e-Bulletin May 2015

Sunshine Coast Environment Council

Dear Scec,

If you have not already heard, the major news coming from SCEC is that Sekisui's plans have been halted by the overwhelming majority of our Councillors (more details below)! This decission sends a very clear message to all would be investors, you are welcome on the coast but only if you're willing to play by our rules. Thank you to everyone who has been supportive of this campaign it was people power that won the day.

This campaign really benefited from our ability to show where supporters were from and to ask people in key divisions to contact their local councilors. We can only do this if we have you're residential address on file. If you haven't already done so then please check and update your details online.

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Our next major annual event in which we will need a strong team of volunteers is the World Environment Day Festival which will take place on Sun Jun 7th between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Enjoy the music, food and festival atmosphere as you peruse the latest in cleantech innovation on the coast, listen to some of our top academics, get down and dirty with recyclable craft or join in another of our plethora of activities.

If you'd like to help out putting on this signature event than join our volunteer brigade for one or more shifts. Many hands make light work and events like this can only be put on with the aid of passionate volunteers so sign up and join the team.

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We are also asking your help on another critical issue this month. You may have heard that the federal government is conducting aninquiry into the deductible gift recipient status of environmental NGOs. This inquiry seeks to undermine the fundraising ability of environmental groups around the country. It would appear that the government does not like it when the citizens of Australia voluntarily provide funding for people who advocate about issues they care about. According to some commentators such groups 'represent minority views that stand in the way of progress'. This is obviously in stark contrast to other interest groups (such as the Minerals Council) whose almost unfettered access to ministers clearly represents the aspirations of the broader nations and supports altruistic development.

Without tongue in cheek though, this inquiry has been deliberately set up to pacify the environmental sector by cutting of our primary source of funding (donations provided 45% of SCEC's income in 2014 for other organisations this may be as high as 90%). It is an attack not only on the environment but on the very right of citizens to play an active role in our democratic process by advocating on causes that we care about. This right was recognized by the High Court in 2010 in Aid/Watch vs. Commissioner for Taxation in which the High Court ruled that 'free communication on matters of government and politics is an indispensable incident of the system of representative and responsible government'.

Now this right is under threat once more and we need your help to let the government know that environmental groups are an important part of the fabric of our democratic society and that you expect this will be respected by governments at all levels. Please take a few minutes to email the committee and call on them to recept our right to advocate on matters we care about and our right to tax concessions similar to other charities in Australia. Theinquiry is open to submissions until Thu 21 May 2015 and can be contacted via environment.reps@aph.gov.au To help you in preparing a submission we have prepared a sample submissionthat you can copy and modify as you see fit.

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The Sekisui House and Halls Creek campaigns have depleted our campaign reserves. With the possibility of loosing our tax-deductible gift status looming large we urge you to pleaseconsider making a donation now so that we can build up our campaign reserves for when the next issue comes around.

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Our free screenings of the award winning documentary Chasing Ice are continuing with screening in Kenilworth (16 May), Beerwah (30 May) and Bli Bli (20 June) coming up. The movie is introduce by Climate Reality Presenter and USC Lecturer Jacinta Bogard.RSVP for Chasing Ice

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Hands off Halls Creek- Calls on Minister for Infrastructure and Planning to remove Halls Creek from SEQ Regional Plan

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Sekisui House

The decision by an overwhelming majority of Councillors to not make major changes to the planning scheme to accommodate Sekisui’s ill-conceived intensive development at Yaroomba clearly showed that the community has called it correctly all along.
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Key issues and recommendations raised in the Council officers’ 27 April report and during the council meeting debate to arrive at such a decisive and sensible vote validated the community’s justified concerns. The extent and implications of amendments which would have seriously compromised the new planning scheme, unacceptable visual and environmental impacts and a proposed hotel (not a tourism facility) being only a minor component of what essentially was a high-rise mixed use residential development, were just some of the significant issues recognised. Sekisui’s poor community engagement and attitude were also necessarily questioned.

Halls Creek

The hard work that SCEC along with representatives from TAPP,GMAN, BIG, LACA and Caloundra Cruises has put into the Halls Creek Campaign was recognised this Thursday 14 May when the alliance received a Nicklin community service award from Peter Wellington MP. The alliance continues to work on the campaign in the background whilst we are seeking to get a clear position on the Halls Creek issue from the new State Government.
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Caloundra Cruises is running special cruises of the Pumicestone Passage for Sunshine Coast residents in collaboration with Sunshine Coast Council. If you have never been down the Pumicestone Passage these cruises are a wonderful way of discovering this natural treasure and to learn more about the possible threats to the area from development of Halls Creek. You can book tickets for these cruises online at the Caloundra Cruiseswebsite.

Climate Action

Our amazing climate action volunteers have started going out to markets around the region to talk to people about climate change and the need to call for urgent action at the Paris Climate Summitin December this year. If you can spare a few hours to man our stall at a market near you please email us climateaction@scec.org.au, we'd love to have you on board.

If you can't give time but would like to contribute to the campaign than please join our social media campaign. Take a selfie holding up a sign calling for action on climate change and post it to you favorite social media platform using the hashtag#scclimateaction and facebook tag@sunshinecoastenvironmentcouncil and call on your media friends to do the same.

Work on our climate training is progressing in the background with talks underway with the University of Queensland and Australian Conservation Foundation to explore opportunities to collaborate.

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Noosa and District Landcare's Short Workshop Series presents:

"Native Plants for your Garden" Saturdays 6 June and 8 August

Ever wanted to use Native Plants creatively and for dramatic effort in your garden? Not sure where to start? Well come along to a Short Workshop Series with experienced presenters Shaun Walsh and Lyn Harm held in May, June and August. These workshops will cover Best Plants, Drama, Propagation.

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Sunshine Coast Environment Council

http://www.scec-action.org.au/

 

Sunshine Coast Environment Council · 3 Porters Ln, Nambour, QLD 4560, Australia
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