Logan & Albert Conservation Association


lacafront

IYSTD

10YFP2

Related Articles

HomeGovernmentFederal Government

Trans Pacific Partnership Q and A

Last Updated on 13 March 2016

Trans Pacific Partnership Q and A

Q:  What is the TPP?

A: ‘TPP’ stands for the Trans Pacific Partnership – a so-called free trade deal between 12 nations rimming the Pacific Ocean.  It is really more about entrenching multinational corporate power than free trade, with only six out of the thirty negotiation chapters in the treaty having anything to do with trade. The signatory nations are Australia, US, Canada, New Zealand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Japan, and Mexico. It is the biggest ‘free trade’ deal in history. Australia still needs to ratify its agreement through possible legislative changes, and this is likely to happen in February 2016, if these changes are passed by the Senate. The TPP contains ISDS (corporate powers to sue in offshore tribunals), allowing multinationals to bypass our legal system and sue Australia, offshore in a foreign tribunal, if they believe at any time that our environmental and other public interest laws are impacting their profits here. 

Q: Will the TPP benefit Australia economically?

A: There is great doubt around this. The TPP is often described as not about trade but about enforcing the rights of multinational corporations to over-rule democratic governments, their citizens and communities.  Australia’s Productivity Commission – established to give independent advice to the Government on economic matters - as recently as June 2015 was deeply critical of Australia's latest series of free trade agreements, saying they ‘grant legal rights to foreign investors not available to Australians, expose the government to potentially large unfunded liabilities and add extra costs on businesses attempting to comply with them’.

Under the TPP, some tariff changes for Australian agriculture exporters will be slowly lowered in stages over years, but on the negative side, for example, labelling of national origin of foods is very likely to be prohibited, impacting on local producers and retailers who currently proudly promote their products on the basis of ‘made in Australia.’ The Philippines may in the future join the TPP, meaning that our banana industry could face disease threats. 

Trade policies are contentious because they are approximately zero-sum games. There are domestic winners and losers, and although the national welfare gain is not zero, it is usually small. Unlike a good health or social policy, which can make everyone a winner, a trade policy tends to pit the interests of one part of the community against those of another

Q:  What is ISDS?

Read more...
 

Potenial outcomes of this trade agreement

Last Updated on 21 March 2014

A list of likely consequences of this trade agreement, collated from a number of sources:
1. TPPA could be used to force Australia to adopt lower standards for e.g., environmental and workers protection, or be sued for damages.
2. The TPPA creates a parallel legal system of international tribunals that will undermine national sovereignty and allow conglomerates to sue countries for laws that infringe on their profits.

3. The TPPA would grant radical new political powers to multinational corporations

4. Under the TPPA democracies might no longer be able to decide to invest tax dollars to create jobs at home or to create markets for green energy or morally produced goods.

5. If the TPPA is signed off in its current form by an Abbott government there will be almost no progressive movement or campaign in Australia whose goals are not threatened

6. Under the TPPA, vast swaths of public-interest policy achieved through decades of struggle are poised to be undermined by Corporations wanting to pursue their business models unimpeded
7. The TPPA provisions are targeted at barriers to corporate business such as the regulation of corporate activities by governments, laws around workplace rights and justice, environmental protection and public health
8. The TPPA provisions empower companies to challenge environmental and healthcare regulations where these impede their business model
9. The TPPA highlights the many inconsistencies and special interests that dominate our approach to trade, which tends to be framed around a relentlessly neoliberal paradigm
10. Under the TPPA, labeling of GE foods for example would be banned in the interest of the harmonisation of laws between countries. The same for labeling the country of origin on food products. Present tobacco and cigarette rulings could be overridden
11. The TPPA puts at risk some of the most fundamental rights that enable access to knowledge by the world's citizens

12. If an Abbott government signs off on these TPPA provisions, they will be set in concrete so that they cannot be changed or modified later even when governments or the public demand change

13. The TPPA represents an unprecedented shift of power towards locking in corporate rule insulated against the normal means of democratic accountability, such as elections, advocacy and public protest
14. The TPPA would establish new rights for foreign investors to acquire land, natural resources, factories and more. All local performance requirements, including domestic content rules, would be overridden by the trade agreement.
15. The ISDS provisions in the trade agreement allow foreign firms to bypass domestic court systems and directly sue governments for cash damages (our tax dollars) over alleged violations of their new rights before UN and World Bank tribunals staffed by private sector attorneys who rotate between serving as "judges" and fighting cases on behalf of corporations.
16. Under the TPPA the rules would not be limited to trade in services, but would limit how we can regulate foreign service firms operating here. This would result in a reduced ability for Australia to decide its own policies on health, energy, education, water, transportation and more. Even local land use and zoning policy is implicated.
17. The U.S. has proposed a new "Regulatory Coherence" chapter in the agreement that would require each signatory country to establish an agency to do cost-benefit analysis of existing and proposed regulations such as environmental legislation (this aligns with LNP policy – reduction of 'green tape').
18. In the United States and Canada the reality is that federal governments are often willing to "lose" these cases in order to discipline provincial, state or municipal governments that have adopted progressive social and environmental policies
19. The concept of "regulatory expropriation" has become an important part of the neoliberal or "free trade" agenda. It is well known that this agenda involves breaking down barriers to trade and investment, creating more freedom for corporations to pursue profits at any social or ecological cost. (this aligns with LNP policy and practice)
20. If an Abbott government signed off on these provisions in the TPPA, it could spell the end of Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) which makes medicines affordable for all Australians suffering serious illness, regardless of their income level ('The age of entitlement is over ' – Joe Hockey)
21. The TPPA provisions protecting copyright may allow for the criminalisation of some of your everyday use of the Internet through application of US copyright laws in Australia...
24. TPPA Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions (ISDS) would give media conglomerates more power to fine you for Internet use, remove online content—including entire websites—and even terminate your access to the Internet, even make it a criminal offense to temporarily store files on a computer without authorisation.

25. These negotiations are held in strict secrecy because of the extreme bias towards increasing corporate power at the expense of democratic rights.

26. What we know at this stage about this trade agreement has come from handful of critically important leaks. As one observer noted, the reason for the intense secrecy is clear: "There are so many outrageous specific proposals that if people knew the details then the whole process would get derailed by widespread outrage."
27. A recent text leak from the TPPA negotiations revealed that the parties signed a special secrecy Memorandum of Understanding that forbids released of negotiating documents for four years after the Agreement is signed off by participating nations.

28. The Australian Labor Government announced in April that it will not agree to be bound to the investor-state regime in the TPPA. However negotiators from the United States have declared that all TPPA nations must submit to this regime
29. The current Australia Labor Government's rejection of the investor-state dispute settlement provisions is not only thwarting the ability of the TPPA negotiations to produce strong enforcement outcomes, it is also having a corrosive effect on the level of ambition and other key aspects of the TPPA negotiations. Nevertheless the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has expressed deep concern about the Australian Labor government's position on this.
30. In the US, the powerful corporate lobby position on the Australian Labor Government's position is, quote: 'American companies should be able to side-step the Australian legal system in the event of certain legal disputes.... The US Chamber of Commerce wants US-domiciled companies to have the option of dealing with legal issues in courts outside Australia under the rules being hammered out for a new Pacific-wide trade agreement.'
31. Ideologically bound to support the market, Julie Bishop (current Opposition foreign Affairs spokesperson) has said the Coalition will 'prioritise' the signing of the agreement, including the ISDS provisions. Julie Bishop has criticised the Labor Government for delaying the agreement over the ISDS (corporate powers), pointing out that Labor is doing this for 'ideological reasons', and adding that, if elected, an Abbott Government will 'fast-track' the signing of the agreement

 

Coalition and the corporate death star

Last Updated on 21 March 2014

The Coalition has made a pre-election commitment to 'fast track' pending international free trade deals by doing what the current Labor Government has stubbornly refused to do: accept dangerous legal provisions which will allow transnational corporations to sue Australia in off-shore tribunals - away from our own legal system - if our environmental and other public interest regulations get in the way of their profits.

If the Coalition is elected and pushes ahead with this commitment, we will almost certainly see the death of environmental campaigning as we know it in this country, along with significant weakening of environmental regulation.

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a huge free trade deal due to be signed off by Australia in October this year, and comes fully armed with corporate powers to sue participating nations in off-shore tribunals, known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions.

tppa-protest-new-zealandUnder earlier free trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA – the model for the TPPA), corporations like Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill had, by 2011, launched 450 investor-state cases in off-shore tribunals against 89 governments to fight environmental laws and regulations, including

challenges to bans on toxic chemicals, fracking, timber, mining regulations and programs

supporting green jobs and renewable energy.

Recent examples include the US Lone Star Mining company currently using ISDS provisions in NAFTA to sue the Canadian Quebec provincial government because it has suspended coal seam gas fracking pending a study of its environmental impact, and Peru, which has recently been required to pay Renco the largest ever damages award of USD$ 4.2 billion for banning products that had contaminated the city of La Oroya's environment and poisoned 95% of children there.

There are many, many more examples.

 The threats posed by ISDS provisions in free trade agreements clearly impose a 'regulatory chill' effect on nations wanting to avoid the ongoing costs of defending their public interest regulations in off-shore tribunals away from their own jurisdictions.

 

Couldn't happen here?

Read more...
 

ENVIRONMENTAL DISPUTES and TPPA

Last Updated on 13 January 2015

There have been some 450 ENVIRONMENTAL DISPUTES arising out of previous free trade agreements which include ISDS provisions similar to those proposed for the TPPA:
By the end of 2011, corporations like Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill had launched 450 investor-state cases against 89 governments, including the US, to fightcommon-sense environmental laws and regulations. Among these cases were challenges to bans on toxic chemicals, fracking, timber,mining regulations, programs that incentivised green jobs and renewable energy programs.

Recently Peru has been required to pay Renco the largest ever damages award of USD$ 4.2 billion for banning products that had contaminated the La Oroya, Peru environment and had poisoned 95% of children there. An incredible outcome protecting the polluter!!

Read more...
 

Peril in the Pacific - No to the TPP and TPPA

Last Updated on 21 March 2014

The Trans Pacific Partnership – a massive new free trade agreement where your vote may no longer count as a way of stopping unwanted CSG, coal mining, deep sea mining and other impacts by transnational corporations

TPPA-ISDSWho would want an Australia in which major transnational corporations can sue the Australian government in off-shore tribunals – away from our legal system and democratic process - for making laws which are aimed at protecting water quality, environment and farmland from inappropriate CSG and coal operations?

Who would want Australia to sign an international free trade agreement which could potentially wreck our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, severely restrict our free use of the Internet and curtail our democratic rights?

Jane Kelsey, Professor of Law at Auckland University, has said: 'This locks the door on electoral democracy'.

It appears that, if elected to government, the Federal Coalition may be willing to go along with this.

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a massive free trade agreement currently under negotiation in high secrecy between Pacific Rim nations including Australia, Brunei, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, the US, Vietnam, Canada and Mexico. Other nations, including Japan and possibly China, are set to join.

The TPPA includes provisions which, if agreed to by signatory nations, will give extraordinary powers to transnational corporations through Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions. At the least level, these will put a 'chilling effect' on governments introducing new regulation around environment etc.

Fortunately the current Australian Government has steadfastly refused to agree to the inclusion in free trade agreements of ISDS provisions, in spite of great pressure from the US, transnational corporations and some sections of Australian industry.

However, the Federal Opposition has sent a clear message that, if elected, it will be willing to agree to investor state dispute settlement provisions in trade agreements in order to conclude a deal.

Read more...
 

Consequences of this TPP Agreement

Last Updated on 21 March 2014

Bob-Brockie-entry-TPPA-my-toothpicksA list of likely consequences of this trade agreement negotiated in secrecy,

collated from a number of sources:

PROFESSOR JANE KELSEY, FACULTY OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND warns us "The TPPA will lock future governments into a failed regime where markets rule for the next 100 years." See http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_gallery/professor-jane-kelsey-faculty-of-law-university-of-auckland/

1. TPPA could be used to force Australia to adopt lower standards for e.g., environmental and workers protection, or be sued for damages.
2. The TPPA creates a parallel legal system of international tribunals that will undermine national sovereignty and allow conglomerates to sue countries for laws that infringe on their profits.

3. The TPPA would grant radical new political powers to multinational corporations

4. Under the TPPA democracies might no longer be able to decide to invest tax dollars to create jobs at home or to create markets for green energy or morally produced goods.

5. If the TPPA is signed off in its current form by an Abbott government there will be almost no progressive movement or campaign in Australia whose goals are not threatened

6. Under the TPPA, vast swaths of public-interest policy achieved through decades of struggle are poised to be undermined by Corporations wanting to pursue their business models unimpeded
7. The TPPA provisions are targeted at barriers to corporate business such as the regulation of corporate activities by governments, laws around workplace rights and justice, environmental protection and public health
8. The TPPA provisions empower companies to challenge environmental and healthcare regulations where these impede their business model
9. The TPPA highlights the many inconsistencies and special interests that dominate our approach to trade, which tends to be framed around a relentlessly neoliberal paradigm
10. Under the TPPA, labeling of GE foods for example would be banned in the interest of the harmonisation of laws between countries. The same for labeling the country of origin on food products. Present tobacco and cigarette rulings could be overridden
11. The TPPA puts at risk some of the most fundamental rights that enable access to knowledge by the world's citizens

12. If an Abbott government signs off on these TPPA provisions, they will be set in concrete so that they cannot be changed or modified later even when governments or the public demand change

13. The TPPA represents an unprecedented shift of power towards locking in corporate rule insulated against the normal means of democratic accountability, such as elections, advocacy and public protest
14. The TPPA would establish new rights for foreign investors to acquire land, natural resources, factories and more. All local performance requirements, including domestic content rules, would be overridden by the trade agreement.

Read more...
 

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Last Updated on 21 March 2014

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement:
Potentially the greatest threat yet to our environment,

social justice, health system and democracy

This could represent an unstoppable threat to our environmental laws, our way of life, our democratic rights, our legal system, our health system, our internet use, our tobacco plain packaging laws, etc, etc. If certain provisions in this trade deal, currently being negotiated in extreme secrecy, are agreed to by a future Coalition Government then Australian communities will have little power to stop any foreign corporation from doing what it wants, where it wants, including moving them out of the way, if necessary. This is a real concern because these clauses, known as 'Investor-State Dispute Settlement' provisions, fit comfortably within increasingly right wing Coalition ideologies under Tony Abbott.

Do you want an Australia in which major international Corporations can sue the Australian government for making laws which are aimed at protecting farmland, water quality, rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef etc?

TPPADo you want Australia to sign an international trade agreement which will potentially wreck our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (making chronically ill Australians pay top dollar for medicines), force farmers off their land through agricultural dumping, get Australians jailed under US copyright law for innocently downloading research material on the internet?

   What is it?
  This is the Trans pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) – free trade  negotiations currently being held in high secrecy between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, the US, Vietnam, Canada and Mexico. Other nations, including Japan and possibly China, are set to join. The negotiations have been going on for a number of years but the agreement is proposed to be signed off soon – possibly in October this year. An excellent summary of the environmental and other issues that may flow from this trade agreement can be found in: 

http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/TransPacificEnvironment.pdf and http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/TransPacificCorporations.pdf

Read more...
 

Garrett axes forest ecology and solders up greenhouse trigger

Last Updated on 12 March 2012

Environment Minister Peter Garrett has axed the Hawke Review's recommendation of an independent watchdog over native forest logging with the power of sanctions for environmental destruction, Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown said in Hobart today.

"Citing community concern Dr Hawke and his panel of experts came up with a clear and sensible plan to prevent the destruction of endangered habitats and fragile wildlife ecosystems in Australia's forests. But Garrett has opted to axe that advice and toady to Labor and the forest industry instead," Senator Brown said

"Garrett has also dumped the long-awaited recommendation of a climate change trigger. This would have enabled the minister to review developments which resulted in huge greenhouse gas emissions."

"On the cusp of the International Year of Biodiversity (to quote Garrett), this is particularly appalling behaviour by our nation's chief environmentalist."

"Which other minister would turn down recommendations to enhance his or her power to do their job properly?" Senator Brown asked.

 

Environment Minister Peter Garrett released the Final Report by Dr Alan Hawke of the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 21 December 2009.

"This report has been the culmination of a huge amount of input from all levels of government, environmental groups, businesses, academics and members of the general public," Minister Garrett said.

There is a statutory requirement for the EPBC Act to be reviewed every 10 years. This is the first such review, commissioned by Minister Garrett on 31 October 2008 and was conducted by Dr Hawke and a panel of experts.

"The level of the awareness and concern for the environment in the Australian community has greatly increased in the decade since the EPBC Act commenced operation. Australians are increasingly aware of the need to ensure that our environment and heritage is protected, and that development occurs in an environmentally sustainable way," Minister Garrett said.

Dr Hawke and his team received around 340 written submissions throughout this process, from NGOs, industry bodies as well as interested individuals. Other submissions and comments were received from research groups and academics, individual corporations and Local, State, Territory and Australian Government agencies.

There was extensive face-to-face consultations conducted all over Australia and a number of workshops were also held to tap into the broadest range of views and expertise.

Dr Hawke has prepared a comprehensive report which includes recommendations for significant changes to the Act's operation and administration. The Hawke Report makes 71 primary recommendations as well as numerous conclusions and findings of an advisory nature.

"Dr Hawke's report examines many important and highly complex matters and these are not matters that can be taken lightly. The Government will give careful consideration to the recommendations and their implications in the coming months."

"Dr Hawke's Final Report also makes a recommendation in relation to a proposed ‘greenhouse trigger'. This recommendation has a direct bearing on the Government's response to climate change, and to the CPRS Bill that will be reintroduced into Parliament on 2 February 2010. " "For this reason, I feel it is important that we make clear the Government's policy on this recommendation now. The Government favours a market-based system to reduce our greenhouse emissions, and for that reason if the CPRS is passed there will be no need for a greenhouse trigger to be introduced, even as an interim measure. This is entirely consistent with Dr Hawke's intention."

"Additionally, the Government notes the concerns raised by Dr Hawke in recommendation 38 in the review regarding the current mechanisms in the Act for forest management under Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs), and is committed to working with state governments to improve the review, audit and monitoring arrangements for RFAs, including their timely completion, clearer assessment of performance against environmental and sustainable forestry outcomes, and a greater focus on compliance of RFAs in the intervening years," Minister Garrett said. The Government intends to use upcoming RFA renewal processes to improve the achievement of these outcomes in future RFAs. In light of this, the Government rejects the mechanisms proposed in recommendation 38 and does not propose to review section 38 of the EPBC Act as it currently applies to RFAs.

The Government recognises that the RFA's contain extensive review mechanisms as a framework for continuous improvement and it will principally rely on them to address the issues that Dr Hawke's review has identified.

"On the cusp of the International Year of Biodiversity is a particularly relevant time to release this major review into the operation of the Australian Government's primary piece of environmental legislation. The Government will respond to all other recommendations made by Dr Hawke towards the middle of next year."

"I'm tabling this report out of session because I think it's important people have plenty of time to absorb the many issues and recommendations contained in the report," Minister Garrett said.

Dr Allan Hawke has served with distinction in the Commonwealth Public Service from 1974 to February 2006, and has participated in major inquiries into the Public Service including the Review of Commonwealth Functions, the Review of Commonwealth Administration and the Efficiency Scrutiny Unit.

"I want to thank Dr Allan Hawke and his team comprising the Hon Paul Stein AM, Professor Tim Bonyhady, Professor Mark Burgman and Ms Rosemary Warnock, for the outstanding effort that has gone into this review. It was important that this process sought the broadest possible range of expertise and views. I am confident this has been achieved". Minister Garrett said.

A copy of the Hawke report can be downloaded from the review website: www.environment.gov.au/epbc/review/index.html

 

 

 

LACA and VETO met with federal MP Peter Garrett

Last Updated on 12 March 2012

beenleigh-garrett-mtgTen minutes is not a long time but Anne Page in a 10 minute interview with Federal MP Peter Garrett with Maree and Laurie from Veto (the group fighting the Loganlea to Jimboomba Energex powerline along the Logan River) painted the big picture. The topic they spoke about was in relation to protecting ecological corridors from infrastructure  and they used the examples of the Loganlea to Jimboomba Energex proposal and the Mt Lindesay Highway upgrade. Although these are state issues they managed to link this to federal issues e.g. current federal funding push to provide infrastructure for recovery from the current financial crisis, the need for increased investment in renewable energy options, protecting biodiversity (recent community consultation closed on the Australian Biodiversity Strategy), and the need for an integrated approach to planning across all levels of government

Mr Garrett was given a document that included maps from SEQRP and local planning and he did say that he knew about the SEQRP, so that's a start. 10 minutes went no where of course.The brief given to Mr Garrett did refer to the Bromelton rail corridor but they did not get to speak about this.

MORE than 400 people jammed in to the school hall at Beenleigh State High School on Tuesday night as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, in his second visit to the area since the 2007 election, hosted his fourth Federal Community Cabinet meeting for the year.
Students, community group representatives, business people and council and state politicians were part of the crowd which erupted in to applause when the Prime Minister entered the hall to join the 20-strong contingent of cabinet ministers also on hand.
The Prime Minister, introduced by Federal Member for Forde Brett Raguse, delivered a 20 minute address before fielding questions from the floor for an hour.
During the address he highlighted the government's economic focus on "nation building'' through billion dollar infrastructure projects and the effects in areas like Beenleigh.

Well done! L-R:  Laurie Koranski, Peter Garrett,  Anne Page,  Maree Slingsby.

 

Rail upgrade to aid Bromelton

Last Updated on 12 March 2012

Jbromelton_rail.jpgimboomba Times, Wednesday, December 17, 2008 reported the following

THE Federal government will spend $55.8 million on a rail upgrade from Acacia Ridge to Bromelton.

Member for Forde Brett Raguse said he was pleased to see infrastructure in the region receive a boost.

‘The commitment from the federal government means that nation building is high on the agenda' Mr Raguse said.  ‘I have been pushing for big picture infrastructure even before entering politics'
The rail upgrade will start in February 2009 with completion forecast for December 2009

A significant part of the project includes upgrading the present track to dual standard and narrow gauge track, which will allow for passenger services as well as freight trains to utilise the new track.

"This project will allow for Queensland trains, along with national freight trains to be able to use the track and most importantly allow for passenger trains. This is significant for the potential future growth in the region," Mr Raguse said.

The project will also include replacing wooden sleepers with concrete sleepers which will reduce transit times and remove speed restrictions which can occur with timber.
Mr Raguse said the improvement would aid efficiency and make the line more productive.

There is also mention of this topic on the Australian Transport Discussion Board which is online here.

A question to ask is what background studies have been done.  Hopefully that information will be available in the public domain. Using the name Bromelton without further description is ambiguous as different sections of the community attach or visualise vary differeing images.  Further information and explanations are needed.

 

Page 1 of 2

<< Start < Prev 1 2 Next > End >>
logo6-300  earth-hour-12  lockthegate    UN decade qcclogo2
  nature  iveto logo_compressed    feeding world2  water day