Malcolm Turnbull’s environment cred

Helen at Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony has a nice summary of this week’s brouhaha with the Minister for the Environment reacting badly to criticism from a fellow corporatocrat, Geoff Cousins, about the seemingly fast-tracked approvals process for a new Gunns pulp mill in Tasmania. GetUp has a campaign active aimed at encouraging the Minister to respond to public opinion against the pulp mill:

Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull still has the power to veto the development of the pulp mill, and enough public outcry will put him under real pressure to do so.

Also this week, a publicity opportunity regarding his “green schools” intitiative went tits up when a Queensland state school refused to allow media on the grounds to cover the presentation by Turnbull of a $50,000 cheque. The reason given by the principal and Education Queensland was that the visit was only announced the day before, which didn’t allow time for the proper clearance procedures for media on school grounds to be implemented. Turnbull is crying censorship by Peter Beattie.

Mr Turnbull went to the school with Gold Coast Liberal MP Steven Ciobo to present one of the Federal Government’s $50,000 green vouchers to help buy water tanks and solar power systems, and to talk to students about climate change.

“This is a great step for the environment and it’s a great step towards teaching children about sustainability, but it’s obvious that (Premier) Peter Beattie doesn’t want anyone to know about it, and that’s a disgrace,” Mr Turnbull said after the media was turned away.

These “green schools” cheques, promoted as “rain tanks and solar power”, are interesting in and of themselves. Thanks to information provided by a lurker to me on the day before Turnbull announced his visit to the Surfers Paradise school, it appears that a small wrinkle in the initiative not noted by the corporate media is that the “solar power” actually only means solar hot water systems, which simply are not an issue for the vast majority of State schools which have no shower facilities for students.

As my lurker puts it:

It turns out they’ve specified some of it as being for hot water – which of course excludes nearly all state schools. Who uses hot water? the schools with gyms and showers and pools eg Cranbrook in the heart of Turnbull’s electorate. The rest of the grant is for water, eg rainwater tanks. The thing is, they haven’t actually finalised the guidelines so no one can apply yet – they made the announcement in July, get the green PR without actually giving anyone any money – typical.

Apparently Turnbull’s people are rushing to finalise the guidelines so he can be seen to have given ‘green’ money to schools before the election. There’s friction at our school between people who are scrabbling after him to get money and don’t care if they hand him a PR coup and those of us who are more sceptical.

So, it appears that my lurker’s school had been told that the guidelines had not been finalised and therefore the Minister’s office was not receiving applications as yet. Assuming that my source’s information is up-to-date regarding the status quo of the applications process in general last week, then how did this school in Surfers Paradise, in the middle of Liberal MP Steven Ciobo’s electorate, manage to receive a grant when the official line to other schools was that guidelines were not as yet finalised?


Categories: education, environment, Politics

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2 replies

  1. I think Geoff Cousins said it all, Tigtog – he’s more the minister against the environment…

  2. (Following on from Helen’s comment)
    …which is not altogether unknown for this government. Remember the last Minister for the Environment? Ian McFarlane? He was also simultaneously the minister for industry.
    Now, those two aren’t inherently at odds with each other; it’s possible for a nation to have an industry that’s entirely environmentally friendly, but Australia is mainly funded by digging itself up! How can a minister advocate what’s best for both these portfolios at once?!

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