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A feed containing all Greenpeace Australia Pacific press release
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    Saturday May 27, 2017: Today’s announcement by the Queensland government rules out any money from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), as currently legislated, being used in the proposed Adani Carmichael mega-mine.

    In a release today the Queensland state government announced that the proposed mine, in the Galilee Basin, would be required to pay all royalties and that “any NAIF funding needs to be between the Federal Government and Adani”.

    “This announcement means that as things currently exist NAIF money cannot be given to Adani’s Carmichael mine,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “The NAIF’s own Explanatory Memorandum decrees that states States need to provide agreement to the assistance.

    “Today’s announcement from the Palaszczuk government is a refusal to provide that agreement and means any NAIF money cannot be used.”

    Adani have applied for a loan from the NAIF to fund a rail line between their proposed Carmichael mine and the Abbot Point coal port.

    “While we welcome this announcement, the Queensland government’s decision to grant a five year ‘royalty holiday’ for all projects in the Galilee, Surat, and North West basins is a contradiction and needs to be reconsidered,” Casule said.

    “It is now up to the Turnbull government to rule out any public funds being granted to this environmentally destructive and economically disastrous project once and for all.”

    The new royalties scheme allows coal and gas projects to defer a proportion of their royalty payments to the state government until the fifth year of operation.

    For interviews contact:
    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    Community members and Greenpeace have occupied the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle as members of the public put their coal-covered clothes out to highlight the serious health and climate impacts of the Commonwealth Bank’s lending policies.

    The group today unveiled a 75 x 25m banner over stockpiles at the Newcastle Coal Port to send a message directly to the Commonwealth Bank that “CommBank’s coal kills”.

    CommBank loaned $310 million to the port in 2014 as the mandated lead arranger of a $1.2 billion banking syndicate [1] and according to research by Market Forces they are also the largest Australian lender to fossil fuels in 2016[2].

    “People know that coal is a dirty, polluting fossil fuel that is driving climate change and damaging our environment,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner Nikola Casule said.

    “Communities in the Hunter Valley and beyond are already bearing the brunt of the immediate health costs that are an inevitable byproduct of this industry.

    “Coal mining damages the lungs not only of the people who mine it, but also the health of the people living in communities where the mines and coal terminals are located.

    “By investing in more coal in the Hunter region, the Commonwealth Bank is standing in the way of a just transition for these communities.”

    This year’s National Pollutant Inventory [3], released at the end of March, revealed coal-related pollutants at mines, power plants and export facilities continue to rise.

    These particulates can spur premature death by worsening existing heart and lung conditions and include thousands of tonnes of fine particulates smaller than 2.5 micrometres – about 1/30th the width of a human hair – so fine that they can enter the bloodstream.

    Coarse particulates (PM10) emitted by Newcastle's three coal terminals also rose 25 per cent last year, much faster than the increase of about 10 per cent in coal volumes.

    PM10 pollution at the Kooragang terminal has risen by 48 per cent in the past three years.

    “Coal mining produces dangerous particulate pollution that has direct health impacts on the population in addition to coal’s contribution to global warming and climate change,” Climate Epidemiologist with Queensland University of Technology Professor Hilary Bambrick said.

    “There are 3000 respiratory deaths caused by particulate air pollution each year in Australia, and many of these are caused by coal dust.”

    Greenpeace is calling on the Commonwealth Bank to immediately rule out involvement in new coal projects in Australia, as the first step towards a decarbonisation of its lending portfolio.

    The Bank is due to release a new policy on climate change in August.

    Nicola Bowskill is a local resident who lives near the rail line supplying the Newcastle Port and is about to have her first child.

    “My daughter will be born in the world largest coal port and she will live daily with local impacts of the industry such coal dust,” Ms Bowskill said.

    “But far more serious and frightening in her future is the unsafe, extreme climate we’re hurtling towards.

    “She faces a dramatically different future than I did. If this current lack of action on climate change continues, she will have to deal with serious social and environmental collapse.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:
    [1] https://tradefinanceanalytics.com/articles/3342221/exclusive-ncig-signs-12bn-combo-facility
    [2] https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/mar/06/big-australian-banks-invest-7bn-more-in-fossil-fuels-than- renewables-says-report
    [3] http://npi.gov.au/npi-data/search-npi-data

    For interviews contact:
    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    New York, 31 May 2017 -- More than 100 authors from around the world including Nobel Prize writer John Maxwell Coetzee (Disgrace); comedian Stephen Fry (More Fool Me); Man Booker Prize winners Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Yann Martel (Life of Pi); and thought leaders Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me) and Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine) signed a pledge [1] with Greenpeace to support free speech and stand up for forests.

    This pledge follows two multimillion dollar lawsuits filed by Resolute Forest Products, a Canadian company, to silence Greenpeace’s criticism of its controversial logging in the boreal forest. The lawsuits could set a dangerous precedent for free speech if they succeed in silencing public comment on corporate behaviour.

    “The endings of The Handmaid's Tale, 1984 and Brave New World are written. Ours is not. This is a chance to stand up for freedom of speech, the freedom to advocate for change, and the freedom to question authority, and to strengthen their protection under law. As a society, we need a positive outcome to this story,” said Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, which recently became Hulu’s record breaking television series and depicts a dystopian future where all but the most powerful women are forbidden to write and are denied access to books.

    Authors signing the pledge committed to defend “freedom of speech as a pillar of democratic and peaceful societies, the right of individuals to organize and protest without intimidation, [and] those who peacefully protect the world’s forests.”

    “Speaking as a serial blasphemer, I take freedom of speech very seriously,” said author and actor Stephen Fry, “It’s not just about the satisfaction you get from speaking your mind, it’s also about telling uncomfortable truths that need to be heard, and Greenpeace has been incredibly successful at exposing what the powers that be want to keep secret. But this case goes beyond Greenpeace to threaten every whistle-blower and watchdog with information that the rich and powerful want suppressed. I’m worried, and I think you should be too.”

    On 16 May, Greenpeace published a report [2] that showed major international publishers are purchasing paper from Resolute. [3] Greenpeace is inviting these global publishers to join this call to protect freedom of speech and work with Resolute to become more sustainable.

    Other notable authors who signed the pledge include Man Booker Prize winners Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending) and Ian McEwan (Atonement), Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr (All The Light We Cannot See) MacArthur Award winner Deborah Eisenberg (Twilight of the Superheroes), Lev Grossman (The Magicians), Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees), Lauren Groff (Fates and Furies), William Shatner (Up Till Now), Alec Baldwin (Nevertheless), Jane Fonda (My Life So Far) and many more.

    “Publishers and authors are natural allies in our fight to protect free speech. Our campaign celebrates the power of words and the incredible work that authors and publishers do every day to ensure critical thinking and the spread of ideas in our society. Now, we’re asking publishers to disavow this heavy-handed attempt by a paper company to silence dissent,” said Greenpeace USA Senior Forest Campaigner Amy Moas.

    Greenpeace will be at Book Expo this week in New York, connecting with publishers and readers, and displaying an art installation called Treewhispers by artist Pamela Paulsrud, an ongoing international collaboration awakening our heartfelt connection to trees.

    ENDS

    Notes to editors:

     [1] Click here to see the full text of the authors’ pledge and the list of signatories, or copy the following URL to your browser: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/authors-pledge   

    [2] Click here to access the full “Clearcutting Free Speech: How Resolute Forest Products is going to extremes to silence critics of its controversial logging practices” report, or copy the following URL to your browser: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/clearcutting-free-speech

    [3] In its report, Greenpeace is asking Resolute Forest Products to:

    • Adopt Free, Prior and Informed Consent as the basis for engaging with Indigenous Peoples to ensure forest planning is driven by Indigenous knowledge and governance.

    • Suspend logging in and sourcing from High Conservation Value Forests including Intact Forest Landscapes and Woodland Caribou habitat until science-based conservation planning takes place.

    • Publicly support large-scale, protected areas based on this science and Indigenous knowledge.

    • Recommit to the FSC system and regain lost certificates.

    • Work with environmental organizations, unions and communities to address legitimate economic concerns and ensure jobs are sustained.

    [4] Click here to learn more about Resolute’s massive legal attack against Greenpeace, or copy the following URL to your browser: http://www.greenpeace.org/resolutelawsuits/

    Contacts:

    Rodrigo Estrada, Greenpeace USA, rodrigo.estrada@greenpeace.org, phone: +1 202 344 9292 (in New York)

    Molly Dorozenski, Greenpeace USA, molly.dorozenski@greenpeace.org, phone: +1 917 864 3724 (in New York)

    Rachael Vincent, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, rachael.vincent@greenpeace.org, phone: +61 413 993 316 (in Sydney)

    Greenpeace International Press Desk, pressdesk.int@greenpeace.orgphone: +31 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)


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    Friday June 2, 2017: Greenpeace Australia Pacific has condemned US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement and affirmed that the rest of the world will continue to make progress on ambitious climate action.

    There are 194 other countries who are party to the pact, which will still account for 87 per cent of global carbon emissions.

    “President Trump has betrayed the trust of nearly 200 nations with this reprehensible and destructive decision, but the fact is the rest of the world has already resolved to act on climate,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “Real global leaders are taking urgent action on climate change. Other major parties to the historic Paris Agreement — including China, the EU and India — have signalled they remain firmly committed to the deal. At the very least, we expect that the rest of the nearly 200 nations will be stepping up and holding the US government to account.

    “Australia must stand with them. Because global climate action is not a legal or political debate, it is a moral obligation to protect our planet and people.

    “We have a responsibility to act.

    “We also have a special duty to stand with our Pacific and Asian neighbours who are at the forefront of climate change and already experiencing its impacts. The disproportionate burden on these low-polluting countries is a manifest injustice.” 

    “The message is: President Trump, you may be willing to turn your back on climate destruction and our planet’s future, but we are not. Americans — and Australians — want to honour the Paris Agreement, cut emissions and see more action to transition to a clean energy future.

    “The popular will on climate action is overwhelming, and the clean energy revolution is unstoppable. The renewable energy industry is booming, and people all over the globe are becoming part of the clean energy future. Common sense energy progress will continue with or without Donald Trump.

    “Trump’s isolationist stance at this critical moment in history is morally reprehensible, and his attempt to derail global progress on climate change will fail. The Paris Agreement will stand strong, and the transition to clean energy will continue.”

    For interviews contact:

    Rachael Vincent, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Media Campaigner
    0413 993 316 / rachael.vincent@greenpeace.org

    Simon Black, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    Plans announced today by Norwegian oil company, Statoil, to conduct exploratory drilling in the Great Australian Bight will face intense opposition from the Australian community because of the extreme risk deepwater drilling represents to a uniquely valuable marine wilderness.

    Statoil’s appalling safety record alone is enough reason for the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) to reject a future Environment Plan.

    Statoil’s latest proposal comes amid new concerns voiced by Norway’s oil regulator over the company’s safety record. [1].

    "Statoil has come under scrutiny for a worsening safety record, including a doubling of the volume of oil spills from their Norwegian wells last year and fourteen major safety incidents in the past eighteen months,” said Greenpeace Campaigner, Jonathan Moylan.

    “NOPSEMA should not approve drilling in such a sensitive area by a company with such a track record.

    “The Great Australian Bight has some of the most extreme weather conditions on the planet. Extreme deepwater drilling under such conditions is too risky. Any spill would be catastrophic, as stochastic modelling done previously by BP has shown: the devastating impacts would reach from Perth in WA to Eden on the NSW south coast.

    “Statoil should brace for strong opposition to its plans from the South Australian community, including from tourism and fishing communities who rely on a pristine Bight.

    “The livelihoods of communities that would be affected by a catastrophic oil spill should not be trumped by the special interests of the oil industry,” said Mr Moylan.

    The Great Australian Bight is one of the most precious, pristine wilderness areas in the world.

    “The Bight is a whale nursery for the Southern Right Whale, home to the Australian sea lion and 85% of species found in the Bight exist nowhere else on earth,” said Mr Moylan.

    “Statoil’s intention to open up more risky drilling operations at the ends of the earth stands in marked contrast to their espoused recognition of the global energy transformation that is already underway.” [2]

    An unprecedented legal challenge in Norway, led by Greenpeace and Natuur og Ungdom, is challenging Statoil’s northernmost Arctic oil licenses ever granted in the Barents Sea on climate grounds.

    Notes for editors:
    [1] Statoil: Safety incidents surge as new Arctic drilling drive begins at http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/05/11/statoil-arctic-barents-safety-incidents/
    [2] Immediate action needed to transform the global energy system https://www.statoil.com/en/news/energy-perspectives2017-immediate-action-needed.html

    For interviews contact:
    Rachael Vincent, Media Campaigner
    rachael.vincent@greenpeace.org 0413 993 316


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    June 23, 2017: For the second time this year an oil company has been found to not have the appropriate capacity to manage an oil spill yet have been allowed to keep drilling by the regulatory body.

    A notice issued today by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) found that PTTEP - the same company responsible for the catastrophic Montara oil spill - was unable to deal with a major spill due to untrained staff and a lack of correct equipment.

    “NOPSEMA have yet again treated oil companies like an old friend instead of punishing them for their failures to adhere to regulations,” Greenpeace Campaigner Jonathan Moylan said.

    “It is alarming that there have been two cases this year where oil companies have been found to not have appropriate capacity to manage an oil spill in operating oilfields, yet have been allowed to keep drilling.

    “Responding to these critical failures and the risks they pose by issuing ‘improvement notices’ rather than suspending operations is like letting a drunk driver behind the wheel on the way to their traffic offender program.”

    Moylan said the repeated inaction should serve as a reminder of why oil drilling should not be permitted in the Great Australian Bight. 

    “Only a month ago, Santos, one of the companies wanting to drill in the Great Australian Bight, was also found to not have sufficient capacity to respond to an oil spill in its Mutineer-Exeter oilfield,” he said. 

    “With companies including Chevron engaging in aggressive cost-cutting, and plans to conduct extreme deepwater drilling in the pristine marine wilderness of the Great Australian Bight, it is alarming that oil companies are allowed to continue production even where the federal regulator has found that they are unable to respond to a catastrophic spill. 

    “If these conditions continue it is only a matter of time before we are faced with an ecological disaster.”

    For interviews contact:
    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:
    [1] https://industry.gov.au/resource/UpstreamPetroleum/MontaraInquiryResponse/Documents/Montara-Report.pdf
    [2] http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/04/cnbc-transcript-tevin-vongvanich-president-and-ceo-ptt.html
    [3] Chevron aiming to cut costs by 15% while lifting production by 9%
    http://www.houmatoday.com/business/20170428/cost-cutting-rising-oil-prices-help-exxon-chevron-boost-profits

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    26 June 2017: UNESCO’s announcement that local measures are now unable to stop coral bleaching must serve as a wakeup call for the government and drive wholesale change on climate policy, said Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule.

    This weekend UNESCO released a report which found world heritage coral reefs around the globe would continue to be killed off by bleaching events unless CO2 emissions are drastically reduced to limit global temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

    “What the UNESCO report makes clear is that the government’s Reef 2050 plan is just tinkering at the edges of environmental disaster—its measures  are simply not enough. If we are going to stand a chance of slowing climate change and preserving what’s left of the Great Barrier Reef, we have to stop funding the fossil fuel industry and transition to clean, renewable energy as fast as possible.

    “The Turnbull government propping up coal, oil and gas through fossil fuel subsidies is at the heart of this problem. And its support for a $1bn loan of public money from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) is a final slap in the face to Australians watching the slow death of a national icon.

    “It’s time we ended polluter hand-outs across the board. We should start by ruling out any taxpayer funding for a new coal megamine in the Galilee Basin," Dr Casule said.

    Currently the Australian Government funds climate change with over $11 billion worth of tax breaks alone to big polluters per year [1] and there is a proposal before the NAIF board for a $1bn loan to the Carmichael coal mega mine.

    “Fossil fuel subsidies have been described by the Bloomberg Editorial Board as ‘the world’s dumbest policy’[2] for a very good reason,” Dr Casule said.

    “They allow fossil fuel producers to undermine national climate commitments, while we pay them for the privilege. It’s perverse corporate welfare that only encourages more carbon pollution and holds back the clean energy revolution Australia should be leading.

    “Pouring public money into fossil fuels also diverts tax dollars from critical public services such as education and health.

    “The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s greatest natural wonder. As the rest of the world looks on in horror at the tragedy unfolding on the Reef, Malcolm Turnbull is doing his best to pour billions of dollars into fossil fuels. This is Australia’s national shame.

    “Real climate leadership from Malcolm Turnbull is no longer an option—it’s a requirement. Australia must stop pouring money into fossil fuels, ban new coal mines, and exert every effort to catch up with other countries making progress on climate action," said Dr Casule. 

    For interviews contact:
    Rachael Vincent, Media Campaigner rachael.vincent@greenpeace.org 0413 993 316

    Notes
    1. ‘How your taxes subsidise fossil fuels, Market Forces, http://www.marketforces.org.au/ffs/tax/

    2. 'Fuel Subsidies Are the World's Dumbest Policy,' Bloomberg Editorial Board, 1 September 2016
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-09-01/fossil-fuel-subsidies-are-the-world-s-dumbest-policy-editorial


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    San Francisco, 27 June 2017 - Fairphone, Dell and HP are the only companies that make spare parts and repair manuals available to the public, while products from brands such as Apple, Samsung and Microsoft are among the least easy to repair and upgrade, according to Greenpeace’s latest IT product guide.

    Greenpeace East Asia, in partnership with iFixit, assessed over 40 best selling smartphones, tablets and laptops launched between 2015 and 2017. Seventeen IT brands were represented in the study. The assessment is based on iFixit’s repairability score, which considers the time required to repair the product, the device’s upgradability and modularity, as well as the availability of spare parts and repair manuals.

    “Of all the models assessed, we found a few best-in-class products, which demonstrate that designing for repairability is possible. On the other hand, a number of products from Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft are increasingly being designed in ways that make it difficult for users to fix, which shortens the lifespan of these devices and adds to growing stockpiles of e-waste,” said Gary Cook, IT Sector Analyst at Greenpeace USA.

    “Improving the repairability of electronic products is technically achievable and brands should be prioritising this in their product design. As a first step, it’s critical that all brands follow in the footsteps of Dell, Fairphone, and HP and make repair manuals and spare parts publicly available.”

    LG had once been a leader in designing its products to last, but its most recent smartphone has several design issues impacting its repairability. LG must review its product design to be more sustainable.

    Some key findings of the product guide are:

    • Trending away from repairability:Design complexity, combined with the practice of soldering or gluing separate pieces together, makes repairing time consuming. Samsung and LG’s smartphones and Apple’s laptops have become increasingly less repairable.

    • Non-replaceable batteries: Nearly 70% of all devices tested had batteries that were impossible or difficult to replace due to design decisions and the use of strong adhesives to affix the battery to the casing. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 smartphone and Apple’s Retina MacBook exemplify this bad practice, with batteries thoroughly adhered to the device panels. While the Note7 was not considered in this analysis, Samsung might have been able to avoid recalling millions of devices if the phone’s design had enabled easy battery removal.

    • Non-standard tools: To discourage user repair, non-standard tools are increasingly required for working with proprietary screws and other parts. Apple’s iPhone, Oppo's R9m, and Huawei’s P9 are just some of the devices that require special tools to conduct repairs.

    • No access to repair manuals or spare parts: Very few electronics manufacturers provide users with information about how to fix their products. Out of the 17 brands represented in the survey, only 3—Dell, Fairphone and HP—provide all spare parts and repair manuals.

    “Electronics take a massive amount of energy, human effort, and natural resources to make,” said iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens. “And yet, manufacturers produce billions more of them every year -while consumers keep them for just a few years before tossing them away. E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. We should be able to make electronics a more sustainable part of our lives.”

    Greenpeace is calling on the IT sector to design products that can be more easily repaired or upgraded and offer adequate post-sale support. This could be done by making repairing accessible and affordable, making spare parts, particularly batteries, displays and other components with high failure rates, available to customers for at least seven years and by promoting standards and laws that encourage product repair.

    Notes to editors:

    [1] The scorecards and product guide can be found at: http://www.rethink-it.org/en/

    [2] A summary of findings can be found here and the factsheet here.

    [3] Photos and video can be accessed here: http://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJJT1MBE

    Media contacts:

    Maria Elena De Matteo, Global Communications Strategist, Greenpeace East Asia, phone: +852-55749984, mariaelena.dematteo@greenpeace.org

    Greenpeace International Press Desk, pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

    Kay-Kay Clapp, Director of Communications, iFixit, kaykay@ifixit.com


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    June 28, 2017: The continued refusal of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to respond to any and all freedom of information requests represents a failure to the Australian taxpayer and is impermissible under law.

    More than 1,500 Greenpeace supporters used an online tool created to assist them in submitting a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the board across a range of topics.

    The NAIF have responded with a blanket refusal to answer the requests.

    “The repeated refusal by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to reveal any information about their functioning is dismaying,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “Excuses have ranged from the usual commercial in confidence to documents being changed after the request was submitted to fears of cyber-bullying, and potential public opposition to NAIF’s plans.

    “What it amounts to is a refusal to have any form of accountability to the Australian public despite controlling $1 billion of their money.”

    In failing to respond to the most recent round of FOI requests the NAIF responded that answering would “substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency”.

    But Principal Solicitor with the Environmental Defenders Office NSW, Elaine Johnson, said the response was improper and was counter to the spirit of FOI laws.

    “In deciding whether an FOI request is unreasonable, it is irrelevant to consider the number of people who sought that information,” Johnson said.

    “The requests are legitimate requests and cover a range of important public interest issues, in relation to funding of Adani’s coal mine in the Galilee Basin, managing climate change risk and investments in fossil fuels.

    “The fact that more than 1,500 people have applied for documents held by NAIF only serves to demonstrate the clear public interest in making that information publicly available.

    “The approach proposed by NAIF to the requests is not consistent with how the law is intended to work.

    “NAIF is bound by these laws to respond in a way that favours access to information sought, yet it appears to be doing the opposite.

    Earlier this month an inquiry into the composition of the NAIF board was announced after possible conflicts of interest were revealed around some of the members.

    “A refusal to respond to taxpayers’ questions about how their money is being spent is outrageous enough in itself,” Casule said.

    “But when you combine it with the fact an inquiry is currently being conducted into the makeup of the board and the public statements being made by Coalition MPs about a proposed $1 billion loan to the rail infrastructure for the Carmichael coal mine, it makes it look like they have something to hide.”

    “Some requests are always going to be rejected but a blanket refusal to answer any and all questions is outrageous and this refusal should be included in the terms of reference for the senate inquiry.”

    For interviews contact: 
    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    June 29, 2017: The Federal government’s threat to cut GST to state governments unless they allow unconventional gas exploration is a deplorable attempt at blackmail for the benefit of giant fossil fuel companies.

    Treasurer Scott Morrison has warned state and territory governments that they could face cuts to the amount of GST they’re given if they limit gas exploration via fracking following a Productivity Commission inquiry.

    “This is yet another example of the willingness of the federal government to use public money in their quest to support the destructive and selfish fossil fuel industry,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “GST money is used by states to fund schools and hospitals and threatening to withhold it in order to serve fracking companies that threaten Australians’ health and livelihoods is deplorable.

    “It isn’t enough for our governments to allow these companies to plunder Australia’s resources without paying a fair share of tax, or to push to funnel billions in public money into projects supporting them.

    “Now they want to try to take money away from communities who desperately need it in an attempt to blackmail them into opening their doors to the dangerous and profiteering fracking industry.”

    “The Prime Minister must immediately block this despicable and immoral proposal.”

    For interviews contact:
    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    BANGKOK, 11 JULY 2017 – Thai Union Group PCL has committed to measures that will tackle illegal fishing and overfishing, as well as improve the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the company’s supply chains.

    Thai Union’s new commitments build upon its sustainability strategy SeaChange®, including efforts to support best practice fisheries, improve other fisheries, reduce illegal and unethical practices in its global supply chains, and bring more responsibly-caught tuna to key markets.

    Today’s announcement follows a global Greenpeace campaign.

    “This marks huge progress for our oceans and marine life, and for the rights of people working in the seafood industry,” said Greenpeace International Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid. “If Thai Union implements these reforms, it will pressure other industry players to show the same level of ambition and drive much needed change. Now is the time for other companies to step up, and show similar leadership.”

    Thai Union has agreed to a comprehensive package of reforms, including commitments to: 

    • Reduce the number of fish aggregating devices (FADs) used globally in its supply chains by an average of 50% by 2020, while doubling the amount of  verifiable FAD-free fish available in markets globally in the same period. FADs are floating objects that create mini ecosystems and may result in the catch of marine species, including sharks, turtles, and juvenile tuna.

    • Extend its current moratorium on at-sea transshipment across its entire global supply chain unless new strict conditions are met by suppliers. Transshipment at sea enables vessels to continue fishing for months or years at a time and has the potential to facilitate illegal activity.

    • Ensure independent observers are present on all longline vessels transshipping at sea to inspect and report on potential labor abuse, and ensure 100 percent human or electronic observer coverage across all tuna longline vessels it sources from.

    • Develop a comprehensive code of conduct for all vessels in its supply chains, to complement the existing and strengthened Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct, to help ensure workers at sea are being treated humanely and fairly, and third party independent audits with publicly accessible results and clear timelines to ensure its requirements are being met.

    • Shift significant portions of longline caught tuna to pole and line or troll-caught tuna by 2020 and implement strong requirements in place to help reduce bycatch. Longline vessels present a risk for catching non-target species like seabirds, turtles, and sharks.

    • Move to full digital traceability, allowing people to track their tuna back to the vessel it was caught on and identify the fishing method used.

    “Thai Union has fully embraced its role as a leader for positive change as one of the largest seafood companies in the world,” said Thiraphong Chansiri, Thai Union’s CEO.

    “Thai Union looks forward to continuing to execute our SeaChange® sustainability strategy, strengthened and enhanced by the joint agreement with Greenpeace and our shared vision for healthy seas now and for future generations.” 

    Greenpeace and Thai Union have agreed to meet every six months to assess the company’s progress and implementation. At the conclusion of 2018, an independent third-party will review progress to-date on the commitments.

    “Thai Union has set a new standard for the seafood industry to deal with destructive fishing, labor abuse, and unethical practices,” McDiarmid continued. "This is a great day for the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who want the seafood industry to take stronger action to eliminate these problems."

    Thai Union owns well-known tuna brands globally, including Chicken of the Sea, John West, Petit Navire, Mareblu, and Sealect. Nearly 700,000 individuals around the globe called on Thai Union to commit to selling more sustainable and ethical canned tuna. Following today’s announcement, Greenpeace, its allies, and the independent auditor will continue to track Thai Union and the broader industry’s progress to ensure these commitments lead to real changes on the water.

    ###

    Note to Editors:

    To learn more about Thai Union’s package of reforms, please click here: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/documents/oceans/Thai-Union-Commitments.pdf

    Contacts:

    Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace Seafood Communications and Outreach Manager, P: +1 301-675-8766

    Greenpeace International Press Desk, pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours) 


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    July 12, 2017: The Queensland government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050 will do nothing to protect the Great Barrier Reef or the country from climate change if Australia does not reduce coal exports.

    Yesterday the state government in Queensland announced a plan to join NSW, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT in setting a net zero emissions target.

    “It is heartening to see Queensland joining other state governments in setting a target of zero emissions by 2050 and stepping up while the federal government does nothing,” Greenpeace Campaigner Alix Foster Vander Elst said. 

    “But if we do not reduce our exports of fossil fuels, primarily coal, this is only a half-measure and will do nothing to combat climate change and protect natural treasures like the Great Barrier Reef.

    “Australia produces nearly twice as much carbon dioxide emissions through the coal we export than we emit domestically.[1]”

    Ms Foster Vander Elst said it was two-faced to outline emissions targets at a time when the state government was pushing the largest coal mine Australia has ever seen.

    “If mining in the Galilee basin goes ahead emissions from Australia’s coal exports will double [2],” she said.

    “Worse than this, the federal government is considering giving a billion dollars of public money to the project to help it along.

    “The choice is clear for Queensland - we can have coal or we can have the Great Barrier Reef, not both.”

    NOTES FOR EDITORS:

    [1] http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/Global/australia/reports/Exporting%20climate%20change,%20killing%20the%20reef.pdf

    [2] https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/uploads/5cb72fc98342cfc149832293a8901466.pdf


    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     


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    June 14, 2017: The inquiry into the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) should recommend the removal of conflicted members from the facility’s board and ensure billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money is not gifted at the whim of a “slush fund” but is instead spent to benefit the community.

    The Senate today voted to establish an inquiry into the NAIF and any potential conflicts of interest on its board. This came after revelations that one of the board’s directors, Karla Way-McPhail, also runs mining labour and equipment hire companies and had made “hyper-partisan comments” online in support of the coal industry.

    “A compromised board consisting of mining executives, some of them personally familiar with, and recommended by the resources minister, is no way to decide how to spend $5 billion dollars of taxpayers money,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule said.

    “For too long the NAIF board have been allowed to operate in the shadows, refusing to answer any and all questions put to them about how they were planning to spend billions of dollars of the public’s money.

    “Former federal treasurer Wayne Swan has labelled the NAIF ‘a slush fund’ on more than one occasion and declared it would be a ‘disaster’ for Australia if it were allowed to continue to operate unchecked.”

    Greenpeace welcomes today’s announcement, which should serve as an alarm for the Australian community.

    “Facts which have recently come to light have shown serious questions need to be asked about the members who comprise the board and their agendas,” Casule said.

    “This is particularly concerning when NAIF is currently considering a $1 billion loan to the rail infrastructure for the Carmichael coal mine: a project that’s an economic and environmental disaster.

    “This inquiry must serve as a notice for the NAIF board and the dying coal industry that the country will not stand by while $1 billion dollars is used to prop up projects which would be a disaster for Queensland both environmentally and economically.”

    For interviews contact:
    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    June 19, 2017: The practices and culture revealed during yesterday’s Sunday Night program appear to show company using the good name of charities to take advantage of the Australian public.

    The program heard from former workers who claimed as little as seven per cent of the donations were actually passed on to the desired charity, with the rest going directly to the Appco Group.

    It also claims Appco staff mocked the very charities they were raising money to support. 

    “The behaviour credited to Appco staff during the Sunday Night show is disgusting,” Greenpeace Deputy Program Director, Nic Seton, said.

    “While Greenpeace Australia Pacific have never had any dealings with Appco we are nonetheless concerned by claims that any company would use a charity’s good name to gouge the public for donations."

    Greenpeace use a number of different service providers to connect with the public for charitable donations all of which go through a rigorous due diligence process.

    “Agencies are constantly reassessed as part of this due diligence process and any suppliers who show a lack of ethics or predatory behaviour will be terminated,” Seton said.

    “We believe in protecting the environment and assisting impacted communities and every single dollar that we raise is budgeted to best maximize our impact.”

    For interviews contact:
    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    Hamburg, 5 July 2017 – Wind energy and solar power will be the cheapest form of power generation in every G20 country by the year 2030 at the latest, a new Greenpeace Germany report has found.

    Ahead of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, the Greenpeace Germany-commissioned study also found that in about half of the G20 countries, renewable energy has been cheaper or equal in price to electricity generated from dirty coal or hazardous nuclear power plants since 2015.

    Read the full report

    "There can be no excuses anymore. Climate protection increasingly makes economic sense across the G20 as renewable energy becomes cheaper than dirty coal and nuclear,” Greenpeace Germany energy expert Tobias Austrup said.

    “Any G20 country that is still investing in coal and nuclear power plants is wasting their money on technology that will not be competitive in coming years. The G20 now has a responsibility to send a clear signal that accelerating the clean energy transition is not only the right thing to do for the climate, but also for the economy.”

    The Finnish Lappeenranta University of Technology study, commissioned by Greenpeace, calculates the electricity generation costs in all G20 countries for the years 2015 and 2030.

    The study found that wind farms already generate the cheapest form of electricity in 2015 in large parts of Europe, South America, the US, China and Australia. Due to rapid technical progress and falling price, in 2030 solar energy will be so cheap that it will be even cheaper than wind power in many G20 countries.

    Global investments mirror the results of the Greenpeace study. UN figures reveal that in 2016 investments in renewables were double that of investments in conventional power stations. About 55 percent of the added electricity capacities were based on renewable energies last year - a record figure.

    US President Trump, however, is mistakenly promoting coal and nuclear power.

    "Trump’s energy policy is simply a bad deal," Austrup added. "The US has excellent conditions for expanding its wind and solar energy capabilities and states like California, Texas or Iowa will not miss this chance."

    Notes:

    Greenpeace Germany study comparing electricity production costs: http://gpurl.de/9IHVS

    UN study on global trends in renewable energy investment: http://fs-unep-centre.org/sites/default/files/publications/globaltrendsinrenewableenergyinvestment2017.pdf

    Media contacts:
    Gregor Kessler, Greenpeace Germany, Communications: gregor.kessler@greenpeace.org +49 151 7270 2918

    Greenpeace International Press Desk: +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours) pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org


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    26 May 2017: Ogilvy & Mather and Greenpeace Australia Pacific have joined forces to create an astonishing interactive display that appears to reverse gravity as a way to provoke new thinking about global warming and climate change.

    New video released today shows crowds interacting with the standing exhibit, which was installed in central Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall in April.

    The exhibit houses a three dimensional model iceberg with a polar bear perched on top and an invitation to interact.

    Closer inspection reveals the iceberg is melting. Drops of water are steadily eroding the polar bear’s home. When someone interacts with the display with their mobile phone, immediately the descending drops begin to slow down, until they are completely suspended in thin air, even reversing to flow back up into the iceberg. The effect becomes stronger as more people get involved.

    “One of the challenges of climate change is that people find it difficult to see the effect their efforts have on such a huge, global problem,” Greenpeace campaigner Nic Seton said.

    “With this installation, we hope to illustrate that a collective effort can indeed make a real difference. It is only by rallying together that we will be able to slow down, stop, and even begin to reverse the damage that has been done to our environment.”

     “As a passer-by gets involved, the melting starts to slow down.  And as more and more people get involved, their efforts make a visible difference in the fight against climate change.”

    Greenpeace worked with Ogilvy & Mather Singapore to conceptualise and build the reverse climate change interactive display.

    Join the collective action by signing the petition at: http://greenpeace.org/reverse

    Video & high-res images for the media are available at: http://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MZIFJJPY8GQ&SO=Id

    For more information or interviews contact:
    Rachael Vincent, Media Campaigner 0413 993 316 | rachael.vincent@greenpeace.org


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    With over one billion plastic bags littered in the last 10 years, it’s time for a ban, key environment groups said today, as Australia’s environment ministers prepare to meet on the issue.

    They also released a new poll showing 65% of residents in NSW, VIC and WA supported a ban; with 79% support in states with existing bans (see below).

    “The environmental and community verdict is in – it’s time for state governments to take action. The growing alarm about plastic pollution of the ocean is creating added urgency which can’t be ignored,” said Jeff Angel, Director of the Boomerang Alliance of 47 groups.

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner, Simon Black, said: "Australians use tens of millions of plastic bags each day". 

    "An estimated 50 million of the littered bags end up in our waterways and oceans each year. There is now an estimated 1.7 million tonnes of plastic contaminating our waterways.” 

    "Much of it in the form of invisible microplastics which cannot be seen but kill marine life and contaminating our food."

    Ian Kiernan, AO, Chairman of CleanUp Australia said: “We’re seeing more and more businesses and local communities ditching the plastic bag. There are plenty of alternatives. Governments should take their guide from this and enact state laws.”

    Omnipoll 25 May - 5 June 2017

    Support or not the ban in "STATE" of single use plastic bags given out at supermarket and store checkouts. 

    Column % Total of all states NSW VIC WA States with existing bans
    Yes/support 67 63 67 68 79
    No/do not support 20 22 20 19 15
    Unsure/can't say 13 15 14 13 6
    NET 100 100 100 100 100
    Column n 1116 353 308 302 153
    Column 14199 612 456 198 1520
               
               

     

     

    Further information:

    Jeff Angel, Boomerang Alliance - 0418 273 773

    Simon Black, Greenpeace, 0418 219 086


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    Sydney, 23 June 2017: Community backlash against the Commonwealth Bank’s support of fossil fuels is now so severe that the bank has been forced to set up a special taskforce to handle customers threatening to close their accounts.

    The revelation comes after continued pressure by customers and concerned community members who have staged numerous protests outside CommBank branches across the country and peppered the bank’s Facebook page with messages pleading for the bank to “dump coal” and “stop supporting the fossil fuel industry”.

    “Despite clear proof that fossil fuel investments are toxic, the Commonwealth Bank would rather create a PR team than deal with their customers’ concerns,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “Customers started out angry that the bank they trusted with their money is investing in fossil fuels that are damaging the environment and killing the Great Barrier Reef and now they are furious that those concerns are being ignored.

    “The only substantial thing CommBank have done since their customers started telling them they wanted action on climate change has been to set up a team of people to try to convince people not to take their business elsewhere,” Dr Casule said.

    The Commonwealth Bank made a public commitment to take action to limit global warming to no more than two degrees in late 2015, but last year lent a massive $3.886 billion to coal, gas and oil mining and infrastructure projects, making it the biggest funder of dirty fossil fuels in Australia in 2016.

    Under questioning at a parliamentary inquiry in March, CEO Ian Narev was unable to provide a single example of the bank’s climate policy affecting lending decisions and last month it was revealed that CommBank had been secretly working with Adani to facilitate the construction of the Carmichael megamine. It has still not ruled out providing finance to the proposed mine.  

    A new international study into 37 banks’ fossil fuel lending policies by BankTrack yesterday put the Commonwealth Bank at the bottom of the pile because of its failure to evidence any policies to restrict coal, gas or extreme oil projects.

    “I have been a CommBank customer for over 20 years. I have several mortgages and a business account,” Cabarita resident and business owner, Michael Rahme, said.

    “Investing in new coal mines  and coal fired power stations has clearly and undoubtedly become an investment risk, a social risk, and an environmental risk that can no longer be ignored. The individuals on the Board of CommBank would be morally and ethically bankrupt to continue to do so.

    “If Commbank do not publicly declare that they will no longer fund or lend or invest in new coal fired power stations, I will be leaving the bank and never coming back.”

    Close to 85,000 people have signed a petition calling on CommBank to stop funding new coal, and over 4,500 CommBank customers have indicated they are considering changing banks over their support of dirty coal, oil and gas projects.

    “Instead of action to address the concerns of their customers all we have seen is more empty repetition of the same PR rhetoric and spin in direct letters and emails to customers,” Dr Casule said.

    “The Commonwealth Bank talks up the need to address climate change, invest in renewables and help us transition to a low-carbon economy, but they are not living up to their word.”

    For interviews contact:

    Rachael Vincent, Media Campaigner rachael.vincent@greenpeace.org 02 9263 0354 | 0413 993 316

    Notes

    Market Forces’ research shows CommBank is Australia’s dirtiest bank, lending $3,886 million to fossil fuels in 2016 and a total of $20.5 billion between 2008 and the first half of 2016 (including $4.523 billion to coal mines, coal fired power plants and coal ports).


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    Amsterdam, 12 July 2017 - Responding to news that one of the largest icebergs ever recorded has broken off the Antarctic Peninsula’s Larsen C ice shelf, Paul Johnston, head of Greenpeace International’s Science Unit, said:

    “The melting ice of Antarctica has always been recognised as a 'canary in the coal-mine' warning the world of the dangers of climate change. The collapse of this ice-shelf, the third collapse in this region in recent years, is possibly yet another signal of the global impact of climate change — and the imperative of implementing the Paris climate agreement, shifting to 100% renewable energy sources and leaving fossil fuels in the ground.”

    “No one knows for sure if climate change played a definitive role in the break of the Larsen C ice shelf, but given the relatively recent breakup of other shelves, and the contribution thought to have been made to erosion of the ice by warmer waters around the Antarctic Peninsula in those cases, it seems likely that human activities are a factor.

    “We’re still in the safe zone for avoiding catastrophic climate change. But we must act fast. Decisions taken now by governments and industry will decide whether billions of people have safe, prosperous lives in the future.”

    “It is the ultimate irony that this happens soon after Trump has taken the US, the world's biggest carbon polluter in history, out of the Paris climate agreement. Rather like the ice-shelf, Trump has detached the US and left it isolated to drift alone. The rest of the world will move ahead taking advantage of the opportunities for clean, renewable energy and the benefits that the low carbon economy brings.”

    Notes to editors:

    http://www.climatesignals.org/headlines/events/larsen-c-ice-shelf-calving-and-retreat-2017  

    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-01-26/antarctic-tipping-points-for-a-multi-metre-sea-level-rise/

    https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v531/n7596/full/nature17145.html

    Media contacts:

    Greenpeace International press desk: pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, +31 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

    Simon Black, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org

     

     


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    July 14, 2017: Greenpeace Australia Pacific welcomes today’s decision by Woolworths and Coles to completely phase out single-use plastic bags over the next 12 months.

    The supermarket giants today announced they would no longer offer the lightweight plastic shopping bags across their chains of stores network in Australia.

    “This announcement by Woolworths and Coles show they are serious about their responsibilities as Australia’s largest supermarket chains,” Greenpeace campaigner Samantha Wockner said.

    “This ban will stop billions of bags from being used each year in Australia, tens of millions of which can make their way into our waterways and eventually end inside marine life and our food.

    “The environment ministers of Victoria and NSW need to recognise that they are being left behind on this issue and must step up and show the leadership that is embarrassingly being shown by supermarket chains and not them.”

    Greenpeace Australia Pacific is calling on the state governments of NSW and Victoria to follow the lead set by Woolworths and Coles.

    South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and ACT all have bans on single-use plastic bags. Queensland will introduce a ban in July 2018 while NSW and Victoria are yet to implement a policy on bags. Western Australia has stated it hopes to bring in a ban on bags in the next 18 months.

    “The overwhelming majority of Australians support a ban on single use plastic bags - which are only used for minutes on average, but then take up to a thousand years to decompose,” Wockner said.

    “There is no reason for the paralysis currently infecting some state and federal governments on this issue.

    “It’s time for us to ban the bag at every level.”

    For interviews contact:

    Simon Black

    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner

    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org


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    June 6, 2017: Greenpeace Australia Pacific has condemned today’s announcement by the Adani board about the Carmichael mine as an “empty PR stunt” for a toxic project which is unable to go ahead without billions of dollars in public money.

    The mining giant’s chairman today gave his final investment approval for the multi-billion dollar Carmichael mine in central Queensland's Galilee Basin.

    The company are yet to confirm financing or if a billion dollar loan from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility to fund the rail line between the proposed mine and the Abbot Point coal terminal has been granted.

    “This mine will be a disaster for the climate, the Great Barrier Reef and frontline communities in Queensland and around the world,” Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said.

    “This toxic mega-mine is deeply unpopular with the Australian people and is not viable without massive handouts of public money through subsidies or loans from the NAIF and Queensland government.

    “Any public assistance to the mine is a betrayal of the Australian public and the things they hold dear, like a healthy Reef and support for public services that lose out when billions of dollars are given to Adani instead of to schools and hospitals.

    “Greenpeace are calling for state and federal governments to rule out any public funds being granted to this environmentally destructive and economically disastrous project once and for all.

    “The people of Australia have overwhelmingly rejected this toxic project. The age of coal is dead and we need real leadership to ensure a just transition away from fossil fuels for the Australian community.”

    For interviews contact:
    Simon Black
    Greenpeace Senior Media Campaigner
    0418 219 086 / simon.black@greenpeace.org