I was honoured to be invited to help celebrate the opening of the Ballina Tennis Club extension last weekend. I facilitated grant funding of $38,000 through the Community Building Partnerships Program to help the club with the upgrade of its facilities to make it more inclusive members of all abilities.
Ballina Tennis Club President Margaret Oldham organised a wonderful event, including the appearance of tennis great Pat Rafter, who unveiled a plaque officially opening the new facilities.
Pat was amazingly generous with his time, encouraging the junior players and hitting a few balls around with them long after the ceremony was over.
The Greens are the only political party in Australia calling for a national action plan on climate change, seeking emissions targets to keep global warming below two degrees.
Anything above that will be a disaster for humanity, the Climate Council's Will Steffen told a packed Byron Theatre this week.
He was addressing Zero Emissions Byron (ZEB) supporters – the group seeking to engage the whole Byron Shire in building a zero carbon community by 2025 across five key sectors: energy, waste, land use, buildings and transport.
Prof Steffen painted a disturbing picture, with a hike in extreme weather events, submerged coastlines, fresh water crises and massive migration a few of the consequences of a warming planet. Droughts will worsen in several key food-producing areas of the world, including southeast Australia, and rainfall will increase in others, bringing devastating floods.
Some of the impacts, such as the fate of coral reefs around the globe, are believed to have already passed the tipping point.
We have a narrow window of opportunity to keep the rise in emissions at a survivable level, Prof Steffen said, and the panel discussion that followed his talk outlined some of the things that can be done by individuals to work towards that, including calling upon our politicians to address the situation, installing solar panels and divesting from fossil fuel investments.
Find out more about Zero Emissions Byron here
ZEB talk, with Amelia Hicks, Sue Higginson and Will Steffen.
The Teven Tintenbar community is reeling from a proposal to build a toxic asphalt plant in this fragile valley. They need support with letters and also with donations to their fighting fund if you can.
The proposed site is in a rural zoning surrounded by agricultural lands – a totally inappropriate location for such intensive and dangerous industrial activity. Our green belts are vital for the future of nature-based tourism. They are vital for our food production. And they are vital for the health and sanity of all of us who live in this entire region. Let’s not destroy them any further.
Add your voice at No Bloody Way
And visit the residents' Facebook page here
There was a strong community turn out at the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel public meeting in Mullumbimby, with a full hall and a vocal crowd who were overwhelmingly against the mega developments planned for West Byron.
If you would like to take further action, sign my Say NO to West Byron petition.
Here is my statement to the Panel:
Tweed, Byron and Ballina Community Transport has received funding in the NSW Budget announced today.
The NSW Government has given in to the Shooters and Fishers Party by permanently winding back protections at 10 ocean beaches and headlands in sanctuary zones across four marine parks in NSW, including in Cape Byron Marine Park.
Short term holiday letting needs more regulation in Byron, not less, says local MP Tamara Smith.
With the passing of the Public Health Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinics) Bill 2018, women seeking reproductive medical advice and treatment have finally gained some protection from harassment and shaming. Some of the arguments against the bill were reminiscent of scenes from The Handmaid's Tale, and the suggestion that women seeking treatment at a medical centre don't know their own minds is truly disturbing. Despite what its critics said, this bill is not about gagging free speech, or denying people's right to protest. It is about a safe access zone for women looking after their health. The protection they receive from this bill is necessary and to be welcomed.
See my speech in support of the bill here.
The science tells us repeatedly that shark spotting with drone technology on patrolled surfing beaches reduces the risk of shark encounters. I recently met with Action for Dolphins advocacy director Jordan Sosnowski, and we resolved to continue working with Sea Shepherd and No Shark Cull to fund Shark Watch for the coming summer season - something the government has refused to do.
Say no to shark nets here.
This week I spoke out in Parliament against the Nationals and Liberals' appalling roll back of environmental protections for native forests in NSW and for giving the green light for massive clearing of native forest on private land under the Forestry Legislation Amendment Bill 2018.