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Greens leader wants plebiscites to allow local input on all major infrastructure decisions: pulp mills, desal, nuclear power plants and Queensland council mergers

Posted by gmarkets on 27 September, 2007

Amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Democratic Plebiscites) Bill 2007 deserved support, said Greens leader Senator Bob Brown in the Federal Senate on 17 September 2007.

Tamar Valley pulp mill: If the government said that the people ought to have a say in amalgamations of councils in Queensland, which was about governance and people’s right to decide on governance, then surely the people ought to be able to decide whether they would have a dam which was going to totally eliminate their property or a desalination plant which was going to radically change their environment or a pulp mill which, in the case of the Tamar Valley, according to the Australian Medical Association, was going to increase the death rate of the 100,000 people living in that valley. Brown added that according to vineyard owners and many other small businesses, the Tamar valley mill was going to impact negatively on their businesses. According to the people fishing in Bass Strait, he said, it would threaten their livelihoods and, according to many other people, it was going to be a negative for Tasmania.

PM’s 25 nuclear power stations: A business roundtable report showed a $3 billion hit on other businesses, said Brown. Shouldn’t people have a say about that? Where the government said “No”, the Greens said “Yes”, under the same circumstances. “Then there is the government’s proposal — indeed, the Prime Minister’s proposal — for 25 nuclear power stations coming down the line,” said Brown. “Should people not have a say on that? …the government might say: ‘No, citizens shouldn’t be supported in deciding that. On governance, yes, but on the safety of their neighbourhood, no’.”

Toxic muck: Then, aid Brown, there was harbour dredging. “Clearly the case in point at the moment is Port Phillip Bay,” he said, “where there is a remarkable marine environment at stake. There is not just that but the potential for toxic metals to be lifted off the floor of the harbour and put into the bay environment. I have to part company with the government’s feeling that that is not a matter people should have a say in. It is as important as their municipal boundaries,” concluded Brown.

Reference: Bob Brown, Senator for Tasmania, Leader of the Austrlalian Greens, Commonwealth Senate, 17 September 2007 (on the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Democratic Plebiscites) Bill 2007)

Erisk Net, 17/9/2007

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