Ground water contaminated with uranium 20x limit & other poisonous elements - game over for coal seam gas

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today called on the NSW government to halt all coal seam gas projects after the NSW Environmental Protection Authority found that gas company Santos had seriously contaminated ground water with toxic elements such uranium, arsenic, lead, and boron at its coal seam gas Bibblewindi water treatment plant near Narrabri.  Uranium has been detected in the aquifer at 335 micrograms per litre, which is 20 times safe drinking water levels.

"This is game over for coal seam gas.  Here is definitive proof that unconventional gas, such as coal seam gas pollutes aquifers with extremely toxic elements," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

"It is totally unacceptable for ground water to be contaminated with radioactive uranium 20 times the safe drinking water limit.   Poisonous elements such as arsenic, lead and boron have also been mobilised and concentrated by coal seam gas extraction and then leaked into the aquifers.

"The gas industry often states there are no 'proven' cases of gas extraction leading to aquifer contamination.  Well here is the proof.

"The Greens call for the Santos Narrabri project and other coal seam gas projects in NSW to be halted immediately.  Other aquifers cannot be put at risk of serious pollution.  This type of contamination represents a serious health risk to humans and animals.

TAFE at risk from O'Farrell cuts and privatisation

Almost four hundred positions have been lost from TAFE in NSW as managers cope with budget cuts and prepare for the devastating impacts of a training market that will strip TAFE of all of its core funding for its bread and butter courses, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

('TAFE funding cuts raise fears over training skills', Sun Herald, 9 March, p. 12, http://j.mp/SH140309)

Figures obtained by the Greens through a question on notice to the Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, show that 395 jobs were lost from TAFE last year, including 260 in the three institutes in Sydney, and 40 in the Hunter and Illawarra. The full data is available at http://j.mp/qon1403TAFE.

Dr Kaye said: "The cuts so far have devastated TAFE colleges, students and teachers across NSW but there is far worse to come.

Planning Minister intervenes to protect controversial developments from scrutiny

In a case of direct political interference in the planning process, Planning Minister Brad Hazzard has routinely used his Ministerial powers to remove community appeal rights from some of the most controversial planning decisions in NSW.

My School damage could stop immediately if Piccoli serious

The Greens are calling on NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli to back up his words with actions and bring legislation into state parliament to stop
My School publishing NSW school test results on the My School website.

('My School should be scrapped, says Piccoli', Sydney Morning Herald, 7 March, p. 1, http://j.mp/1cdHD3V)

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "The Minister is right. Publishing school-wide NAPLAN results adds unnecessary and age-inappropriate stress to students. It has undermined educational outcomes and wasted federal and state money.

"My School misleads parents about the quality of schooling and stigmatises schools that serve disadvantaged communities.

Yet more wasted on power sell-off

The O'Farrell government has admitted spending $33 million on financial, banking and legal advice for its power sell-off but Treasurer Mike baird is
refusing to admit how much was squandered on the failed Macquarie Generation privatisation, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

("Asset sales cost state $33m" Newcastle Herald, 7 March p. 26, http://j.mp/NH070414)

Dr Kaye said: "The Mac Gen sale was always doomed.

"Treasurer Mike Baird should have known from the outset that selling the Upper Hunter generators to AGL would run foul of the competition regulator.