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Australian Greens call on Government to abandon Margaret River oil field exploration

The Australian Greens today condemned the Federal Government’s plans to open the oceans off WA’s South West coast to oil exploration, as community groups ramp up their protests against the proposal.

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson is expected to include an area of unique marine environment just 83km from the Margaret River coast when the 2010 Offshore Petroleum Acreage Releases for oil exploration are announced on 16 May.

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Community sector critical to Australia's future

After spending two days recently in Geraldton one thing became very clear – a lot of people throughout the region are doing some stunning work in their community.

It was impossible not to be inspired by the amazing attitude people maintain, often in the face of difficult circumstance, as they work to improve the lives of others.  This community spirit remains strong and yet the Government focus seems to continue to centre on regional resource projects and misses the bigger community picture.

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Greens concerned about cuts to environment programs

The Australian Greens today voiced concern over reports that the Rudd Government intends to slash funding to natural resource management and environment programs in the coming budget.

"I am very concerned by reports that the Caring for Our Country program may have its budget cut by up to 22% and that other environment programs may also be cut by up to 25%," said Greens environment spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert today.

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Confirmed: Indonesian fish stocks contaminated by Montara oil

Concerns repeatedly raised by the Australian Greens that Indonesian fishing grounds were contaminated by oil from last year’s Montara oil spill have been confirmed, following testing of an oil sample submitted to the Montara oil spill inquiry by Australian Greens Senator for WA Rachel Siewert.

“We first raised concerns in October that communities in Indonesia who rely on fish for food were being affected by this oil spill,” Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The response by the Rudd Government at the time was to play the reports down.

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Oil spill inquiry needs to look at Indonesian impact: Greens

The Australian Greens today renewed calls for the Montara wellhead oil spill inquiry to look into the impacts of oil contamination within Indonesian waters.

"This should be a major part of the planned inquiry into this disaster, as it could drastically impact those fishing communities whose livelihood depend on their ability to fish in clean waters," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

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Senate calls for delay in Snowy review

The Senate today passed an Australian Greens motion calling on the Commonwealth to demand NSW delays finalisation of the Snowy Water License Review while environmental water releases are addressed.

"This must be done to avoid the risk of unnecessary compensation," Australian Greens Water Spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"Delaying the review by six months will allow the Snowy Scientific Committee to review the environmental benefits of permitting releases from Mowamba Weir, in order to make a decision on this issue during the time of the Review.

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Senate rejects ineffective dieback plan

The Australian Greens have urged the Federal Government to properly resource and update its national plan for tackling Phytophthora dieback after the Senate voted to disallow the Government’s plan because it was out-of-date and ineffectual.

“This disease is the biggest single threat to biodiversity in the south-west of WA, where it has already destroyed one million hectares and placed another million hectares are considered at high risk of infection, it is essential that we have an effective plan” Greens Western Australian Senator Rachel Siewert said.

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