Saturday, 23 September 2017

An NJRPP Public Briefing Meeting in Iluka, NSW, 20 September 2017


Section of the southern boundary of the Hickey Street land proposed for development

On 21 September 2017 North Coast Voices received this email from an Iluka resident on the subject of a recent meeting in that little coastal town:

At 4.30pm on Wednesday 20th September 2017 the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (NJRPP) held a Public Briefing Meeting at Iluka Community Hall concerning the proposed coastal subdivision of 19 hectares of environmentally sensitive land adjacent to the Iluka World Heritage Area.

The meeting was chaired by Gary West (Chair NJRPP) who was accompanied by three other panel members - Ms. Pam Westing, Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons and Deputy-Mayor Jason Kingsley.

Four council staff members accompanied the panel members, including Carmel Landers who is responsible for progressing the development application through council planning processes.

Concerned residents and ratepayers filled between half and three-quarters of the hall’s seating capacity.

A number of people from the Yaegl community were present, as well as Cr. Greg Clancy who was there in a personal capacity.

The Panel secretariat had invited individuals and groups who had made formal submissions on the proposed development to register beforehand as speakers.

Around nine listed speakers presented their views and most called attention to significant problems with the development application – including street design, lot density, stormwater drainage and nutrient load, as well as loss of tree cover and habitat in the current version of this 140 lot urban development.

The Association of Iluka Residents (AIR Inc) were first off in the order of speakers. Its President introduced the issues, the Secretary expanded on key concerns, and one of AIR's members presented questions to the developer (in absentia) via the panel and Council staff, then the President wrapped up the AIR presentation.

John Edwards on behalf of the Clarence Environment Centre spoke with some authority on issues of concern regarding the proposed development.

Also rising to their feet were local residents Kay Jeffrey and Gabrielle Barto.

Ms. Jeffrey spoke very eloquently from the heart about Land Care on the World Heritage site which contains rare littoral rainforest, pointing out this development would be detrimental to flora and fauna within that site. Expressing her gratification that evidence now showed the koala was not functionally extinct in Iluka. She further pointed out that the type of development proposed was better suited to outer metropolitan urban areas such as Mt. Druitt.

While Ms. Barto spoke with a deal of on-the-ground knowledge on a range of environmental and planning concerns. She highlighted the fact that sightings of koala on and in the vicinity of the land in question demonstrated that this large lot was being used as part of a larger movement corridor.

A retired real estate agent originally from Bribie Island stated he didn't want Iluka to turn into a Bribie Island or Lennox Head, having had firsthand experience of what can happen if poorly planned developments are allowed in coastal towns. Additionally, he spoke of the problems associated with community title – in particular that by-laws and management plans on community title could be changed over time.

Another speaker suggested the development site would be suitable for acquisition by the NSW Government in order to protect the local koala population and koala habitat. Something it has apparently undertaken in the Tweed Heads region.

Grahame Lynn (who was approx.10 minutes late) was the last scheduled speaker as President of the Iluka Ratepayers Association (IRA). He proceeded to attack with some vigour the Clarence Environment Centre submission as well as those of many other individuals and groups that oppose this development. Indeed he spent most of the time in attack mode and very little time in talking up the proposed development.

Mr. Lynn as a local real estate agent has been advertising the proposed subdivision for at least the last eighteen months  – a potential conflict of interest he failed to mention to the panel. 

It was noted that up until that point, all panel members and Council staff were taking copious notes, but as soon as he started talking they stopped. I guess one loses credibility when attacking the “player and not the ball” so to speak.

By the end of the meeting I was of the opinion that Gary West as Chair had run the meeting well, making us all feel comfortable and all points of view were heard.

Anon
Iluka, NSW

Coastal Cypress Pine on the development site
Images supplied by Iluka resident

Quotes of the Week


“Tens of millions of dollars are spent annually on political lobbying for the interests of the fossil fuel sector. That investment serves the interests of a small amount of company shareholders in keeping a legacy industry alive, despite the availability of newer, clean technologies, at lower cost. In the wake of these behind-the-scenes policy negotiations, the real and present impacts of climate change, such as bushfires, coastal flooding and reduced crop yields are left at the door of future generations to deal with.” [Professor Tim Flannery writing in The Guardian, 13 September 2017]

“The main problem bedevilling Australia’s energy sector at the moment is a lack of settled policy to define the investment framework. It means companies like AGL have to guess what regulations they will face in the future.” [Journalist Katherine Murphy writing in The Guardian, 12 September 2017]

“Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime. His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period." [ESPN SportsCenter cohost Jemele Hill tweeting about US President Donald Trump on 11 September 2017]

Political Tweets of the Week




Friday, 22 September 2017

US President Trump continues to chase 'his' war


It is becoming clear that Donald Trump wants an all-stops-out war with North Korea and damn the global consequences.

The Atlantic, 20 September 2017

President Donald Trump dispensed with diplomacy at the United Nations, vowing in his maiden speech to the General Assembly that the United States “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if it is forced to defend itself or its allies.

The remarks, reminiscent of those of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s vow in 1968 to “bury” the West, is likely to raise tensions with North Korea, whose nuclear-weapons and missile programs have raised the alarm in Asian capitals and Washington. North Korea, with its regular battery of missile tests, as well as a recent nuclear test, is believed to be close to—if it doesn’t already possess—the ability to strike the United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile armed with a nuclear warhead.

“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” Trump said at the UN on Tuesday, a reference to Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader. “The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”……

Before Trump’s remarks on Tuesday, his administration, after several false starts, appeared to have coalesced around a common message on North Korea: one that favored diplomacy to defuse the threat posed by Kim Jong Un’s nuclear and missile programs, while keeping all options on the table. After the president’s remarks, it’s once again unclear what the U.S. policy on North Korea is.

BACKGROUND


More wheels are falling off the Turnbull Government train


BuzzFeed News, 14 September 2017:

Australia's immigration detention regime is facing a crisis in healthcare staffing following the resignation of the surgeon-general of the Australian Border Force (ABF), and the departure of three senior medical staff on Nauru.

Rumours have circulated online for several days that the surgeon-general of the ABF, Dr John Brayley, who oversees the healthcare of asylum seekers in immigration detention, had resigned.

BuzzFeed News has now confirmed that the surgeon-general resigned last week. A senior immigration department source confirmed his resignation, although the department has declined to comment.

Brayley's department email now has an indefinite out-of-office message. His phone has been switched off and is no longer receiving voicemail. His Linkedin profile has also recently removed his position as surgeon-general as his current occupation.


Brayley's resignation comes at a difficult time for the department. The ABF is continuing to face allegations of medical treatment failures at detention centres. A whistleblower on Nauru recently warned that pregnant women on Nauru were being denied terminations.

The department is also facing further internal changes in the lead up to the creation of the new Home Affairs department that will see the ABF merge with agencies including the Australian Federal Police and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

Brayley's position — and extensive background in medicine — placed him uniquely to manage healthcare matters in the department and recommend appropriate clinical care for asylum seekers. But his position as surgeon-general also made him a focal point for criticism. He routinely received correspondence from advocates about asylum seeker healthcare matters.

Any decent federal government with an ounce of compassion would end this terrible situation on Manus and Nauru islands.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Cashless Welfare Card: a denizen of Mount Olympus pontificates on the ignorant masses below


This was Dr Jeremy Sammut (left) from the Centre for Independent Studies giving his views on the ignorant underclass, Friday, 8 September 2017:

It’s a libertarian fantasy that the problem of welfare dependence can be addressed without using the power of the state to compel responsible personal behaviour.

State compulsion, for example, is essential to enforce mutual obligation requirements and force the unemployed to actively seek a job, instead of continuing to loaf on the dole.

My research on the nation’s child protection crisis has sharply revealed the social damage wreaked by unrestricted welfare and parental bad behaviour among an underclass of dysfunctional families.

I therefore have no problem with the idea that welfare recipients could be compelled to take better care of children by being forced to spend their benefits on food and other essentials, rather than on drink, drugs, and gambling.

This is how we should view the debate about the federal government’s plan to expand the trial of the ‘cashless welfare card’ — as a means of addressing the intergenerational transfer of dysfunction and dependence within families.

In philosophical terms, the cashless welfare card is an example of ‘small government conservatism‘: a socially conservative approach to social policy which — contrary to the conventional political wisdom — utilises state intervention to reduce the size of government.

This position may be difficult to accept for economic liberals who place a premium on individual freedom and freedom from government control.

However, it is impossible to deal with the issue of welfare dependence by simply applying the first principle that government should always do less.

As former Labor Minister and social commentator Gary Johns has argued, it is crucial to continue to make the economic case for freedom from state intervention.

But as he has also rightly argued, this is insufficient to address the social problems that have driven growth in the size of government.

Addressing welfare dependence will require more, not less, state intervention through policies such as mutual obligation and cashless welfare.

Yes, according to Dr Sammut (blessed with an expensive private education and a PhD in  Australian political and social history) it’s all about the children and the chronically welfare dependent underclass.

Except the Turnbull Government intends to roll the cashless debit card out nationally for individuals without children, people with significant disabilities, full-time carers of elderly parents, even those who have been on unemployment benefits for less than less than a month, as well as individuals who have regular employment but receive Family Tax Benefit.

It is likely that sometime in the future the Turnbull Government will announce that this cashless welfare card will also be imposed on age pensioners.


In addition Dr Sammut espouses the theory that:


Yes, you are reading that sentence correctly. According to this man individuals and families have only themselves to blame for their poverty or disadvantage – end of story.

Jeremy Sammut is the type of commentator that the Liberal Party dreams about having on side.

On his Facebook page Sammut lists the following among his favourites:


No prizes for spotting the preponderance of right-wing politicians.

Last year Sammut was telling the world it was an exciting time to be an Australian conservative – a category into which he obviously placed himself.

After reading a bit about the man and his attitude, all I can say is that if this attitude continues to hold sway at federal policy level I don’t think it going to be an exciting time to be an Australian who is receiving welfare benefits of any type, is in a low-skilled, low income job, a single parent raising a child or an indigenous family.

Because to people like Jeremy Sammut literally millions of Australian citizens are part of an undeserving, dysfunctional underclass that is to be barely tolerated.

Singing the heavens, singing the land, singing the lore, singing the people and their history - weaving memory


And those of us whose forebears stumbled off a handful of British boats in 1788 are still trying and often failing to understand this rich, enduring culture.......

The Monthly, September 2017:

Epic of Gilgamesh” is Google’s answer to “what is the oldest known literature”. Unknown scribes in the city of Ur picked the poem out in cuneiform letters some 4500 years ago. These clay tablets preserved an older oral tradition, but that part of the story is usually left out. Instead, the Mesopotamian epic fits easily into that cartoonish diagram of the Ascent of Man, where civilisation means writing, a sequence of metals and a procession of capitals: Memphis, Babylon, Athens, Rome.

Compare this lineage to the ceremonial songs of Aboriginal Australia. Their absolute vintage is unknowable, but the best estimates run to at least 12,000 years old. At this distance in time, the study of literature needs not just linguists but geologists. There are songlines that accurately describe landscape features (like now-disappeared islands) from the end of the Pleistocene epoch. Their provenance may stretch even further back, all the way into the last ice age. They are also alive. The last person to hear Epic of Gilgamesh declaimed in her native culture died millennia ago. Songlines that may have been born 30,000 years ago are being sung right now.

Read the full article here.