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Risk to Reef of toxic firefighting foam raised in Senate Estimates

In Senate Estimates today, questioning by the Australian Greens alerted the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to potential toxic pollution of the Great Barrier Reef from runoff at the Townsville Air Force Base.

As reported by the ABC, former Director Environmental Impact Management, Australian Defence Force, Colin Trinder, says it is highly likely toxic firefighting foam has run off from the Townsville Air Force Base and onto the Great Barrier Reef.

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Williamtown contamination recommendations - pressure on Turnbull Government for quick action

Lee Rhiannon 4 Feb 2016

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon, who initiated the Williamtown contamination inquiry, has called on the Turnbull government to quickly act on all the recommendations including compensation, buy outs and health testing.

"Now the spotlight is on Defence Department's failure to quickly and responsibly deal with the contamination in and around Williamtown RAAF Base Defence Minister Marise Payne should move to immediately implement all recommendations," Senator Rhiannon said.

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Speech: Road Infrastructure

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (17:00): Urban motorways reveal some of the worst aspects of how major parties do politics and the worst aspects of their own transport policies. In Sydney we have this madness of a WestConnex urban motorway project. A 33-kilometre, dirty tollway that would divide Sydney, bring greater air pollution, increase congestion, divide suburbs and rip up bike lanes.

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Motion: Cruise ship terminals

Lee moves that mandatory minimum standards be applied to cruise ships at White Bay to limit the pollution Sydney residents are exposed to.  The motion was defeated on the combined vote of Labor and the Coalition.

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (16:06): I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 659 standing in my name, relating to cruise ship terminals.

Leave granted.

Senator RHIANNON: I move the motion as amended:

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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio)

Senator RHIANNON: I now want to move on to issues to do with global health programs.

Senator McEWEN: Senator Rhiannon, just while we are finding someone to answer those questions for you, the mysterious $800,000 was in DFAT's answer to QON 409. It was the amount that had been spent on consultancies for IT integration to date. So perhaps you could take on notice, Mr Varghese, whether that amount is still the same or whether or not it has increased.

Mr Varghese : I am happy to do that.

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Motion: International development assistance

Senate passes Lee's motion that the government increase Australia's contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (15:38): I move: 

That the Senate— 

(a) notes that: 

(i) the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (the Global Fund) is working to eventually eradicate deaths from these diseases, 

(ii) the Global Fund has raised from national governments and private donors $12.2 billion of the $15 billion it is seeking for the period 2014 to 2016, 

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Community campaign against cuts to higher education exposes Coalition's deception

Lee Rhiannon 23 May 2014

Australian Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Rhiannon has commended the sustained community campaign to expose Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne's higher education deception.

"Mr Pyne and Mr Abbott are regularly contradicting themselves in radio interviews. We now know that Mr Abbott won't rule out that university fees will double while Mr Pyne can't decide if fees are going to go up or down," said Senator Rhiannon.

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Hunter community to fix Government failure on coal dust report

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon has congratulated the decision of a local community group to fund an investigation of Hunter Valley coal train dust, as a report on the same topic commissioned by the federal government had been compromised.

“Coal Terminal Action Group has taken action to ensure the community have access to objective data about the level of coal dust they are regularly exposed to,” Senator Rhiannon said.

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