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Coalition and Labor team up to water down 'three strikes' liquor laws in NSW

The Coalition and Labor have teamed up in the NSW Legislative Council this afternoon to pass a bill that waters down the state’s ‘three strikes’ laws.The laws were designed to keep patrons safe and punish venues that repeatedly breach NSW liquor laws. The most startling change is re-structuring the three strikes disciplinary scheme so breaches (or strikes) apply to a venue’s licensee or managers rather than to the licence holder – or owner - themselves. This undermines the deterrence value of having the person with the most significant financial interest in the responsible for compliance with the law. The Coalition Government claimed the changes were based on the finding of the Callinan Review however the three strikes policy was not subject to that review. Additional advice provided by Mr Callinan to the Government has not been released despite calls from the Greens, the media and community groups to do so. Greens Liquor and Gaming spokesperson Justin Field said,” The changes to the three-strikes laws risk the big pub barons scapegoating their employees when it comes to avoiding responsibility for compliance with liquor laws. “It’s distasteful to witness both the Coalition and Labor place vested interests over what is best and fair for our community. The alcohol industry is calling the shots on the three strikes changes and it will only embolden them to ask for more. “We expect the liquor, gambling and racing industries to keep pushing for fewer safeguards and less accountability. What we don’t expect – or accept – is for the Government and Opposition to roll over and give in to them. “The public would be disgusted to think that the advice relied on by Government to make major changes to such an important set of laws would be hidden from public view and from MPs before they are expected to vote on them “This Government is developing a reputation for secrecy and avoiding scrutiny, particularly where the interests of the clubs, alcohol and gaming industries are concerned,” he said.

Greens reveal poker machines in hotels take 44.4 per cent more from community than pokies in clubs

New data purchased by NSW Greens MP Justin Field has revealed poker machines in NSW hotels are far outstripping those in clubs in taking billions of dollars from local communities. While there are 22,971 poker machines in hotels compared with 69,974 in clubs in NSW, the poker machines in hotels take an average 44.4 per cent more per machine than those in clubs in the last quarter of 2016. The data covers the last quarter of 2016 and it found: pokies in clubs and hotels took $2 billion from the NSW community. each club-based poker machine removed an average $19,638 from the community, each hotel-based poker machine removed $28,358. the average turnover from machines in hotels and clubs is $217,936. there are an average of 62 poker machines per club in NSW and an average 15 machines per hotel. The data shows Fairfield and the Canterbury-Bankstown areas tops the state when it comes to the biggest profits to clubs and hotels – the losses to the individual – from poker machines, each area topping $200 million in losses in the last quarter. “The Greens’ first purchase of both hotels and pubs data shows these de facto casinos on neighbourhood street corners are ripping off billions from local people and communities,” Mr Field said. “Despite having enormous losses on pokies, NSW has some of the least transparent access to specific information on specific venues and their impacts on communities. “NSW, Victoria and Queensland all have similar requirements for the collection of data but only NSW hides the true cost of pokies by making people purchase data and hiding venue-specific data with aggregation and anonymity. “If there are clubs and pubs doing the wrong thing by the community and having a disproportionate impact on people and communities, then we should have the right to hold them to account. “The Greens have delivered on our promise to purchase and make data available so the community can have a more informed discussion of the harm caused by poker machines across our state. “We first called on NSW Racing Minister Paul Toole in February this year to end the secrecy and publish venue by venue data online, for free. Nothing has changed and the question remains – what has the government and these venues got to hide? ”   Find out how much pokies in clubs are taking from local communities here:  https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/justinfield/pages/91/attachments/original/1520225200/Gaming-Machine-Quarterly-Report-by-LGA-Clubs-Nov-16.xlsx?1520225200   Find out how much pokies in hotels are taking from local communities here: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/justinfield/pages/91/attachments/original/1520225214/Gaming-Machine-Quarterly-Report-by-LGA-Hotels-Dec-16.xlsx?1520225214

New climate change map shows NSW communities at risk from rising sea level

New mapping by Coastal Risk Australia, incorporating the US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration revised ‘plausible’ sea level rise of as much as 2.7 metres by 2100, reveals a growing number of NSW communities at risk from surging seas under climate change. The interactive map is available here: http://coastalrisk.com.au Areas under threat of flooding in Sydney include Sydney Airport, Circular Quay and Brighton Le Sands. In the Eastern Suburbs, parts of Rose Bay are at risk. Media reports suggest the worst case scenario for 2100 now looks three times worse than it did in previous maps. NSW Greens MP Justin Field said the NSW Government is severely unprepared for a future of rising sea levels and other climate change impacts. “The new map is a wake up call for the NSW Government to increase its climate action and prepare communities for rising sea levels and extreme weather under global warming,” he said. “Over the past year we’ve had clear evidence that changes in our climate are happening more quickly than previously thought and there is increased urgency for climate action and adaptation. “The majority of our housing and infrastructure have been built assuming a stable climate but we have entered a new era marked by unpredictable and more extreme weather. "This new data must be taken seriously by the Berijiklian Government. "With billions of NSW public and private assets at risk from rising seas, there is an economic imperative to act strongly to mitigate the worst aspects of climate change. "Next month's State budget must direct more resources to reducing carbon emissions, investing in renewable energy and preparing communities to adapt to climate change impacts,” Mr Field said.

Three strikes report secrecy doesn't pass the pub test

The Greens have today called on the NSW Government to release advice provided to the NSW Government by former High Court Judge Ian Callinan into its ‘three strikes’ policy, currently subject to proposed legislative changes. The Liquor Amendment (Reviews) Bill 2017 will be debated in Parliament this week and seeks to transfer strikes from the owner venues and liquor licence holders to the licensee or manager of the premises. The changes mean venue owners will be able to avoid responsibility for breaches of licence conditions. The Honourable Ian Callinan was appointed by the Government to conduct a review into liquor law changes including the controversial lockouts and last drinks policy. The review report was released in September 2016. Additional advice was sought into the ‘three strikes’ policy but has not been released. Greens Liquor and Gaming spokesperson Justin Field challenged the Government in question time today to release the advice from Mr Callinan. Mr Field said, “The Government’s response fails the pub test. I asked the question straight up why the advice hadn’t been released and when it would be and the Government had no credible answer. “It’s unacceptable that the parliament will consider changes to legislation on the three strikes policy when the advice the Government is relying on to justify the changes hasn’t been made available to the public or to decision makers. “Minister Toole is establishing a record of hiding data from the community – he has failed to disclose critical gambling harm data and now has another report locked away in his desk. The community deserves better,” Mr Field said. Greens Member for Newtown and Nightime Culture and Economy spokesperson, Jenny Leong MP said, “Once again we are seeing this NSW Government being quick to introduce blanket punishment and crackdowns on individual members of the community while letting the big pub barons off the hook.” “We’re left with the ridiculous situation members of the Australian Hotels Association and prominent publicans have been given extracts of the report relevant to them but the public and decision makers are being kept in the dark. “If the Government actually has advice from Mr Callinan that recommends making these changes, then why the secrecy?” “The community wants to be able to go out and enjoy the nightlife in Sydney and know venues are doing the right thing. The proposed changes put that at risk,” she said. Question without NoticeJustin Field MLC23 May 2017 Callinan advice on three strikes policy My question without notice is to the Honourable Niall Blair representing the Minister for Racing. Minister, Why hasn’t the advice provided to the Government by former High Court Judge Mr Ian Callinan into its Three Strikes Policy been publicly released? Given media reports that the NSW Branch of the Australian Hotels Association and a prominent publican were given extracts of the report, and the public interest in this matter at this time, when will the report or other advice be made public?

South Coast says 'no' to Adani's mega mine and climate change

South Coast community members sent a clear message to Treasurer Scott Morrison with a peaceful protest demanding he says ‘no’ to Adani’s mega mine proposal in Queensland’s Galilee Basin in Bomaderry today (17/05/17). The Federal Government’s pledge of $1 billion in taxpayer dollars for a railway associated with the mega mine has been met with widespread community opposition from South Coast locals and the majority of people across Australia. A strong and vocal community campaign has resulted in Westpac recently ruling out funding the Adani coal mine, now the South Coast community wants the Federal Government to do the same and drop its $1 billion handout. Rally Keynote Speaker and Greens MP Justin Field said, “The South Coast community has today added its voice to a growing national movement of people saying no to the massive Adani coal mine and its climate impacts. “The Treasurer will get the message that locals join with their fellow Australians to reject not only public handouts for Adani’s proposed mine but that the project is allowed at all. “If this mega mine goes ahead, it will ignite a carbon bomb of global scale, making it difficult/ near impossible to avoid catastrophic climate change. “The mining, burning and transport of coal from Adani’s Carmichael mine will fast-track global warming, threaten the Great Barrier Reef, rob billions of litres of groundwater from farmers and communities and ride roughshod over Indigenous rights. “It’s Adani’s coal mine versus a safe climate for all of us – we can’t have both. “I’m proud to join with the community to turn up the heat on our Treasurer to stop investing in Adani’s coal mine and work to stop it ever being built. The mine might be in North Queensland but we all have an interest in a safe climate,” he said

New data reveals $53 billion privatisation push under NSW Government

New research released today by the NSW Parliamentary Library reveals privatisation has exploded since the Coalition came to Government in 2011 with a major sell off of the state’s assets. The figures show the government has privatised $53 billion in public services and assets, from the Ports of Botany and Newcastle to the ‘poles and wires’ and last month’s land titles sale. NSW Greens MP and Treasury spokesperson Justin Field said “The Coalition Government’s obsession with selling off the state’s assets and services provides a once-off sugar hit of funds but it isn’t resulting in long-term benefits or better services for the NSW community. “When people see the massive number and value of public assets and services sold off by the O’Farrell/Baird/Berijiklian Government they are no doubt left wondering, what did we get for it? “NSW still faces growing inequality, some of the worst housing affordability in the world and massive queues for public housing, growing youth unemployment in regional areas and crowded public transport. “The recent lease of the LPI and Endeavour Energy are only the latest in a string of privatisations that transfer control of monopoly essential services over to the private sector. “The public knows the end result is a push for profits, often with reduced services and high costs. The community also loses its say in how our essential services are run. “Last year the chairman of the ACCC Rod Sims said ‘I'm now almost at the point of opposing privatisation because it's been done to boost proceeds, it's been done to boost asset sales and I think it's severely damaging our economy’. “With the NSW budget just over a month away, the NSW public expect the Government to get on with the business of delivering high quality public services and end their obsession with privatising our state’s assets,” Mr Field said.

NSW should invest Snowy Hydro buyback proceeds in climate action

The NSW Greens are calling on Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s commitment to ensure proceeds from the multi-billion dollar buyback of NSW's stake in the Snowy Hydro scheme are directed into climate action. NSW Greens Treasury and Climate Change spokesperson Justin Field gave a notice of motion in State Parliament yesterday stating: “Should the buyback occur, [NSW Government] commit to boosting the state’s Climate Change Fund and committing these proceeds to infrastructure and programs that bring down the state's carbon emissions, help communities to make the transition away from fossil fuel industries and mitigate the impacts of climate change on the environment, our community and the economy” Full motion below and video here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9GFQCz85ccec2x0eVhQRmFpNjg Mr Field said, “The Greens offer contingent support to the Premier to pass the Snowy Hydro buyback through parliament if she commits to the proceeds being allocated to top up the state's Climate Change Fund and ensure this money is directed towards climate change mitigation. This would include infrastructure and programs to transition the NSW economy towards renewable energy. "The failure of the Federal Government to adequately address climate in this year's budget can be partially offset by NSW using buyback proceeds on effective programs that can reduce carbon emissions, help transition the NSW economy away from fossil fuels and achieve greater protection against the impacts of climate change. “Media reports place the value of NSW’s stake in the Snowy Hyrdo scheme as high as $3.5 billion. The NSW Climate Change Fund has $1.4 billion allocated over the next five years. It’s a good start but the existing climate change funds are inadequate to support the transition to away from coal and gas and help communities deal with the impacts of climate change. “Gladys Berejiklian has a prime opportunity with her first State Budget as Premier to kick-start the transformation towards a modern, renewable-powered economy. Investing in climate action will not only help safeguard communities and the environment but unlock the potential of NSW leading the world in renewable technology and innovation. “The money from a buyback, if it proceeds, will go a long way to ensuring the state's Climate Change Fund is adequately resourced. “The climate is changing, we are already in the age of climate consequences, the only question now is whether the Premier will step up and make the budget decisions to help avoid catastrophic climate change. “A healthy economy relies on a genuine investment in a healthy climate,” Mr Field said. Notice of Motion The NSW Greens are calling on Premier Gladys Berejiklian's commitment to ensure proceeds from the multi-billion dollar buyback of NSW's stake in the Snowy Hydro scheme are directed into climate action. NSW Greens Treasury and Climate Change spokesperson Justin Field gave a notice of motion in State Parliament yesterday stating: "Should the buyback occur, [NSW Government] commit to boosting the state's Climate Change Fund and committing these proceeds to infrastructure and programs that bring down the state's carbon emissions, help communities to make the transition away from fossil fuel industries and mitigate the impacts of climate change on the environment, our community and the economy" Full motion below and video here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9GFQCz85ccec2x0eVhQRmFpNjg Mr Field said, "The Greens offer contingent support to the Premier to pass the Snowy Hydro buyback through parliament if she commits to the proceeds being allocated to top up the state's Climate Change Fund and ensure this money is directed towards climate change mitigation. This would include infrastructure and programs to transition the NSW economy towards renewable energy. "The failure of the Federal Government to adequately address climate in this year's budget can be partially offset by NSW using buyback proceeds on effective programs that can reduce carbon emissions, help transition the NSW economy away from fossil fuels and achieve greater protection against the impacts of climate change. "Media reports place the value of NSW's stake in the Snowy Hyrdo scheme as high as $3.5 billion. The NSW Climate Change Fund has $1.4 billion allocated over the next five years. It's a good start but the existing climate change funds are inadequate to support the transition to away from coal and gas and help communities deal with the impacts of climate change. "Gladys Berejiklian has a prime opportunity with her first State Budget as Premier to kick-start the transformation towards a modern, renewable-powered economy. Investing in climate action will not only help safeguard communities and the environment but unlock the potential of NSW leading the world in renewable technology and innovation. "The money from a buyback, if it proceeds, will go a long way to ensuring the state's Climate Change Fund is adequately resourced. "The climate is changing, we are already in the age of climate consequences, the only question now is whether the Premier will step up and make the budget decisions to help avoid catastrophic climate change. "A healthy economy relies on a genuine investment in a healthy climate," Mr Field said. Notice of MotionJustin Field MLC11 May 2017 Snowy Hydro scheme - Commonwealth buy-back from states 1)      That this House notes that: a)      In the 2017-18 budget announced on May 9 the Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the Commonwealth Government would consider a buyback of the Snowy Hydro scheme from the New South Wales and Victoria state governments. b)      Media reports have suggested a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Commonwealth and the NSW Government with regard to the buyback proposal. c)       The Commonwealth Budget failed to include any substantial measures to mitigate the impact of climate change. 2)      That this House calls on the NSW Government to: a)      make clear its intentions with regards to a buyback and make public the Memorandum of Understanding; and b)      Commit to ensuring any buyback agreement include conditions that the Commonwealth Government retain Snowy Hydro in public ownership; and c)       Should the buyback occur, commit to boosting the state's Climate Change Fund and committing these proceeds to infrastructure and programs that bring down the state's carbon emissions, help communities to make the transition away from fossil fuel industries and mitigate the impacts of climate change on the environment, our community and the economy.

NSW Govt's continued focus on 'poles and wires' privatisation, locks out energy innovation

The confirmed sale of a majority stake in Endeavour Energy continues a failed economic, energy and climate strategy in NSW, according to the NSW Greens. The Berejiklian Government’s crusade to privatise the poles and wires in NSW has reached a milestone with media reports of the sale of a 50.4 percent majority of NSW electricity distributor, Endeavour Energy. The sale will see control of the energy distributor passing from public hands, sparking a loss of around $120 million per year in dividends to the NSW budget, increasing the drive to profit from regional communities and placing a barrier to energy innovation and renewable power. NSW Greens Treasury spokesperson Justin Field said, “The take out lesson from changes in the national energy market in recent times has been privatisation of energy assets does not deliver better outcomes for electricity consumers, regional communities, state budgets or the environment. “The Berejiklian Government finds itself at the control of the levers of energy policy at a time when we need urgent, strong action on climate mitigation and action. However, the NSW Government’s continued focus on the privatisation of our electricity network rather than the opportunities of transforming our energy system for a better future is the wrong approach and has been discredited. “Rather than looking backwards and locking us into long-term leases with a largely coal focused electricity distribution network, our state should be investigating and investing in new forms of energy generation and distribution that will power the modern economy, including solar storage and community distributed energy and deliver real long-term economic benefits to NSW. “The Federal Government’s Snowy 2.0 plan and offer to buyout NSW’s share of the Snowy Hydro scheme shows the dissonance in energy policy in Australia. On the one hand the Federal Government is making a public investment, on the other the NSW Government is continuing with its privatisation agenda despite obvious concerns over electricity market failures,” he said.

Smart drumlines a more effective shark deterrent than nets: new NSW Nth Coast data

An analysis of the Department of Primary Industry’s data on both the SMART drumline and shark net trials shows smart drumlines are the best choice of deterrent for target sharks on the NSW North Coast. The DPI data shows 29 target sharks  have been caught by SMART drumlines on the North Coast between December 2016 and May 2017. All but one target sharks caught by SMART drumlines were released alive. In stark contrast, the shark net trial in the same area has caught 6 target sharks, with three of those sharks killed by the nets.  In the past month alone, 11 non-target sharks have been caught and killed. The shark nets also killed a record number of 127 marine creatures between December 2016 and May 2017, including an endangered Green turtle, rays and dolphins. NSW Greens MP and Marine Environment spokesperson Justin Field called on the NSW Government to take an evidence-based approach to shark management and choose SMART drumlines over nets on NSW beaches. “The evidence is in – shark nets are little more than floating death traps for all marine life while SMART drumlines appear to be an effective means of catching target sharks,” Mr Field said. “Sharks caught on SMART drumlines are tagged and contribute to our understanding of shark behaviours and almost all have been removed from the inshore zone and released alive. “The results make a compelling case for the Government to end the shark net trial early. This is the first time SMART drumlines have been trialled in NSW but the results suggest they could continue to play a role in a non-lethal approach to shark management in NSW. “Everyone wants to ensure people are kept as safe as possible while keeping our marine environment healthy by minimising the toll on sharks and other marine animals. ”SMART drumlines could play an ongoing role when supported by other non-lethal shark management techniques including community observer programs such as Shark Watch, better resourcing lifeguards and personal deterrent devices,” he said.   Latest Nth Coast Shark Net Trial results available here: http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/sharks/management/shark-net-trial/report-8-apr-7-may-2017 Greens analysis of DPI figures for North Coast SMART drumline and shark net trials here. Full copy of The Green non-lethal approach to shark management here: http://bit.ly/NSWGreensSharkPlan

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