling industries is an unconstitutional restraint on the freedom of political communication; and

*    is seeking High Court orders that these bans are invalid, that the donation was not unlawful and that the behaviour was therefore not corrupt under the ICAC legislation.

Call for urgent investigation into Sydney home asbestos

Revelations that Mr Fluffy-type loose asbestos has been installed into some Sydney homes by a company based in Rozelle requires immediate action by the NSW Government.

Greens Member for Balmain Jamie Parker today called on the NSW Environment Minister to direct the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to urgently and thoroughly investigate the operations of Rozelle-based Bowsers Asphalt Pty Limited which was reportedly using loose fill asbestos from at least 1955.

"The current inquiry in the ACT is revealing alarming facts about what was known and ignored decades ago," said Mr Parker.

Smart and Skilled complex fee structure a barrier to entry to skills training

Documents obtained by the Greens reveal a mind-bogglingly complex fee structure for students under the Baird government's new funding arrangements for vocational education and training to commence 1 January 2015.

'Fee confusion a barrier to training', The Australian, 31 July 2014

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli claims his Smart and Skilled training market will facilitate choice but he has been told by his own consultants that the complexity of the fee structures will make comparisons between providers very difficult.

"Any claims of student choice under Smart and Skilled have been made a complete mockery by the leaked report.

Premier must discipline Government MPs for politicising the tragic murder of environmental officer

There are calls today for the Premier to immediately discipline Nationals MP Andrew Fraser for publicly stating that the tragic and inexcusable murder of a state environmental officer was brought about by environmental laws.

Violence in politics, and violent responses to political or legal disputes, must never be condoned by any politician or political party.

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“The Premier must immediately move to discipline government members who are using the violent killing of an environmental officer to champion their cause for weaker laws.