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Greens start Senate Inquiry into Tiwi Islands

The environmental and economic impact of forestry and mining in the Tiwi Islands will be scrutinised under a Senate Inquiry set up by the Australian Greens today.

"The Tiwi Islands, 80km north of Darwin, have significant biodiversity values, with eucalypt forests and tropical savannas existing alongside rainforest," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"These forested areas in the Tiwi Islands are now the subject of a major clear-felling and wood chipping project approved by the Howard government in 2001, resulting in deforestation of an estimated 30,000 hectares."

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Greens ‘New Century’ Australia Senate Agenda

The Australian Greens today outlined their vision for Australia in the new century ahead of the opening of the Balance-of-Power Senate.

Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, said a record 1.17 million people voted Greens at the last election, and the five Greens Senators were ready to work constructively with all parties to respond to the challenges of the new century.

"Pollution, poverty, discrimination and the destruction of Australia's forests and precious environments are the legacy of the last century and decades of greed and inaction."

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Capacity to adapt agriculture to climate is being lost

The capacity of our regional communities to adapt to climate change is being undermined at their hour of greatest need - warn the Australian Greens.

"With drought and drier periods becoming the norm rather the exception we urgently need new ways to assist farmers to deal with climate variability and manage seasonal risk. Unfortunately because Governments have been in denial for so long, Australian farmers aren't now as well equipped as they should be," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

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Build agricultural resilience to climate change - Greens

The Greens today cautiously welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Tony Burke of his intention to revamp drought relief payments.

"The review is certainly long overdue, but we need to ensure that any farm support payments are part of a wider approach that helps us move from band-aid responses to exceptional circumstances to a system of sustainable agriculture which is more climate proof," said Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on agriculture today.

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Greens Support call for International Body to Control High Seas

The Australian Greens have supported the call by the IUCN today for urgent action to deal with the growing threat to our oceans from unregulated activity beyond national jurisdictions.

"Ocean mining, iron fertilization, seismic testing, bioprospecting and overfishing are causing increasing problems in oceans around the world and as a consequence the international community needs to respond by establishing an Intergovernmental Panel on the Oceans to assist in the development of policies that respond to these threats," according to Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

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Farmers walking off the land is not a vision for the future of agriculture

The big problem with the latest drought assistance package is that it lacks vision.

What we really need is a strategy to make the transition to a productive and sustainable agriculture in a changing and uncertain climate.

This means we need a better idea of what the projected impacts are for our agricultural regions and what the options are for improving the resilience of our farming systems and safely managing the risk of our farm enterprises.

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New international climate study paints a bleak picture

In more bad news for farmers a new report shows that global warming is likely to produce a serious decline in world agricultural production over the next fifty years, with Australian coping a 16% to 27% drop in our rural productivity, according to a new study by a senior international economist.

"This is a wake-up call for Australian governments to get real about climate change and start developing future-proof strategies to protect our rural industries," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

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Aboriginal representation shut out on Great Barrier Reef

The proposed changes to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act were meant to implement the key recommendations of the review. The review considered not only public submissions on how the marine park was functioning and how it could be improved but also the recommendations of the 2003 Uhrig Review of the Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Office Holders.

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