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Premier Baird heading the wrong way on shark management

December 2016 NSW Greens Marine and Fisheries spokesman, Justin Field, MLC will join a large, informal coalition of community groups and environmental organisations for a rally today in Premier Baird’s own electorate of Manly to say no to shark nets and yes to science-based solutions. With the passing of the Fisheries Management Amendment (Shark Management Trials) Bill 2016 in the NSW upper house, mesh shark nets have been installed in 5 north coast beaches already.  The Greens have called for a science based approach to managing the risk of shark bites in NSW. NSW Greens Marine and Fisheries spokesperson, Justin Field, said today, ““The Greens are committed to a science based approach to keep people as safe as possible whilst respecting our wild oceans and the creatures that live in it, including sharks.” “We understand communities on the north coast of NSW are concerned for their safety.  That’s why the Government’s push for shark nets is the wrong way to go. “Shark nets won’t guarantee public safety and bites continue to occur on the already netted beaches in NSW. But the new nets will have significant impacts on marine species including turtle, dolphins, rays and non-threatening sharks. “The Premier has described himself as an ocean lover and he represents an ocean loving community in Manly. Hopefully this show of support will convince the Premier to rethink his plan and take a non-lethal approach to keeping people safe while protecting the marine environment people love. “The Greens plan includes non-lethal shark mitigation programs that support communities to put in place local solutions. It recognises the need to put science at the center of any solutions and enables the community to develop our understanding of sharks and to find new deterrent technologies. "This week the federal Senate announced it would hold an inquiry into shark mitigation. This shows the level of public concern and follows a NSW parliamentary inquiry earlier this year that recommended moving away from shark mesh nets “Communities up and down the NSW coastline want to know they are part of the solution and they need resources to take up that role. Efficient shark management must include government doing the heavy lifting on research, infrastructure and surveillance and the community getting supported to run proven programs like Shark Watch,” concluded Mr. Field. The Greens Non-Lethal Response to Shark Management in NSW plan can be found here

Greens MPs say NSW must follow Queensland’s Lead and ‘Ban the Bag’

25th November 2016 The NSW Greens have called on Premier Mike Baird and NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman to follow Queensland and ban single use plastic bags in NSW. The call follows an <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-25/queensland-to-ban-single-use-plastic-bags-from-2018/8056084">announcement</a> that Queensland will ban the bag by 2018 after a meeting of commonwealth environment ministers failed to get agreement on a national scheme. The Greens have a bill sitting in the NSW Parliament that would ban lightweight shopping bags being given out or sold by retailers to customers to carry away goods. The ban will focus on plastic bags of less than 35 microns, which includes single-use, lightweight bags such as grocery bags with handles, and other bags used to carry away products such as take away food, or alcohol. Greens NSW Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC said: “Queensland has shown real leadership in committing to phasing out single use plastic bags and now it is time for NSW to step up and ban the bag. “NSW risks being one of the last hold outs, with South Australia, the ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory already banning the bag. “The Greens have a plastic bag ban bill in Parliament, ready to go. For the sake of our environment, we need decisive action from the NSW Government” she concluded. Greens NSW Marine Environment Spokesperson, Justin Field, MLC said:  “An estimated 50 million plastic bags end up in the environment each year in Australia, mostly in our waterways and ocean, where they kill and injure dolphins, turtles and other marine life. “Local communities around Australia are already pushing local businesses to go plastic free and some national retailers have shown they can operate effectively without plastic bags. “There is no reason similar practices cannot be adopted by supermarkets and shops throughout NSW, there are plenty of alternatives to single use plastic bags.

Unemployed young people on the South Coast at record highs under Baird Government

25th November 2016 The number of unemployed young people on the South Coast is at the highest level since the Baird Government came to power, topping 20% for the first time since July 2013. The results were published this week by the NSW Parliamentary Library in their October Labor Force Trends report incorporating data from the ABS Labour Force Survey. Greens MLC and spokesperson for the South Coast Justin Field said, “Today more than 1 in 5 young people aged 15-24 in the Southern Highlands and South Coast are unemployed and face challenging futures.” “Youth employment is rising across the South Coast and Illawarra but is highest on the South Coast at 20.2% with the Illawarra at 16.6%.” “While the Baird Government is busy in Sydney privatising the state’s assets, regional young people are being let down.” “The figure of twenty per cent represents nearly 2,500 young people in our region who are not in school or work and not having the experiences and developing the skills they’ll need for a secure future. These are crisis levels and need urgent attention from Governments. “The report comes at the same time new Nationals Deputy Premier John Barilaro is telling Fairfax Media that his government will manage the loss of 600 electricity network jobs in regional NSW by working, “with employees and industry to ensure impacts on the workforce are managed in a sensitive and orderly way." “There is nothing sensitive about unemployment. Creating and sustaining regional jobs need Government investment and support, not an approach that smooths the way to unemployment.” “All levels and sides of politics need to work together on an employment strategy for the South Coast and Illawarra, especially for young people. That must include reinvigorating the TAFE sector and local manufacturing to support the transition to 100% renewable energy. “This is a community with a lot to offer in terms of its natural beauty and tourism, skills and infrastructure to support manufacturing and agriculture as well as service provision in health, ageing and government services. “We need a coordinated strategy to give regional young people the opportunity to find rewarding jobs and a secure future", Mr Field said.

Ballina shark net media event shows politics, not science, behind Mike Baird’s plan

Greens Marine and Fisheries spokesperson Justin Field has called on Mike Baird to stop playing politics with shark nets and get behind the community based Shark Watch program to help improve public safety while protecting the beautiful North Coast marine environment. The call follows an announcement that the Premier will travel to Ballina today (Friday) for a media event for the installation of the first of five shark nets planned in a trial for the North Coast. The netting trial was authorised under legislation rushed through the Parliament this week and exempted from federal environment laws under special emergency powers used by the federal Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg. Mr Field said, “Mike Baird’s whirlwind media focussed trip to the North Coast shows his nets trial is more about politics than about science.” “The speed of legislation and the failure to consult meaningfully on the design and management of the trial shows it for the PR exercise it is.” “That’s a real shame when a community based non-lethal solution is ready to go in Shark Watch and with a very small Government investment could be rolled out across the region.” “Communities up and down the NSW coastline want to know they are part of the solution and they need resources to take up that role. Efficient shark management must include government doing the heavy lifting on research, infrastructure and surveillance and the community getting supported to run proven programs like Shark Watch.” “Shark nets are an out-dated technology and we can do better. There have been many shark bites at netted beaches in the past. Shark nets can’t guarantee public safety and we need to be honest about that instead of painting them as the solution. Rushing through legislation for more old-style shark mesh nets shows the Baird Government is moving away from a science based approach. “What we do know is that shark nets kill hundreds of marine animals including dolphins and turtles and non-target and endangered sharks – communities don’t want that collateral damage.“Governments can’t fully remove the risk of shark bites but people want a science based approach and support for local solutions not a political fix for the government”, concluded Mr. Field.

Sharks nets legislation risks a false sense of security for NSW ocean users

11 November 2016 Greens Marine and Fisheries spokesperson, Justin Field, has cautioned the NSW Government that shark nets are not a silver bullet and risk giving the community a false sense of security while destroying the marine environment so many people in NSW love. The call comes after the rushed passage of legislation through the NSW Upper House this week that will allow the installation of shark nets at beaches along the NSW Coast. The legislation is expected to pass the Lower House next week. “In the rush and media frenzy what has been lost in this debate is the fact that shark nets won’t guarantee public safety,” said Mr. Field. “Some within the Government and some interest groups talk about shark nets as if they will solve the problem of shark bite on North Coast beaches. That risks giving the community a false sense of security and undermining the non-lethal approaches that have been recommended by the Government’s own experts. “Nets are not a barrier and bites do occur at netted beaches. They also have unintended consequence like catching and killing other marine life. “People will also be alarmed to learn that the legislation isn’t specific to the North Coast. The Minister will have tremendous power to put nets or other devices to catch and kill sharks across the entire NSW coastline. “While I don’t believe it is the intention of the Government to deliberately kill or harm sharks or other marine animals that is the likely consequence of this legislation and it is being done despite the fact that it won’t guarantee public safety. “The Greens are committed to a science based approach to keep people as safe as possible whilst respecting our wild oceans and the creatures that live in it, including sharks.” Last month the Greens released their non-lethal response to shark management in NSW  that called for investment in shark spotter programs which engage the local community in the solution and have been shown to reduce shark bites on other locations. The plan also supports redirecting resources to more shark towers, coordinating Life Saving resources and supporting the development of personal protective equipment. “No one can guarantee complete safety but we can do more by supporting community led programs and helping bring to market technology that enables individual users to take their own precautions. Shark nets are not the answer,” said Mr. Field.

Gareth Ward should oppose privatization of Berry Sport and Recreation Centre

NSW Greens spokesperson for Sport and the South Coast, Justin Field MLC, has called on the member for Kiama, Gareth Ward, to oppose Government plans to sell or lease the Berry Sport and Recreation Centre to private operators. The call comes after Government members opposed a motion in the NSW Legislative Council calling on the Government to abandon privatisation plans. Mr. Field said, “I’m calling on the Member for Kiama to oppose any privatisation of our sport and recreation centres and to come clean with the South Coast community about the Government’s plans for the Berry Centre? “The Government acknowledged they have engaged in “market testing” to consider opportunities for non-profit and other operators to run eleven sport and recreation centres across NSW including the Berry Centre. “Privatisation will inevitably drive up the cost of sending your child to camp. “The idea that kids might lose the opportunity to go to school camp because their parents can’t afford it is not something the Greens can support and the local member should reject it. “The Government should be investing in these centres and maximizing the number of schools and groups using them so as many kids as possible can enjoy the health, social and educational benefits they offer. They shouldn’t be seen as a cash cow for Government, but an essential public service. “Almost 200,000 students used these centres across NSW and any effort to raise revenue by leasing the centres to private providers will lead to increasing fees. These centres have a really important place in the lives of our communities and kids; they are more than just cash cows to the South Coast community. The transcript of Justin’s speech on the motion can be found here. The text of the motion defeated in the Legislative Council is below: EDITOR’S NOTE: SPORT AND RECREATION CAMPS Ms Voltz moved, according to notice: 1279 That this House expresses its concern that the Minister for Sport, the Honourable Stuart Ayres MP, has confirmed that he has undertaken market testing of all eleven sport and recreation camps run by the Office of Sport. That this House notes that: these sport and recreation camps are located at: Berry in the seat of Shoalhaven, Borambola in the seat of Wagga Wagga, Broken Bay in the seat of Gosford, Jindabyne in the seat of Monaro, Lake Ainsworth in the seat of Ballina, Lake Burrendong in the seat of Dubbo, Lake Keepit in the seat of Tamworth, Milson Island in the seat of Hornsby, Myuna Bay in the seat Lake Macquarie, Point Wolstoncroft in the seat of Swansea, Sydney Academy Narrabeen in the seat of Wakehurst, last year 191,000 participants attended sport and recreation camps at a net cost to the Baird Government of $2.6 million, these participants largely consisted of school camps but also included people with disabilities, according to the Baird Government’s own documents, the camps located at Myuna Bay, Point Wolstoncroft, Broken Bay, Lake Ainsworth, Milson Island, and the Sydney Academy all make a surplus, while regional camps such as Berry, Borambola, Lake Burrendong, Lake Keepit and Jindabyne all rely on cross profits from other camps due to their location and access to population densities, any privatisation of sport and recreation camps poses a significant risk, particularly for regional centres, and sport and recreation camps form an important part of the education curriculum and should be delivered through the control and operation of the Office of Sport and their specialist staff. This House calls on the Baird Government to immediately cease its plans to privatise any Sport and Recreation Camp and guarantee that their operation and control remains in public hands.    

Greens release shark plan - shark nets are not the answer

The Greens have called for a science based approach to managing the risk of shark bites in NSW. NSW Greens Marine and Fisheries spokesperson, Justin Field, today launched the Greens Non-Lethal Response to Shark Management in NSW plan - a six-point plan challenging the NSW Government’s plans to install outdated shark nets and more drum-lines across the NSW Coast. “The Greens are committed to a science based approach to keep people as safe as possible whilst respecting our wild oceans and the creatures that live in it, including sharks” said Mr. Field. “The Greens plan includes non-lethal shark mitigation programs that support communities to put in place local solutions. It recognises the need to put science at the center of any solutions and enables the community to develop our understanding of sharks and to find new deterrent technologies. “Shark nets are an outdated technology and we can do better. There have been 21 shark encounters on netted beaches in the last 23 years. Shark nets can’t guarantee public safety and we need to be honest about that instead of painting them as the solution. Rushing through legislation for more old-style shark mesh nets shows the Baird Government is moving away from a science based approach. “What we do know is that shark nets kill hundreds of marine animals including dolphins and turtles and non-target and endangered sharks - communities don’t want that collateral damage. “Communities up and down the NSW coastline want to know they are part of the solution and they need resources to take up that role. Efficient shark management must include government doing the heavy lifting on research, infrastructure and surveillance and the community getting supported to run proven programs like Shark Watch” “Governments can’t fully remove the risk of shark bites but people want a science based approach and support for local solutions not a political fix for the government”, concluded Mr. Field.   The Greens Non-Lethal Response to Shark Management in NSW plan can be found here

NSW has a lot to gain from Pokie-Leaks campaign

NSW Greens MP and gambling spokesperson, Justin Field, is supporting calls for whistleblowers to get in touch with federal MPs who today kicked off a “Pokies-Leaks” campaign to encourage whistleblowers to report dishonest and illegal behavior in the poker machine industry. Greens Senator, Larissa Wasters, Independent Senator, Nick Xenophon and Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie, are launching the campaign today. The Senators are calling for confidential information, such as details of how machine design targets vulnerable players and undisclosed industry interaction with political parties, to be sent directly to them for release in Parliament. NSW Greens MP Justin Field said, “The Pokie-Leaks campaign will shine a light on a murky industry that uses deceptive machine design to encourage people to continue to gamble and inevitably lose. “NSW have the highest number of poker machines of any state in Australia - almost 10% of all machines in the world are right here in this state. “The Government continues to suck in billions from gambling taxes, mostly from people who can least afford it and often from people who are addicted to poker machines. “Of course the Government is going to frame gambling as a game, but when everything about these machines is designed to ensure the person gambling puts as much money through, as quickly as possible while the machine reacts as if almost every bet is a winner – that’s not a game, that’s exploitation. “I hope the Pokie-Leaks campaign will bring this information out into the open so we can make better decisions about how to better regulate this damaging industry. “It’s really disappointing that Clubs NSW has described the Pokie-Leaks campaign as a publicity stunt when NSW has the highest loss per person from poker machines. “The gambling clubs in NSW should be ensuring we don’t have the deceptive machines in this state and doing more to assist people addicted to gambling. Starting by ensuring these deceptive machines aren’t in NSW Clubs would be a good start, Mr. Field said.

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