Daring climate protest targets polluting aluminium smelter – Rising Tide

Media Release 9th June 2009

Climate change protestors have halted production in Australia’s largest aluminium smelter by attaching themselves to a weigh bridge that is a pinch-point of the operation.

tomago-aluminium-protest

The protestors are angry that heavily polluting industries, like aluminium smelting, will receive 90% of their pollution permits free from the Federal Government under the controversial Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, allowing them to carry on largely unaffected by pollution constraints, and leaving the public to pick up the cost of reducing greenhouse emissions.

Aluminium smelting is an extremely energy intensive industry, and the Tomago plant has a constant demand of around 900MW of power, which is supplied from greenhouse polluting coal-fired power stations.

The Hunter’s two aluminium smelters, at Tomago and Kurri Kurri, use 15% of NSW’s electricity, yet are charged just one sixth of the cost per mega watt paid by ordinary energy consumers. The annual electricity subsidy to the aluminium industry has been estimated to be at least $210 million.

“The Tomago Aluminium smelter alone is excepted to receive over $250 million in free permits in the first year of the CPRS. It is half owned by mining and aluminium giant Rio Tinto, which last year posted a profit of $15.8 billion,” said Steve Phillips, spokesperson for protest organisers Rising Tide Newcastle.

“The Government is pursuing a backwards climate policy that rewards big polluting companies like Rio Tinto at the expense of the rest of the community and the world.

“Aluminium smelting in Australia is two-and-a-half times more greenhouse polluting than the world average, because our energy comes almost exclusively from coal burning.

“At this crucial hour in world history, we should be forcing plants like this to use renewable energy – not paying them to use coal power. The Aluminium industry needs to clean up, or clean out.

“The Federal Government needs to shift focus from compensation to restructuring. We call on the Federal Government to reverse the perverse subsidies given to coal-powered aluminium smelters and make assistance under any emissions trading scheme conditional on an urgent switch to renewable energy for all smelters.”

Check out photos and footage at: http://risingtide.org.au/node/901

Register!

Forgot to mention in the transport post-

if you haven’t already done so, now might be a good time to REGISTER FOR THE STUDENTS OF SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE! It’s probably the biggest thing on the ASEN calendar and if you’re into the environment, social justice, indigenous sovereignty, DIY, collective organising and radical politics then it’s for you. It’s five days of learning sharing camping eating, be sure to bring your woollies cos camping in Melbourne is bound to be bloody chilly! (But completely worth it. Come!)

Transporting ourselves to SoS 09

HEY, so the annual fabulous Students of Sustainability conference/extravaganza is up-coming on Wurundjeri land in Melbourne. I hope you’re postering your unis and telling all the folk and registering and coming!
This will hopefully going to help everyone figure out how we‘re getting to and from SoS at Monash Uni this year, individually and in our collectives.
So I’ve collected a bunch of times which could work for getting to Melbourne from various places in NSW.

I am heaps happy to be a coordinator of transport to SoS, but what’d be grand is if people who are planning on getting various trains/buses to volunteer to be contact points for that trip, so that I can direct people to you.

SoS goes from the 6th til the 10th of July. So the idea is arriving there on Sunday the 5th, setting up camp, chilling out. And leaving on the evening of the 10th or the morning of the 11th.

Contents of this post:
1. Transport funding
2. Wollongong to Melbourne
3. Canberra to Melbourne
4. Newcastle to Melbourne
5. Sydney to Melbourne
6. Cycling to SoS
7. Hitch-hiking competition
Continue reading →

Public meetings and protest against World Nuclear Fuel Cycle Conference a big success!

A big thanks to those who came along to the fantastic public meetings in Sydney and Wollongong last week: hearing from Northern Territory Traditional Owners speak out against the proposed nuclear waste dump at Muckaty.  The public meetings and protest of the World Nuclear Fuel Cycle Conference on Wednesday morning were fantastic!

You can check out information, campaign materials, films and more at: http://beyondnuclearinitiative.wordpress.com/

Below are two speeches from a public meeting at the Illawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre on Dharwal country (Wollongong) on April 22, 2009.

A couple of weeks prior to the meeting, a shipment of spent fuel rods from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor had been transported in the dead of night through Wollongong to be taken out of Port Kembla in New South Wales.

Dianne Stokes, Mark Lane and Mark Chungaloo (Traditional Owners of the proposed federal radioactive waste dump site at Muckaty in the Northern Territory ) were keen to meet with other communities affected by the Lucas Heights facility- if an NT dump is built then these fuel rods are eventually mooted to be dumped on their land.

Fred Moore-lifetime union activist

Garry Keane- MUA Illawarra Branch Secretary

Some of the news coverage of the protest:

Garrett urged to speak up on nuclear issues

ABC Online
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/04/22/2549572.htm?section=justin

Politicians, Aboriginal leaders and environment groups have joined forces to protest against an international conference on the nuclear industry, currently meeting in Sydney.

The coalition is also calling for an end to the Northern Territory radioactive waste dump proposal.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlum says the Labor Party has had a year and a half in Government, but still has not dealt with radioactive waste management issues.

He is calling on the Environment Minister Peter Garrett to consult on the issue.

“It’s been an incredible disappointment to me that Peter Garett as Environment Minister has completely gone missing on this issue, and the Prime Minister has given the running of radioactive waste on uranium mining issues to Martin Ferguson, the Industry Minister,” he said.

“We’re not hearing from the Environment Minister and that’s why the Greens and the community groups who are represented here today are stepping up to do his job for him.”

Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation says sustainable energy rather than nuclear power is the way forward.

“There are jobs, dollars, export growth and the ability for this country to be a platform for a sustainable energy future,” he said.

“Now we can be that, or we can cling to the coast and let our country become a quarry and the increasing pressure for material that goes out as ore to come back as waste to be perpetually stored here.

“That’s not a future we want to see.”

Rowdy protesters target nuclear meeting

April 22, 2009 – 11:09AM

Noisy protesters are targeting a global nuclear conference in Sydney, saying they want attendees to know they are not welcome.

About 60 people from a group calling itself the Sydney Anti-Nuclear Coalition were on Wednesday demonstrating in front of the Elizabeth Street hotel playing host to the World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference.

The coalition is mainly made up of environmental, student and trade union groups.

Police dragged several protesters away after they tried to get into the building and ordered the demonstrators to move on, but made no arrests.

The conference is a nuclear fuel industry event, held annually at different locations around the world.

Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Dave Sweeney played down the scuffles and praised the group for braving the wet weather to turn out.

“It’s been a bright and bouncy protest. It’s had a bit of passion as it should, because there’s high stakes here,” he said.

“There are people here from Perth, from Melbourne and the Northern Territory and nationally there is a very deep concern about all things nuclear in Australia.”

Mr Sweeney said arguments that nuclear fuel was a green alternative to coal power were not acceptable.

“You can’t call an industry that creates a waste that’s a carcinogen for 250 million years clean or green,” he said.

“It (nuclear energy) is not going to ride over the hill as a white knight and save us, it’s not a solution to climate change.

“It’s expensive and linked to the worst weapons and the worst waste.”

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said it was important for people to voice their concerns about nuclear energy.

“The nuclear industry needs to know that wherever they set foot in Australia, we’ll have a presence,” Mr Ludlam said.

“Sometimes it’s important to just confront them and let them know they’re not welcome here.”

© 2009 AAP

SEAN Second Sundays

SEAN Second Sundays Meet-ups & Working Bees

Some people in the SEAN network have been talking about Sunday meet-ups and working bees at the SEAN space in Erskineville in Sydney and what they could be. What we envisioned was a set day every month (the second sunday) in which everyone interested can get together and see the community that we are a part of. The goings-on would consist of broadly three things:

1. Report backs- on what people have been doing, recent news and events, help they might need.

2. Discussions- on politics, our strategies, what we think about stuff, whatever we want to talk about. We wanted to develop a culture of discussion around radical ideas, as this has been very much lacking in the past. The theme for the next discussion is ‘Green Capitalism and Alternatives’ and the readings are available at http://climateactioncafe.wordpress.com/2008/12/05/20-theses-against-green-capitalism/ and http://www.stuffit.org/trapese/rocky-road-a5-web.pdf

3. Working- making use of the space, the phone, the internet, the shared energy, and getting some stuff done

Putting these thoughts to the network is how we wanted to share this idea, and invite everyone to come to this space and use it. We pay for the rent and the phone so that it is there for all, no matter how involved you are in SEAN.
We recognise that this is really only convenient for people living in Sydney, and there are heaps of SEAN activists living all over NSW and the ACT. So an idea was to organise a phone link up at a certain time on a sunday, to talk with people in other places. Also, we would love to hear ideas on how to better include regional campuses.
The next working bee is on the 10th of May.

Fridays

We also wanted people to make use of the SEAN space on Fridays. There are usually people there from around 11-4pm. We thought this could be a fun, informal way of both practical work on projects, as well as building relationships and allowing the exchange of ideas between people from different campuses and collectives.

Go here for the directions etc to the space