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Greens release terms of reference for urgent ‘Save the Coorong' Senate inquiry

The Australian Greens today released the proposed terms of reference for an urgent Senate inquiry aimed at delivering water to the Coorong and lower lakes of the Murray River before Christmas.

"Water Minister Penny Wong has given up - but Prime Minister Kevin Rudd must not. Immediate action is what is required to give the Coorong a drink before Christmas," Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said, speaking at the mouth of the Murray today.

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Urgent Senate Action to Save Murray

The Australian Greens will move to set up an urgent Senate inquiry when Parliament resumes on August 26th, aimed at securing water for the Coorong and lower lakes of the Murray before Christmas, Greens Senators Bob Brown, Rachel Siewert and Sarah Hanson Young said today.

“The Coorong and lower lakes need a drink before Christmas. The water is there but the political will isn’t. When Governments fail to act, the people, through the Senate, must provide action,” Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Canberra today.

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Government's biodiversity conservation failures are unacceptable

The Australian Greens today called on the Government to take immediate action to ensure the protection of biodiversity hotspots in Australia.

A new report from the Worldwide Fund for Nature has warned that Australian native animals are protected in just ten per cent of the country's land area. The key concern raised by this report is that the biodiversity hotspots already identified are still the least protected, whilst 72 per cent of Australia's threatened species continue to decline.

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GM ban lift threatens markets - Greens

"The lifting of bans on Genetically Modified crops today in Victoria and New South Wales will threaten Australia's clean green reputation and cost farmers huge amounts of money," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"The evidence from the Gene Technology Regulator last week in Senate Estimates indicated very clearly that there was not a national segregation system in place and farmers and consumers would be left to pay the price of contamination."

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WA Coroner calls for strong leadership on Aboriginal deaths in Kimberley

"The coronial report into the high rate of Aboriginal deaths in the Kimberley today highlights the clear need for leadership by Commonwealth and State Governments in tackling the appalling living conditions and lack of opportunities for Aboriginal people in the North-West," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.


"In a state as rich as West Australia it is shameful to think that life is getting worse for our first Australians," she said.

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Holes evident in GM legislation

"Regulation of GM in this country is grossly inadequate and highlights why it is so important to maintain the moratorium on GM crops," said Australian Greens spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert.

"There is no regulation in place to deal with the issues of contamination, segregation and marketing of GM and non-GM crops. This issue is about to come to a head with the overturning of the moratorium on GM canola by NSW and Victoria."

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World Heritage on the cards for Ningaloo

The Australian Greens welcomed confirmation in Senate Estimates that the Government would finally move of World Heritage protection for Ningaloo Reef.

It was confirmed in Estimates yesterday that the Federal Government plans to nominate Ningaloo Reef for the 2009 round of World Heritage listing.

Yesterday Department of Environment and Heritage officials confirmed that the region would be nominated by 1st Feb 2009 for final consideration by the world heritage body in mid 2010.

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$6 Million earmarked for conservation handed back to Treasurer

The Australian Greens were shocked to learn in Senate Estimates today that $6 Million set aside for protecting biodiversity hotspots has not been spent and will be handed back to Treasury.

"This money was meant to be used to buy high conservation-value properties in Australia's biodiversity 'hotspots' – areas where there is a great concentration of unique wildlife," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"I cannot believe that the government couldn't spend this money – when there are so many opportunities to buy back some stunning private and leasehold land."

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