Thursday, July 24, 2014

ATBC Resolution in Support of Stronger Laws for Climate-change Mitigation and Environmental Protection in Australia |

ATBC Resolution in Support of Stronger Laws for Climate-change Mitigation and Environmental Protection in Australia 

At this 2014 annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, in Cairns, Australia, we, the association representing 589 scientists and conservationists from 55 nations including Australia DECLARE:
Whereas, the industrialised Commonwealth of Australia has one of the world’s highest per capita greenhouse-gas emission rates in the world, and relies primarily on fossil fuels for its electricity generation, it still is a major contributor to global climate disruption.
Whereas, human-caused climate disruption (global warming) is now one of the greatest threats to species and ecosystems worldwide, and will increasingly exacerbate the current extinction crisis arising from human endeavour.
Whereas, Australia has experienced severe fragmentation of biologically unique habitats as a result of human development, in part resulting in the world’s highest mammal extinction rate, and a major loss of other plant and animal species.
Whereas Australia has recently weakened or overturned decades of legislation designed to protect its sensitive natural ecosystems and species, as well as altered demonstrably effective climate-change mitigation strategies such as elimination of the carbon-pricing scheme.
Therefore, be it resolved that the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation:
  • Urges the Commonwealth Government to reconsider its stance on a financial penalty system to limit its greenhouse gas emissions, and that it implement a mandatory emissions-trading scheme in light of its recent decision to overturn the existing carbon-pricing scheme. The Commonwealth Government’s ‘Direct Action’ plan to reduce its emissions will be ineffective for reducing emissions.
  • Implores the Commonwealth Government to retain its Renewable Energy Target to maximise renewable energy penetration in its electricity-generation sector.
  • Commends the Commonwealth Government’s recent announcement to appoint Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner and a Ministerial Council on the Environment to advise the Commissioner, but encourages the Government to instate some legislative power to the position as it currently lacks decision-making power to effect real change to threatened-species policies.
  • Implores the Commonwealth Government not to devolve national oversight of industrial and urban development potentially exacerbating the status of Australia’s threatened species. The Government should not allow individual Australian states to weaken or overturn national legislation such as the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 given the recent trends for state governments to relax laws for vegetation clearing and to allow industrial activities such as logging, grazing, fishing and mining in ‘national’ parks and other protected areas.
  • Urges the government to reinstate a major funding scheme to the only independent legal entity available to limit environmentally destructive human development – the Environmental Defenders Office. Without funding to continue this essential legal representation for environmental-related cases, rampant and demonstrably damaging development will go unchecked.
  • Implores the Commonwealth Government to abandon its attempt to remove the tax-deductible status of environmental groups and non-government organisations that work to protect Australia’s unique and threatened ecosystems and natural capital.
  • Encourages the Commonwealth Government to commit to enforcing the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 that criminalises the importation into Australia of illegally logged timber and any product made from illegally logged timber, and the Illegal Logging Prohibition Amendment Regulation 2013 that regulates compliance of theAct. Any delay in enforcement of the Act and the Regulation will result in even greater deforestation of tropical and other forests and continued loss of species from these mega-diverse habitats in the Asia – Pacific region.

9 comments:

  1. THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BUDGET EMERGENCY - CIGAR CHOMPERS GET OFF SCOT FREE!

    HOW THE AUSTRALIAN FIRST PEOPLES LIVE IN "WORSE THAN 3RD WORLD CONDITIONS" AND GENEROUSLY FUND "SIT DOWN MONEY" FOR TAX AVOIDING ELITES IN THE BAHAMAS AND THE SOUTH OF FRANCE.


    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/energy-companys-11-billion-transfer-to-singapore-rings-tax-avoidance-alarm-bells-20150403-1me7ij.html


    Energy company's $11 billion transfer to Singapore rings tax avoidance alarm bells

    Date April 4, 2015 - 6:30AM

    An energy company operating in Australia transferred more than $11 billion to the low-tax jurisdiction of Singapore in a single year, heightening concerns that Australia is being duped by tax-minimising multinationals.

    The extraordinary scale of funds being moved out of the country by individual companies is revealed in an internal Australian Tax Office memo, obtained under Freedom of Information.

    It lists 10 companies that channelled a combined $31.4 billion from Australia to Singapore in the 2011-2012 financial year.

    An estimated $60 billion in so-called "related parties" transactions went from Australia to tax havens in the same year.



    Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan and a number of his senior colleagues have recently flagged concerns about cross-border transfers and intra-company refinancing and the potential that they are linked to tax avoidance.

    The Tax Office is particularly concerned about mining and energy companies extracting Australian minerals which have established "marketing hubs" in Singapore that appear to have little use other than as a destination for shifted profits.

    An ATO spokeswoman said the issue was currently under investigation. "I can confirm that we currently have 15 audits of marketing hubs under way with more ready to go," she said.

    Treasurer Joe Hockey is considering the introduction of a so-called "Google tax" but some experts fear the problem of tax avoidance and aggressive minimisation runs far deeper than the tech sector. Fairfax Media revealed this week that the 900 biggest companies in Australia reduced their tax bills by a combined $25 billion via deductions, exemptions and other concessions.

    The names of the companies have been redacted in the document, which is correspondence between the Singapore revenue authorities and their counterparts at the ATO, but a push is under way to use the powers of a Senate committee force the names of the multinationals into the public arena.


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  2. FAKE BUDGET EMERGENCY.........CONT.........


    Hearings of the inquiry into corporate tax avoidance by the Senate economic references committee begin on Wednesday and will include witnesses from multinational miners Glencore and Adani, as well as Google, Apple, Microsoft and News Corp.



    Representatives of the big four accountants will also front the hearings as will former Tax Office adviser Martin Lock, whose submission to the inquiry details how "tax planners" engaged by corporations likely cost the public "billions of dollars" in lost revenue. "The difference between judicious 'tax planning' and 'tax avoidance' is usually blurred," he said.

    The Tax Justice Network and the union United Voice, which co-funded a report that showed the biggest Australian companies pay nowhere near the 30 per cent tax rate, believe the committee has the power to force the Tax Office to reveal the names of the companies moving billions of dollars offshore.

    "We understand the committee can make those documents public. Then people could know who the companies are that are shifting billions offshore and it would be up to those companies to explain why," said the Uniting Church's Mark Zirnsak, a member of Tax Justice.

    David O'Byrne, the national secretary of United Voice, said: "It is inappropriate that one company had $11 billion of related party transactions through Singapore and the Australian people do not know what company that is.

    "If companies are claiming $25 billion of tax deductions from Australia's budget then we at least deserve to know who they are. If they won't identify themselves then it is up to the Senate committee to reveal them.

    "Until the ATO confirms who is responsible for this activity it is a slur on all companies."




    NEWS FLASH....................


    THE TRUTH ON "LIFTERS AND LEANERS".

    With the iron ore price below $50 a dry weight tonne Australias richest man and woman - Twiggy and Gina - are about to be put on welfare by the Barnett government, no royalty payments for them!

    "Sweaty" Joe Hockey has another exploding cigar to deal with as he must now admit we are in fact a nation of "leaners".


    Apart from ironically the First Peoples who contribute their country to these "stuck up poms" so they can live on Sydney's north shore and continue their relentless genocide against the very people who are making the greatest sacrifice - the people whose country they are destroying to extract their tax avoidance dollars.


    If Scott Morrison truly is "Mr Fix-it" then give him the one portfolio that has never had a fix yet - Aboriginal Affairs.

    But then that really would worry the stuck up poms.

    Maybe Scott and Joe can find the $20 million for the many communities under threat of closure because they are not financially viable?

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  3. THE TRUE STORY OF TWO EXPLODING CIGARS REVEALED!

    "And who knows, perhaps Eleventy Joe might now see why getting rid of thousands of specialist auditors from the ATO wasn't the brilliant cost-saving stunt he and Mathias Cormann thought it was over cigars and hubris last year. The best of those bean counters now work for the big four accounting firms, advising companies like Google on how to avoid paying Eleventy Joe anything."


    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/a-taxing-tale-of-woe-for-eleventy-joe-20150403-1mdiht.html



    A taxing tale of woe for Eleventy Joe

    "Thieves!" Eleventy Joe wailed in his nightshirt, hopping from one hairy, naked foot to the other. "Thieves!" He stood framed by the light of the door to his lock-up, known wryly hereabouts as 'The Treasury', and shook his meaty fist at the gentlemen burglars disappearing into the night, carrying giant cartoon bags with 'LOOT' stencilled on them. His loot. 'Cheats!' Joe cried out, 'Thieves and cheats!' as another $25 billion went for a wander.

    Once upon a time Eleventy Joe might have let it slide. A billion here, a billion there. Nothing to quibble about between friends, and the gentlemen burglars of the so-called Multinational Club were the sort of fine, monied fellows Eleventy Joe would love to have as friends. But this last little while, with things so tight and all, well, the greedy blighters just wouldn't let up. They didn't seem to care that Joe's coffers were empty save for a few bent coins and a broken button.


    'I do feel for Eleventy Joe; the understandable sympathy you might feel for a hapless flasher who unwittingly exposes himself to some plainclothes detective and then trips on his own pants while trying to run away.'

    "Thieves and cheats!" he roared after them, but received nothing in reply save for the cruel laughter of the cosmopolitan cat burglars drifting back through the darkness. What to do? What to do? Normally a fellow in his position – which is to say, skint – could just lay in wait for some poor cove to happen along, whereupon said cove would soon find himself coshed insensible and his pockets lightened as needs be. But the problem with the poor was that they were so blasted poor and there was only so much a fellow could actually have out of their grubby little pockets. Also, he'd never admit as much, but Eleventy Joe had found the poor less amenable to being mugged after he'd given them such a fearful coshing and an extra-close haircut last year. Why, they had even rounded on him, threatening all sorts of unpleasantness. The ingrates.

    No, Eleventy Joe knew that if he was to fill even a quarter of his coffers again, he'd have to have it out of the pockets of those gentlemen bloody burglars from the Multinational Club.



    "Thieves and cheats," he muttered after them.


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  4. THE TRUE STORY OF TWO EXPLODING CIGARS REVEALED!.................CONT..............


    I do feel for Eleventy Joe. For once Joe Hockey is on the money. There's only so much he can do by hacking and slashing away at spending, while there's so much he actually could do by grabbing ahold of, say, Google's or Apple's or Microsoft's ankles and giving them a decent shake over the pot.


    Chris Jordan, the boss hog of the ATO, said this week that the tax office was already going after the "most aggressive" dozen tech companies, and expected to raise $1 billion from them by the end of the year. But that's peanuts to these deadbeats. Google made about $2 billion in Australia last year and paid $295,000 tax on that; the equivalent of an average wage earner handing Eleventy Joe 10 bucks and change to cover their tax bill. And not for a week. That'd be for a whole year. Don't spend it all in one place, big guy.


    Adding insult to the injury, having paid one-tenth of 1 per cent of bugger-all in tax, el Goog then trousered a tidy $4.5 million in "refunds" for research and development. Eleventy Joe's increasing anger with big time "thieves and cheats" – including lots of miners, banks and multinationals besides the tech giants – is understandable, given how starkly he framed his first budget to preference the interests of the super rich and giant corporations over everyone else. You'd think they'd do him a solid. Help a brother out. But no, and now the Chinese are being difficult. Not by building all those enormous military bases on top of other people's coral atolls, but by not using enough Aussie steel to do so, damn it. What do the heirs of Pig Iron Bob Menzies care about an increasingly aggressive Asian superpower pushing the boundaries of international norms? As long as BHP gets in for its chop and Canberra gets a few cents on the dollar it's all good. But the dollars available from selling iron ore to Beijing are getting harder to come by, a collapse in the price of ore that will carve about $60 billion from the economy this year, and billions in royalties from Hockey's budget estimates.

    Add to that the NAB's quarterly consumer anxiety index (which I'm sure used to be called the consumer confidence index). This found that "government policy is now the single biggest cause of anxiety for consumers". Not inflation or unemployment or the series finale of Mad Men. But Eleventy Joe and Toned Abs. They're what's keeping everyone up at night with acid reflux. They're why nobody is spending, putting even more pressure on the budget.


    You can see why Hockey might finally be giving a bunch of super-wealthy tax bludgers the side-eye.



    And who knows, perhaps Eleventy Joe might now see why getting rid of thousands of specialist auditors from the ATO wasn't the brilliant cost-saving stunt he and Mathias Cormann thought it was over cigars and hubris last year. The best of those bean counters now work for the big four accounting firms, advising companies like Google on how to avoid paying Eleventy Joe anything.

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  5. Rupert Murdoch's US empire siphons $4.5b from Australian business virtually tax-free

    Date April 6, 2015

    Rupert Murdoch's media empire in the US has siphoned off $4.5 billion of cash and shares from his Australian media businesses in the past two years, virtually tax free.

    According to calculations by University of NSW accounting academic, Jeffrey Knapp, over the past 10 years, Mr Murdoch's companies here have paid income tax equivalent to a rate of 4.8 per cent on $6.8 billion in operating cash flows, or just 10 per cent of operating profits.

    News Corp Australia chief executive Julian Clarke is scheduled to appear before the Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance this week along with executives from Google, Apple, Glencore, Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue. The inquiry has been called to address rising community concerns that multinational companies are not paying their fair share of tax in Australia.



    ..................



    Corporate tax avoidance inquiry to begin this week, examining some of Australia's biggest companies

    The financial arrangements of some of Australia's biggest companies will be in the spotlight this week with a Senate inquiry taking evidence on corporate tax avoidance.

    The inquiry was initiated by the Greens leader Christine Milne and supported by the Federal Opposition.

    "We have to actually start really pushing on this in Parliament, and that's why the Greens moved for this inquiry," Senator Milne told AM.

    "That's why we are determined to see changes in legislation to require these companies to pay their way and to achieve much higher levels of transparency and much greater independence of the tax office."



    .........................



    Our missed opportunity to tackle wealth inequality

    The Abbott Government has promised a "comprehensive and inclusive" review of the tax system, but appears to have ignored a major issue: rising inequality of income and wealth, writes Mike Steketee.

    The Abbott Government committed itself last week to a "comprehensive and inclusive" review of the tax system.

    But the tax discussion paper it released to kick off the process does not find space in its 196 pages to canvass some of the major issues.



    .....................



    Voter angst on tax avoidance and penalty rates

    The Abbott government is facing overwhelming angst about the issue of corporate tax avoidance and the threat to weekend penalty rates in a string of seats it must retain to win back government.

    Polling obtained by Fairfax Media found more than nine out of 10 people in the NSW bellwether federal seat of Eden Monaro believe the government is not doing enough to ensure large companies pay their fair share of tax.



    .....................



    Abbott support sinks in WA poll

    Shane Wright April 7, 2015, 12:55 am


    *************************

    Even among Liberal voters, 40 per cent backed penalty rates compared with 42 per cent who opposed them.


    ***************
    And with the Government looking to overhaul the tax system, almost 79 per cent of people in Swan said more had to be done to crack down on corporate tax avoidance.
    ***************


    The results in Swan are in line with a collation of Newspoll State-by-State polls that showed a six-point fall in Liberal Party primary support across WA and a seven-point lift for the ALP.



    Labor leads the Government 54-46 on a two-party preferred vote.

    **********************


    .....

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  6. Joe Hockey steps in to protect suspected tax dodger multinationals from being identified

    Date April 8, 2015 -

    Treasurer Joe Hockey personally approved a decision to shield companies sending billions of dollars offshore as part of apparent tax-dodging strategies from being named.

    Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan said in a letter to the Senate committee into corporate tax avoidance that Mr Hockey endorsed his decision not to release the names of ten resources companies that transferred a combined $31.4 billion to Singapore in the financial year 2011 – 2012.

    This follows a move by the Coalition to backtrack on impending obligations for the Australian Tax Office to disclose the tax contribution of 700 of the country's largest privately-owned companies – those with revenues of more than $100 million.


    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/joe-hockey-steps-in-to-protect-suspected-tax-dodger-multinationals-from-being-identified-20150408-1mgfix.html

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  7. NO way Australia can afford $20 million to keep hundreds of remote Aboriginal communities open ?

    "There are numerous logistical considerations that common sense would suggest needed due thought before closing any community, not just an Indigenous community, such as:
    •where are the members of the closed community supposed to go to live;
    •will there be relocation assistance;
    •will the community be able to move together?

    Leaving aside the logistics, how can we, as a society, allow governments to close communities and force Indigenous people from their land? How can we allow policies of removal and assimilation to continue?"



    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/government-and-admiralty-house-renovation-bills-top-19-million-20150417-1mnid5.html

    Government and Admiralty House renovation bills top $19 million

    Date April 17, 2015

    Since his election more than 18 months ago, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been roughing it at the spartan Australian Federal Police College as The Lodge, in Canberra's leafy Deakin, undergoes extensive renovations.

    But while the building's asbestos is removed, airconditioning is installed, and its bathroom is upgraded, taxpayers are sinking handsome sums into Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove's historic residences as well.

    In the past year, His Excellency's government forked out $2.6 million for urgently needed repairs, major works and technological upgrades at Government House in Canberra, as well as $2.3 million for Admiralty House in Sydney.

    It brings the total renovation bill to $19 million over the past 10 years.



    The bigger items on the Government House bill include $1.3 million to fix the so-called 'honours building', more than $854,000 for 'essential heritage rectification' and almost $225,000 to repair the stables (which have long housed workers instead of horses).

    There has been more than $2 million in heritage rectification at Admiralty House, which commands sweeping views of Sydney Harbour.

    The Governor-General won't have any issues streaming high-definition House of Cards episodes or Question Time broadcasts after almost $70,000 was also splashed on Wi-Fi upgrades for both buildings.

    "Wi-Fi was introduced across both properties to enhance operational efficiencies for staff and visitors," a spokesperson for Government House told Fairfax Media.

    The Abbott government will have to consider whether to plough even more money into refurbishments later this year.

    The properties – comprising 20 buildings across 54 hectares – are more than personal residences for their vice-regal occupants and families. About 25,000 guests and visitors came through both properties last year.



    "All works are considered urgent and essential to maintain the proper function of the properties as vice-regal residences and to maintain the heritage values of the buildings for the future benefit of all Australians, in line with statutory obligations and other responsibilities placed on the agency," the spokesperson said.

    The spokesperson also said: "For a property estate valued at $86 million, this level of ongoing expenditure could be considered necessary if the properties are to remain in use."

    Government House and Admiralty House operate as official government buildings, hosting events for the public, government and foreign dignitaries.

    The renovations occurred in the final year of a 10-year Vice-Regal Heritage Property Master Plan, initiated by the Howard government in 2005.

    Last year, it was revealed some work had been delayed or cancelled, including a $5-million swimming pool and tennis court upgrade.

    Two dozen projects were put on hold in total and will, at some point, have to be reconsidered by the government.

    Some $6.4 million is being spent on The Lodge renovations.



    THE stuck up poms again!

    ReplyDelete
  8. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-20/verrender-barnett-backs-himself-into-a-corner-on-gst-fight/6404702


    Barnett backs himself into a corner on GST

    Opinion



    By Ian Verrender




    ..........Premier Colin Barnett's attempts to simultaneously whip up fury in his home state and garner sympathy from the rest of the federation over the apparent injustice meted out on his state through the GST allocation appear to have backfired spectacularly.

    In the process, he has created dangerous battle lines on two fronts.

    One revolves around the constitution, which has generated vigorous arguments across the nation. The other, however, goes to the heart of capitalism and, in particular, the role of competition.

    It all began late last year when the Premier suddenly realised his hopelessly optimistic forecasts for iron ore prices would not be realised, that crashing commodity prices would torpedo his budget and further damage the state's teetering credit rating.

    In his last budget, Barnett pencilled in a headline iron ore price of $US122.70 that would gently ease to $US120 in the coming financial year before slipping to $US115 in 2017-18.


    ***********************************

    You can understand why the panic has set in. With iron ore now below $US50 a tonne, and with little chance of any recovery for years, Western Australia looks like emerging from the greatest resources boom in history an economic basket case.

    ***************************************



    ...........



    By attacking the majors, Barnett is providing tacit support for Forrest's call for an iron ore cartel, where Australian producers curb production in an attempt to inflate prices. And that's an uncomfortable place for a Liberal Premier to find himself.

    In effect, Barnett is arguing that inefficient producers of low grade iron ore should be shielded from market forces and that efficient producers should bear the costs through decreased production.

    It is a position that is anathema to modern economic thinking and conflicts with international trade law.



    .............



    There is a good reason why Western Australia's share of the GST has fallen so dramatically. And it is all to do with not just soaring iron ore prices during the boom, but the way Barnett attempted to scuttle the Mining Resources Rent Tax.

    When Kevin Rudd announced plans to introduce a mining tax, the first thing Barnett did was to remove the concessions that both BHP and Rio Tinto enjoyed on state iron ore royalties. Essentially, he jacked up the royalty charges. That was fair enough.

    And after Julia Gillard introduced a neutered version of the tax, Barnett seized upon a loophole - where companies could deduct state royalty payments from mining tax payments - to again raise royalties, this time across the board.

    Essentially, it was a strategy designed to divert proposed Commonwealth tax payments into the state's coffers. Both NSW and Queensland did the same.

    But when Tony Abbott removed the mining tax last year, Western Australia - unlike NSW - opted to maintain the higher royalties and the cash bonanza, a decision that infuriated the mining industry.

    Under an agreement signed by all states, the GST carve up is lowered when any state has an increase in revenue from other sources. That revenue increase is calculated over a three year rolling average. And it is that lag - given the sudden crash in commodity prices - that is the cause of all the anguish.

    But Barnett ratified this arrangement in an independent review of the GST conducted by former NSW and Victorian premiers Nick Greiner and John Brumby just two years ago.

    So Barnett's own actions in ramping up royalty charges have triggered a clause in an agreement to which he was a signatory, all of which raises questions about his frantic attempts to unwind the current agreement.

    ...


    That's when federal financing would revert to the long term norm; where Victoria and NSW would again be subsidising the west.


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