Big Solar shines!

NQCC’s Big Solar launch went ahead last Sunday despite the rain, and was a happy and successful event. Over 50 people, full of energy and smiles, turned up despite the occasional ‘drizzle’ (the positive way of saying ‘downpour’!), posed in the rain for photos and shared the joy of knowing that there is an alternative to fossil fuel energy sources and that – with a bit of pushing – we can get it soon.

Two of the candidates in the upcoming election who had promised at Thursday night’s Forum to attend the launch – John Hathaway (ALP) and David Moyle (KAP) – were true to their word and came along to the launch. Both were given more information about big solar and about the benefits of such a system in and for the Townsville region.

From now on, NQCC’s Big Solar team will be speaking to groups of people around town in order to share the story and increase support. With the people behind it, it will be an irresistible force!

If you would like the NQCC team to speak to your group, contact office@nqcc.org.au or call 47716226.

The Environment and the Election forum

Despite distinctly inclement weather, over 50 people attended NQQC’s The Election and the Environment Forum at Townsville Yacht Club on Thursday 15 March.

Undaunted by the rain (and by the fact that it was the Ides of March!) candidates from all five parties contesting the seat of Townsville or (in the case of Katter’s Australia Party candidate David Moyle) the seat of Mundingburra came along to have a three minute platform from which to present their environmental credentials and policies – and then to face a barrage of questions from the audience.

Taking their places at the top table and fielding the questions were Mandy Johnstone (ALP), David Moyle (KAP), John Hathaway (LNP), Jenny Stirling (Greens) and Michael Punshon (Family First).

And once the presentations were over, the questions came thick and fast and covered a range of topics – uranium, biodiversity, access to National Parks, endangered species (including turtles, dugongs and black-throated finches), coastal development, invasive species, water quality, fishing, renewable energy and population. But the overwhelming issues of the night were coal and coal-seam gas.

Not surprisingly, it was only Greens candidate Jenny Stirling who took a strong stance against the mining and export of coal. Other candidates addressed the issue by talking largely about the need for ‘balance’ between environmental and economic/community issues – a word that appears to be taking over from ‘sustainable’ and ‘offsets’ when it comes to accepting damage to our environment. (While Jenny Stirling also acknowledged a need for balance, it is possible that she is using scales with a different calibration). Expansion of coal seam gas was not strongly supported by any of the minor parties, a position not reflected by either Mandy Johnstone or John Hathaway.

On the issue of National Parks, John Hathaway commented that it was easy to create new NPs but such popular actions needed to be accompanied by increases in rangers to look after them. He also noted that some NPs (according to a member of the audience, only three in the State) were surrounded by private land and could not be accessed by members of the public. However, he did not elaborate on whether the LNP would resolve this perceived dilemma by buying up private land to create access or closing down the NPs in question.

In an intense but controlled night, it was the comment that we seemed to be ruled not by politicians but by mining executives that drew spontaneous applause.

All five candidates were invited to attend the launch of Big Solar on Sunday 18 March – and four accepted the invitation (the fifth having a prior engagement). One task for the Big Solar campaigners will be to explain to our politicians that Big Solar is not lots of solar panels on residential houses – but a new approach to generating megapower for the grid. Something entirely possible in the Townsville region.

At the end of the night, it could probably have been concluded that the main group to have learned about the environment and its parlous state were the politicians  – a not entirely bad outcome.

Wendy Tubman, Coordinator

 

 

Big Solar in the Rain!

Big Solar in the Rain!

NQCC’s Townsville launch of the Big Solar campaign will go ahead come rain or shine! According to co-organiser Janet Dearden “Nothing will dampen our enthusiasm for Big Solar”.

The campaign, one of many around the country, will call on the federal government to commit, this year, to at least 2000MW of Big Solar projects (either solar thermal or solar PV power stations) to be built by 2015.

We’ll be gathering at 9.30am this Sunday (18 March) on the banks of Ross Creek near Victoria Bridge to form the words ‘BIG SOLAR’, using massed people to make the shape of the letters. And of course, we’ll be inviting the media. Together we can make a difference! Let’s show our support for BIG SOLAR and make our MPs pay attention!

Four of the five candidates at NQQC’s ‘The Environment and the Election’ forum held on Thursday 15 March at Townsville Yacht Club promised to be there – so this is your chance to show your support for Big Solar while bending the ear of an election candidate!

Bring HighViz gear, a small mirror, plenty of enthusiasm – and an umbrella!

For more information, check out our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/events/387796771234335/ or contact Janet (4724 2072), Mary (4725 7245) or Gerald (0401 429 021).

Will you help us launch NQCC’S BIG SOLAR Campaign on Sunday 18 March?

Following from the success of last year’s Coal Seam Gas rally, we will be launching our BIG SOLAR Campaign in Townsville on Sunday 18 March. In support of the national BIG SOLAR Campaign by 100% Renewable Energy, we are calling for the Government to commit, this year, to at least 2000MW of Big Solar projects (either solar thermal or solar PV power stations) to be built by 2015.

To achieve this we’re going to need public support and the attention of the media. So we’ll be gathering on the banks of Ross Creek near Victoria Bridge to form the words ‘BIG SOLAR’, using massed people to make the shape of the letters. And of course, we’ll be inviting the media. Afterwards we’ll have a CELEBRATION with live music and free food. We’ll also have speakers, posters, banners and information on the BIG SOLAR Campaign.

Can you come along? Together we can make a difference! Let’s show our support for BIG SOLAR and make our MPs pay attention!

Where: On the banks of Ross Creek near the Victoria Bridge – between the river, Victoria Bridge and Dean Street – South Townsville

When: 9.30am, Sunday 18 March

Want to be involved by helping with this event (even in a small way)? We’d love you to join us.

For more information, check out our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/events/387796771234335/ or contact Janet (4724 2072), Mary (4725 7245) or Gerald (0401 429 021).

‘The Environment and the Election’ forum – Thursday 15 March

Now here’s an important date for your diary!

Candidates for the State seat of Townsville will present their views and answer questions about the environment at ‘The Environment and the Election’ forum to be held at the Townsville Yacht Club at 6pm on Thursday 15 March.

The forum, organised by North Queensland Conservation Council, will give members of the public the chance to compare the environmental policies of the parties, as briefly presented by the candidates, and to ask questions during the Q&A session – which will take up most of the forum.

In announcing the forum, NQCC Coordinator Wendy Tubman said “We are aware that there is a lot of community interest and concern about the local and broader environment and how State government policy will affect it.

Whether it’s solar power and renewable energy, protection of the reef, coastal development, the future of coal seam gas in the area or something else again, the forum will provide the opportunity to ask specific questions about specific environmental issues that are influenced by the State government.”

The forum is free of charge and open to all.

Look forward to seeing you there!