The Dangers of Uranium Mining in Queensland and Planned Resistance

With the announcement the Campbell Newman lead LNP State Government would allow uranium mining to recommence it’s interesting to look at the history the uranium industry has had in Queensland.

Autonomous Action Radio’s Wave Beach spoke to Dr Jim Green click here to listen.

Or download for rebroadcast.

AAradio also spoke to Queensland Nuclear Free Alliance spokesperson Robin Taubenfeld about an action which was held on Monday outside the Executive building in Brisbane.

Robin speaks about the colorful action which was attended by up to 50 people and also about other actions which are planned for the near future.

Click here to listen on the 4zzz website.

Interview from The Observer Tree About Failure of Forest Talks

Former Brisbane resident and 4ZZZ announcer Miranda Gibson has been living in a tree sit in Tasmania’s forest for almost 12 months.

As part of the Still Wild Still Threatened campaign to save Tasmania’s forest Miranda’s base is a platform situated 60m above the ground in an old-growth Eucalyptus tree.

From The Observer Tree Miranda writes a daily blog about life in a tree sit, commentary on the state of the forest negotiations and updates on flora and fauna monitoring.

Today her commentary on the forest negotiations is tinged with disbelief and disappointment as the news of the collapse of the agreements sinks in.

Things were beginning to look more hopeful for Tasmania’s old growth forests when in October 2010 environmental NGO’s, industry groups and Unions signed a statement of principles which appeared to pave the way for comprehensive forest protection and a restructuring of the logging industry.

Late last week though came the news that the talk had collapsed. Autonomous Action Radio spoke with Miranda today about what the talks had entailed and how people can act to help save these ancient pristine forests of Tasmania.

Threatened Tasmanian Forests Left Open for Destruction

The so called peace talks between environmental groups and the logging industry in Tasmania have collapsed without a deal being reached.

This means that logging companies will not have access to any government money to encourage them to leave old growth forests alone.

And as summer looms the globally significant old growth forests in Tasmania are under as much threat as ever before.

” Summer is traditionally a time of increased logging and building new roads into threatened wilderness areas,” Huon Valley Environment Centre’s Jenny Weber said.

However logging companies still face the strong resistance as campaigners vow to continue the fight.

“The failure of the talks does not mean that the industry can bury its head in the sand and continue to entrench native forest destruction.

“The reality of global market pressures cannot be ignored and the controversy over Tasmania’s wood supply will continue,” Still Wild Still Threatened’s spokesperson Miranda Gibson stated.

Tune into Autonomous Action Radio tomorrow at 4zzzfm.org.au at 12nooon Australian Eastern Standard time to hear more about the continuing fight to save Tasmania’s old growth forests  or if you miss the live show the interview will be uploaded here to here shortly.

Queensland Government ought to Red-light Yellowcake

Queensland Government ought to Red-light Yellowcake
The nuclear debate is really hotting up in Queensland and Australia. Following the announcement on Monday that the Newman government will now allow uranium mining Senator Barnaby Joyce has gone all the way and suggested Australia should embrace nuclear power.
He is quoted in a random mainstream paper as saying “If we are fair dinkum about reducing carbon emissions, and we want to have a minimum carbon emission form of power, then uranium is where it’s going to be”.
Below is an article from Friends of the Earth Nuclear campaigner Dr Jim Green addressing the decision the mine uranium in Queensland and the dangers there of.
If you read this and still think nuclear power is a safe solution to climate change stay tuned for a follow up article on why nuclear energy is not the solution to climate change.
 
Inside Olympic Dam
A photo from a spy camera inside Olympic Dam Uranium Mine

The Queensland Government is unwise to reverse the ban against uranium mining and there is no stronger reason than the industry’s sordid track record in the state.

French company Minatome undertook trial mining at Ben Lomond, near Townsville, in the early 1980s. Federal MP Bob Katter spoke at length about Ben Lomond in Parliament on 1 November 2005. He noted that Minatome initially denied reports of a radioactive spill, but then changed its story and claimed that the spill posed no risk and did not reach the water system from which 210,000 people drank.

Bob Katter takes up the story:

“For the next two or three weeks they held out with that story. Further evidence was produced in which they admitted that it had been a dangerous level. Yes, it was about 10,000 times higher than what the health agencies in Australia regarded as an acceptable level. After six weeks, we got rid of lie number two. I think it was at about week 8 or week 12 when, as a state member of parliament, I insisted upon going up to the site. Just before I went up to the site, the company admitted − remember, it was not just the company but also the agency set up by the government to protect us who were telling lies − that the spill had reached the creek which ran into the Burdekin River, which provided the drinking water for 210,000 people. We had been told three sets of lies over a period of three months.”

Queensland’s other misadventure with uranium was the Mary Kathleen mine in western Queensland. In the mid-1970s, a whistleblower from Mary Kathleen Uranium Mining Pty. Ltd. leaked documents which revealed the existence of a global uranium cartel leading to protracted international scandals and fines totalling hundreds of millions of dollars.

The leaked documents also revealed evidence of shoddy environmental practices at Mary Kathleen; close surveillance of environmental organisations; the close relationship between ACTU President Bob Hawke and the chairman of uranium miner Conzinc Riotinto Australia; and advice from government officials about how companies could circumvent non-proliferation treaties in order to sell uranium to countries that had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

One million litres of radioactive liquid were released in February 1984 from Mary Kathleen’s evaporation ponds during a wet spell. Even now, 30 years after the mine’s closure, there is ongoing seepage of saline, metal and radionuclide-rich waters from tailings, as well as low-level uptake of heavy metals and radionuclides into vegetation.

Bob Katter’s son, state MP Rob Katter, claims that uranium mining represents a potential $20 billion export industry for Queensland which could generate 2600 jobs. The simple facts are that uranium accounts for just 0.2 percent of Australia’s export revenue ($610 million in 2010−11) and less than 0.02 percent of Australian jobs (1760 jobs including mining, exploration and regulation). Queensland is home to just 3% of Australia’s uranium resources.

Rob Katter claims that Queenslanders support uranium mining but he provides no evidence. The latest poll was taken in 2008 and it found that 47 percent of Queenslanders oppose uranium mining compared to 45 precent in support. Two-thirds of Queenslanders oppose uranium sales to nuclear weapons states. A majority of Australians believe that the ‘safeguards’ system, which aims to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation, is ineffective.

Before the last state election, the Queensland Liberal National Party said it had no intention of reversing the ban against uranium mining. Campbell Newman’s LNP Government ought to take its new position to the next state election. Better still, a referendum could be held on the question of uranium mining when Queenslanders next go to the polls.

The uranium industry has no capacity to deliver serious economic benefits to Queensland but, if given the chance, it will create more long-term environmental and public health hazards such as Ben Lomond and Mary Kathleen.

Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia and lead researcher with the australianmap.net project.

Queensland Can Do Uranium mining

Peter speaking with a BHP Billiton representative outside their Olympic Dam office in Roxby Downs

Despite declaring no such plans before the election the Campbell Newman lead Queensland Government announced today that it will lift the ban on uranium mining in the state.

Mr Newman says the Federal Governments plans to sell uranium to India spurred his decision because Queensland should share in the jobs and economic opportunities it will create.

The resumption of uranium mining in Queensland will also mean Queensland will share in the environmental and human health problems created by the uranium and nuclear industries.

“The government has made the wrong decision for the wrong reasons,” says Nuclear Free Queensland spokesperson Robin Taubenfeld.

A strong movement against the uranium industry has continued in Queensland despite the last uranium Queensland uranium mine closing in 1982.

“We have campaigned for many years to ensure the uranium mining ban stayed in place, the overturning of this decision has strengthened our resolve,” Ms Taubenfeld said.

“We are ready to step up our campaign, companies seeking to open uranium mines will face opposition.”

Last week on Autonomous Action Radio I interviewed Co-chair of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance Peter Watts.

Peter is an Arabunna man who has been personally affected by these industries through mining and bombs.

In this interview he talks about the effect BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam uranium mine has had on his country and family, his visit to Japan earlier this year, and how his family was affected by the Maralinga British tests.

You can listen to the interview here – The Effects of Uranium mining and Looking towards a Nuclear Free Future For All

Or download a broadcast quality version here – Uranium mining to Bombs and Reactors

BATS!

Bats are Awesome
Unbiased Reporting from the Courier Mail

We have lots of interviews which have been uploaded on to Radio4all over the years. They’ll all be linked up on this website.

Topics include the nuclear industry, depleted uranium, the Gulf War clean up, Food Irradiation, resisting the war in Israel from inside Israel, black deaths in custody and more.
An interview which I did a while ago which is still very relevant is with Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland Inc President Louise Saunders.

Flying Foxes and Bats are responsible for the pollination of many native trees and play a vital role in the Australian environment.
Yet because they threaten the profits made by farmers the Newman government is now allowing farmers to shoot these native animals if they are eating their crops.

Apart from the obvious destruction of the population of these creatures there’s even a problem with the method of ‘culling’ bats.
I used the term culling not killing deliberating then because according to Bats Qld. shooting bats is not very effective .

“It’s incredibly inhumane,” she said. “Only about 5 per cent of bats are killed by a headshot, the rest die very slowly.

Click here to listen to the interview http://radio4all.net/index.php/program/49056

Party for yr Right to Fight in Holland Park (?!)

Smashy Smash in Holland Park

When police were called to a party in Holland Park last night a small riot erupted.

500 people had attended the party which the media notes was organised through Facebook.

Several police cars were smashed with 2 requiring towing.

The attitude of police is probably what caused the smashy smash … it’s like that meme which states ‘you can tell who came to start the riot by the way they are dressed’.

The really sad thing about this though is that these incidents don’t happen (in Brisbane) when people are out in the streets standing up for what they believe in.

In those cases there is too much concern about being seen as ‘reasonable’ and ‘peaceful’ protesters rather than acting in a way that is effective.

Some may question what smashed up police cars achieve in terms of real changes but if the general population posed a real threat to the status quo when upset about the decisions made by government there would be more democracy floating around the place.