16 November, 2009

Australian Sustainable Business Group

The Australian Sustainable Business Group (ASBG) is a business representative body helping organisations deal with the substantial and rapidly changing environmental, and greenhouse laws and helping them to become more sustainable.

The new website is now up and running at www.asbg.net.au please have a look and check out its new features.

Formerly known as the Australian Environment Business Network, (AEBN), the name change reflects the broader scope of environmental issues to encompass sustainability issues. A key additional focus of the ASBG will now include a heavier focus on climate change and energy efficiency issues.

ASBG has a Brisbane office, headed by Rowan Barber, State Manager Queensland –
ph (07) 3040 2270.

ASBG Seminars

View the workshop flyer and agenda


12 November, 2009

thank you Peter Garrett MP - Federal Minister for the Environment

I TAKE my duty as Environment Minister very seriously. To protect Australia's environment on the basis of the best available scientific evidence and after considering the Traveston Dam proposal and the best available scientific evidence and other material that is in front of me, it's my intention to say "no" to Traveston Dam.

My proposed decision is based on science. It's clear to me that the Traveston Dam cannot go ahead without unacceptable impacts on matters of national environment significance.
In particular, the project would have irreversible, adverse affects on nationally listed species such as the Australian lung fish, the Mary River turtle and the Mary River cod - both of those endangered - and that these adverse effects would contribute to the further decline of the species.
In making my decision - a proposed decision - I've also considered the social and economic impacts of the proposal. I've determined that any possible economic or social benefits are likely to be outweighed by the unacceptable impacts on listed threatened species.

Now I know that there's been massive public interest in this proposal and I'm aware of many, many submissions that have been made to the Government.
I've looked very closely at the material provided to me by my department. I visited the site. I have a robust record for making sound decisions under the national environment legislation.
This has been a difficult decision. I've considered it carefully, thoroughly and comprehensively.

It's important to note that I have made - already - decisions in favour of the construction of dams; the Wyaralong Dam here in southeast Queensland and additions to a dam in the ACT at Cotter.
But I've come to the view, after considering very closely all the relevant matters that I'm required to under the national environment legislation, including social and economic matters, that this dam in my view should not proceed.
There are specific and additional matters that I've taken advice and received advice on.

They are that the areas to be flooded and the affected river system will impact on important and critical habitat of important populations of the Mary River cod, the Mary River turtle and the lung fish.

There's likely to be significant disruption to critical ecological processes for these species; breeding, recruitment and the connection between populations.
I'm not satisfied that the impacts on the long-term survival of these species would be adequately addressed by the mitigation and offset measures proposed.
The measures proposed, such as fish passage devices and the proposed turtle ramp, haven't been proven and they can't be verified until after the dam is built and operating, and sufficient time passes so monitoring can be done.
And the Mary River turtle was likely to be impacted to the extent that there could be a future decline in the species.

Additional relevant matters that have informed my proposed decision include our international obligations to protect listed threatened species; that the economic benefits of this proposal were uncertain; and that under the (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation) Act, I must consider the precautionary principle when making any decision of this kind and I've done that.

The fact is that this proposal in my view will have unacceptable impacts on threatened species that are nationally protected, and as a consequence I don't consider that the dam should proceed.
Our precautionary principle, our international requirements and considering broader social and economic interests as well, confirm that proposed decision for me.
I conclude by making a simple point: Australia's environment is of importance to all Australians. And those nationally listed species we need to protect to the best possible extent that we can.

It's my duty as Environment Minister and my proposed decision that I'm making today is made in that context. And finally saying that, I recognise that the overall threats to freshwater species in our country are great.
I take my duty as Environmental Minister very, very seriously and on that basis I've made this proposed decision about the Traveston Dam proposal today.

11 November, 2009


Campbell Newman
Lord Mayor

the Honourable Rachel Nolan,
Minister for Transport,

Councillor David Hinchliffe
Central Ward

Dear Lord Mayor,

The following story is a work in progress. Perhaps you can assist me by telling me and my 8 week old daughter how the story might end!!

How will historians (and poets) remember you?


Rowan Barber
Normanby Q 4059

Now the car addicts of Brisbane were dependent on cars.
The cyclists of Brisbane clung to their handle bars.
The roads were quite wide; there was plenty of room.
So you think the cyclists & car drivers would be happy to zoom.
But those in their cars, would yell out in vain,
"Hey you, you cyclists, get out of our lane."

With the soot in the air, cyclists would cough and they'd snort,
For some space on the road a fight would be fought.
And as for pedestrians who resorted to walking,
the car addicts zipped past them without even baulking.

When the car addict's children were dropped off at school,
those who rode bikes or walked were considered un-cool,
Yet they lined up for blocks in the school traffic jams,
you’d think it would be better if they all caught a tram

When the car addicts of Brisbane drove their cars to the coasts,
the traffic was grid locked, while the trains carried ghosts,
they never considered the gases emitted.
Along side the roads was the stuff that they littered.
They commuted to work, they parked there all day,
and didn't think twice of the price that they paid.

Then one day, it seems, while the car addicts
were static, just static grid locked in the traffic,
sitting there, wishing the congestion would ease,
up popped a stranger who was aiming to please.

"My friends, " he announced in a voice almost human,
"I want to be Lord Mayor ‘can-do’ Campbell Newman”.
“I've heard of your traffic; and I have a suggestion
I can fix that; I am the ‘can-do’ of congestion.

I've come here to help you; I’ve seen your dismay,
My tolls will low, and I’ll show the way,
and my public private partnership will be user-pay."

Then quickly, the Lord Mayor ‘can-do’ Campbell Newman,
Proposed a truly remarkable solution.
Then he said, "You want to drive freely from A to B?
I’ll build you a tunnel for a billion dollars or three.
You know you can trust me, I am a man of my word,
Just keep me in office and call me “my Lord"

They elected him Mayor with a nod and a wink.
The Coro Drive bus lanes disappeared in a blink
He dug North-South bypass, he built Hale Street Link .

When the car addicts drove he would charge them a toll!
They actually paid to go down through his hole!
Then as time went by more cars filled the tunnel,
they closed surface roads so the traffic would funnel.
then grid lock returned, and traffic it queued.
the Emperor in new clothes now appeared to be nude!"

"Good grief!" groaned the ones who had been gridlocked before.
"We're no better off, perhaps worse off, we’re not sure.
We are stuck on a freeway in a tunnel they all frowned,
We just took the same problem and moved it underground

Then up stepped Can-do with a nudge and a wink, and he said,
"Things are not quite as bad as you think.
We’ll just make them wider and longer and deeper”.
Their addiction to cars was not going to get cheaper.

So they dug more tunnels and added more lanes
and then had to build wider, longer, deeper storm drains
“we need more bridges & tunnels, " said Can-do.
When you build a new sewer people don’t do more poo,
but when you make the roads wider more people will drive,
Like swarms of angry bees when you mess with their hive.

....to be continued

Anna the Premier

In the far-away place known as the State of Queensland,
Anna the Bligh was Premier in command.
A quiet little place. There were jobs & low debt.
The weather was warm. The water was wet.
Queenslanders had everything Queenslanders might need.
And they were all happy. Quite happy indeed.

They were... until Anna, Premier Anna the Bligh,
She decided the State that she ruled was too dry.
"Water", said Anna, "is needed to keep us all fine.
But we don't have enough. We'll build desal, a new dam and a massive pipeline".

I can dam the poor Mary,
I can suck the coast dry,
To hell with the turtles & lung fish that die.
"If we have more water, how much greater I'd be!
What a Premier! I'd be, much better than Premier Beattie, you see!"

So Anna, the Premier, lifted her hand
And Anna, the Premier, gave a command.
She ordered a desal for Tugan
CMF RO at Bundamba
And, a dodgy impact assessment for Traveston Dam, ha.
She connected a grid of pipes hundreds of miles long.
And she built pipelines to pump purified sewage to Tarong.
And then Anna was pleased that her State could be wet.
What a wonderful water grid but she was not finished yet.

For then Premier Anna, she still wanted more,
She decided the State that she ruled was too poor.
"Cash", said Anna, "is needed to run our economy.
But we don't have enough. Global Financial crisis stole it from me".

I can sell off the rail,
I can sell off the ports,
The royalties from more coal,
Should add some more noughts.
"If we sell more coal, how much greater I'd be!
What a Premier! I'd be, much better than Premier Beattie, you see!"

So Anna, the Premier, lifted her hand
And Anna, the Premier, gave a command.
She sold the rail and the ports and more coal mine leases.
Instead of golden eggs she had sold off the geeses.
She made Stanwell, Tarong & Swanbank Callide burn coal.
The rest went to Asia, leaving behind lots of holes.
And then Anna the Premier was pleased with the collection.
What a wonderful war chest, let's hold an election!

Another Letter to Premier Anna Bligh & Treasurer Andrew FraserShare

Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Anna Bligh

Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development
The Honourable Andrew Fraser

Dear Premier Bligh & Treasurer Fraser,

What will it take for you to make the connection between coal & catastrophic climate change?


Rowan Barber

Joint Statement:
Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Anna Bligh

Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development
The Honourable Andrew Fraser

Premier drops in on new developments set to unlock Galilee Basin's potential

More than 100 million extra tonnes of coal could be exported every year from Queensland with $25 billion of new projects in the Galilee Basin under consideration by the State Government.

Premier Anna Bligh and Treasurer Andrew Fraser visited the area to the North of Alpha today with Waratah Coal officials on their way to the Premier's 19th Community Cabinet as leader of the state in Barcaldine and Longreach.

"The Coordinator-General is currently conducting whole-of-government environmental assessments into three significant projects that have the potential to create up to 13,000 new construction jobs and around 4,400 operational jobs," said the Premier.

"There are three new mines proposed near the town of Alpha with the potential to add another 100 million tonnes of coal to the state's leading export industry.

"Waratah Coal proposes to spend $7 billion to kick-start this region with the establishment of a 40 million tonne per annum coal mining operation.

"Waratah's proposals alone could create 7000 construction jobs and more than 1500 ongoing jobs."

The Premier said the massive level of investment was exactly what the region needs to be a success.

"We're talking about potential economic and social benefits in this region and also far beyond the towns in the west. Taxes and royalties from projects like these support new jobs and services around the state," said the Premier.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser said that Hancock Prospecting is the other major player in the region and plans to spend $16.5 billion on development of its Alpha and Kevin's Corner mines.

"Coal would be transported more than 400 km by rail to a new Abbot Port terminal for export and the mines could begin shipping their product by 2013," he said.

"Although these projects must still satisfy all approvals and receive company sign-off there is reason to be excited about this largely untapped region. "

As well as the mines, the project proponents are also planning to provide new rail lines, port infrastructure, water supplies and airport facilities worth billions of dollars.

The Premier said that to help the region's development the State Government has established a group to examine how proponents could align their plans, particularly for infrastructure.

Ms Bligh said the Galilee Basin Common Issues Forum (GCIF) was already identifying common goals among stakeholders and opportunities for cooperation, including on a common rail corridor and port facilities.

"The first meeting, chaired by the Department of Infrastructure and Planning, was held in September with representatives from Hancock, Waratah, Vale, AMCI, Bandana Energy, Queensland Coal Corporation, QER and Linc Energy," she said.

"Officers from several state agencies attended, along with Barcaldine Regional Council, Whitsunday Regional Council and the Queensland Resources Council.

"They discussed the planning and infrastructure task including power, water, roads, air transport, service industries, worker accommodation and regional housing implications, skills and training, regional benefits/impacts and community liaison.

"We will continue to work with these companies and do everything we can to facilitate them to get these projects off the ground."

Contacts 07 32244500

Waratah Coal

Galilee Coal Project (northern export facility)

Production up to 40 million tonnes of coal per annum with capacity for expansion
Expected capital cost in the order of $7 billion
Proponent is preparing its EIS
Involves construction of an open-cut coal mine and attendant infrastructure to the northwest of Alpha, approximately 450 kilometres west of Rockhampton
A new rail line is proposed to link the mine to the Abbot Point State Development Area (APSDA) near Bowen and the proposed port of Abbot Point for export
Total employment 6000 people during construction and 760 permanent positions
Initial exports are targeted for the second half of 2013
Hancock Prospecting

Alpha Coal Project

The proposed open-cut mine is expected to be developed in stages and have an initial export capacity of 30 million tonnes per annum
Expected capital cost of $7.5 billion
Proponent is preparing its EIS
Proposal includes a mine and construction of a railway to an expanded facility at Abbot Point or new export terminal to be established at Dudgeon Point
New major water and power supply infrastructure would be necessary to service the mine and port
Initial exports are targeted for 2013
Project could create employment for 2500 people during construction and 1600 permanent positions during operations
Hancock Prospecting

Kevin's Corner

Forecast export capacity of 30 million tonnes per annum
Expected capital cost of $9 billion
Draft Terms of Reference for the project now released by the Coordinator-General for public feedback
Proposal includes an open-cut and underground coal mine at Kevin's Corner, 56km north of Alpha in the Galilee Basin
Mine could create more than 2500 construction jobs and 2000 ongoing jobs
First coal could be exported in 2013

Here's Sara Svensson's speech from the press conference in Barcelona:

My name is Sara Svensson, and I'm from Sweden. Tomorrow is my 25th birthday,
but I won't be eating birthday cake this year.

I’ve been involved in different kinds of climate activism for most of my
life. I studied International Project Management for Social Movements and
NGOs, combined with environmental science. *
I have committed to participate in Climate Justice Fast, an international
hunger strike for climate justice. From today and until we meet again in
Copenhagen, I will be eating nothing and drinking only water.

The end date of the fast is still open. When I break the fast depends on
what happens in the climate negotiations and in the world. The only thing I
can guarantee is that I will end the fast if our demands are met.

Climate change is the defining issue for my generation. Previous generations
did not understand the problem, and for future generations it will be too
late to do something about it. It is up to us.

I'm undertaking this fast out of love. Love for life, for our beautiful
planet with all its species and future generations. There's nothing more
important I can do in my life than to contribute in the strongest possible
way, with full devotion, to set an end to climate change and injustice and
be part of the movement that will lead us to a sustainable future.

I'm showing how much I care. How much I'm willing to risk, how much I'm
prepared to offer. How deeply devoted I am to this cause. I hope that it
will inspire others and help the necessary shift to happen.

I love life and health, but I'm willing to risk it to secure the survival of
others. Food is good, chewing is fun and I will miss jumping around full of
energy. It will not be easy to abstain from something as essential as food.

Still, my personal sacrifice is nothing compared to the suffering of the
hundreds of thousands of people who already die from climate change each
year, and the many millions of people who would be suffering in the years to
come if we would fail to solve climate change. Voluntarily abstaining from
food is not easy, but it's possible. Solving climate change is also not an
easy task, but it's possible, and we will.

This is the right thing to do at the right time. Turn to essentials, turn to
emotions. The pure, the true, the real. Touch hearts. Push the limits, move
on to the next level.

I will enjoy this peaceful time to reflect while others are busy. We will
focus on the big picture while COP15 gets lost and stuck in a thousand

Now is the time to mobilise the movement for change.

We call on all people to get involved in the climate movement. We know the
science. Educate yourself. Think about what's most important? Change your
mindset. Your goal in life can't be a comfortable life where you consume
everything you want. Widen your perspective. Think of the invisible
consequences behind your actions. Challenge yourself.

No specific person is to blame. There's no single enemy responsible for
causing the problem. Yet climate change is happening, and it’s deeply unjust
and immoral. With knowledge comes responsibility. We ask every single person
on this planet to seek for solutions within themselves, and find the courage
to act with global consciousness.

Hunger striking is a positive act of humble nonviolence that we are
undertaking as extremely concerned citizens. Judging from the support we are
getting, a lot of people feel the same way.

We're not only in a climate crisis, but also a democracy crisis. We must
highlight the failure of our democracies to reflect the best interests and
opinions of their population.

Many species throughout history have polluted, consumed or overpopulated
themselves into extinction. But if we as humanity fail to solve the climate
crisis, we may well become the first species who has done so in full
knowledge and awareness of its own actions. I believe in humanity, we can't
be that stupid.

Climate change is an opportunity to redefine our common values, and to
create the just and sustainable world that most people everywhere want. The
world is ready for change. This is the start of the sustainability era.

To move into that era, we have to do all what we can, right now, when
there's still the smallest amount of time left. We must be able to look back
and know that we did all what we could do. Maybe I’ll have children one day,
and I must be able to look them in the eye.

Sara Svensson

19 July, 2009

Marketing: the final frontier

I actually think that “marketing” is the frontier for sustainability.

Activism, campaigning and political lobbying are all necessary. However “sustainability” and its features and benefits needs to be sold to the masses.

When one looks at the history of the consumerist society. One can observe the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues. (www.storyofstuff.com) “Consumerism” probably started in earnest post World war II, to keep the manufacturing industries churning when the demands of war were quenched by a couple of atomic bombs.

In order to create a more sustainable and just world, I believe we need to counter and reverse the messages of “consumerism” and actually educate consumers of the benefits of sustainability and the consequences of rampant consumption.

Concurrently, we need to sell the message to retailers, suppliers & manufacturers to consider the market advantages of selling, supplying and producing products & services that meet the needs of the current generation witout COMPROMISING the ability of future generations (or developing communities) to meet their needs.

24 May, 2009


Every day I am confronted by the way other people see the world.

Yesterday, a bloke came up to me on the street & started yelling at me for towing away his car.

At the time I was wearing a Brisbane City Council high Visibility vest (I was emptying rubbish bins). To him, I symbolised "the Council". The poor bloke was a disabilities pensioner. I was not without empathy. I called the Council Customer Service telephone line for him. They were at least able to tell him where his car had been taken and how he might go about retrieving it.

This morning another friend claimed that she needs a new car! In fact, what she wants and what she needs may be different things.

* Perhaps she need a new way of transporting her & her equipment around??

* Perhaps we need a new way of projecting her holographically on to a stage, such that she does not need to lug her equipment to a gig???

* perhaps she just needs more portable equipment????

Democracy appears to be a very cumbersome system. Politicians make assumptions about things we may want or need. Newspapers and opinion polls offer feedback on whether they think the politicians have it right.

How do I obtain the things that I need, in a way that does not compromise the ability of others (who currently share the planet or those who are yet to be born) to meet their needs?

Challenge Number One - understanding the problem: car use vs traffic congestion

Barry Broe,
Divisional Manager,
Brisbane Infrastructure,
Brisbane City Council.

Dear Mr Broe,

I recently attended a forum organised by the Society of Sustainability & Environmental Engineering called: “South East Queensland’s Transport System in the Peak Oil and Climate Change Era”. I particularly enjoyed your opening remarks about understanding the problem of “car use” vs the problem of “traffic congestion”.

The remainder of your speech was contrary to your opening remarks, with a focus on so-called “congestion busting” by duplication and augmentation of roads for private motor vehicles. I took exception to your comment “when the Northern Link goes in & it will go in”. I shall be working very hard to lobby my political representatives (cc:d) to make sure the Northern Link does not “go in” if it is going to be a four lane motor way for motor vehicles. I am celebrating the fact that the Northern Link has not attracted any federal funding.

My expertise is in water & sanitation. I see a lot of parallels in the mistakes we make with sewage and the way we deal with traffic. I am convinced we need to separate our Number ones from our Number twos at source rather than mix them, pump them vast distances and then try to separate them out again. The same applies to Public Transport and private motor vehicles. Until we separate the streams, we cannot efficiently treat the associated issues appropriately.

The distinction between sewers and roads is when one duplicates a sewer main, it does not encourage more people to poo.


Rowan Barber
Climate Campaigner

12 May, 2009

Another Letter to Campbell Newman

Campbell Newman
Lord Mayor
Brisbane City Council

Dear Lord Mayor,

I am frustrated by both the State and Brisbane City Council using reductions in GHG emissions as an excuse to build more politically popular infrastructure for motor vehicles (such as the Northern Link Tunnel).

The more roads one builds, the more lanes one adds, the more congestion one busts, the more it encourages people to drive.

From BBC's annual report:

In partnership with the Queensland Government, Council is developing a common,
intelligent, integrated road network management system to improve the coordination of the city’s 7000 kilometre road network. A pilot of the traffic signals component of the project was conducted at Indooroopilly in 2008 and demonstrated how traffic can be streamlined by synchronising traffic signals on both Council and Queensland Government-owned roads. The Indooroopilly pilot demonstrated a saving of approximately 3800 tonnes in carbon emissions per year through the reduction of travel time.

Did one take into account all the additional trips that will be made when traffic flows more freely? Does one take into account the return of congestion once equilibrium is established at a higher traffic volume?

My expertise is in water, sanitation and carbon accounting not traffic engineering. However I see a lot of parallels between the problems we are encountering on SEQ roads and the problems I have encountered in sewers. The congestion of sewers is often caused by consumer behaviour. People put things down the sewer that do not belong there (like dead pets and sump oil). The distinction between sewage and traffic is when one builds a new sewer it does not encourage people to poo more.

Is there a more robust means of GHG emissions accounting to counter the circular arguments presented to justify more "congestion busting" roads?


Rowan Barber

03 May, 2009

Clean Cows (Clean Coal, Clean Cars) & other fairy tales

Dear Minister Mulherin,

I read with interest the results of research into genetic manipulation of beef cattle. Based on Hansard, this technology may have some useful applications for Members of Parliament.

Why is the Queensland State Government (and the oppostion for that matter) so intent on sustaining the Beef industry when clearly Beef is not ecologically sustainable? The CSIRO (Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, 2003) reports that beef generates over 50 kilograms of CO2 equivalent per kilogram of Beef meat from paddock to plate. A disproportionate amount of water is used in raising cattle. 20 000 liters of water is used to produce a kilogram of steak. 40 000 litres for grain fed Beef.

Why aren't we supporting our Beef producers to transition to alternative forms of protein?

Hard hooved, water and carbon intensive beasts have no place in a Queensland landscape. Apart from coal mining, nothing contributes more to land degradation and loss of native habitat and species, than cattle grazing.

When will the Smart State make the leap of logic and move Agriculture away from intensive, hydrocarbon dependent practices?

The Queensland State Government appears to pay lip service to "Ecological Sustainable Development" without any reference to Ecology.


Rowan Barber


Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland
The Honourable Tim Mulherin

"Temperamental" humans and cows may share same genes

Some of the genes thought to cause behavioural problems in humans may also cause temperamental behaviour in cattle.

A new $1.35M Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries research project will look at how to switch that gene off in a bid to boost the beef industry.

Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin announced the project ahead of attending the Beef Australia 2009 Expo in Rockhampton.

Mr Mulherin said: "This is exciting, ground-breaking research by our scientists which could literally change the character and quality of our beef herd.

"It would provide a huge boost to Queensland's beef industry which is worth $3.7 billion a year.

"Even though cattle and humans are separated by 60 million years of evolution we share many of the same genes.

"The genes thought to cause behavioural problems in humans are also found in cattle.

"We already know there is an association between the temperament of cattle and the tenderness of the meat - the more temperamental, the less tender.

"So if our scientists can learn how to switch off the gene that causes irritability in cattle then we can produce more tender meat which has a higher value to industry.

"We're not just looking at tenderness. We're also investigating a whole range of other factors that could boost profitability.

"For instance we may be able to influence cattle to have calves earlier in the season.

"Calves born earlier are typically heavier than calves born later in the season and because the cows have calved earlier they can produce a calf once a year (instead of skipping a year) and without increasing cow mortalities.

"This is one of the most significant aspects of this research as reproduction rate is the number one driver of profitability in Northern Australian beef enterprises," Mr Mulherin said.

Leading this five-year investment in cutting edge research is Dr Brian Burns, a Rockhampton-based QPIF principal research scientist specialising in genetics and animal breeding.

Dr Burns said his research project centres around the new field of 'epigenetics' - the study of modifications to genes other than changes in the DNA sequence itself.

Dr Burns said: "We're working closely with national and international partners on expanding our knowledge of 'epigenetics'.

"Our aim is to breed cattle with the most desirable genetic characteristics for domestic and international markets.

"That will mean cattle with improved reproduction, growth, carcase, adaptation and behavioural traits and better end-product quality.

"This is new territory we are entering and we still don't fully understand the various epigenetic interactions influencing some genes that can turn these genes on or off and cause deviations from traditional inheritance patterns in cattle," he said.

"What we do know is that this project will greatly improve our knowledge of epigenetics and help achieve more consistent production traits and better end product beef quality."

The beef epigenetics project is focusing on four main outcomes for Brahman x British crossbred and tropical composite breed cattle in Queensland:

·greater reproductive efficiency

·more consistent growth

·better carcase traits

·improved temperament

·better environmental adaptation.

Dr Burns said what made this research even more important to the Queensland agricultural economy was that tropically adapted Bos indicus beef cattle breeds (which include Brahman) and their crosses with non-tropically adapted British and large European breeds, and tropically adapted Bos taurus breeds and crosses were critical for survival and production in Queensland's harsh tropical production systems.

"Brahmans and their crosses are predominant in Queensland and northern Australia," he said.

"The Bos indicus content of northern Australian beef herds rose from 5% in 1970 to approximately 85% during the 1990s.

"Therefore, the Brahman and their crosses are central to the future development and productivity of the Queensland beef cattle herd."

Dr Burns said by identifying epigenetic influences that affect reproduction, growth, carcase, environmental adaptation and behavioural traits, breeders could expect increased efficiency and profitability in their operations.

"We believe we can also ensure that Brahman crossbred heifers and cows will be more fertile throughout their production lives, with improved maternal ability and temperament, and produce beef that is even more tender," he said.

"More consistent growth would mean better and more predictable final target market liveweights and slaughter weights, which could be tailored for specific markets.

"With a better understanding of the genetic potential of individual cattle, we will be able to develop strategies for producers to harness epigenetic influences within their own cattle breeding programs."

Dr Burns said the QPIF research team would be working closely with Professor Stefan Hiendleder, Head of the University of Adelaide/Roseworthy Campus-based JS Davies Epigenetics and Genetics Group.

The research group has the molecular genetics specialists to evaluate novel aspects of growth. This JS Davies group also has a collection of embryos and foetuses that are either purebred Bos indicus or Bos taurus or their reciprocal crosses which they will use to identify imprinted genes for a broad trait spectrum in beef cattle.

Another component of the project will be led by Associate Professor Andy Herring, Texas A&M University (TAMU), who will be supporting the project using almost 50 years of post-natal growth and development, reproduction and carcass data in addition to 20 years of DNA information collected from the TAMU McGregor Genomics Project resource herds.

The epigentics data extracted from these reciprocal cross herds in Texas will help validate parent of origin effects on foetal growth, calf birth weight and life time performance in both QPI&F owned Brahman and collaborating Droughtmaster producer herds throughout Queensland.

This project will be profiled at the Beef Australia 2009 expo in Rockhampton, as part of the 5 May "FutureBeef: Smart Science, New Technologies, Profitable Beef Businesses" Seminar. The seminar will showcase the innovative work of scientists and extension officers in the field of molecular and genetic technologies and beef business management, and how this can boost the beef industry.

What: "Smart science, New technologies, Profitable beef businesses" Seminar

When: 10.30am-1pm. Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Where: Room 1, James Lawrence Pavilion, Beef Australia expo, Rockhampton Showgrounds.

Media: Mark Symons 32396530

26 April, 2009

it is high time to re-think water & sanitation in developed, Industrialised communities

The more I consider current practice in water and sanitation (particularly in my own city - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) the more ludicrous it becomes...

Most of our potable water is sourced from dams in the hinterland. There are plans to build another dam over a hundred kilometres North of Brisbane. Yet the storm water that falls on the city of Brisbane (mostly on impervious, paved surfaces is channelled to the Brisbane River, mixes with the estuarine, brackish water and flows out to sea.

A de-salination plant 100 kilometres South, draws saline water from the ocean and uses electricity to purify the sea water and pump it into the so-called "water grid".

Taking a relatively solid reside, which contains some of the most harmful bacteria known to humanity and making a 1-2% slurry, solution, pumped hundreds of kilometres to centralised sewage treatment plants is a very inefficient use of electicity and potable water.

In Brisbane, we currently purify the sewage treatment plant effluent with an energy intensive process called Continuous Mirofiltration, followed by reverse osmosis. The lunacy continues with the purified water being pumped over 70 kilometres to be used to cool the exhaust from the steam turbines of a coal fired power station.

My background is in industrial water treatment (steam generation, heat rejection, process water, corrosion mitigation, anti-scalants, emulsion breaking etc). When I apply the principles of "cleaner production" to domestic sewage treatment, the first thing that needs to be done is separation of waste streams.

In other words, no.1's need to be kept separate from no.2's.

Adding a concentrated source of Nitogen, Phosphorus and trace quantities of endrocrine disruptors to this mix is sheer stupidity, considering the difficulty ond expense of removing the N.P and endrocrine disruptors from the dilute stream.

So what is the alternative?

I understand that Urine-separating toilets have been used as an effective source control measure in many parts of Europe for years. The No.1's can be collected and used beneficially as fertiliser and are a precursor to many industrial chemicals including ammonia, pool chlorine and/or bleach.

The No.2's contain many pathogens, which can be disinfected through dessication and/or heat. Once treated, this residue is a useful soil conditioner and source of organic material. It could even be digested and the biogases could be used to generate electricity.

There is billions of dollars tied up in the infrastructure that perpetuates this system. There is inertia and resistance to change. So just because this is the way it is always been done, does not mean we have to keep doing it this way.

Subvert the dominant paradigm. Lobby your local Authorities and install a urine separation toilet.

17 April, 2009

beef means burps

Anna still does not make the connection between cars, coal and COWS and climate change.

Joint Statement: Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Anna Bligh

Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland
The Honourable Tim Mulherin


Backing beef in Rocky: Bligh

The Beef Australia 2009 expo to be held in Rockhampton next month is expected to inject millions of dollars into the local economy and significantly boost export trade income.
In celebrating the eighth Beef Australia Expo (Mon 4 to Sat 9 May), the Queensland Government will have a significant presence through pavilions, property tours, mobile office, meetings, committees, trade fairs, seminars and workshops.
Premier Anna Bligh said with more than 60, 000 people expected to attend from around Australia and overseas, it would be a great forum to showcase the best that the Queensland beef industry had to offer in terms of science, sustainability and innovation.

"This is an excellent opportunity to see first-hand how Queenslanders work hard to produce the best beef in the world, create a strong industry powered by bright ideas, and protect our lifestyle and environment," Ms Bligh said.

"Domestic and international exhibitors will demonstrate the latest industry innovations from genetics to live cattle, and handling equipment to cattle management software.

"A strong trade focus makes Beef Australia 2009 the perfect opportunity to make contact with the widest possible number of beef and cattle suppliers in the one place at the one time in Australia," she said.

Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten said at Beef 2006 expo, about 60,000 people attended with an estimate of over $50 million dollars generated from trade.

"Rockhampton is the beef capital of Australia and we are proud to host the Beef expo, which attracts a range of people from the general public through to major players in the beef industry," Mr Schwarten said.

"The five-day Beef 09 expo will feature Australia's largest stud, carcass and commercial cattle competitions as well as property tours, seminars and hundreds of domestic and international trade exhibitors."

Primary Industries and Fisheries is the lead agency for the Queensland Government's involvement with Beef Australia 2009.

Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Minister Tim Mulherin encourages delegates to visit the Queensland Government Pavilion for information about skilling and careers, business and community development, science and innovation, sustainability and health.

"Biosecurity Queensland Officers will be available to answer any farm biosecurity issues as well as presenting the latest National Livestock Identification System (NLIS)Express mobile phone software technology," the Minister said.

"There will be daily Queensland wine tastings and safe food production lunchtime activities.

"At the Durack Pavilion, Primary Industries and Fisheries will also be launching the Australian Tropical Livestock Genetics website, which will provide a primary access point to overseas customers interested in purchasing Australian tropical livestock genetics."

The Queensland Government's major business matching program Handshakes 09 will also be rolled out during the expo, providing a unique opportunity for Australian and international enterprises and specialists in the meat and livestock industry to explore business opportunities and meet face-to-face.

Mr Mulherin said the range of services and activities to be showcased at Beef 09 was proof of the government's commitment to working with industry.

"Our aim is to strengthen our producers' capabilities and improve access to new markets and deliver better trade outcomes," Mr Mulherin said.

Beef 09 delegates can also visit the Queensland Government's Mobile Office in the Centre Arena for beef services advice.

Another highlight is the comprehensive workshop and seminar program, including leucaena production, FutureBeef, livestock transport and e-business solutions.
Partnerships with Queensland Government, Austrade, the International Livestock Resources and Information Centre (ILRIC), Meat and Livestock Australia, Quadrant Australia, peak industry bodies and breed societies will see international delegations from up to 30 countries attending.

For more information visit the Beef Australia website www.beefaustralia.com.au
Media: Minister's Office 3239 3120

10 April, 2009

a message to the LORD MAYOR - Campbell Newman

Dear Lord Mayor,

A quick note to wish you well for Easter (or facsimile) and congratulate you on doing a top job.

I am pleased to see the corporate social responsibility demonstrated by Brisbane City Council in the current economic climate. It is fabulous news to hear that the Northern Link project is “on hold” for at least two years. This provides Council with an opportunity to re-consider the options and perhaps even come up with a better idea (like an iconic mass public transport system for example). The new big, phallic, super buses are a fabulous idea and are one step closer to the light rail system that Council should have built decades ago.

I applaud the improvements to day to day services provided by the Council, including street sweeping and litter collection. I have taken advantage of a wide range of energy saving options available through the Council’s Green Heart CitySmart program and I am encouraging my fellow citizens to do the same.

I would also like to thank you for an outcome that you may not have anticipated. The proposal for the Northern Link tunnel provided an excuse for the people in my neighbourhood to start talking to each other. We are now discussing how we might collaborate on a “Community Garden” somewhere in our precinct. Councillor David Hinchliffe has be very helpful and supportive. In the first instance, I am becoming involved with the community garden proposed for Victoria Park (near Bowen Bridge Road). We are also looking for suitable locations within our own precinct.

While 2009 will no doubt be a challenging year for us all, there are tremendous opportunities to move towards a more ecologically sustainable and socially responsible society.

Kind regards,

Rowan Barber

re-inventing the roo

it frustrates me that they put so much time, effort and cash into maintaining the status quo, instead of biting the bullet and looking at alternative sources of protein (apart from cow & sheep) like roo, mushrooms etc....

James thinks it's funny that they're trying to turn cow's into Kangaroos when they could just use Kangaroos. "they're politicians, they have to look for solutions that will win votes".

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: statements@qld.gov.au
Subject: Winds of climate change for gassy cows
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 10:07:53 +1000

Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland
The Honourable Tim Mulherin

06/04/2009 Winds of climate change for gassy cows

The Queensland Government has secured funding for three new, major research projects aimed at cutting the greenhouse gas belched out by livestock.

Primary Industries and Fisheries in the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), and the University of Queensland (UQ) were successful in obtaining three of the Federal Government's 18 emission reduction projects.

Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Tim
Mulherin said the projects focus on minimising methane emissions from cattle and sheep.

Mr Mulherin said: "Many people don't realise that livestock produce serious quantities of methane - affecting the earth's temperature and climate system.
"In fact, methane 'burped out' by sheep and cattle contributes up to 14% of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions.

"We are already known for cutting edge research on this problem - in particular investigating whether bacteria from kangaroos, which are largely methane-free, can be implanted in cattle and sheep to reduce their methane production.

"These three new projects are in addition to that research.
Almost $1 million has been allocated to the projects, which aim to be completed in the next three years," Mr Mulherin said.

Primary Industries and Fisheries senior principal research scientist and UQ associate professor in animal nutrition Dr Athol Klieve outlined the projects.
Dr Klieve said: "One project centres on using viruses that attack methane-producing microbes in the guts of cattle and sheep.

"We are sure these viruses exist, we just have to isolate them.
"Another project will investigate boosting livestock feed by adding lipids (oils).
"Improving feed quality with lipids automatically improves the condition of the animal and cuts the amount of methane produced. It also reduces the organisms in the gut that produce methane.

"The third project will investigate the value of microbes that turn the methane produced in the gut back into hydrogen and carbon dioxide," Dr Klieve said.
Mr Mulherin said: "If we began reducing methane emissions now, we could see a change in 10 to 20 years.

"These projects could help achieve that while also contributing to increased productivity within the beef, lamb, dairy and wool industries," he said.
"The scientists and PhD students in Primary Industries and Fisheries Rumen Ecology Unit are excited to be involved with these projects that could potentially achieve significant cuts to Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions for the future."
The projects are co-funded through the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry's Climate Change Research Program in conjunction with Meat and Livestock Australia.

For more information on animal science, visit the Primary Industries and Fisheries website at www.dpi.qld.gov.au or call the Business Information Centre on 13 25 23.

Media: 32396530

26 March, 2009

Premier Bligh Re-arranges the deck chairs on the "Bounty"

The Honourable Anna Bligh


{in a return to the days of Sir Joh - the Queensland Government is consolidated into a dictatorship. Jobs take precedence of ecological sustainable development. The Smart State reverts to the Coal State}

The Queensland Public Service will undergo its most sweeping and significant reform in almost two decades with the existing 23 stand-alone government departments streamlined into 13.
Following the swearing-in of her new look Cabinet today, Premier Anna Bligh announced plans to dramatically modernise Government and deliver better coordination and better service delivery to Queenslanders.

{by better coordination and service delivery - She means you will get sports stadiums, tunnels and freeways whether you like it or not}

Ms Bligh said the shakeup would see the 13 new departments lead by the government's 18 Ministers grouped under six clusters -
* Policy and Fiscal Coordination (selling coal) ,
* Employment and Economic Development (mining coal),
* Environment and Sustainable Resource Management (filling in holes where the coal was) ,
* Social Development (filling in holes where the coal was) ,
* Law, Justice and Safety (protecting coal miners from activists) ,
* Government Services (moving coal around),

- reflecting the Bligh Government's priorities of employment (coal) , social development (coal) , environment (coal holes) and law and justice (all Queenslanders are equal but some are more equal than others).

Ms Bligh stressed there would be no job cuts under the restructure of 23 stand-alone departments into a streamlined 13, with any efficiency savings redirected to front-line services.
"I made a commitment to Queenslanders that I would change the face (facade) of this Government and deliver better front-line services and to do this, Queensland requires a modern public service structure," Ms Bligh said.

"This is about simplifying Government, reducing bureaucracy and cutting red tape." (fast tracking coal mines, rail for coal mines, solids to liquids and keeping Queenslanders dependant on coal, cars and cows).

"Under the changes, similar or complimentary departments will be grouped together under six clusters encompassing 13 'super departments' to allow better coordination of services (less transparency or democracy).

"For example under the Social Development cluster, the new Communities Department will include Community Services, Housing, Local Government, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Partnerships, Disability Services and Multicultural Affairs and Child Safety and Sport.

"The new Department of Employment and Economic Development will encompass the new employment and economic development responsibilities of the Treasurer along with Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Trade, Primary Industries, Fisheries and Tourism and Fair Trading.

"Ministerial portfolio responsibilities will remain unchanged and I want to assure all public servants - particularly those on the front-line - that I stand by my commitment to jobs, not job cuts and this reform does not mean jobs will be lost.

Ms Bligh said the changes would be of particular benefit to regional Queensland.
"This will put more regional services under the one roof, making access a lot easier through departmental one-stop-shops."

The new departments are:

* Premier and Cabinet
* Treasury
* Health
* Employment and Economic Development
* Infrastructure and Planning
* Transport and Main Roads
* Environment and Resource Management
* Communities
* Education and Training
* Justice and Attorney-General
* Police
* Community Safety
* Public Works

Ms Bligh said the Machinery of Government changes would take effect immediately.
"I have told my new Ministers I want them to hit the ground running, and I have told my Director-General that I expect the same of these new departments.
"I want to see the efficiency of services at the front-line as quickly as possible," she said.
26 March 2009
Media: 3224 4500

21 March, 2009

Queenslanders have no real options - Democracy is failing us

Today Queenslanders will decide who leads our great State through the biggest challenge of modern times - the Global Financial Crisis.

{and the challenge of addressing anthropogenic climate change will not be addressed by Labor or the Liberal-National Party}

This election gives Queenslanders a clear choice;

{like choosing between syphilis and gonorrhea}

A choice between my Government's experienced leadership team, or Lawrence Springborg's untried and untested front bench - only Labor can provide stable majority government.

{by stable - she means autocratic}

A choice between my plan to shield the Queensland economy from the impact of the financial crisis,

{by continuing to exploit the natural environment like there is no tomorrow}

or Lawrence Springborg's plan to cut $1 billion by scrapping thousands of jobs in construction and vital services. How will that help our hospitals and schools?

{a tenuous leap of logic between jobs and hospitals and schools: by construction, she is referring to:
  • more roads for motor vehicles;
  • rail for coal miners;
  • centralised services like the water grid

During my 17 months as Premier, I've worked hard to keep Queensland strong.

{by strong she means arrogant and pig headed - particularly about Traveston Crossing Dam}

But I know my Government must work even harder to keep up with our rapidly growing population.

{rather than address the issue of population directly through regional planning and urban development plans}

That's why we've embarked on our record $17 billion building program - the biggest in the nation - that's creating 119,000 jobs.

{building stuff like shallow, leaky dams, sports stadiums and more freeways, bridges and tunnels for motor vehicles, whether we need it or not - with little thought to the consequences on Greenhouse gas emissions}

Unlike Lawrence Springborg, I won't cut those projects and will press ahead with building the roads, schools and hospitals we need for our future and protecting those precious jobs.

{precious jobs in the coal sector - who are funding the Government and the Opposition's election campaign}

My Government will work harder to support Queenslanders by further improving public services. Over the next three years, we'll deliver 1000 extra teachers, more literacy and numeracy programs in our schools, an extra 600 police, and 3500 extra doctors, nurses and allied health workers.
We'll continue investing in the nation's fastest growing health budget and build or rebuild 10 major hospitals around the State.

{treating the symptoms of a health crisis rather than community based preventative health strategies to keep people out of hospital}

My priority is protecting jobs because behind every job is a working family. I believe that at times like these, government must do more, not less, to give working families the support they need.
It has been a great honour to serve as Premier of Queensland. With your support, I'll continue to work hard to keep Queensland strong. Thank you.

17 March, 2009


what we do to earn a "living" seems so remote from what we need to live.

Late last year, I quit my cushy job with the public service. I have been attempting to forge out an existence as a mercenary envioromental consultant. Work has been erratic and teh bust of the resources boom has sent shock waves through the Engineering Consulting community.
A couple of weeks ago, I began Environmental Management within the built environment at its most fundamental.

I have taken a casual job, emptying garbage bins and cleaning toilets within the central business district.

During the week I am collecting:
By volume

* 40% MX newspapers ( a local free commuter newspaper);
* 20% bottled water containers;
* 10% soft drink bottles;
* 10% Juice foam containers;
* 10% putricibles - food scraps;
* 5% aluminium cans;
* cigarette butts and miscellaneous stuff

On the weekends there is less MX and more glass bottles....

I wrote the following to the Editor of the MX afternoon edition Newspaper:

"I just started a new job this week, picking up rubbish in the city. I just wanted to thank you (and the City’s smokers) for creating me a job. Please keep your editorial content at its current level. The front cover seems to create just enough interest for people to pick up a copy of your illustrious publication, before throwing it away (sometimes in a bin)."

Last night, they rolled out a red carpet across Elizabeth Street and while I walked the streets, emptying bins and sweeping the footpaths, the Prime Minister dined at the Irish Club. Had an American President been dining at the Irish club, they may have cordoned off the city and had secret service people everywhere.

As I cleaned the street, I compared my job to the Prime Minister's job. I think I am on a better deal. I don't take work home with me. I have reasonable flexible working hours. I don't have a great deal of stress. I wondered if the Prime Minister is on an hourly rate? I wondered if he gets paid extra when it rains?

My other thoughts last night centred around all the things I could do, that would make my job redundant. I have figured out the composition of the waste. I know the major point sources of waste generation. I have figured out cleaner production strategies for reducing the quantity of solid waste. I have even worked out strategies for resource recovery and waste minimisation that do not involved "Dumpster Diving".

14 March, 2009

my correspondence with the ACCC

5th March 2009

Neverfail bottled springwater Coca Cola Amatil

To whom it may concern,

Coca Cola Amatil (CCA) market a product called "Neverfail" with a slogan: Neverfail Springwater...the way nature intended it to be!

I have not consulted nature, but last time I checked water in high density polyethylene bottles delvered by road transport does not appear to be the way she intended....

CCA are marketing Neverfail as: "Authentic Australian spring water with a refreshing clean taste and crystal-clear presentation In reality, to obtain the taste and the presentation, the water is more likely to be processed through energy intensive continous microfiltration plants .....

I would be really interested to see the life cycle analysis and the GHG emissions associated with this form of water treatment & distribution....

I believe CCA and Neverfail are misrepresenting "Nature"....surely this is a breach of the Trade Practices Act....

Rowan Barber

Dear Mr Rowan Barber,

Thank you for your email of 5 March to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regarding Coca Cola Amatil.

The role of the ACCC is to ensure compliance with the Trade Practices Act 1974 (TPA), which is designed to encourage fair trading and discourage anti-competitive conduct through a specific set of competition and consumer protection rules.

Section 52 of the TPA prohibits corporations engaged in trade or commerce from engaging in behaviour that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive. While the claim that the bottled water is intended by nature might be difficult to sustain, it should be appreciated that there is a fine line between mere exaggeration on the one hand and misleading conduct on the other. The courts have recognised that a degree of latitude is to be allowed in relation to advertising. It is, by its nature, likely to reflect the enthusiasm of the advertiser to place its product or service in a favourable light and consumers generally understand this. The test to be applied is one of reasonableness. Ordinary readers can and do read between the lines in the light of general experience and knowledge. Accordingly, it is the view of this office that a court is unlikely to consider the any such representation made by Coca Cola Amatil would be misleading or deceptive.

In assessing any complaint, staff of the ACCC would generally determine whether or not the matter falls within the jurisdiction of the TPA, whether or not there appears to have been a breach of the TPA, and if so, whether the impact of the conduct is so serious and widespread that it is appropriate that the ACCC should take some action.

As part of its role the ACCC also monitors emerging trends across consumer and business complaints to determine whether there is a pattern of behaviour by a particular trader or in a particular industry that requires attention. In this regard, your complaint has been recorded and is an important part of our ongoing analysis.

Thank you for contacting the ACCC and I hope that the above information is of some assistance.

Yours sincerely,

ACCC Infocentre
1300 302 502

Extreme Litter Heroes

Now here's a little story
To tell it is a must
About an unsung hero
That moves away your dust
Some people make a fortune
Other's earn a mint
My child's old man don't earn much
In fact....he's flippin'.....skint

Oh, my child's old man's a dustman
He wears a dustman's hat
He wears cor blimey trousers
And he works for a council rat
He looks a proper narner
In his great big hob nailed boots
He's got such a job to pull em up
That he calls them daisy roots

Though my child's old man's a dustman
He's got a heart of gold
He started Carbon Counters
Though he's 41 years old

Prima said 'Ear! Hang on Dad
you're getting past your prime
'He said 'Well when you get to my age
''It helps to pass the time'

Oh, my old man's a dustman
He wears a dustman's hat
He wears cor blimey trousers
And he works for a council rat

Next time you see a dustman
Looking all tired and sad
Don't kick him in the dustbin
It might be Prima's dad

11 March, 2009

What would I like MARK WOOD to help fix in BRISBANE CENTRAL?

Mark Wood
Candidate for Brisbane Central

Dear Mark,

I just received a flyer from you in the mail, with the question: “What would I like MARK WOOD to help fix in BRISBANE CENTRAL?”

1. Would you please stop Lord Mayor Campbell Newman from building TRANSAPEX and the Northern Link Tunnel for motor vehicles and suggest that he build an iconic public mass transport system instead?
2. Would you consider decentralised water supply systems and allow urine separation, dry composting toilets within urban areas?
3. Would you introduce more decentralised energy generation capacity and a rapid phase out of our reliance on coal fired power?
4. Would you please provide assistance for cattle farmers to transition to growing alternative forms of protein?
5. Would you not only protect Prime Agricultural land from mining but also protect forests from land clearing?

While Health, infrastructure, Schools etc are important the most significant issue for me and my 14 week old embryo is Climate change. One of the most significant global threats today and Extreme Weather (fires, floods, freak events) is of major public concern in Australia. Yet I find that substantive action on climate change within the state of Queensland is sadly lacking. For over ten year period a Federal Liberal-National Government presided over climate change denial. I would be interested to know what has changed in the LNP.

I am campaigning the conservatives to consider cars, coal & cows culpable for climate change.


Rowan Barber
Non-partisan Climate Advocate

09 March, 2009

Qld Greens are too soft core

Our politicians have failed us.

We cannot sit and wait for them to act on Climate change. Clearly they are not going to.

Every consumer choice we make is a vote for or against the planet. If everybody (including industry) stopped buying coal fired electricity, they might actually stop making it.


Rowan Barber

Carbon Counters Pty Ltd


Sent: 09 March 2009 06:24To: 'ronan.lee@parliament.qld.gov.au'; 'leeronan@hotmail.com'; 'Indooroopilly Electorate Office'Cc: 'brisbane.central@qld.greens.org.au'

Subject: FW: Ronan Lee eNews - a commitment to jobs, light rail and new rail links

Ronan Lee
Incumbent Member for Indooroopilly

Dear Ronan,

I am frustrated with the QLD State election campaign. Even the Greens seem to miss the point.

You and Drew have a few ideas but in reality the Greens appear to be so focused on appealing to the mainstream that they are missing the critical issues.

Cars, Coal & Cows cause Climate Catastrophies!

Climate change is one of the most significant global threats today and the issue is of major public concern in Australia. Yet we find that substantive action on climate change within the state of Queensland is sadly lacking.

The reality of the situation is that drastic structural changes will be necessary to break my society's addiction to fossil fuels.

The QLD Greens are still very soft core.


Rowan Barber
Non-Partisan Climate Advocate

From: Indooroopilly Electorate Office [mailto:Indooroopilly@parliament.qld.gov.au]
Sent: 08 March 2009 18:27To: Indooroopilly Electorate Office
Subject: Ronan Lee eNews - a commitment to jobs, light rail and new rail links

Ronan Lee MP - Indooroopilly eNews March 8th, 2009
In this edition:
1. Ronan Lee launches Greens campaign with commitment to jobs, light rail, new rail links
2. Greens announce plans for FREE public transport for students and young people
3. Sustainable jobs package for Queensland
4. Do you need a Postal Vote?

1. Ronan Lee launches Greens campaign with commitment to jobs, light rail, new rail links Ronan Lee yesterday launched the Greens campaign for the Queensland State election with a commitment to a new light rail network for Brisbane, a plan to create jobs by making Queensland the renewable energy and sustainable industry capital of Australia and new rail links to Bellbowrie (via Darra), Toowoomba, Redcliffe and a passenger service for Beaudesert.
New Light Rail Plans The Greens will build a light rail network for the Greater Brisbane area.

This will include:
* A Northern Line to Aspley
* A North-West Line to Bridgeman Downs
* The Gap Line to Brisbane Forest Park
* The Western Line through Kenmore and Moggill, linking up with the Ipswich rail line
* The University of Queensland Line and
* The Eastern Line to Capalaba.
* The South East line – making use of the existing busway.

Queensland’s bus ways are designed to be capable of running light rail and we will make sure that we take full advantage of this.

This light rail network will fill in gaps in the heavy rail system and give Brisbane a world class public transport system. We would be applying to the Federal Government under their new public transport funding program to underwrite part of the cost.

A helping hand for renewable energy to create jobs Our vision for a new Queensland is based on building a diverse, strong economy that pollutes less, generates clean energy and employs more people.

The Greens want Queensland to be the world leader in the creation of green jobs and we want green companies to come to Queensland. These companies sometimes need a helping hand when they are locating in Queensland for the first time.

The old parties were quick to give financial incentives to the Indy car race and Virgin airlines but they have refused the same opportunities for manufactures of solar cells.

For the lack of any meaningful incentive from the State Government the Spark Solar company, which has been given Major Project Facilitation status by the Federal Government and which has the potential to be the largest supplier of solar cells in the Southern Hemisphere, states on its web site that it is looking to base themselves in one of the southern cities. At full production, the factory is initially expected to produce more than 10 million solar cells each year, generating an estimated $135 million in annual export revenue and employing more than 115 Australians in high tech positions.

The Queensland government’s refusal to understand the potential of renewable energy is costing Queenslanders jobs and holding back our economy.

The Greens will waive all State Government levies, fees and charges for any company generating green jobs that comes to Queensland. This won’t cost the taxpayer one cent because these are new companies.

New Rail lines Green action will create jobs by building new rail links to Toowoomba, Redcliffe, Bellbowrie via Darra, a passenger service for Beaudesert and speeding up construction on the Springfield and Sunshine Coast lines.

New trains built in Queensland and new rail lines mean more jobs for Queenslanders, a better transport system, less traffic congestion. This is win-win but the old parties can’t see the job opportunities here.

And we will fund these important commitments from the massive savings that will be made when we stop pointless billion dollar road proposals like the Kenmore Bypass. Our plan will solve transport problems not just shift them the way the old parties would.

2. Greens announce plans for FREE public transport for students and young people The Greens today announced at the University of Queensland Market Day a plan for free public transport for young people in Queensland.Under the Greens' plan young people under 22 years of age and all students would ride free on all trains, buses ferries and CityCats.Greens MP for Indooroopilly Ronan Lee said such a policy was important because it provided young people with free public transport to encourage them to use and learn more about the system before they learned how to drive. This means they were less likely to become habitual car drivers.Students and young people would register for an EasiCard which would use the GoCard system and provide them with free transport."This scheme would cost the State Government $40 million a year but this would be more than compensated for by such benefits as improving safety around schools by reducing the number of vehicles dropping off students," Mr Lee said."This is a congestion-busting policy and would save future governments from having to build new roads."There's a short-term cost to the government with a long-term benefit to the community."
For more info visit: http://www.ronanleemp.com/

3. Sustainable jobs package for Queensland Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown and Greens MP Ronan Lee launched a plan to create more than 7600 green-collar jobs in Queensland.
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown and Greens MP Ronan Lee launched a plan to create more than 7600 green-collar jobs in Queensland.

"The Greens will create thousands of green-collar jobs in Queensland by retrofitting homes for energy efficiency and investing in clean energy infrastructure," Senator Brown said.
"Unlike President Obama, who has committed to creating 5 million green-collar jobs, the state and federal Labor governments are spending taxpayers' money to support big banks, big polluters and big developers.

"The Greens EASI-Q program will retrofit Queensland homes with better insulation and solar hot-water tanks, reducing power bills for ordinary Australians and creating 3,200 jobs by its fifth year of operation,” Senator Brown said.

Greens MP Ronan Lee said the Labor and Liberal parties were locked into an old approach to job creation.
"There’s not a single environmentalist or renewable energy expert on the Premier’s so-called Jobs Squad," Mr Lee said.
"The Greens want to see Queensland develop an economic base that continues to create jobs into the 21st century. That’s why the Greens would invest in two 250 megawatt solar power stations for Townsville and the Darling Downs," Mr Lee said.

The solar power stations will cost a total of $4 billion, with State and Federal Governments underpinning half the cost. The development of the clean energy infrastructure will create 4,000 jobs in the construction phase with 400 ongoing jobs.

4. Do you need a Postal Vote?
If you will be away or unable to get to a polling booth on election day you can apply for a Postal Vote by downloading a form by visiting file://www.ronanleemp.com/ or you can phone Ronan on 3878 1928 or email ronan.lee@parliament.qld.gov.au and he will arrange a Postal Vote for you.

Authorised: Drew Hutton, 49 Station Road, Indooroopilly for the Greens.

Ronan Lee MP State Member for Indooroopilly Queensland Greens
Ph: 3878 1928 Ground Floor, 49 Station Road Indooroopilly Qld 4068

06 March, 2009

Environmental Management

I started a new job last night.

It is Environmental Management at its most fundamental.

I empty rubbish bins, ash trays and pick up litter.

Up until November last I was a Public Servant. I joined the QLD State Government to gain some insight into working with Bureacracy.

My ultimate goal is to work in Santitation & water in developing communities. As 7 year old child sitting in Sunday School, I listened to the missionaries describe the plight of poor people in exotic places. I did not want to go to try to save people (from their sins), I just wished I could give them water to drink and designated places to poo.

That's what got me into the profession I am now in now and has influenced my career. I have worked in industrial water & waste water in order to gain some process engineering skills. I have worked in sales to develop interpersonal skills.

Currently I am collecting waste and learning a great deal about my own society and some of the things that i would not like to see replicated in developing communities. I suspect my own society has much to learn about "resilience" and how to survive with out fossil fuels, from developing communities.

05 March, 2009

The QLD State Election - the best Candidates that money can buy

Friends of the Earth (and/or six degrees) are lobbying the Major Parties in the QLD State election to remove perverse subsidies and/or redirect subsidies to the Renewable Energy sector.

It would appear to me, that Australians (in general) want to keep on:
  • driving cars;
  • flying around in planes;
  • eat processed & refrigerated foods;
  • run their air conditioning

.....but actually would not mind if their fuel/energy came from alternatives to fossil fuels.

The incumbent Bligh Government is clearly in bed with "Big Coal". I am hoping for an "Fitzgerald-type" inquiry into the Coal-gate affair - Former state government minister Gordon Nuttall has been accused of receiving $300,000 in corrupt payments from former Macarthur Coal chief Ken Talbot between 2002 and 2005. Both men have denied doing anything wrong.

The opposition are also clearly in bed with "Big Coal" with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) reporting Mr Clive Palmer's company Mineralogy donated $542,000 to The Nationals and $100,000 to the Liberals.

23 February, 2009

Green Razor, Green Wash, Guilt Offset and Climate Change

In today's Green Razor there is a story on Green Business: "carbon negative" operations?

In my opinion, it is completely irreconcilable for individuals or a business to continue a bad practice, then buy offsets and think that it is all ok. In Green Razor, Fiji water are quoted as an example of a company going "carbon negative". Bottled water (in my opinion) is a complete waste of energy and resources. Bottled water from Fiji, shipped to developed countries seems so perverse when many people in Fiji do not have access to a wholesome Municipal supply or adequate designated places to poo. Fiji are frontline and centre for receiving some of the most serious consequences of increased incidences of extreme weather events.

The story in Green Razor states: "companies looking to brand themselves "green" are taking a new approach to reducing their carbon emissions: offsetting "double" their emissions. "The article goes on to discuss: "ecoigo, a "green" car service in London, offsets double emissions from every trip. Again, I personally find it irreconcilable that one can drive a car, knowing the connections between the peak oil and anthropogenic climate change.It shits me to tears that insurance companies like "ibuyeco" and NRMA insurance offer carbon offsets, while encouraging people to continue driving cars. Lord Mayor Campbell Newman persists with his "Tunnel Vision" for the city of Brisbane, entrenching the reliance on motor vehicles for decades to come.

The beef industry tells consumers that we were meant to eat red meat and our children will suffer learning deficits if they don't. In more recent ads, Laurie Lawrence evokes our sense of patriotism to encourage Australians to eat beef mince.....

Xstrata Coal Queensland are trying to buy favours with $750,000 over three years to improve medical and allied health facilities in the southern inland mining town of Wandoan, whilst extracting and selling coal with the full knowlegde of the likely connections between [CO2e] and extreme weather events.

For decades the tobacco industry denied the connection between smoking and health impacts. Regardless of one's views on thegreen house effect, one cannot look me in the eye and tell me that one does not think cars, cows and coal are causing immense ecological harm. One cannot tell me that there are no alternatives means of transport, protein or energy.

....end of rant...

Rowan Barber

18 February, 2009

Queensland needs safe, effective leadership more than ever (not gasification of coal)

From: Rowan Barber
Sent: 18 February 2009 14:39
To: 'Mount.Coot-tha@parliament.qld.gov.au'; 'ferny.grove@parliament.qld.gov.au'
Cc: 'Premiers@ministerial.qld.gov.au'; 'mulgrave@parliament.qld.gov.au'; 'brisbane.central@parliament.qld.gov.au'; 'Hervey.Bay@parliament.qld.gov.au'

Subject: Queensland needs safe, effective leadership more than ever

The Honourable Andrew Fraser and the Honourable Geoff Wilson

Dear Mr Fraser and Mr Wilson,

I would like to commend the Bligh Government for initiatives like the “Climate Smart” programme, aimed at helping individuals and families reduce their Greenhouse gas emissions. I would like to sincerely thank the Bligh Government for investing in establishing a second wild colony of Northern hairy-nosed wombats near Saint George. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the Honourable Warren Pitt for his service to the State of Queensland as Minister for Local Government and Main Roads. I agree wholeheartedly with the Member for Mulgrave who said: “With the worldwide economic situation becoming more dire by the day, Queensland needs the safe, effective leadership provided by the Bligh Government more than ever.”

It was heartening to read that coal tonnage forecast for the first two years of the project was 90% lower than what was originally requested. I then read in horror that the Bligh Government’s plans to allow trials of coal gasification projects to proceed. Has anyone done a greenhouse gas inventory on gasification of coal? Replacing coal fired power generation with gas fired generation from coal gasification, does not led to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Replacing liquid fuels derived from crude oil with liquids fuels derived from coal is not going to help reduce the global greenhouse gas inventory. There is no leap of logic that can possibly make “Gas derived from coal” a path to a cleaner energy future. Gas derived from coal is a path to escalating catastrophic, anthropogenic climate change. Expanding Queensland’s coal industries is not safe, effective leadership. In the emerging carbon economy there has to come a day when coal is worth more in the ground than as products of combustion in the atmosphere.

I read with interest the article in the Guardian on Sunday February 15 2009 by James Hansen one of the world's foremost climate experts. He launched an excoriating attack on Britain's long love affair with the most polluting fossil fuel of all – Coal. To see this story with its related links on the guardian.co.uk site, go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/15/james-hansen-power-plants-coal

I wonder why is the Bligh Government is putting such a disproportionate amount of money into ensuring the private companies profiteer from the extraction, processing and export of coal? At the same time, the Bligh Government appears to be sinking good money after bad into so-called “clean coal” technologies, which are decades away from any real breakthroughs. If the Government really wanted to ensure job security for QR workers, might I suggest that the Bligh Government fast track expansions of the passenger rail network to Caloundra, Maroochydore, Noosa, Redcliffe, Burleigh Heads and better networks to service the Western suburbs of Brisbane?

In the lead up to a State Election, I would like to think the Government might be more responsive to the growing tide of Queenslanders looking for cleaner, greener solutions to the economic downturn. Like California in the United States of America, Queensland could lead the way in renewable energy, creating new jobs in new industries.

It is impossible to pin any one unusual weather event (such as flooding in North Queensland or bush fires in Victoria) on climate change. However the evidence is emerging that suggests that climate change is already influencing the weather. The IPCC reports that both heat waves and intense rain events have increased in frequency during the last 50 years, and human-induced global warming more likely than not contributed to the trend. Satellite-based rainfall measurements show tropical areas got more rain in the form of large storms or light rainfall instead of moderate storms between 1979 and 2003. Since the 1970s, the area affected by drought and the number of intense tropical cyclones also have increased, trends that IPCC scientists say were more likely than not influenced by human activities.

In the wake of recent flood events, I trust that the Queensland State Government will consider re-building Green. Let’s replace roads with rail. Lets replace the burping & farting beef cattle with more sustainable agriculture. If we want to cut the extreme weather greenhouse cycle for future generations, post-disaster periods are an excellent time to rebuild green, encourage more energy efficient transport and re-think green lifestyle choices.


Rowan Barber


Minister for Mines and EnergyThe Honourable Geoff Wilson

Bligh Govt gives green light to thousands of jobs

Minister for Mines and Energy Geoff Wilson has given the go ahead for two competing industries to tap into Queensland's rich coalfields in a move that will create thousands of jobs across the state. Minister Wilson said State Cabinet had approved trials - near Chinchilla and Kingaroy in southern Queensland - of underground coal gasification, a potential new energy source. "We've come up with a solution that gives certainty to industry in tough times. This is about creating jobs and keeping the economy going," Mr Wilson said. "Two industries will benefit from our decision, but the ultimate beneficiaries will be Queensland's environment and our economy. This will generate thousands of jobs for workers around the state," he said. The State Government's decision will pave the way for the joint development of coal seam gas - a multi-billion dollar industry - and trials of underground coal gasification. "Coal seam gas is powering ahead in Queensland. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. Its success is due in no small part to our world-leading gas scheme which requires big electricity companies to source at least 13% of their energy from gas-fired generation. We're increasing it to 18% by 2020. "Gas is a vital path to a cleaner energy future. It has half the emissions of coal-fired power and it's in abundance in the Surat Basin which is set to rival the Bowen Basin as the state's economic powerhouse. "Our gas scheme is an investment in people who live and work in cities and towns like Gladstone, Miles, Chinchilla and Dalby. It's an investment in their future," Mr Wilson said. Coal seam gas converts into liquefied natural gas or LNG. There are seven LNG export projects being considered by the State Government. Cabinet's decision to progress thousands of hectares of gas acreage towards tenure approval will give certainty to the LNG projects. "When these projects are up and running, they will inject billions of dollars into Queensland's economy and lead to around 1750 jobs on site, and up to 4,000 jobs during construction stages." Mr Wilson said three pilot projects would also be able to tap into Queensland's rich coal resources. "These pilots plan to convert coal seams into a synthetic gas for power generation, industrial heating, diesel fuel and ammonia," Mr Wilson said. "Underground coal gasification is an emerging technology that's largely untested in Australia. We're going to allow trials under strict monitoring conditions. "They will have to meet the most stringent environmental standards," he said.


TreasurerThe Honourable Andrew Fraser

Bligh Government committed to Northern Missing Link

Treasurer Andrew Fraser today confirmed that the government was committed to building the Northern Missing Link project.
"We are proceeding with the Northern Missing Link project, including the doubling of Abbot Point Coal Terminal,'' he said.
''Yesterday was the date the current contracts with coal companies expire, but we have offered (through Ports Corporation of Queensland) to extend the contracts for another three months, with a further three month extension beyond that (ie to June) as we seek to provide every opportunity to the coal companies to commit to the timing and scope of the project.
''The coal companies have come to the government (through QR and Ports Corporation) saying that they now have very different tonnage profiles for the coming years.
''The downturn in the resources sector is massively reshaping the sort of volumes the coal companies believe they will need.
''Whereas we previously faced infrastructure bottlenecks, there is now going to be 30 million tonnes of spare capacity on the network this financial year.
Mr Fraser said that coal tonnage forecast for the first two years of the project was 90% lower than what was originally requested.
''We are committed to building the link, the volume it carries will be determined by what capacity the coal companies believe they want.
''In short, we will build what they want when they decide they want it.
Mr Fraser confirmed that no QR employee would lose their job.
''The alliances with the construction companies for the project remain in place,'' he said.
''The early works project is nearing completion.
''We announced the early works program previously to prepare the site for construction.
''As the early works program concludes the construction companies who are part of the alliance will seek to redeploy their staff.''

14 February, 2009

Santa Claus, the tooth fairy & clean coal

Minister for Mines and Energy
The Honourable Geoff Wilson
Tackling climate change with clever, innovative solutions

The Bligh Government has taken a major step forward [into fairy land] in tackling climate change and delivering a cleaner, greener energy future for Queensland, Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said today whilst sitting on Santa's Lap.

State Parliament has passed the Greenhouse Gas Storage Bill - new legislation to fast track the development of greenhouse gas storage in Queensland."Our new laws will pave the way for industry to explore for safe sites to store greenhouse gases," Mr Wilson said.

"It's the way of the future and it will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Queensland."It's intended to capture carbon dioxide from gas or coal-fired power plants and store it safely underground in deep reservoirs well below the earth's surface," he said.

the road to hell is paved with good intentions

Minister Wilson said the coal, petroleum and gas industries were keenly interested in greenhouse gas storage. self interest in protecting profits gained from polluting the planet"

While we push ahead with renewable energy solutions and gas-fired power, coal will continue to play a role an important role in providing the power we need to get on with our daily lives. I think getting on with our daily consumer driven lives is the root cause of the problem"Our key challenge is to use it in an environmentally-sustainable way and that's where the Bligh Government is showing real leadership," he said.

whilst openning up rail & ports to move as much coal as quickly and as cheaply as possible

Mr Wilson said Tarong Energy, a government-owned corporation, was working on a pilot project in partnership with CSIRO to capture greenhouse gases at the Tarong power station."It has the potential to capture 1500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year - enough to fill 30 million balloons."Work is also well underway on a world-first project right here in Queensland - new technology that, if successful, could be capable of cutting emissions from a typical coal-fired power station by 90%."

It's the Callide oxyfuel project, the first of its type anywhere in the world and it's being developed by CS Energy, another government-owned corporation."CS Energy will retro-fit a power station with technology that burns coal in oxygen and gases rather than air, to create a concentrated stream of carbon dioxide which can be captured, transported and stored."Governments and industry across the globe are watching and waiting on the outcome," Mr Wilson said."

As well, our ZeroGen project could become the first in the world to combine coal gasification with carbon capture and storage, to produce electricity with low carbon dioxide emissions."It's all about smarter, cleaner power - converting coal into hydrogen gas to generate power."ZeroGen plans to build a demonstration plant close to the Stanwell power station near Rockhampton.

"It aims to capture carbon dioxide released in the combustion process at the site and store it underground in deep saline reservoirs in the Northern Denison Trough," he said.Minister Wilson said the new storage technology would have to meet the most stringent environmental standards."

It's Q2 at its smartest. We're taking Queenslanders and the rest of the nation into the future with strong, smart, green solutions," he said.

if CO2 capture & storage is the answer, I think the QLD State Government is asking the wrong question!

11 February, 2009

My "beef" with the Cole's Bush fire appeal

I noticed that Coles have an appeal on:

Shop at Coles for the BUSHFIRE APPEAL
Friday 13th
All profits for the day go to the BUSHFIRE APPEAL!!!


My suggestion is to not shop at Coles.

Buy unprocesed or less processed foods from markets or a "fruit & vege" shop....Perhaps one can eat vegetarian on Friday the thirteenth. Fresh Vego food is usually much cheaper than
processed food containing meat, dairy or refrigerated products.

Perhaps one can donate the savings to the Australian Red Cross, rather than letting Coles Corporate donate their profits. Cut out the middle person, support a local business or a primary producer& reduce your green house gas inventory for a day.


I am starting a "Facebook consumer collective" on facebook to test a hypothesis:The Null hypothesis is: "a facebook consumer collective can have no influence on the global green house gas inventory."I am hoping we can prove the Null hypothesis false....it may be a little hard to measure directly.

I would be happy if the outcomes was seen in more indirect ways. Either way, I think it is worth running the experiment.


One of the thing I hope to achieve is encourage consumers to eat less beef.

Every kilo of beef generates in the order of 51 kilograms of GHGs. A kilo of veges generates less than 0.1 kilograms of GHG.

in her book: "Green is good: Smart ways to Live Well and Help the Planet", Rebecca Blackburn writes:
"Are all foods equal or are some foods worse for the environment than others? The answer is pretty simple: anything made from animal products is resource intensive-that is,it uses more than its share of resources - especially if it is factory farmed....In fact one third of the average person's footprint is due to their intake of animal based food, which is far moer than the impact of driving a car or the energy used in our homes."

I am not suggesting everyone becomes vegan or vego. I am suggesting you can choose your sources of protein.

Kangaroo is better than beef. Lamb is better than beef. Dairy is better than beef.

Perhaps one can lower one's impact by eating less processed foods (including beef) and help the bushfire appeal, without needing to support Coles Supermarkets.