Productivity Commission Report slams Coalition's approach on Infrastructure

Commenting on today's release of the Productivity Commission's report on Public Infrastructure, Greens spokesperson for Transport Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"The Productivity Commission has taken a strong stand against the Abbott Government's support for expensive infrastructure projects that don't meet a rigorous cost-benefit test.

"Missing" letters from Metgasco finally released

Four "missing" letters from Metgasco Ltd to Government Ministers have finally been released indicating what Greens MP David Shoebridge has long been speculating, that a high level of political interference took place during police protest operations at Glenugie last year.

Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson wrote to the then Minister for Resource and Energy, now ICAC embroiled, Chris Hartcher as well as the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard, Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher and the Attorney General Greg Smith requesting "greater legal reinforcement" for their operations.

Henderson also expressed concern about the "excessively lenient legal system" and its "unwillingness" to harshly penalise activists with "anti-development agendas." Henderson's suggestion to the Government in how to deal with protesters was to impose mandatory sentences.

The content in these letters now raises questions as to why the Government failed to hand over these documents following numerous GIPA requests lodged by David Shoebridge.

Study pushes ineffective and expensive flood option

Spending up to $1 billion raising the Warragamba dam wall is an expensive and environmentally damaging option that will not protect homes in the Hawkesbury-Nepean flood plain, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

('Backlash over review of $1b Warragamba flood protection', Sydney Morning Herald, 12 March 2014, page 8, http://j.mp/smh140312Wgba)

A study led by the NSW Office of Water (http://j.mp/HkyCtchRM) recommended further study of their preferred option of raising the crest by 15 or 23 metres to protect 20,000 homes from the risk of inundation.

Dr Kaye said: "The study report admits that raising the crest at Warragamba would have 'limited impact in the total number of people that will need to be evacuated in extreme flood events.'

Greens support action to give parents coherent voice

At a critical time for public education, legislative reform is urgently needed to give NSW parents a coherent voice, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

('Piccoli to force P&C reform', Sydney Morning Herald, 12 March, page 1, http://j.mp/smh130312pandc)

The emergence of two executive bodies claiming to run the NSW P&C Federation has prompted calls for action to change the state legislation.

The NSW Education Act currently allows the minister to regulate the rules of P&C Associations (school-based bodies) and their district councils, but not the state-wide body, which is not recognised in the Act.

Dr Kaye said: "The current situation is untenable. We will work with the government and the opposition to create a functional voice for parents, but the model must guarantee the independence of the organisation.

Greens Concerned About Committee Recommendation to Commercialise National Parks

Greens NSW Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has expressed concern about a conservative parliamentary committee recommending that the Government is directing National Parks to be open to more commercialisation.