Gippsland News & Views

White Elephant Demonstration in Bairnsdale on 11 April

There was a demonstration of Mallacoota residents and their supporters against the proposed development at Bastion Point in Bairnsdale today. They pointed out that “3b” proposal of the East Gippsland Shire was the worst option possible and that the development benefited few people and was a “white elephant”. To highlight this a large blow-up white elephant was erected in Main St Bairnsdale and the case against the development was clearly presented to TV, radio and the print media. The demonstration then proceeded to the Shire Offices where the message was then presented to the Mayor. From a climate change perspective all developments on the coast are threatened with long term sea level rise and thus in the medium to long term a waste of money.

Election 2013 News April No. 1

  1. What is the newsletter for? To promote climate change as a major election issue, to offer solar and renewable energy alternatives as a partial solution to the problem and to spread the word of my candidature.
  2. Who it is being sent to? To people in the electorate, those with connections to people in Gippsland, sympathetic groups and the local media.
  3. Who am I? I have lived in Gippsland for 40 years and been politically active for most of that time. In the 1983 election I stood as a candidate for the Nuclear Disarmament Party on the threat of a nuclear winter. Since then I have written extensively on Gippsland regional history and other matters including climate change. I stood as a ‘climate emergency’ independent in the 2008 and 2012 local government elections and in 2010 in the state seat of Morwell.
  4. Why bother? Climate change is happening now and is getting progressively worse. Many of the current indicators are worse than previous predictions. (IPCC 2007) Climate scientists are now warning that developing and consuming a fraction of the earth’s fossil fuel reserves will make large parts of the planet uninhabitable.
  5. Broad details of my campaign can be accessed on my Global Warming Politics page and more detail will be released progressively through the year. A short essay the ‘Gippsland Coast in 2100’ can also be accessed as a pdf file from the ‘publications’ page of my website.
  6. The slogan is Vote Climate Vote Solar Vote Gardner for Gippsland
  7. Help is needed to construct a 15 second TV advert and/or a brief promotional video to load onto the website
  8. Help is also needed to build this mailing list. Please forward to friends and rellies, or distribute to your group members. All publicity welcome.
  9. Please pass the word on to facebook friends and/or twitter followers. Any suggestions on how to harness the social media welcome.
  10. I am willing to speak to any group large or small in the Gippsland electorate.
  11. The newsletter will be issued monthly until the official campaign starts in August and then press releases will be issued on a weekly basis.

An Open letter to East Gippsland Shire Councillors on the proposed Bastion Point Development (25 March 2013)

Dear Councillor

I urge you to reconsider the proposed development at Bastion Point and opt for the least cost option.

Global warming will threaten all coastal developments possibly within twenty to forty years. A more realistic appraisal for the coast can be found on the publications page of my website.

It is incumbent on the shire to adopt both a prudent and cautious approach on this matter


(Also Published in the Bairnsdale Advertiser 28.3.13)

Letter to the Gippsland Times 12.3.13

Climate Change bigger problem than fuel load (edited)

i read Ralph Barraclough’s letter with interest regarding recent fires. The letter began telling how there had been major fires within eight years and in some places had been burnt three times in that period…

For some perspective with areas burnt out three times in eight years clearly the biggest contributor to bushfires these days is the fact that our environment is becoming hotter and dryer. Fire scientists tell us that reducing fuel loads reduces the intensity of fires; they also tell us that dryness and high average temperatures contribute to the ferocity of fires…

As this year saw another record breaking summer, the hottest on record, Bureau of Meteorology figures show hot days have doubled since 1960…Global warming is sending us on atrajectory of exponentially hotter drier average weather, unless we cut greenhouse emissions…

Maybe we do need a carbon tax after all, to continue the good, cost effective work of bringing non-polluting renewable energies on stream…I wonder how many people realise it is already far cheaper to put solar panels on your roof than to buy coal or gas generated electricity. That leaves more money to spend on other stuff – great for our economy, especially if we buy Australian.

Ian Onley, Sale


An Open Letter to the Managing Director National Australia Bank 1.3.13

Managing Director National Australia Bank

Dear Sir,

I wish to protest at your bank’s financing of the National Party of Victoria. The Australian Electoral Commission website indicates that the National Bank was the major donor of this party in 2012.

This political party has a strong record of denying the science of climate change, doing its best to create confusion on the issue and opposing all but the most token gestures to ameliorate or adapt to the threat.

Your donations make you complicit with these actions which are against the interests of your customers, your employees and your shareholders.

I also note that the financing of the fossil fuel industry is coming under greater scrutiny. It is becoming clear that only a small fraction of fossil fuel reserves can be developed without making large areas of the planet uninhabitable.

It follows that if a company’s value (and support from the finance industry) is based on reserves of coal, coal seam, gas, shale oil etc. then this value is illusory and is likely to become a ‘stranded asset’. On this matter I have enclosed a news article “Bursting the Carbon Bubble” by Michael Green (The Age 15.2.13) which you may have missed.

I am sure that you are closely considering investments of this kind and note that this is a further incentive not to donate to a political party that denies the current science.

Peter Gardner

PS I have been a customer of your bank for more than 50 years



Letter Published in the Gippsland Times 14.2.13

Dear Sir,

The proposals of the planned Esso plant to vent CO2 waste direct to the atmosphere – along with other proposals for the development of coal seam gas, shale oil and brown coal – are most alarming.

Recent comments by both Robert F. Kennedy Jnr. and James Hansen of NASA have implied that to embark on any proposal of this kind that exacerbates an already critical position of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is a criminal activity.

Late last year Steven Sherwood of the University of NSW stated “if we fully develop all the world’s coal, tar sands, shales and other fossil fuels we run a high risk of ending up in a few generations with a largely uninhabitable planet.” (New Scientist 17.11.12)

Unfortunately the mining giants, along with their bankers, insurers and political acolytes, seem hell bent on development regardless of all the warnings given by climate scientists.

At the very least these investments will eventually become stranded assets. It is likely the companies and their employees at some future date will face class actions in the courts similar to that faced by tobacco and asbestos companies today. And possibly they may someday appear in the same location facing charges of a criminal kind.


Peter Gardner

Letter Published Bairnsdale Advertiser 8.2.13

Dear Sir,

May I comment on your article about the appointment of former parliamentarian Alexander Downer to the Board of Lakes Oil? (B A 4/2) Mr. Downer is an appointment of Gina Rinehart – Australia’s richest person and the world’s richest woman. Ms Rinehart denies the science of climate change. Her other appointment to the Lakes Oil board is geologist Ian Plimer the principal Australian climate change denier.

Lakes Oil is a company exploring for coal seam gas, unconventional gas and shale oil in Gippsland. Recently Steven Sherwood of the University of NSW stated “if we fully develop all the world’s coal, tar sands, shales and other fossil fuels we run a high risk of ending up in a few generations with a largely uninhabitable planet.” (New Scientist 17.11.12)

We are in a ‘David and Goliath” struggle of epic proportions. The latter represented by a hugely wealthy mining industry with enough power to change prime ministers and with most of the mass media and the major political parties doing their bidding. The former represented by ordinary, mostly unaware, citizens – humanity itself.

Australia has a huge undeveloped resource of solar energy but persists with spoiling productive farmland and adding harmful greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The proposals of Lakes Oil and other fossil fuel developers in Gippsland and elsewhere are insane.


Peter Gardner

PRESS RELEASE 8 February 2013

Longford Residents Against Gas

Longford residents last night voted unanimously against Onshore Gas in Longford. Two issues were discussed. One, the introduction of CSG in Longford and two, the Longford Conditioning plant approval process.

“So many people are concerned about what’s happening to our environment and communities are starting to stand up for their rights and protect their properties and their health.” Mr. Knoesen of the CSG Wellington Awareness Group said. “When you threaten to dig up peoples properties, surround them by gas wells, introduce heavy vehicle traffic, affect their health and well being and devalue their investments – they’re going to fight” said Longford resident Hayley Kennedy.

“With more and more people putting the yellow triangle ‘Lock the Gate’ signs up on their front gates, it is a clear indication that people are starting to understand the threat that mining poses to our region. Giving our properties and natural resources to overseas companies, Gina Rinehart and overseas companies is not on! It doesn’t matter who you work for- it’s wrong” said Dr. Jo McCubbin.

Several Exploration Licences for Onshore Gas Mining have been allocated by the Department of Primary Industries covering most of Gippsland. With investment by mining Giants like Gina Rinehart, and ExxonMobil(Esso) it indicates that there is potential for mass expansion of the industry in Victoria. We live over 65 Billion Tons of Coal between Morwell and Longford which contains vast quantities of gas- the Chinese want it, ExxonMobil want it and Gina Rinehart wants it. Gippsland produces 23% of Australia’s milk and is the food bowl for Victoria. This type of mining is proven in QLD, NSW and the U.S.A. to be incompatible with farming. Gippslanders will lose out. If Gippslanders don’t want to give away our agriculture industry, natural resources and real estate then they must say so.

Esso’s new conditioning plant is expected to vent 1 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year and consume 72 million litres of aquifer water. Esso’s average water consumption is 973 million liters per year. “Gippslanders are in drought just after the floods, ask any farmer, and Esso is using 2.6 million litres per day?” commented Mr. Knoesen. To Longford residents, the expansion of the Longford Gas plant means that they will continue to live next door to an industrial facility and expect to have their environment polluted for many more years to come.

Gippslanders have an opportunity to object to the expansion of the gas plant by entering submissions to the EPA Works Approval Process of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Guidelines for submissions may be found at and a printed copy may be viewed at the Wellington Shire Council reception desk.

Longford residents who are concerned about the introduction of CSG in their neighbourhood and the expansion of the Esso processing plant are to contact to show their support to the community.

CSG WAG Sale, Victoria

Letter Published Bairnsdale Advertiser 25/1/13

Dear Sir,

I am pleased to see the Nationals coming out with a policy to have a “Green Army” of 15,000 across Australia even if it is only a token gesture.(EGN 16/1)  Such an “army” should be at least ten times this size and soak up unemployment around Australia.

As to activities for the “Green Army” I can suggest starting on Bob Hawke’s “one billion trees” as the only effective method of carbon capture and storage or making safe towns and communications routes from the increasing threats of extreme weather events or installing permanent members of emergency services such as the CFA in remote local communities. The list of possibilities is a long one.

The problem with the Nationals is that they are yet to recognise the dire threat of global warming. This is complicated by the fact that coal miners are a major donor to the National Party – more than $75,000 in 2010-11. Without tackling the problem of CO2 from coal exports and electricity generation the Nationals are condemned to remain the “flat-earth” party of our political system.

Eventually Mr Chester and the Nationals will have to decide whether they represent coal miners such as Nathan Tinkler or ordinary farmers and the people of Gippsland


Peter Gardner

New Esso Gas Plant in Gippsland

Letter to the Gippsland Times in response to an article on a new Esso gas plant (December 21, 2012)

The following points may be considered in the response:

1. Esso’s continued investment in the fossil fuel industry lengthens the time frame to achieving a lesser carbon future.

2. Esso’s investment in future fossil fuel projects indicates their lack of concern (with) current and proven science which indicates that our habitat and existence is under threat from human contributed atmospheric changes.

3. Esso’s continued investment in fossil fuels in Gippsland means continued environmental harm for our region based on a tragic environmental history in this area.

4. The subtlety of the reference to ‘natural gas’ in the article may be considered in the future as public consultation of plans to utilise the new facility as an onshore CSG/CBM/Shale/Tight Gas processing plant.

5. Reference ‘cleaner energy future, the life cycle of LNG is now speculated to be as bad if not worse than coal in the short term and current Australian technologies estimated to be a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

(Link to Southern Cross University Submission on National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Determination by Drs. Santos and Maher)

6. The statement, ‘And because of the cleaner-burning qualities, natural gas is a powerful option for reducing the environmental impact of energy use.’ directly refers to onshore gas which Esso representatives regularly assure us is not a viable economic solution. The Australian White Paper indicates that there is an estimated 125 Metajoules of Gas in the Gippsland onshore reserves. Ignite Energy Resources estimate 35 Trillion Cubic Feet of gas (see Dr. Chris James submission) after exploration from 2007-2009. They want this gas and they want it now! And Esso wants to be there when it comes out.

7. The statement, ‘designed to treat natural gas with a different composition’, refers again to onshore gas or if it refers to offshore gas, no reference is made to the increased level of mercury and CO2 that is being extracted from the Kipper Tuna Turrum. The processing plant is a reactionary investment to deal with the mercury but not the CO2 which Esso representatives tell us is cheaper to vent to atmosphere and take the carbon tax hit than re-injecting it. So much for global warming solutions. Destroy the place now!

8. Ahhhh…. Mr. Ryan, always supporting a fossil fueled future, welcomes Esso’s 1 Billion dollar investment in destroying Gippsland!

9. Mr Ryan’s new plant will create 250 new jobs! Mr Ryan’s government has closed the Solar industry which employs 4800. Is it really employment that he is concerned about?

10. The Victorian Government’s investment of $56.9 Million in the Sale and Longford road system is a most timely infrastructure upgrade for the expansion of onshore LNG production and export to Asia through our newly upgraded $1.2b Port of Melbourne.

11. And to prevent this ‘plan’ being exposed and corrupt politicians being prosecuted, the ‘improved’ IBAC is most timely in it’s arrival. Pity Mr. O’Beid wasn’t in a “forward thinking” state like Victoria.

CSG Wellington Awareness Group, Sale, VICTORIA