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Progressive PSA brings together rank and file trade union activists in the Public Service Association of New South Wales and the CPSU (SPSF Branch). We work for
  • greater job security
  • improved and more equitable pay
  • sustainable jobs in a sustainable environment
  • a democratic and strong union
PSA and the Environment
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Desalination is water down the drain
November 05 - The proposed desalination plant would only supply half the volume of water saved by current water restrictions. The Government could save more than twice the water produced by the desalination plant for $200 million less by paying $1000 per household to fit a 5000-litre rain tank. Even more can be saved by getting industry to substitute recycled water for drinking water. See the Herald article. You may need to register (free) to read the article.

Does the PSA need an Environmental Policy?
Concern about the environment and the future quality of life may not currently feature as key trade union concerns but we may be seeing that change. Last year the ACTU Congress adopted an environmental policy in response to growing international union involvement and interest in common ground being created between a sustainable environment and sustainable jobs. “A Fair Australia: Environment and Sustainable Development Policy” sets out a three year action plan focussing on: education and promotion to trade union members; encouraging jobs growth in sustainable industries; and global responsibility for economic sustainability, focussing on occupational, health and safety and environmental protection for the poorest and most disempowered people.

Take Action: What sort of leadership can the PSA take in developing a union environmental and sustainable development policy for NSW? Contact us environment@progressivepsa.org and tell us your story.

The Environment in NSW – It’s just not sustainable!
Every three years the NSW Environment Protection Authority (now part of the Department of Environment and Conservation) compiles information for the NSW State of the Environment Report. It tracks environmental indicators over time within the State, acts to advise government environmental policy and program development and also reflects how successful the government has been in driving environmental improvement. “Some aspects of the environment are improving, whilst others are getting worse. The key pressure is unsustainable rates of resource depletion. New approaches are required and are beginning to appear, although to succeed they will require concerted and sustained effort.” NSW SOE 2003. The news is not good. Whilst some indicators are showing improvement, there are 20 ‘red light’ indicators where the data trends are negative. Key emerging areas of unsustainability include water extraction, native vegetation clearing, greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption for example.

In a climate of significant job cuts and major restructuring of the public sector in NSW agencies with statewide environmental responsibilities are being hit hard. Rather than signalling the creation of sustainable jobs there is a net loss of environmental expertise to the government. As sustainable environment and sustainable job creation go hand in hand there is a role for the PSA to call the government to task on how agencies can improve the State’s environmental performance and stated policy objectives on environmental management, environmental education and sustainability. The PSA has a role to strongly lobby the government on members’ behalf to secure sustainable jobs in government for the environment.

Take Action: Is your agency’s ability to work on behalf of the environment being compromised through job cuts and restructuring? Can you see a role for sustainable job creation in your workplace? Contact us environment@progressivepsa.org and tell us your story.

Bush Fires
Learn more about bush fire management, building and living in bush fire prone areas plus the role of fire in nature conservation. Follow this link to some great public sector information on bush fires. Also see the COAG report in the "Environment in the News" section half way down this page.


Environment in the News

Desalination is water down the drain
November 05 - The proposed desalination plant would only supply half the vollume of water saved by current water restrictions. The Government could save more than twice the water produced by the desalination plant for $200 million less by paying $1000 per household to fit a 5000-litre rain tank. Even more can be saved by getting industry to substitute recycled water for drinking water. See the Herald article. You may need to register (free) to read the article.

Slash greenhouse emissions by 60%
March 05 - The Premier's Greenhouse Advisory Panel on greenhouse gases has recommended that NSW slash its emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, adopt aggressive demand management and defer a new coal-fired power station until technologies advance. See the Herald article.

National Inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management
January 05 - We can't prevent all bushfires but we can be better prepared so we minimise their impact on life and property says the report from the Council of Australian Governments. The report highlights the need for a better understanding of risk, a greater focus on mitigation and better cooperation across jurisdictions. The report attempts to balance the desire to manage fuel loads with the need to maintain biological diversity.

Renewable energy set to decline
December 04 - Australia is falling behind other countries in the production of clean energy. Forecasts suggest the proportion of energy that will come from renewable sources will decline as growing demand is fed by coal fired power stations. By contrast Denmark uses wind to generate electricity for more than 1 million homes and plans to tripple wind energy by 2040.

Land clearing to continue
November 04 - While NSW legislation will protect native vegetation from next year, farmers on the western side of the Great Dividing Range will still be able to clear significant sections of bushland.

Premier talks climate change but approves new coal powered station
The November 04 - The PSA has criticised the NSW Government's decision to construct a new privately operated coal fired power station in the Hunter while saying that insufficient resources have been provided for polution management. Environmentalists have also criticised NSW continued reliance on fossil fuels.

Air quality monitors axed to meet budget
September 04 - Budget cuts in the Department of Environment and Conservation appear to be the cause of the closure of Sydney's only CBD air monitoring station.

Computers, Jobs and the Environment
The growth in use and obsolescence of computer equipment represents an opportunity for sustainable job creation in the reuse and recycling of this equipment. There are already good examples of community, government and industry working together to recover old computers for reuse for community and environmental benefit. The dark side of this industry however is discussed in this recent newspaper article.

Some old computers are being exported to Asian countries where cottage industries have developed in extracting some of the usable components, especially the valuable metals. Often unsafe practices are employed risking the health and safety of workers and their families. These practices also put at risk the development of a robust reuse and processing industry within Australia.

Take Action: How does your employer dispose of obsolete computer equipment? Is it being responsibly dealt with? Is your old computer equipment being used to create sustainable jobs or being shipped off shore? It might be worthwhile asking these questions.



The Progressive PSA brings together rank and file trade union activists in the Public Service Association of New South Wales and the CPSU (SPSF Branch).

We work for

  • greater job security
  • sustainable jobs in a sustainable environment
  • improved and more equitable pay
  • a democratic and strong union as part of the broader labour movement



environment@progressivepsa.org