Namoi News

Roy Butler MP Member for Barwon

Namoi News

Roy’s Round-Up

Roy’s Round-Up

Roy Butler MP

It has been another busy fortnight, one week sitting in Parliament, and since Parliament rose, I have been in Canberra talking water and energy with federal actors. I also managed to slip down to Eden Monaro where Matt Stadtmiller is running for the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party in the by-election. Matt and I spent a couple of days talking to locals and looking at the impact of recent devastating fires. We also turned to locals for advice on what needed to happen to prepare for the next fires.

In early July I am heading out to Coonamble, Walgett and Lightning Ridge. I hope to speak to plenty of people, and report back on the work we have been doing relevant to their communities.

Please keep your guard up on Coronavirus, as we see people moving around more and more, social distancing and hand hygiene is our best defence to keep the virus at bay. You have done an amazing job, hopefully in coming months we can see zero cases, and get back to a more normal life.

Monday, June 29, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (423)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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'If you've never seen a gas drilling site up close, they're not pretty'

'If you've never seen a gas drilling site up close, they're not pretty'

Opinion - John Tough

After years of delays, the NSW state government has approved the expansion of the controversial Narrabri gas project, despite opposition from many in the local community. 

The project, which was opposed by the vast majority of submissions during the consultation process, could involve up to 850 new coal seam gas wells being drilled on 1,000 hectares of a 95,000 hectare site covering the Pilliga forest and nearby farm land.

If you've never seen a gas drilling site up close, they're not pretty. 

Towers being raised across the countryside, orange flames from gas flares, glaring floodlights, constant noise from the grind of the drill - and that's not even touching on the potential for land and water pollution from fugitive emissions during the drilling process.

Saturday, June 20, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (416)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Roy's Round-Up 6 June 2020

Roy's Round-Up 6 June 2020

It’s been a big week in Parliament. 

The Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill came on incredibly fast in the Legislative Assembly. Thank you for your public support of the position we took, it helps to show that Government members are out of touch with community sentiment. 

The next opportunity to raise concerns is through the Independent Planning Commission process. I will be making a submission, advocating for the strongest possible protection of groundwater for the sake of communities and agriculture. I encourage you to do the same. 

Monday, June 08, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (822)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 4.5
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Transparency around government decision-making is another casualty of Covid-19

Transparency around government decision-making is another casualty of Covid-19

The Guardian - Katherine Murphy

In one of those strange circle of life things, about three years ago, I had a conversation with Greg Combet about how Australian politics could pull itself out of the death spiral of rolling leadership coups.

Combet – one of Labor’s brightest stars – had burned out during the leadership feud between Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, and with the grinding effort of legislating a carbon price in a minority parliament. Given he was a substantial loss to public life, I was interested in his thoughts about how things might become less toxic.

Part of the problem, Combet thought, was Canberra’s parliamentary culture was too insular, and the pace of governing was too punishing. One way to combat that would be adopting the American model, where people were recruited from outside the political system to serve in the cabinet or the executive. Recruiting high-powered outsiders from diverse backgrounds to mingle with the political lifers for a term of government would refresh the gene pool in the 2600 postcode, and allow some members of a government to focus exclusively on policy-making rather than having to juggle portfolio and representative responsibilities.

Sunday, June 07, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
Categories: Politics
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Chorus of criticism for defeat of coal seam gas moratorium, but NSW Government holds firm

Chorus of criticism for defeat of coal seam gas moratorium, but NSW Government holds firm

ABC New England / By Patrick Bell and Lucy Thackray

Farmers in north-west New South Wales are furious at the defeat of a bill to temporarily put a stop to Coal Seam Gas activity in the state.

The Bill passed the NSW Upper House late on Wednesday night, and the Government unexpectedly brought it to a vote in the Legislative Assembly yesterday afternoon.

It was defeated 38 votes to 36.

The legislation had the support of Labor, the Greens, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers (SFF) and other independents.

The Deputy Premier John Barilaro has accused the SFF of having "sold out jobs in regional NSW to align themselves with the Greens, not because of outcomes, but because of politics".

Key points:

  • The State Government defeated a bill that would have temporarily stopped all coal seam gas activity
  • Farmers in the state's north-west are worried about the implications for the impending Narrabri Gas Project
  • The government insists it has the community on its side
Saturday, June 06, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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CSG mine's mountain of unwanted salt  (This was published 8 years ago )

CSG mine's mountain of unwanted salt (This was published 8 years ago )

Brisbane Times - Still no solution to this problem or where to put it.

Coal seam gas (CSG) mining at just one Queensland site will produce three million tonnes of salt - enough to raise a pile 10 metres high and 11 kilometres long, senators have been told.

A parliamentary committee yesterday took evidence in Canberra looking at the impact of mining CSG on the Murray Darling Basin.

Liberal senator Bill Heffernan told the hearing of the salt produced by one approved Queensland project.

"Eleven-point-three kilometres by 30m wide by 10m high - that'll be the pile of salt that'll be produced from this one mining approval," Senator Heffernan told representatives of the NSW Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services (DTIRIS) attending the hearing.

"This is for you to think about because we don't want this to happen in NSW - that's approved under the onerous provisions of the Queensland DERM (Department of Environment and Resource Management).

"I wouldn't like that on my landscape."

Friday, June 05, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Cheap gas, really? Why gas — from coal seams or ships — may not mean low power prices

Cheap gas, really? Why gas — from coal seams or ships — may not mean low power prices

ABC News - Published on 12 February 2020

Think about this — Australia is now the world's biggest exporter of natural gas, yet we're looking at importing gas to deal with a domestic "shortage".

If this happens, Australia will be using huge amounts of energy and spending large sums of money to compress, liquify and ship its abundant gas reserves to markets overseas.

Then gas will be shipped back, with all the costs and resources involved, to supply the local market.

Does that make sense? Go figure.

But there's money to be made from it.

Andrew Twiggy Forest, iron ore baron, philanthropist and one of the nation's shrewdest businessmen, is backing a proposal to import gas through Port Kembla, NSW.

Welcome to the world of Australian gas policy.

'Pure stupidity'

Alistair Donaldson, a fourth-generation farmer from outside Boggabri, north-west of Newcastle, has been fighting coal seam gas development in the region for 10 years, but he's equally appalled by the gas importation plan.

"It would have to be the purest form of stupidity imaginable," the plain-talking cattleman says.

Friday, June 05, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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ABC NSW Country Hour

ABC NSW Country Hour

  • Farmers raise concerns over coal seam gas but the Nationals say water and agricultural land will be protested by the planning process
  • World environment day sees solar dairy and tree production pushing ahead
  • Brumby control of 4000 head set to go underway despite appeals from deputy premier John Barilaro.
Friday, June 05, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Berejiklian government rushes to defeat coal seam gas moratorium bill

Berejiklian government rushes to defeat coal seam gas moratorium bill

Sydney Morning Herald

The Berejiklian government has rushed to defeat a private member's bill to derail the controversial Narrabri gas project as anti-coal seam gas groups were preparing to target National party seats.

In a rare move, the Coalition suspended the day's parliamentary agenda on Thursday to debate a coal seam gas moratorium bill in a bid to fast-track its demise in the Legislative Assembly.

It comes after the bill, put forward by independent MP Justin Field, passed the NSW upper house on Wednesday night with the support of Labor and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.

Friday, June 05, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Banking on Gas will leave us stranded

Banking on Gas will leave us stranded

Sydney Morning. Herald - John Hewson - Columnist and former Liberal opposition leader

Governments were generally caught short by COVID-19. Scott Morrison boasts that he saw it earlier, and acted quicker and more decisively, than most – that he relied on medical and scientific advice, forged a “national” response, ignored ideology.

But his government has a split personality on the need to rely on science. It so easily ignores climate science, still swayed by a small rump of Coalition deniers.

In a sense, the experience of the pandemic is a dress rehearsal of what will happen with climate, if governments continue to ignore the science. There had been imprecise warnings of possible pandemics, but these had been ignored. Climate science is far more substantive, peer-assessed and uniform than that relied on to support the COVID responses; the predicted catastrophic weather events have become more frequent and more intense, and over decades.

 

Friday, June 05, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Assault on environment by gas fracking multinationals escalates

Assault on environment by gas fracking multinationals escalates

Michael West Media by Callum Foote | Jun 5, 2020 | Energy, Featured

Multinational corporations have captured the national polity and continue to push last-century energy solutions on Australia, in defiance of sound policy and due process. The US fracking industry has collapsed. Yet the Covid Commission forges ahead with coal seam gas plans for Santos at Narrabri. Callum Footereports.

As if a tradie-led recovery wasn’t bizarre enough, the COVID Commission and Liberals and Nationals in NSW are forging ahead with plans to open up Narrabri for coal seam gas fracking.

This is despite:

  • warnings only a day ago that the global glut could force natural gas prices into negative;
  • the science telling us clearly that for the sake of the planet we need to move on from fossil fuels, especially given that renewable energy can compete on cost with oil, coal and natural gas-fired power plants;
  • figures showing that fugitive emissions from natural gas production are driving massive increases in greenhouse gas; and
  • the fact that domestic gas users are massively price gouged because the East Coast gas market is controlled by a cartel of three producers, Santos, Origin Energy and Exxon/BHP, who starve the domestic market to force up prices and make super profits  Meanwhile overseas buyers of Australian gas pay far less than the domestic buyers do.
Friday, June 05, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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GOVERNMENT VOTES AGAINST BETTER PROTECTION FOR VITAL GROUNDWATER

GOVERNMENT VOTES AGAINST BETTER PROTECTION FOR VITAL GROUNDWATER

Roy Butler - Press Release

The Member for Barwon, Roy Butler today carried the historic Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill in the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Assembly.

“Much will be made of me carrying the CSG Moratorium Bill, but it should not surprise to people that I have followed through on my commitment to not support any extractive industry that puts water, our most precious resource at risk,” said Mr Butler. 

“I committed to do it through the campaign, and I kept my word.

Thursday, June 04, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (345)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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It's Only Just Begun

It's Only Just Begun

The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party have been told by Treasurer Dominic Perrott that the

proposed public sector wage freeze is “just the beginning” of changes the Government will make to

regain the economy and employment in New South Wales.

Following a meeting, this morning with the Treasurer and leader of the Upper House Damien

Tudehope the SFF’s position remains.

Thursday, May 28, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (294)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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COVID-19 NSW small business grant criteria questioned in light of business downturn from drought

COVID-19 NSW small business grant criteria questioned in light of business downturn from drought

ABC News

Peter Nash has run a shoe shop in Broken Hill for 45 years and has endured countless droughts and the closure of mines, but nothing has come close to the economic stress of COVID-19.

The Federal Government's 'JobKeeper' scheme is helping keep him afloat but he is angry his business did not qualify for a New South Wales Government small business grant. 

"Unfortunately, our downturn at the beginning of April was 72 per cent and they have a benchmark of 75 per cent," he said.

"I started the application but got booted out so to speak."

The sum of $10,000 is available to businesses who have experienced a loss of 75 per cent in income because of COVID-19.

Thursday, May 28, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Roy’s Round-Up 25 May 2020

Roy’s Round-Up 25 May 2020

Hi Folks, 

Ever since the start of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions my team and I have been dealing with the community fall out. Changes made on the fly always have unintended  consequences, consequences that have a negative impact on our community. We’ve been working hard to sort these issues out and lobby the Government for changes on your behalf, I’m pleased to say we have had a lot of success in this area, changing the Health Orders on many occasions to work better for Barwon.

Monday, May 25, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (483)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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Narrabri councillor Ann Loder removed from civic office while battling breast cancer because she did not fill out an absence form

Narrabri councillor Ann Loder removed from civic office while battling breast cancer because she did not fill out an absence form

Northern Daily Leader

IN the midst of a battle with breast cancer, Narrabri Shire Council councillor Ann Loder learned she had been removed from elected office because she didn't fill out a form.

Monday, May 18, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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GRANTING OUR SPORTS CLUBS A KICK ALONG

GRANTING OUR SPORTS CLUBS A KICK ALONG

Member for Barwon Roy Butler has announced that twelve Sporting Clubs will share in more than $92,000 in funding thanks to the 2019-20 Local Sport Grant Program.

Mr Butler said the funding will allow these Clubs to improve their facilities and remove some hurdles for people who are thinking about getting involved with their local club. 

Monday, May 18, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (309)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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Roy’s Round up

Roy’s Round up

11 May, 2020

Hi Folks, 

We are two months into something that will hopefully only happen once in a lifetime. I want to offer my thanks to all of you, the people who have followed the public health advice, and the essential workers who have worked with risks to keep us all safe, and services functioning. 

As we move into an easing of some restrictions on Friday 15 May, please remain vigilant with the basic health advice. If you are a business looking to get back to trade, please be safe, and protect your staff and clients. 

Monday, May 11, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (514)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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WORKING FROM HOME WORKS – IT’S TIME FOR THE BUSH TO TELECOMMUTE

WORKING FROM HOME WORKS – IT’S TIME FOR THE BUSH TO TELECOMMUTE

If there is one positive from the COVID-19 pandemic it’s the widespread realisation that working from home works, says Member for Barwon, Roy Butler.

Mr Butler is calling on the NSW Government to review the suitability of all Public Sector positions for telecommuting, and introduce new requirements for Public Sector roles to be advertised as ‘suitable for telecommuting’. 

The way roles are currently advertised, shows a geographic area where the role is based, inhibiting the attraction of the best possible candidate, no matter where they call home.

“COVID-19 has meant more and more people have shifted to working from home, with videoconferencing for team meetings, and remote access tokens bringing the office to people’s dining room tables and study’s.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (847)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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Butler calls on the NSW Government to waive car rego fees

Butler calls on the NSW Government to waive car rego fees

Member for Barwon, Roy Butler is adding his voice to calls for car registration waivers saying motorists shouldn’t be slogged with car registration fees while we’re being told to stay off the roads.

“The cost of car registration is one of the big bills households face every year – alongside mortgages, rent, and energy bills.

“We’ve seen support announced by banks for mortgage holders, protections for renters announced by government, and energy companies supporting their customers with rebates and payment extensions.

Friday, April 24, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (1120)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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Give our clubs a sporting chance

Give our clubs a sporting chance

Member for Barwon Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to provide financial support to community sporting and recreation clubs for fixed expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Sporting and recreation clubs are essential to the social fabric of our communities, but like so many of us they’re struggling to pay the bills at the moment,” said Mr Butler. 

“For many clubs, the closure of their particular sporting code due to COVID-19 has substantially reduced their ability to generate income from the games and events associated with a sporting season.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (2184)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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Regional NSW needs more than Departmental window dressings

Regional NSW needs more than Departmental window dressings

Member for Barwon, Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to give the new Department of Regional NSW proper powers and put it to work. 

The Deputy Premier's announcement states that the Department's first job will be delivery of recent bushfire, COVID-19 stimulus and drought initiative packages.

“The current description of tasks for this Department is simply Government business as usual with a grander title. Regional NSW needs more than that, it needs a Department located in regional NSW, working for regional NSW,” said Mr Butler.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (1254)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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The reason you support agriculture in tough times – a lesson in listening to your citizens

The reason you support agriculture in tough times – a lesson in listening to your citizens

Op-Ed from Roy Butler MP, Member for Barwon

The NSW Liberal-National Government failed to adequately support farmers during the drought. This meant farmers increased debt levels, let staff go, sold equipment and de-stocked leaving the whole sector in a vulnerable deficit.

For some people the drought was simply too much, they sold up, or were repossessed and left the sector.

The Government can’t say they didn’t know about it, I spoke about it in every session of NSW Parliament, used every mechanism available to me to get drought, and drought assistance on the agenda.

The tragic bushfires showed that the NSW Government can indeed find money, and get it out quickly… when it wants to.

Monday, April 20, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (1073)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 4.0
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Thursday, March 19, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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THE SHOW WON’T GO ON – COVID-19 THE LATEST BLOW FOR REGIONAL COMMUNITIES

THE SHOW WON’T GO ON – COVID-19 THE LATEST BLOW FOR REGIONAL COMMUNITIES

Media Release Roy Butler Saturday 14 March

The Government now more than ever needs to provide cash based assistance to struggling regional communities according to Member for Barwon Roy Butler. 

Mr Butler has renewed his calls for cash based assistance for regional communities following the Government’s announcement banning gatherings of over 500 people in response to COVID-19. 

“Our regional economies, especially  agriculture dependant economies had a small ray of hope with some rain, and a season of local shows, race carnivals, festivals and themed events promising to bring some much needed turnover to small business in regional communities,” said Mr Butler. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (1768)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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The Government must act on improving water management transparency

The Government must act on improving water management transparency

Press release Roy Butler MP

Water Management in NSW is not transparent. We have seen in the last few weeks the issues that this lack of transparency creates for everyone, be it communities or people holding water access licences.

Monday, March 09, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (1579)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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Royal Commission - Nats say YES - Libs say NO

Royal Commission - Nats say YES - Libs say NO

Media Release - Roy Butler MP

Member for Barwon Roy Butler welcomed the news today that the NSW Nationals are backing his party’s call for a Royal Commission into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party have been calling for a Royal Commission into water for many months now. Pursuing a Royal Commission was one of the commitments the party made in its 10-point water plan. 

“Our political pressure and the pressure from the community has today seen the NSW Nationals finally stand by the comments of their leader in Menindee and support the calls for a Royal Commission,” said Mr Butler. 

Following the issuing of a Media Release today from the Leader of The Nationals backing a Royal Commission, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party sought to suspend Parliament to debate the need for a Royal Commission. The Liberal-National Government voted against this call.

Thursday, February 27, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (3256)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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Minister Pavey flip-flops on embargo to create perfect storm of misinformation

Minister Pavey flip-flops on embargo to create perfect storm of misinformation

13 February, 2020

The decision to backflip on an embargo and waive restrictions on take in several tributaries and parts of the Peel, Namoi and Gwydir rivers doesn’t pass the pub test according to Member for Barwon Roy Butler.

“Minister Pavey pushes out information in the media about doing all she can to support communities through this drought then comes along with a decision like this that severely impacts on the mental health of everyone in Barwon.

“What Minister Pavey has achieved here is the creation of conflict between communities. Who does that benefit?

“What’s the point of creating this perfect storm of misinformation?

“I haven’t received a single call from anyone in Barwon that’s happy with this decision, what I have received are calls and messages from many people from farmers and irrigators, to people in towns and Aboriginal Elders asking what the Minister is playing at.

“There is a complete lack of transparency from Minister Pavey and the Department of Planning Industry and Environment about this decision.

Friday, February 14, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (831)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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NO SHORTAGE OF GAS – JUST A SHORTAGE OF COMMON SENSE

NO SHORTAGE OF GAS – JUST A SHORTAGE OF COMMON SENSE

“There is no shortage of gas in Australia, there’s a shortage of common sense in Canberra when it comes to gas export policy and domestic gas reservation policy,” says Member for Barwon, Roy Butler. 

Mr Butler’s comments follow the new energy deal struck by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Friday, January 31, 2020/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (1685)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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Stop Stuffing Around Bureaucrats and Provide Real Drought Funding

Stop Stuffing Around Bureaucrats and Provide Real Drought Funding

“It’s disappointing that the Government has decided to shuffle public service positions, and spend more money creating new offices within offices instead of providing real drought support,” said Member for Barwon Roy Butler. 

Mr Butler’s comments follow the sacking of Jock Laurie, the government’s drought coordinator, to make way for the new Office of Drought Response. 

“The drought coordinator’s position was set up to listen to farmers and communicate their views to government – to make sure their concerns surrounding drought had been heard.

Thursday, November 07, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (4032)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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Barwon MP fighting for desperately needed drug rehabilitation centres in western NSW

Barwon MP fighting for desperately needed drug rehabilitation centres in western NSW

Member for Barwon, Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to take action and establish more residential rehabilitation centres in the west of the State.

Drug related crime figures, presentations to emergency departments, and Ambulance call outs for drug related incidents are all on the increase.

In the Far West, amphetamine use and possession has increased by 61 per cent between April 2017 and March 2019 – the highest increase in the State. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (5658)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Member for Barwon calls for immediate independent audit of Rural and Regional Public Hospitals

Member for Barwon calls for immediate independent audit of Rural and Regional Public Hospitals

Barwon MP Roy Butler has renewed his party’s call for an independent audit of rural and regional public hospital services and staffing.

This call follows the deeply concerning revelations in the Four Corners report Health Hazard

Mr Butler says the government needs to undertake an immediate independent audit of rural and regional public hospitals to determine what services are missing or lacking from hospitals; and the distribution of the health workforce across the State. 

“It’s time to make the health, welfare and safety of people across rural and regional NSW a priority,” said Mr Butler.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (4080)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 3.5
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New push to stop Narrabri in NSW Upper House

New push to stop Narrabri in NSW Upper House

He said it is designed to "press pause" on Santos' long delayed Narrabri CSG project.

Friday, August 30, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Mining watchdog suspends Narrabri Coal's exploration licence

Mining watchdog suspends Narrabri Coal's exploration licence

Northern Daily Leader - Jamieson Murphy

THE state's mining watchdog has suspended the exploration licence of Narrabri Coal, for building unauthorised tracks in the Pilliga Forest.

The long-wall mine, which forms part of Whitehaven Coal's operations, was found to be in breach of its licence following a state-wide compliance blitz in June.

More than a dozen hollow trees, which provide important habitat to native animals, were knocked down. The unauthorised paths also failed to divert around environmentally sensitive areas.

Resources Regulator head honcho Anthony Keon said the mine's actions showed a "comprehensive failure" to follow "fundamental regulatory obligations".

"The construction of the unauthorised tracks resulted in significant environmental harm," Mr Keon said.

"Exploration activities are subject to strict conditions in order to ensure appropriate environmental protections.

Citizen science group, the Leard Forest Node, has been monitoring the mine's "progressive incursion" in to the Pilliga forest for a couple of years, spokeswoman Anna Christie said.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg, the Narrabri Coal mine has been flying under the radar for several years," Ms Christie said.

She was glad to see meaningful action taken against the mine, rather than just "a fine and a tap of the wrist".

Have your say. Click this link to send a letter to the editor

The suspension will remain in place until the mine conducts a full review of its compliance systems and can satisfy the watchdog that appropriate controls have been put in place.

Five other joint-venture partners also had their exploration licence suspended. The licence holders acknowledged the offending behaviour and offered to suspend all drilling and clearing activities.

The mine will be able to continue operating, however the suspension stops it from expanding or investigating new sites.

Whitehaven CEO Paul Flynn accepted that on this occasion the company failed to properly obverse its exploration obligations

"Based on our inquiries to date, the circumstances and communication failures that led to this outcome are unacceptable," Mr Flynn said.

"Whitehaven took immediate corrective action following the Regulator's site inspection, suspending all exploration activity and commissioning an independent audit and investigation to determine necessary corrective actions.

"The company is committed to ensuring all relevant issues are identified and addressed before exploration activities at Narrabri can resume and will continue to cooperate fully with the NSW Resources Regulator to achieve this outcome."

Friday, August 23, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Coal seam gas moratorium bill put forward by NSW MLC Justin Field

Coal seam gas moratorium bill put forward by NSW MLC Justin Field

Northern Daily Leader - Jamieson Murphy

AN independent politician has put forward a bill to establish a moratorium on all coal seam gas projects in the state.

The private member's bill, introduced to the NSW upper house by MLC Justin Field, would put a halt to Santos' Narrabri Gas Project, establish no-go zones for CSG including agricultural land and introduce a public interest test for proposed developments.

Mr Field said the bill was modelled off a moratorium put forward by Labor in 2015, and was hopefully it would be widely supported.

"The Greens, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Animal Justice Party and Christian Democratic Party have all previously voted for, or supported, legislation or policies that endorse a moratorium on coal seam gas," Mr Field said.

"With those parties on board we can pass a coal seam gas moratorium bill through the NSW Legislative Council.

"The community have long opposed coal seam gas development in NSW and now it is time for the parliament to act."

Mr Field said the bill would renew the pressure on the government, and in particular the Nationals, who lost the seat of Barwon at the recent election to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, in part to CSG and water-related issues surrounding the Santos project.

"Santos have failed to address genuine concerns by the community and government agencies about their project and have breached the agreement they struck with the government in 2014," Mr Field said.

"There are significant water management and waste salt issues that have not been resolved from the company.

Have your say. Click this link to send a letter to the editor

Andrew McConville, CEO of gas industry body APPEA, said there was no reason NSW couldn't have a safe and sustainable CSG industry, like Queensland has had for more than 20 years.

"Repeated independent inquiries, including by NSW Chief Scientist, have found there are no risks associated with onshore gas development that can't be managed, mitigated or eliminated by an appropriate regulatory framework - which NSW has in place," he said.

"The answer to addressing NSW's gas needs is developing new supply - not further regulation or imposing bans on onshore gas development."

Friday, August 23, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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GOVERNMENT VOTES AGAINST PROVIDING REAL DROUGHT SUPPORT

GOVERNMENT VOTES AGAINST PROVIDING REAL DROUGHT SUPPORT

Press Release - Roy Butler

The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party put on the table in Parliament a drought package that would provide real support to farmers and farming communities, disappointingly the Government voted against supporting them.

The SFF drought package includes immediate cash grants, to allow creditors to be paid, cash rebates for local government rates, transitioning legacy loans to zero or low interest loans, the establishment of a re-sowing and re-stocking grant and providing financial support for employers to retain employees on farm and in local businesses.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (3223)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 4.5
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Clayton Barr visits Moree to grasp water situation as he takes on new role as shadow minister for water

Clayton Barr visits Moree to grasp water situation as he takes on new role as shadow minister for water

Cessnock MP and shadow minister for water Clayton Barr was in Moree last week as part of a trip across the region to gain a better understanding of the water situation.

Starting at Dubbo, then moving on to Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett, Moree on Friday and then Narrabri, Mr Barr wanted to get on the ground and talk to affected people and groups.

"I've only been the shadow minister for water for about six weeks now and I've been trying to read through a whole bunch of reports but for me, the best way to learn was to come and talk to people and see things and be shown how it's working and how it's failing and things like that," Mr Barr said.

He met with the Gwydir Valley Irrigators on Friday as well as local farmer and irrigator to hear their experiences with the low water.

"It's part drought, it's part water sharing, and it's a significant part around priorities of what's most important and what needs to come first, second and third and getting that balance right," he said.

Mr Barr said the reports he has read are mostly facts and figures but they don't detail the social impact on communities, with people being forced to leave town because of the lack of water and therefore lack of work.

"For example, at Walgett they were concerned about losing all of their tradesmen....because the rest of the community didn't have much work so there wasn't much money around," he said.

"So people weren't spending money or doing renovations or building new buildings and improvements, so the tradies didn't have any work but they needed to feed their families.

"They've had to move, and often it's younger families, which then drags kids out of schools so then your school numbers drop.

"That's something that hasn't been captured in any of the reports about water but it's a really important social consequence of the absence of water.

"Hearing stories like that has been fantastic in framing my understanding of how the absence of water has impacted the communities."

While Mr Barr has visited Moree and other towns across the region, it's his first visit in his new role as shadow minister for water, and he said it has been a fantastic experience.

He wants to make it clear that he nor anyone in parliament is anti-irrigation, but it's about coming up with a good strategy in regards to the distribution of water.

"While we can't do anything about rain falling out of the sky and drought conditions we can do something about the rules about what happens to the water once it lands," Mr Barr said.

"I think that's where the really important focus needs to be right now because we don't know when it's going to rain but when it does rain we have to make sure the water goes where it needs to go."

He said most of the reports he's read heavily criticise the government while also making recommendations from scientists, commissioners and experts in the area about what the government should do.

He is yet to see anything that proves those recommendations aren't the right way to go.

"They will cause a bit of pain and grief for some people in terms of their business model and farming models but the benefits to society, environments and in other ways will be significant," Mr Barr said.

"But I would hate to make judgmen

Tuesday, August 20, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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NSW pushes back on AWU criticism over backing for LNG imports

Financial Review

AWU national secretary Daniel Walton late last week rounded on the government for granting the status of "critical state significant infrastructure" to a proposed $589 million LNG import project in Newcastlewhich will now enjoy a streamlined approvals process.

The Berejiklian government has already given the green light for a separate, $250 million LNG import terminal at Port Kembla, backed by mining billionaire Andrew Forrest.

The plans for the two import terminals are racing ahead as Santos's $3 billion Narrabri coal seam gas project, which could supply up to half NSW's gas requirements, remains locked in the state government's approvals process.

But Mr Stokes said the Narrabri project has "big potential impacts" on the environment, and that in any case the state is "best served by a competitive market with multiple sources".

 

 

Monday, August 19, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Broken Hill pipeline business case should never have been kept from the public

Broken Hill pipeline business case should never have been kept from the public

“This business case should never have been kept from the public,” says Barwon MP Roy Butler. 

Today after a three-year battle, repeated calls from the community and Members of Parliament the Government has passed on a copy of the business case for the Broken Hill pipeline project.  

“For years the community called for transparency around the pipeline project and the Government didn’t deliver.

“Restricting information on the expenditure of public money, or projects affecting local communities does nothing to build trust in government,” said Mr Butler. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (5976)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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LIBERAL-NATIONAL GOVERNMENT DENIES OPPORTUNITY FOR ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MURRAY-DARLING BASIN PLAN

LIBERAL-NATIONAL GOVERNMENT DENIES OPPORTUNITY FOR ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MURRAY-DARLING BASIN PLAN

The Liberal-National Government has denied regional communities the opportunity for transparency, voting down a motion for a Royal Commission into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. 

The motion introduced by the Shadow Minister for Water, Clayton Barr to Parliament last night called on the Liberal-National Government to “endorse the position of the NSW National Party Leader and Deputy Premier for a Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan for the purpose of openness, transparency and accountability”.

The motion was defeated by three votes (47-44), with Labor and the crossbench voting for it with and The Nationals joining the Liberals to defeat it.

Thursday, August 08, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (6991)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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Barwon MP Roy Butler presents Terms of Reference for independent inquiry into water management

Barwon MP Roy Butler presents Terms of Reference for independent inquiry into water management

Member for Barwon, Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to commit to an inquiry into aspects of New South Wales water management and their impacts on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Butler’s call for an independent inquiry comes after consultation with communities, irrigators, graziers, towns, water researchers and ecologists, all of whom raised serious concerns about government decision making in relation to water management.

“I’m calling for an inquiry to restore public confidence, and identify how certain decisions contributed to the current conditions in western NSW,” said Mr Butler. 

“I have discussed the inquiry with Minister Pavey and provided her with the draft Terms of Reference. In our conversation, I emphasised that this inquiry is needed to restore the public’s confidence in the NSW water planning and management processes.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (9137)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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Barwon MP Roy Butler says Santos trying to pressure govt

Barwon MP Roy Butler says Santos trying to pressure govt

The Land Newspaper

SANTOS'S predictions that its Narrabri Gas Project will be approved by the end of the year have been labelled a brazen attempt to pressure the government.

When Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher told Ticky Fullerton on Sky News in May the company expected approval by "year end" there were a few eyebrows raised.

Barwon MP Roy Butler told The Land: "this is not coming from the government, the company is trying to force a government decision on the back of the Adani Carmichael coal mine approval (in Queensland)."

Tuesday, July 30, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Friday, July 19, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (4615)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Barwon MP Roy Butler calls on government to immediately funds rates relief

Barwon MP Roy Butler calls on government to immediately funds rates relief

Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MP, Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to provide immediate rates relief funding to local government. 
 “Rates relief funding to local government would greatly assist in reducing the financial pressure on our rural and regional communities,” Mr Butler said.
Across western NSW towns and communities are struggling through drought and as a result families and businesses are experiencing extreme financial pressure. 

Tuesday, July 02, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (3432)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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'I won't be pushed around': Resources Minister warns Santos over gas

'I won't be pushed around': Resources Minister warns Santos over gas

Sydney Morning Herald - Peter Hannam

The NSW government has blasted Santos for ramping up public pressure to secure approval for a $3 billion coal seam gas project, with Deputy Premier John Barilaro warning he "won't be pushed around".

Mr Barilaro, who also serves as Resources Minister, said the energy giant was to blame for any delays to the Narrabri Gas Project in north-western NSW.

Monday, June 24, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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We need to support those who are supporting our Farmers

We need to support those who are supporting our Farmers

Roy Butler, Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MP

Rural Financial Counsellors are the link between drought stricken farmers and government support.

There is an alarming rate of turnover and vacancies within these financial counselling positions that would appear to be due to the under resourcing and lack of support for these crucial roles.

Currently Rural Financial Counsellors are effectively hosted by the State Government and funded by the Commonwealth Government, this arrangement has varied over the life of this important service.

Monday, June 24, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (5028)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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RECORD SPEND, RECORD DROUGHT, RECORD NEGLECT

RECORD SPEND, RECORD DROUGHT, RECORD NEGLECT

Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MP Roy Butler has expressed his disappointment in the NSW Government’s budget announcement’s today.

“The Berejiklian Government has celebrated its operating surplus and its record investment in infrastructure across the state and that’s all good - if you forget that western NSW is also part of the state.”

The Barwon electorate is 44% of the state, but hasn’t had a significant school or hospital upgrade funded in this budget.

“All I am seeing in this budget is a continuation of record neglect of western NSW,” Mr Butler said.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (6330)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
Environment Minister floats 'lending' Murray Darling environmental water to farmers

Environment Minister floats 'lending' Murray Darling environmental water to farmers

Australia's key piece of environment legislation, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, is due to be reviewed this year.

Ms Ley said it provided "real opportunity to remove some of the green tape around environmental approvals" while maintaining the integrity of the laws.

"If you're an investor and you've got a proposal … it's reasonable that we accept your investment isn't just going to be parked for years, sometimes, until the issues have been worked through," she said.

"I think we just need to give proponents more assurances along the way."

Ms Ley said she did not intend to shut down court challenges to development decisions, however, "it's not being done in a timely enough manner".

Australian Conservation Foundation nature campaign manager Basha Stasak said talk about cutting green tape was "code for making it easier for the loggers to cut down our forests, the diggers to rip up endangered animal habitat and corporate irrigators to suck more water out of our rivers".

Saturday, June 15, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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NSW Farmers welcome state government drought funding boost

NSW Farmers welcome state government drought funding boost

NSW Farmers has welcomed the state government's commitment to boost its drought assistance, as farmers and communities continue to battle this intense, long-running drought.

On Tuesday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that the upcoming state budget would include an extra $355 million to help farmers and rural communities struggling with the drought

The money is in addition to the almost $400 million announced during the March election campaign, bringing the government's total support bill to $1.8 billion.

The new package would include $170 million in funding to fast track investment in regional infrastructure. 

NSW Farmers president James Jackson said while farmers are bearing the brunt of ongoing dry conditions, the severity and long-term nature of this drought is a having a significant impact on rural towns and communities.

Friday, June 14, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Drought assistance package announced

Drought assistance package announced

The state’s record-breaking drought continues to bite with farmers and rural communities bearing the brunt of the crisis.
 
While some regions have experienced rain during the past few months, 97 per cent of the state remains in drought, and the seasonal outlook remains bleak with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting drier than average conditions.
 
That is why the NSW Nationals in Government have today announced an Emergency Drought Relief package, bringing the total funding to more than $1.8 billion across the state, to further support farmers and regional communities.
 
I understand the effect this drought is having on our regional economy, communities and families.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (9624)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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