Greens MPs join protest against reckless winter clearing of Leard forest

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon and Greens NSW Environment Spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC today joined protesters trying to stop the controversial winter clearing for the Maules Creek coalmine.
 
Senator Rhiannon said: "Whitehaven are desperately trying to run roughshod over the local community, who have consistently made a strong case against this destructive mine.
 
"Today I am joining farmers, community members and environmentalists who are standing up for our land and water by trying to prevent this destruction.
 
"The reckless tactic of clearing the forest during winter and hiring of spies to pose as activists are blatant signs that the coal companies in this region are running scared of community scrutiny.
 
"The clearing of the forest at this time of the year is particularly concerning. Many of the animals will be in hibernation and have little chance to escape.
 
"Now is a crucial time for the forest. The Maules Creek Community Council has recently announced it will seek to have the winter clearing prevented, but until this can go through the proper process, the only thing in the way of the bulldozers and the forest are the protesters.

Greens Call for Government to Save the Leard Forest and Native wildlife at Sydney Snap Rally

Greens MP and NSW Environment Spokesperson called on the Government to save the Leard Forest today in Sydney alongside Greenpeace, GetUp and frontline environmental activists. The Government is allowing Whitehaven Coal to clear land during winter months, when many native animals are hibernating and more vulnerable. Dr Faruqi said at the rally:

"The Greens are standing shoulder to shoulder with the community to stop Whitehaven's destructive coal mine at Maules Creek.

"A few months ago I had the privilege to camp at Maules Creek with inspiring front line activists and to see for myself what was at stake in defending biodiversity at the Leard State Forest.

"Biodiversity is not a commodity that can be traded or offset. It must be protected from irreversible damage.

Greens welcome Thompson Square Greens Ban

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge has welcomed today’s announcement by the CFMEU to place a ‘Green Ban’ on Thompson Square, Windsor in response to the Government’s approved controversial Windsor Bridge Replacement Project.

Last year the NSW Government made a last-minute Christmas Eve announcement that it would approve the project despite assessments made by the Department of Planning’s independent experts indicating the damage it will cause to local heritage, and that there is very little economic justification for the project to go ahead.

The local community has been strongly opposed to the project since it was proposed by the government, in particular due to its impact on Thompson Square, Australia’s oldest town square and a precious part of Australia’s history.

Political interference in forest closures

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham has written to Police Minister Mike Gallacher asking for the reasons behind his ministerial decision to request the closure of both the Leard State Forest and the Pilliga Forest near Narrabri, saying he was concerned that the decision was a political favour to resource companies Whitehaven and Santos.

"I've written to the Police Minister asking for an explanation as to why he has made a ministerial request to close these forests for extended periods of time and whether it was made at the request of the resource companies," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

Greens Senator at massive Leard protest – backs action to stop Whitehaven coalmine

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon is currently at a massive protest at Leard State Forest in North West NSW where 15 machines have been immobilised and work on the controversial Maules Creek mine has been prevented.

150 people, including traditional owners, local farmers and environmentalists, have gathered to call on Environment Minister Greg Hunt to stop the development of the mine.

“Today's action demonstrates people power and resilience. The number of people willing to give up their time to prevent the Maules Creek Mine from going ahead is inspiring.” Senator Rhiannon said.

4000 sheep deaths at sea

Commenting on the death of 4 000 sheep at sea last August, Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"The Department of Agriculture (DAFF) should explain to the Australian public why a disaster of such magnitude has been kept a secret for the past five months.

"DAFF's silence on this horrific incident serves nothing but to protect the exporter Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) from bad publicity.

"Five months later DAFF still have not applied any penalties, let alone revoked or suspended LSS's trading licence.

Blockade at Maules Creek coal mine crucial

NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has congratulated protesters at Maules Creek coal mine for commencing action today to prevent critically endangered woodland and endangered wildlife from being bulldozed.

"The protest is taking place at the edge of Leard State Forest which will be devastated as a result of increased mining in the area," Senator Rhiannon said.

"Maules Creek is one of three monster mines which, along with the Boggabri and Tarrawonga coal mines will  result in bulldozing 4000 of the 7500 hectares of the old growth forest, which includes 34 threatened species including koalas, and several Endangered Ecological Communities.

Alarming increase in cycling deaths: Greens back one-metre passing rule

Responding to the rise in the number of cyclists deaths, Greens transport spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has called on all state and federal governments to back the introduction of a one-metre passing distance rule to make roads safer.

Community campaign saves Glebe Youth Service from sell-off

Glebe Youth Service will return to its home on Glebe Point Road by mid-February, following a successful community campaign to defend the building from being sold off by the NSW government.

Greens MP Jamie Parker paid tribute to the hundreds of community members who rallied behind the service and refused to concede to the government's privatisation agenda.

"This is truly a testimony to the power of community campaigning - the government was forced to listen to the hundreds of people who signed petitions, attended the rally and wrote messages of support for the Glebe Youth Service," Mr Parker said.

Palmer United MOU underscores need for Senate voting reform

The Australian Greens have called for reform of the Senate voting system after the release of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Palmer United Party and the Motoring Enthusiasts Party failed to clarify the relationship between the parties.

The Motoring Enthusiasts Party’s Senator-elect, Ricky Muir, was elected despite polling only half a per cent of the primary vote in the 2013 federal election.