• Remove the Solar DC Isolator from the Roof!
    In mid-2012, Australia and New Zealand together issued a new standard for the installation of solar arrays. This standard mandated the use of a specific piece of equipment called the "rooftop DC isolator" in Australia, and by some interpretations also in New Zealand. They did this despite evidence showing that the practice is unsafe. A study from an international testing laboratory found that DC isolators are not safe in a firefighting situation, as they can’t withstand the high-pressure water used to extinguish a fire. The California State Office of the Fire Marshall frowns upon their use, because they give a false sense of security. And Europe, the most mature solar market, opted never to adopt them, also for safety reasons. More than 70 fires in Australia have been caused by this isolator since 2012 -- that is, since it became mandatory! To put this into perspective, there were only 3 fires related to PV systems in Australia prior to the mandatory requirement to install a rooftop DC isolator. The Australian government has responded with product recalls on DC isolators, at least 5 so far, showing this crisis isn’t just limited to a single manufacturer, but to the device itself. There is no evidence to suggest the device improves the safety of a PV system: all it does is increase costs and the risk to homeowners trying to do the right thing. And that's not to mention the catch-22 for PV installers who are both legally bound to comply and obliged to keep their clients safe. Master Electricians Australia chief executive Malcolm Richards in an interview with the ABC late last year said that he says he knows of about 40 to 50 fires that have been started by the faulty isolators. "We're warning home owners to carefully check the brand of isolator that is connected to your solar panels," he said. "If it carries one of these two (recalled) brands ... undertake the isolation procedure until your electrician can come around and fix that up to eliminate or replace it."
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    Created by Lucas Sadler Picture
  • Stop Mining in Our Water Catchment
    Our Sydney water supply is currently under threat from coal mining that has been allowed under successive state governments in the southern coal fields beneath the Metropolitan water catchments' Special Areas. It is estimated that the Metropolitan catchment (Cataract, Cordeaux, Avon, Nepean and Woronora dam catchments) is losing 3 billion litres of water per year due to mining. If anyone enters these areas without permission they are liable to a $40,000 fine. Yet the Department of Planning has recommended the expansion of existing coal mines to undertake intensive longwall mining under the Cataract Dam catchment. The Metropolitan catchment contributes to 20% of Sydney's drinking water and is the sole supply of water for the Macarthur and Illawarra regions (over half a million people). Mining operations undermining the catchment of Woronora Dam have demonstrated how devastating this practice is with the sandstone creek bed of Waratah Rivulet irreversibly cracked and drained. The state government have also allowed exploratory Coal Seam Gas (CSG) wells in the Special Areas of the Warragamba and Metropolitan water catchments. There are also 95 producing CSG wells located in the Camden Gas Project with some within 200m of residences and on the flood plains of the Nepean River. The Nepean River is a source of agricultural water for the Hawkesbury/Nepean region and drinking water for North Richmond community. It is reckless to allow mining in these areas because of the risk of contamination of the surface water by fracking fluids or produced water from the coal seams. The current federal coalition government is offering incentives for state governments to sell and privatise assets. Sydney Water is a likely target as has been done in South Australia and Victoria. Experience shows privatisation leads to an increase in prices and reduction in maintenance. This is despite former Premier Barry O'Farrell's promise before the state election that a coalition government would not allow ("No ifs, No buts") mining in our water catchments. In an effort to draw these issues to the attention of the public and the candidates in the lead up to the state election on 28 March, 2015 a group of concerned citizens are embarking on a Walk for Water. This is a 160km walk from Cataract Dam to Hyde Park, Sydney between the 21-28 February. You can join us for part of the journey to show your concern for our most precious resource, water. Which is becoming even more precious in an ever expanding Sydney, in a climate that NASA and CSIRO acknowledge is trending hotter and experiencing longer, more severe drought events. You can find out more on Walk for Water at www.walk4water.net
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    Created by Michael Streatfeild
  • Preserve its Integrity! Don’t Increase Ads on SBS
    The further commercialisation of SBS will take it to the brink of a shadow of its former self and amounts to a strangling of the world’s first multicultural broadcaster. Australia's public broadcasters should be adequately funded from the public purse however despite making an election promise not to cut SBS or the ABC[1], the Abbott government has slashed funding twice to both since being elected, and now the government proposes to increase advertising on SBS radio and TV by ad-averaging[2][3]. The Lewis efficiency review into SBS was supposed to focus on back office efficiencies. More ads is hardly a back office change. It’s a full frontal in-your-face change, forever. Increased advertising will lead to SBS being less efficient in its primary function – Charter compliance – not more efficient. As a result of SBS advertising increases in recent years (due to in‑program advertising), compliance with the Charter decreased significantly[4]. http://bit.ly/1Ar1Dbt The Lewis review acknowledged there will be risks to Charter related content and LOTE programming as a consequence of further increases in advertising[5]. Reputable evidence worldwide and locally shows populist programming dominate and non-adherence to Charter is proportional to the placement of advertising[6][7]. If the review had been serious about SBS becoming more efficient in Charter compliance, this opportunity would have been used to remove in‑program commercial breaks, not ramp them up. When the Fraser Coalition government established SBS television in 1980, it was on the back of two multilingual radio stations formed under the Whitlam Labor government and bi‑partisan support for multiculturalism. SBS played and still plays an important role in social cohesion and inclusion in Australia however this drastic commercialisation threatens its special purpose. SBS is already conflicted with the current placement of commercial breaks inside programs, and an increase in advertising will only further make the advertiser the client, instead of the viewer. Until 2007, SBS did not have ads within programs but side-stepping the Parliament, community debate and the courts, SBS exploited a loophole in the law to do so. Any further increase in advertising will critically jeopardise the integrity and mandate of SBS, and undermine its ability to espouse multiculturalism, social cohesion and inclusion. Audiences love SBS and would love it a whole lot more without more commercial breaks continually disrupting programs. It is not fair play to increase advertising, take money from and reduce the budget set aside for SBS. Financially, SBS is a very efficient broadcaster operating on a budget that is far less than any other network. “This is no way to treat SBS which has made a remarkable contribution to the success of Australia as an inclusive and cohesive multi-culture. And you’d think in terms of counter terrorism the role of SBS in inclusion and cohesion would be more important now than ever before. What we’ve got here is an ideological aversion to public broadcasting”[8]. This changes the dynamic of any government commitment to multiculturalism and the role of SBS as a valuable link in engaging culturally and linguistically diverse people in a socially cohesive society, furthermore if the proposal becomes law, SBS will be required to hand over the advertising revenue from increased ads to government. Nothing in the Minister's statement[9] requires SBS part with any ad revenue if the proposal to increase advertising fails to become law and that consistently remains the official line of government and SBS[10][11]. If it does become law, the government will take $28.5m of SBS's ad revenue – the amount that SBS predict they will earn from more ads. If the proposal fails to become law, SBS will keep all of its ad revenue – the status quo. Money earned by the new regime for ads is no more than money removed from the budget. It’s a cut. Advertising revenue has never been additional income for SBS. The more successful SBS is at generating revenue from advertising, the further it departs from its Charter and the greater it is then underfunded by government. Regardless of whose idea it was or when[12], increasing ads is another step in the awful commercialisation and trashing of SBS and has not been welcomed by anyone. SBS audiences don’t want it, SBS staff don't want it, the individual communities SBS works in partnership with certainly don’t want it, community and commercial[13] broadcasters don’t want it. No one wants it. It is bad policy and not wanted under any circumstances. Margaret Pomeranz AM & Quentin Dempster AM http://bit.ly/1IDmXwq Sponsored by Save Our SBS and GetUp! http://bit.ly/1DvXB2D http://bit.ly/1yyQnMi References: http://bit.ly/14xjov9
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    Created by Save Our SBS .
  • Help Protect Local Parks For Future Generations
    When my husband and I first moved into the area almost two years ago, as a mum and dad of two small children aged two and four, it was lovely to know that we would live very close to a little park called Regent Street Park. When we moved we did not know our neighbours, or have any support network in the nearby area. However soon after moving we met our first neighbours who came to say hello and welcome us to the area. They had spotted us running about playing ball in the park with our kids. Since then we have been welcomed by a wonderful little community - and at the heart of this community is our local park. Our local park has become the place we play outdoors with our kids, have a picnic lunch outside or go looking for bugs and birds. Others use the park for exercise, a dad throwing a ball in the park each week with his teenage boy, a social game of footy, a place to practice your golf swing, others meet here with their dogs. Each year the park hosts our Christmas Party. Santa arrives with a sack of presents for the neighbourhood kids. The park has also seen its fair share of birthday cake. Some of the neighbourhood kids now are getting a little older and they are allowed to go to the park themselves (mums and dads can sneakily peer over the fence) - a big adventure that would not be afforded to these kids had they only the larger park some distance away and across a main road. The older generation across the street watch them and muse to us parents about the changing generations they have watched come and go from the park over the years, and its makes me sad to think this part of the community could be lost for future generations however small and insignificant to others it may seem. Now most Friday neighbors meet in the park to talk about our week - an opportunity to leave our houses and small backyards. Two weeks ago thirtyish of us sat in the park and ordered pizza – one of the neighbourhood Mums with four kids had had a busy week whilst her husband was away working, for her the evening was an opportunity for the sanctity of friendship and a listening ear. Three of the bunch have recently emigrated from England and China. For them this time, this space, really does matter. I know our little park is just that - a little local park. It does represent the centre of our community, something which is increasingly important in urban environments, something I want my children and other children to experience. This small green space, this park, is important to our community. There are five other areas of land in the Newcastle locality, which in most cases are being used as parks by local residents, which are up for reclassification and potential future sale and development. Please encourage Newcastle city councillors to recognise the importance of these small parks, and sign the petition to save them.
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    Created by Kristie Hitchcock
  • Save Mimburi from being sold by the Queensland Government
    Mimburi models and teaches Indigenous cultural understandings. It is a land that builds partnerships between humans and the natural world through traditional art and cultural practices. Mimburi is an Aboriginal learning and healing place; a place whose flow reflects the confluence of the rivers, traditional Indigenous crafts and agricultural practices, and cross-cultural exchange.
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    Created by Marc Bytheway Picture
    Because producers, politicians and the community are being deceived by an industry that puts profits over ethics and welfare. After nearly 20 years in Egypt and 18 years in Indonesia, investigations have repeatedly revealed that all the live export industry has done is endorse the use of brutal slaughter devices, condone un-stunned slaughter and ignore the cruelty that inevitably results.
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    Created by Puja Berry
  • Save Our Broadwater - Stop ASF before it is too late!
    The Broadwater is a social, environmental and economic asset to our city which locals and tourists alike use and love, and we do not want its natural beauty and character destroyed by high density urban development or a ship terminal. The development proposed will entail millions of m3 of dredging which will destroy the habitat for dugongs, dolphins. migratory birds and over 450 species of marine life in the Gold Coast Seaway. Proposals to construct a huge development for 15,000 people mid Broadwater will create a visual abomination and severely impact upon traffic, infrastructure and population in adjacent suburbs like Southport, Labrador and Runaway Bay, leading to the M1. Finally, the community loves and uses its magnificent Broadwater and islands as its boating, swimming, sailing, fishing and recreational heart. This development will destroy this freedom and privilege, and change the beautiful face of our city forever. ASF can construct its development on private land it purchases like every other developer who invests in our city. We do not need to sell off precious public open space and waterways to attract investment. Further, the Broadwater as a shallow estuary of great environmental significance, is completely inappropriate for a ship terminal and consideration should be given both to extensive scientific research into offshore options and to optimising passenger shore visits from terminals constructed in Brisbane.
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    Created by Save Our Broadwater Inc
    The Australian government are aware that Abdi, Fatuma and Saacid have been waiting more than four years, but this was their response: “…we must finalise applications based on the date order in which they were queued. We do not have capacity to priority process applications ahead of the queue date, regardless of the applicant’s situation” Abdi and Fatuma have been ‘queuing’ patiently, but with Abdi recently finding out that he is also at risk of sudden death they can't just wait in line for bureaucracy to run its course. Time is running out. This cannot be about bureaucracy or waiting in line, this is about Abdi and Saacid - it's a real human story of a dying father asking for the chance to see his son for the first and last time in 23 years. Abdi wants nothing more than to see the adult that his 9 year old son grew into, and to know him during his last remaining days. Minister Morrison, you have the power to expedite Saacid's visa --- Abdi, Fatuma, Saacid and all of us who know and love this family ask for you to grant this. We are the two former Red Cross workers who ran the search for Abdi and Fatuma's son and have known the family ever since. Over the years we've spent a lot of time together, so much so that now Fatuma refers to us as her daughters. We know all Abdi and Fatuma's children and grand kids, and they are a lovely family. All of them have become Australian citizens and often talk about how Australia saved them and how much they have loved it here. Despite having lived an incredibly hard life, Fatuma and Abdi have never lost their ability to care about others and are some of the most inspirational and caring people we know. Before coming to Australia, Abdi and Fatuma spent 15 years in a refugee camp in Kenya, during which time Fatuma worked for UN agencies and other non-government organisations promoting rights of women, community development and anti-violence programs. Her advocacy work meant the family were often threatened and the UN eventually resettled them in Australia. Upon arrival in Darwin, Abdi and Fatuma established a successful family day care business out of their own home and Fatuma also acted as the Northern Territory representative for the Somali community for many years. The family are highly respected and loved by the Darwin community. Mr Morrison please allow Abdi and Saacid the chance to know one another and to say goodbye. Please expedite his visa before it's too late, time is running out. Watch Abdi and Fatuma on last week's episode of Channel 10's The Project: http://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/the-project/extra/season-5/abdi-s-wish Here are some news articles already published about Abdi and Fatuma's story: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-09/reunited-somali-family-begs-for-visa-clemency/5802048 http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/opinion/humble-heroes-doing-us-proud/story-fnk0b216-1227087401559
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    Created by Joan and Jane from Jingili
  • Save Lateline and the ABC's Current Affairs Coverage
    Before the last election, Tony Abbott promised "no cuts to the ABC", but the cuts are coming: perhaps ten per cent of the ABC's budget is in jeopardy. It's certain that in response, the Board is contemplating cuts to the ABC's current affairs coverage. Lateline could be axed, and some news coverage could be halved. Yet, as Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has himself said many times, with the business models of commercial media in crisis, Australian democracy needs ABC news and current affairs programs now more than ever. The demise of Lateline could be just the beginning. The ABC’s Friday 7.30 programs, which consistently break important local and state-based stories, could also go. So too could radio current affairs programs on ABC Local Radio and specialist programs on Radio National. Decisions are expected as soon as this Wednesday – so we need to act now. Will you sign the petition to save Lateline and the ABC's quality current affairs coverage? http://cdn.getup.org.au/image_5867_full.png ... This petition is supported by GetUp Australia & ABC Friends http://cdn.getup.org.au/image_5859_full.png http://cdn.getup.org.au/image_5865_full.png
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    Created by Jonathan Holmes Picture
  • Tugun Community Against GCCC Draft City Plan Increased Development Heights Proposed for Tugun Area
    We need to send Council a clear message that the Tugun Community does not accept the prescriptive City Plan approach for the Tugun Area because it does not take into consideration the significant existing qualities of the area, nor does it reflect the values of the Community that live, visit and work in the area. By joining this petition you will be informing Council that the Community of Tugun and it's friends are passionate about their area and refuse to ratify the proposals within the Draft City Plan 2015 that will degrade our suburbs' unique and highly valued urban framework. The proposed development height zoning, and the lack of specific development assessment processes will combine to have adverse affects on Tugun Village and the surrounding areas including: It threatens to destroy the Village scale and atmosphere that currently defines the Tugun Village. The Tugun Village retains and represents a low density community centre, unique within the Gold Coast City urban fabric. The current proposed Building Height of 24 metres (Potential 8 Storeys) does not recognise or reflect the existing character of the Tugun Village, nor does it rationalise the potential detrimental impact that the proposed scale of development would have on the Village character and amenity. It is proposed to encourage developments that introduce increased residential components within the village thus requiring increased permanent vehicle traffic movements and increased strain on existing parking. Both outcomes creating loss of amenity within the village area. It allows for development opportunity that will substantially and permanently block ocean views from the residential areas located on the Western ridge line. This is of concern considering the limited opportunities for ocean views provided within the region. It will also substantially block and destroy view corridors to the Western ridge from within the Village heart by fortifying the western edge of the village, via the potential 24 metres height built form (Potential 8 Storeys). This will act to disengage the village from it's broader landscape context. It disregards the broader lifestyle context and landscape character context of the existing planning scheme by alienating and disconnecting important, recognised contextual landscape visual references. It will create opportunity for a potential Built Form Canyon along Golden Four Drive, from Toolona Street to Wyberba Street, increasing southerly Wind tunnel influences within the heart of the village, creating substantial shading and loss of solar access to the village centre. The increase of development height allowances, south of Toolona Street, provides potential to create an inappropriately scaled, continuous visual barrier adjacent to the Gold coast High way/Airport, a key arrival zone within the city. This would have an adverse impact on orientation and contextual legibility of visitors arriving via the Gold Coast Airport through disconnection of key vistas to the beach zones to the east. Increased density of permanent and holiday residential occupancy within the suburb will substantially increase permanent vehicle traffic movements and substantially increase strain on existing facilities within the area. It will create the opportunity for increased shadow casting onto the public beach and public park areas, and potential substantial loss of solar access to residential areas adjacent to the equivalent 8, 7 and 5 storey height development zone areas.
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    Created by Tugun Progress Acssociation (TPA)
  • No mall in Byron Bay
    A Gold Coast developer has plans to build a mall in the Woolworths Plaza in Byron Bay. We all agree that something needs to be done to fix the Woolworths Plaza. However, a mall, complete with seven cinemas and a bowling alley, will destroy Byron's unique community vibe and reputation. We can't afford to let this developer's plans ruin Byron Bay forever - if the mall gets approved, Byron Bay is a step closer to becoming "just another town", like Lismore or the Gold Coast. As a community, we've fought off McDonald's, KFC, and a large Dan Murphy's. Now it's time to step up and stop this overdevelopment of our town before it's too late and Byron Bay as we know it is gone forever.
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    Created by David Krippner
  • Revoke the NSW Shark Meshing Program
    The shark meshing program (SMP) is a lethal shark mitigation policy that has been in place since 1937 in NSW. It is managed by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) fisheries NSW and contractors (fishers) carry out the program. The nets are set on 51 most popular beaches from Newcastle to Wollongong. The nets are 150m long and 6m high and are set in 10-12 metres of water. Sharks are able to swim over them and around them. The nets are random and indiscriminate killers of marine life and it is reported that 17,000 marine animals have been caught in shark nets in NSW although NSW Fisheries dept reports state that this figure is an underestimation of total numbers of animals caught due to poor historical data collection. The nets do not keep people safe from sharks. Shark / human interactions have occurred on beaches where shark nets are in place. The 2009 DPI fisheries review into the SMP stated that “the rate of shark attack has remained the same both before and after meshing commenced”. In contradiction to this the DPI fisheries NSW has claimed that “the SMP has been effective at providing a safer environment for swimmers”. However the NSW fisheries scientific committee (FSC) which is tasked with critiquing the program from a scientific standpoint has stated that “this statement is unsubstantiated because it is not based on a scientific comparison between meshed and unmeshed beaches, of shark numbers, interactions or attacks, the FSC requests that the SMP remove the statement" from the previous four annual reports of the SMP which it has failed to do. Fatal shark incidents are tragic events however with increasing medical technology and quick response first aid the vast majority of shark incidents are survivable – this was not the case back in the 1930’s when the NSW program was first put in place. We believe that the low numbers of shark bite fatalities on meshed beaches is more likely to be attributable to the presence of lifeguards who are able to detect sharks, close beaches and provide fast medical assistance in the event of a shark incident. Sharks are in their natural habitat and statistically the chances of being bitten by one are extremely low. Sharks kill on average 5 people worldwide per year, however people kill over 100 million sharks per year. Many of the animals caught in beach nets are now considered endangered as such the SMP is now listed as a key threatening process for the following marine animals: humpback, minke and southern right whales, Australian fur seals, dugongs and three species of endangered marine turtles, critically endangered grey nurse sharks and vulnerable great white sharks. Killing endangered animals in their ocean home for the purposes of increasing the safety to people who are visitors is unacceptable in this day and age. A federal Australian Government environment department report in 2005 titled ‘Death or injury to marine species following capture in beach meshing (nets) and drumlines used in shark control programs’ lists some 99 species of marine animal who have been victims of shark control programs, of these 99 species 73% are now listed on the IUCN red-list as near threatened, vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered or are classified as data deficient, or not assessed yet so we don't know if they too belong on the red-list. As animals and ecosystems face increasing environmental pressures, governments are obligated to ensure programs which threaten vulnerable and endangered species are replaced by less harmful measures to ensure human safety. noNSWsharkcull is campaigning for the removal of shark nets in NSW as these programs are outdated, and have not been demonstrated to make the ocean safer for people. We instead support public education in how to minimise chances of shark bite and scientific research into the tagging and tracking of sharks as alternative means to reduce the chances of shark bite incidents. We also support research into other non-lethal methods of shark mitigation. These methods will reduce the harm to our many endangered and vulnerable marine species including sharks, turtles, whales and dolphins who belong in the ocean and are fighting for their survival. We should be doing everything possible to protect marine ecosystems as they are more fragile than ever. We need shark control methods that make the ocean safer for people and marine animals including sharks. Sharks as apex predators are vital for the health of the ocean, without sharks scientists predict that the entire ocean ecosystem will collapse. The phytoplankton in the ocean provides up to 70% of the oxygen on the planet for this reason we need to keep our ocean ecosystems in balance. Healthy oceans need sharks and if the oceans die we die.
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    Created by Sharnie Connell