Xanana Gusmao PM of Timor Leste speaks at the UN General Debate

http://webtv.un.org/watch/timor-leste-general-debate-69th-session/3808487676001

Watch 30 minutes of SANITY in the UN from a tiny, poor nation with INSPIRATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Timor-Leste, General Debate, 69th Session 25 Sep 2014 –

Statement by His Excellency Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste at the general debate of the 69th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (New York, 24-30 September 2014).

Syria, the Latest Crusade

Uprootedpalestinians's Blog

They Are At it Again

The West is striking again; it is stabbing the very center, the heart of the Arab World.

This time it is targeting the group – ISIS – which it created itself, and which it had been arming, feeding and pampering until just very recently.

Airplanes and missiles are flying, and bombs are falling. The war has begun.

But is it really a war, or just a brutal game, a gigantic PlayStation operated by thousands of hooked-up maniacs in the Pentagon and all over Washington, Brussels and some servile capitals in the Middle East?

A war is, after all, when two sides are facing each other, when two sides fight, when two sides are risking their lives.

In this surreal and post-modern ‘war’, the only victims will be the people of the Middle East, most likely civilians. Their lives will be risked by…

View original post 3,003 more words

Syria: Aleppo IDP’s including Children Killed as U.S. bombs Syria.

So much for the US “air campaign” looks a lot like the Israeli one on Gaza where civilian deaths don’t matter if they’re Arab.

They apparently underestimated the terrorist threat in Syria and overestimated the capacity of their US trained Iraqi’s. Perhaps if they had not supported the Nusrats and their funders and perhaps if they had not trained the IS they wouldn’t be in this invidious position……of course who will say ‘WAR CRIMES BY US”

Will our Australian ‘top guns’ join them in bombing Syria or will the US send their UAE buddies to do the dirty work like they are in Libya?

Global Research Article link below.

Syria: Children Killed as U.S. Targets Mysterious Al-Qaeda Splinter Group Worse than ISIS.

I Just saw Ukraine’s “Rabbit” Prime Minister and heard him say…..

Definitely not…… Xanana Gusmao…..(my last post)

Meet Ukraine’s PM, Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Photo: Andrew Kravchenko /AFP/Getty Images Photo: Andrew Kravchenko /AFP/Getty Images

Harriet Salem …..Kiev, Tuesday 4 March 2014 theguardian.com Arseniy Yatsenyuk Ukraine’s Prime minister Photo: Andrew Kravchenko /AFP/Getty Images

I just watched the last part of the recent PBS interview with The Ukrainian PM and couldn’t believe how he finished the interview with Margaret Warner……

Full PBS video interview and article in new window here

This is Margaret’s response to his bizarre answer to her question….

The hyper-kinetic Yatsenyuk, who has been nicknamed “The Rabbit” for his uncanny resemblance to the Soviet version in Winnie the Pooh, saved his best line for last — when I asked him what he thought it would take for Ukraine to prevail against the Russian bear. He leaned back and took a breath. “In my childhood, my mom told me a number of fairy tales. And the bear is a very good animal in Ukrainian fairy tales,” he mused. “But in reality, it’s better to have a bear somewhere in the zoo.”

“In a zoo?” I asked, not sure I’d heard him right. “The zoo,” he said. He needed say no more.

Vinni-Puh-Piglet-and-Rabbit from the Russian version of Winnie the Pooh. Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is said to bear (excuse the pun) a strong resemblance to "Rabbit"

Vinni-Puh-Piglet-and-Rabbit from the Russian version of Winnie the Pooh. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is said to bear (excuse the pun) a strong resemblance to “Rabbit” Sourced: http://snarkynomad.com/the-russian-version-of-winnie-the-pooh-is-the-greatest-thing-in-the-universe/

List of Ukraine's Prime Ministers (1991-present) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Minister_of_Ukraine

List of Ukraine’s Prime Ministers (1991-present) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Minister_of_Ukraine

Well the only Bear in Russia’s Pooh land is Pooh so what the hell is he talking about! From the above ‘list’ doesn’t look like he’ll be around for long

‘Poet Guerilla’, now Statesman in one of the World’s poorest developing Countriesin New York Talks about Peace

 

Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Security of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Security of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste http://portuguese-american-journal.com/xanana-gusmao-doutor-honoris-causa-by-the-university-of-coimbra-portugal/

KEY NOTE ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRIME MINISTER THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF TIMOR-LESTE

KAY RALA XANANA GUSMÃO

AT THE HIGH-LEVEL MINISTERIAL LUNCH MEETING ON PEACE AND CAPABLE INSTITUTIONS AS STAND-ALONE  GOALS IN THE POST-2015
DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

New York
22 September 2014

Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen,

We are all here because we are committed to advancing human development, eradicating poverty and securing a sustainable future.

The world took a great step forward in 2000 when the United Nations agreed on the Millennium Development Goals.

The MDGs focused the global development effort on achieving eight goals that addressed poverty, education, gender, child mortality, maternal  health, disease, environmental sustainability and development funding. Since the adoption of the
Millennium Development Goals we have experienced unprecedented human progress.

We have seen hundreds of millions of people lifted from poverty, and improved health and education outcomes across many countries of the world.

However, it is important to note, that much of this progress is not because of the global development effort, but because of the rise of Asia and, in particular, of China.

It is even more important to note, that there are still 2.2 billion people living in poverty in fragile and conflict affected nations – nations that will not achieve even a single Millennium Development Goal by 2015.

The common factor in many of the nations left behind, despite the MDG initiative, is conflict.

Sometimes a truth is so obvious that it is easily overlooked. The truth we have learned through bitter experience in Timor-Leste is that you must have peace – before you can even begin to rebuild a state.

Ladies and gentlemen, there was not a Millennium Development Goal that addressed this fundamental truth. (my emphasis)

We must ensure we do not ignore the obvious, as we work together to formulate the post 2015 development agenda.

I am very pleased to see that a peace related goal is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals suggested by the Open Working Group.

Sustainable Development Goal 16 is to: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

This is a very welcome move, but I believe it should be Sustainable Development Goal number 1, as none of the other 16 goals will be achievable
without peace and effective state institutions. (my emphasis)

Let me share with you some hard ‘truths’ we learned in Timor-Leste to explain what I mean.

Firstly, while we have made remarkable progress in many areas, we are not on track to reach the targets set under even one of the Millennium Development Goals. This is perhaps in part, because we are a very young nation. We are
younger even than the Millennium Development Goals, having only achieved our independence in 2002 after a war of resistance that lasted nearly a quarter of a century.

But it is also because following independence, and despite extensive assistance from the international community, we found ourselves trapped in a cycle of violence and unrest. In 2006, we faced our greatest crisis as sections of
our police and army resorted to armed conflict and took us to the brink of civil war. The crisis wiped out years of development progress and we realised that our problem was not that we were poor but that our institutions were weak.

Children stopped going to school, health clinics were deserted because people were too scared to make the journey to the clinic, our economy was stagnating because the government went into shut down and international investors fled. We had 150,000 people living as displaced people in their own country because they were too scared to go back to their villages.

After much national reflection, we decided we had to make our number one priority the peaceful resolution of our differences. We realised that there can be no development if there is chaos. We realised that without peace, we would betray the dreams of all those who died in our quest for independence. And we realised that without peace, we would be failing our children.

So we started a dialogue. We convinced our rebel soldiers in the mountains to surrender peacefully. Our friends here at the United Nations said it would take a decade but within two years, the tents were gone and our people had all returned home to their villages.

And we began to rebuild our State institutions.

We still have a long way to go. But you only have to compare Dili of eight years ago with the Díli of today to know we are on the right track and that we have made remarkable progress.

Ladies and gentlemen

As we embarked upon the process of consolidating peace and building our institutions we discovered that our experience was not unique. There were
other nations around the world which were fragile, or affected by conflict, that were not on track to achieve a single Millennium Development Goal.

We came together to speak with one voice as the g7+ group of fragile and conflict affected nations. The g7+ now represents 20 nations that have learnt, through bitter experience that a global development framework will not work without a focus on peace building and State building. (my emphasis)

Sadly, the crisis in South Sudan is the most recent example of the hope of development progress being destroyed by conflict, and the failure of state institutions.

And then there is the Ebola crisis gripping West African nations that highlights the critical need for capable institutions to address what could become a global health crisis.

I want to state here that Timor-Leste will contribute $1 million to assist the West African g7+ member nations dealing with the Ebola crisis.

And we see disturbing events in the Middle East unfold which prove the need for peace and properly functioning governments.

We also have to ask the question – who profits from conflict in developing nations? The answer of course, is ultimately those corporations that
manufacture and sells the arms. We need some collective action in the United Nations to properly monitor and investigate who profits from conflict. (my emphasis)

Ladies and gentlemen,

If we are serious about having sustainable development goals that will have a transformative impact on human development and global peace and security, then we need a stand-alone goal that addresses peace building and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions. (my emphasis)

I urge the international community to embrace this goal so we can ensure that no nations, and no people, are left behind by the global development agenda.

And so, as we look into the future, I hope that securing global, regional and national peace will be our consuming agenda.

Because there can be no sustainable development without peace.

Thank you very much.

22 September 2014
Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão

*********************************************************************

I thank ETAN mailing list of a brilliant site  www.etan.org

The King, The Entrepreneur, His Wife and Their Son- A never-ending tale of intrigue

This tale is a cautionary ‘Tale of Arabian Nights’. It was pieced together from information garnered from anecdotal Arabic sources and many internet sites of differing views and opinion. No spice was added, ah, maybe a little baharat.

A long time ago, in a land with shifting, hostile borders plagued by foreign intruders, a boy was born into humble surroundings in the port city. The boy’s mother and father were Sunni Muslim and in keeping with their limited wealth and by their neighbours’ standards, they had a modest number of children. Rafiq was their first born.

He remembered his mother’s consistent explanation when asked why she did not have more children, (for his town was filled with women having babies)……
“Yes, only three, two boys and a girl” she would say and would always add, “You know, we just want the best for each of them and if we had more …they would have less.”

Rafiq was sharp witted young man, with a mind not unlike his younger sister, Bahia. Both would benefit from their parents quests for their education. Bahia, however had neither his personal drive, nor his extraordinary craft to befriend people who could most offer him opportunity. Rafiq could, and would seek succour from ‘friends’ in very high places.

As a youth, Rafiq lived a very ‘ordinary’ life but dreamed each night of bigger, better things to come. He attended the university in the capital, where he learned accounting and where he would meet his first wife. A wife would bring the prestige of manhood, essential if Rafiq was to make good in this life. What’s more he thought she was very pretty and would look perfect on his arm. Now with wife and education under his belt so to speak, he felt he had completed his first steps towards building the wealth he always imagined for his family. His would start a dynasty.

Counting other people’s money was never how Rafiq saw his future, if he had money to count it would be his own. Thus, when opportunity came to travel to a nearby Kingdom, he grabbed it with both hands and traveled with his wife and his enthusiasm to the Kingdom. In this new land, Kings and Princes bathed in money. They were Sunni too, which made his quest all that much easier, as his homeland was fraught with religious backbiting.

He was soon to find the truth was as he always suspected – money brings great opportunity to do what you want to do, sometimes it brings things Allah would never approve. But Rafiq was to find this to his advantage, the extravagances of others would fuel his fortune . He left his teaching job and moved to set up a business for himself. The Kingdom was wealthy and the time was right for him to help them build it.

Such were the extravagances of his friend the Prince. It was later said that the Prince fathered more than 100 children from more than 30 women. Did he divorce to marry others once he had four? No matter, his list of extras was longer than his list of legitimate wives. He was also to eventually rule in the Kingdom, where illegitimate children would have exactly the same rights as bastards, which most thought extremely fair, particularly the King, advantaged as he was by wealth and position.

But this was not the business of Rafiq, who was drawn like the bee to the Kingdom’s nectar of wealth– this would be where he would make his honey and be a real businessman. He would work hard, make friends with Princes, build them opulent constructions in no time at all and with perseverance he would make his own wealth in exchange.

His gift of wooing people of influence found fertile ground in this land. He saw the Prince’s and Sheik’s need to create around themselves a landscape of towers and glass that reflected their newly found wealth and to transform what was once desert. The black gold deep under the Kingdom’s sand would transform the lives of few in the Kingdom as much as the Princes.

Rafiq did not bother himself with this other than to put it to use so he could gain their trust. In the true aspect of his entrepreneurial-ship he recognised one important thing. The Kingdom’s workers came as poor from lesser lands, they worked long hours for little pay. Rafiq had no issue with this, and saw in this feudal system as something he too could benefit from. After all, a company who’s workers are cheap and readily replaceable will do well in such a place. His efficiency would build on their backs.

His own country seemed forever at war and much as he said he loved his country, he loved the thrill of making money and powerful contacts more. He remained in the Kingdom to build his business. Rafiq’s first son was born and he felt a good wind blowing in his favour. He was now an entrepreneur, thanks to his hard work, perseverance and some would say ethics. But ethics are in the eye of the beholder and the backs of poor workers supported his projects. There is also a tale in these lands that says “Never ask a man how he made his first million!”

Now it came to be, that Rafiq’s business in building brought him a number of successful projects from rich Princes close to the king. The Prince who would be King had his eye on Rafiq’s capacity to build large and modern buildings in what was said to be ‘no time!’. The Prince also had his eye on Rafiq’s beautiful wife and so it was, in an exchange smooth as the silk underwear she would now wear, that a deal was cut between the two men, details of which would die with them both.

The powerful Prince trusted Rafiq’s discretion and Rafiq’s legendary skills to forge, maintain, and nurture useful connections was put to the ultimate test. The philandering Prince had no such discretion, but his power and finances meant your head would not remain on your shoulders should your lips speak of it.
So Rafiq built beautiful hotels in record time while the Prince played and slept with his wife. The Prince soon became King and his power was formalised. Their relationship forged Rafiq when quized it would only ever repeat,

“The meat on my shoulder is from the King”.

Some say Rafiq achieved the impossible. His name was now etched on the Kingdom’s accounting ledgers. A second son, was born to Rafiq’s wife. They called the boy Saad meaning ‘blessedness’ and ‘happiness’. Saad would carry Rafiq’s name and the blood of a King. The bond with the King and his Kingdom was certainly a blessed one that would make Rafiq’s family all wealthy beyond imagination.

Some say Rafiq was ‘concerned’ about the ongoing strife in his own country and that he never forgot where he came from. They say he was a ‘behind-the-scenes’ mediator, advisor, a promoter of cease-fires and agreements to end the wars in his original home. He was seen by both his birth and adopted country as a strong negotiator. Rafiq was heard to once to say-
“Money is a negotiation tool, I use it as a plumber uses a wrench to stop a leak or a sculptor uses a chisel to fashion a block of wood.”
But when, eighteen years after moving to the Kingdom, his company worked on the removal of destroyed buildings, opening of streets and roads littered with roadblocks and sand bags, in his homeland, this led others say he was just another profiteer of war – It was all business, money and prestige and the Kingdom had much to gain from the support they gave to Rafiq.

Rafiq would later divorce his first wife, take a second wife and father more children, he would lose his third son to a car accident in a far away country of cowboys, dollars and something called Starbucks. He would broker a ‘tentative peace’ in his birthland where many guilty criminals were ‘recycled’ to govern and reconstruct, no community nor religion in his land had been spared the ravages of war. Rafiq was to move back home after 28 years in the Kingdom to become his country’s leader. He was the Kingdom’s man in his original country.

A country that remained influenced and chained on its many sides by foreign control, would be led by a man whose money came from the most wealthy Princes in the region. He would multiply his own wealth as his country’s leader, he would put his land into serious debt and manage a tentative ‘peace’ in a land of trouble. He would make powerful friends and powerful enemies.

Was it bearded enemies that blew up his vehicle while he rode in a cavalcade through the capital? For even as a Sunni his ways were perceived as decadent by the rising tide of Wahabism both in the Kingdom and in his original land. The irony was that his friend the King is said to have sought to appease his people and his soul of his gambling decadence and philandering by gifting obscene amounts of money to build Islamist schools and groups. The same groups that were to engage in violent jihad across the Middle East.

After five terms as leader Rafiq retired from his position.
His money could not save him from a violent death. Some still needed him dead. The 1000 kg equivalent to TNT bomb, made a crater as huge as a small lake in the middle of town. Some say it was his attitude to those others considered, recalcitrant and corrupt ‘friends’ – smiling assassins, who had benefited from his blind eye on corruption and refusal to rid his country of their influence and military support, others say ‘it was a result of conspiracy and intrigue sewn by the hand wringing tribes’ who had earlier invaded, continued to have speculative interests and needed to blame the beards or the ‘friends’ in order to set the world ready for a course of destruction by the recalcitrant.

No matter who did it, Rafiq was blown to dust. I year after Rafiq’s death his family inherited 16 Billion dollars between them. Perhaps his end was karmic given what one man described as his willingness to sacrifice allies to achieve political ends. The strange unanswered thing was that the amount of money he left had grown by four times in that year since his death.

If history is written by the victor it is not written yet.

Saad followed his ‘father’ as head of the company which by now had grown to billions under his fathers entrepreneurial skills- it was huge, involved in banking, real estate, oil, industry, and communications. Saad in true dynastic form also became leader of his father’s country, for Saad was not born there he was born in the Kingdom, he remained as leader for 18 months until his government collapsed. For as it is said “the seed may not match the tree”. He then left the country on self imposed exile for less hostile climes in France and the Kingdom.

His ‘father’ has hard shoes to fit. Maybe Saad is just more like his zygote father. Saad returned to Rafiq’s homeland three years later, again with the Kingdom’s money in his hand. Investigation into his father’s death remained unresolved and it appeared to many Saad wanted to lead his fathers country again (with the Kingdom’s support and a list of incomplete tasks).

CAST:
Rafiq…………………….Rafiq Hariri billionaire Lebanese entrepreneur
Lebanon’s longest serving PM

His first wife…………..Nida Bustani (Iraqi roots from Lebanon)
The Kingdom………….Saudi Arabia
The Prince……………..Now deceased King FAHD bin Abdul Aziz
who would be King

The son Saad…………Saad Hariri dual Saudi/Lebanese citizen
Lebanese PM, 9 November 2009 – 13 June 2011

The STL, Special Tribunal for Lebanon is an International Tribunal formed with headquarters on the outskirts of The Hague, the Netherlands and an office in Beirut, Lebanon. It was formed in March 2009. with the primary mandate to hold trials for the people accused of carrying out the attack of 14 February 2005 which killed 22 people, including the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri, and injured many others.

IT IS STILL PROCEEDING!

Saad Hariri -Daily Star Lebanon reported on 13/8/2014
Although the return of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is expected to instigate negotiations aimed at resolving the presidential vacuum, eyes are focused on the nature of the meetings Hariri will hold with political factions.
Hariri, who returned Friday after three years of self-imposed exile, is expected to oversee the spending of a $1 billion grant from Saudi Arabia aimed at deterring terrorism in Lebanon.” see in new window here

 

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri gestures upon his arrival at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Friday, Aug 8, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri gestures upon his arrival at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Friday, Aug 8, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO

Abbas 1988 ALGERIA. Algiers. Arab Summit opening. 1988. King FAHD bin ABDUL AZIZ...

Abbas 1988
ALGERIA. Algiers. Arab Summit opening. 1988. King FAHD bin ABDUL AZIZ…

A man walks past a poster depicting Lebanon's assassinated former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, in downtown Beirut: Reuters

A man walks past a poster depicting Lebanon’s assassinated former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, in downtown Beirut: Reuters

Linked List of References:

http://www.stl-tsl.org/
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-13978635
http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=24380
http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/5709/Hariri-Rafiq-1944-2005.html
http://www.rhariri.com/general.aspx?pagecontent=biography
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahd_of_Saudi_Arabia
http://angryarab.blogspot.com.au/
http://hal.inria.fr/docs/00/72/15/67/PDF/The_Hariri_Political_Dynasty_after_the_Arab_Spring_Vloeberghs_2012_HALSHS.pdf
http://www.astrotheme.com/astrology/Rafiq_Hariri
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/lebanese-rafik-hariri-assassination-marked-man-tribunal
http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/11688

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/profiles/2014/01/16/Rafiq-Hariri-the-Mr-Lebanon-who-dominated-political-scene.html
http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/11688

Mining coup in Queensland removes public objection rights

This is ridiculous!
No public rights to object!
Oh Queensland WTF!
Campbell Newman’s got to go his lot are over the top!

Repost from The Conversation
Author Chris McGrath Senior Lecturer, Environmental Regulation at The University of Queensland

The Queensland government has recently removed long-standing public rights to object to mines.

In shades of the Bjelke-Petersen era, Queensland mines minister Andrew Cripps made fundamental changes one minute before the bill was passed by the Parliament at 11:57pm, just shy of midnight.

The changes broke promises that Cripps had made repeatedly from the outset of public consultation on the bill and during debate in Parliament that public rights to object to large mines would be retained.

The changes sparked blistering criticism. Queensland Country Life described them a “sell out” while broadcaster Alan Jones called the changes “corrupt” and “unbelievable” amidst other colourful language.

What objection rights have been lost?

The changes affect public notification and objection rights for the two major approvals needed by a mine at a state level in Queensland: a mining lease and an environmental authority.

Large mines and other developments in Queensland can be declared a “coordinated project” by a powerful public servant, the Coordinator-General, whose role is to facilitate the economic development of the State.

For many decades in Queensland any person could object against the grant of a mining lease and have their objection heard by an independent court, which then provided a recommendation to the government on the application. The grounds permitted for an objection were very wide and included impacts on the environment and the public interest.

This objection right was an important part of the campaign to stop mining on Fraser Island in the 1970s and led to a famous win regarding the concept of the public interest.

Prior to the changes, any person could also object to an environmental authority and have their objection heard by the Land Court. Again, the grounds permitted for an objection were very wide and included things like the harm a mine would cause to groundwater and biodiversity as well as noise and dust impacts.

In the past, objection rights were only constrained by not allowing challenges to the conditions recommended by the Coordinator-General. However, neighbouring landholders and others could argue the mine should be refused due to its impacts on groundwater or other matters.

In practice, few objections proceeded to a full hearing in the Land Court and those that did each year could normally be counted on two hands. For most landholders and other members of the community, the objection process is intimidating and too costly. Objections by landholders and others are invariably a David vs Goliath affair with massive mining companies out-resourcing locals.

However, in one recent case involving the massive Alpha Coal Mine proposed by Gina Rinehart’s company and GVK, local graziers and other objectors succeeded in having the Land Court make a primary recommendation that the mine be rejected due to uncertainty about groundwater impacts. This was in spite of the Coordinator-General’s recommendation to approve the mine and federal government approval of it.

Broken promises

In early 2014 the Queensland government proposed to confine the objections and notifications process for a mining lease to people owning land within the proposed lease. However, the government said it proposed to continue to allow objections to an environmental authority for large, high risk mines to be made by neighbours and others.

In June the government introduced these proposed changes to Parliament in the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014.

The proposed changes went out for public consultation and hearings by a Parliamentary Committee. The minerals industry supported the changes but the vast majority of public submissions opposed them.

The Bill was debated and passed by Parliament on Tuesday September 9.

At 11:56pm, one minute before the Bill was passed, the Mines Minister moved a series of amendments. These included inserting a new section 47D into the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 controlled by the Coordinator-General.

The last-minute changes mean that the Coordinator-General can prevent any objections to the environmental authority for a coordinated project from being heard by the Land Court. When combined with the severe restrictions on objections to mining leases, very few people can now challenge matters such as impacts on groundwater of large mines that are declared a coordinated project.

A case like the recently successful objection by neighbouring graziers and others to the groundwater impacts of the massive Alpha Coal Mine can not be brought under the new system. None of the objectors in that case owned land on the mining lease or shared a boundary with it. Their main concerns were about regional impacts on groundwater.

The Minister did not explain the significance of the changes or state that the changes would reverse earlier assurances to the Parliament. In fact, he repeatedly assured the Parliament that neighbours and the general public would still be able to object to large mines.

Coordinator-General’s bad track record

The government’s assurances that the Coordinator-General can be trusted to make a proper assessment of any environmental impacts are difficult to swallow in the light of obvious lack of independence, bias for economic development, and the poor track record in this regard.

A well-known example of where the Coordinator-General botched the assessment of a large project is the Traveston Crossing Dam. The Coordinator-General recommended approval of the dam in 2009 but that recommendation was rejected by the Federal Environment Minister who refused to approve the dam due to likely unacceptable impacts on nationally threatened species.

In 2013 ABC Four Corners aired an interview with a whistleblower, Simone Marsh, who was employed in early 2010 in the Coordinator-General’s office conducting the environmental impact assessment for large coal seam gas projects. She was stunned when she was told that there was not going to be an assessment of groundwater impacts in the Coordinator-General’s report recommending approval of one of the largest projects. This was apparently done to meet tight timeframes imposed by the proponents.

As mentioned earlier, in 2014 the Land Court made a primary recommendation that the massive Alpha Coal Mine be rejected due to uncertainty about groundwater impacts. This was in spite of the Coordinator-General’s recommendation to approve the mine.

Links to federal one-stop shop

The Coordinator-General is fast becoming an almost supremely powerful czar for large projects in Queensland, subject only to the political whims of the state government.

Under the federal Coalition’s one-stop shop the Coordinator-General is also proposed to have power to approve projects impacting on matters protected under federal environmental laws.

Mining coup reflects wider trend in Queensland

Rob McCreath, who owns a farm on Queensland’s eastern Darling Downs, summarised the effect of these changes well:

It feels as if there’s been a takeover of the Government by the mining industry. It’s a bit like a coup – it’s not a military coup, it’s a minerals coup.

More widely, the changes reflect Tony Fitzgerald’s recent comment that power in Queensland has been transferred to “a small, cynical, political class”.

Link to original here