Showing posts with label #BerejiklianGovernmentFAIL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #BerejiklianGovernmentFAIL. Show all posts

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Murray-Darling Basin: water mismanagement just keeps rolling on

Image sourced from Twitter

Having miserably failed to enforce even the most basic of safeguards against widespread water theft in the Murray Darling Basin - such as not allowing unmetered water extraction -  the Murray Darling Basin Authority and then water resources minister and now humble Nationals backbencher Barnaby Joyce have left us having to rely on leaks to the media to find out the true state of play in the national water wars.

The ailing state of the Darling River has been traced to man-made water extraction, according to a leaked report by the agency charged with overseeing its health.
The "hydrologic investigation", dated last November and obtained by Fairfax Media, analysed more than 2000 low-flow events from 1990-2017 on the Barwon-Darling River between Mungindi near the NSW-Queensland border down to Wilcannia in far-western NSW .

The draft report – a version of which is understood to have been sent to the Turnbull government for comment – comes days after WaterNSW issued a red alert for blue-green algae on the Lower Darling River at Pooncarie and Burtundy.

The paper by Murray-Darling Basin Authority's (MDBA) own scientists found flow behaviour had changed since 2000, particularly in mid-sections of the river such as between the towns of Walgett and Brewarrina.

On that section, low or no-flow periods were "difficult to reconcile with impacts purely caused by climate", the scientists said.

Indeed, dry periods on the river downstream from Bourke were "significantly longer than pre-2000", with the dry spells during the millennium drought continuing afterwards.

Water resource development – also described as "anthropogenic impact" – must also play "a critical role" in the low flows between Walgett and Brewarrina, the report said.
The revelations come after the Senate last month voted to disallow changes to the $13 billion Murray-Darling Basin Plan that would have cut annual environmental water savings by 70 billion litres…..

A spokeswoman for the authority said the report was "undergoing quality assurance processes prior to publication", with a formal release on its website likely in coming days.

The MDBA commissioned the internal team to "address some of the specific concerns raised" by its own compliance reviews and those of the Berejiklian government, she said.

Terry Korn, president of the Australian Floodplain Association,  said the report confirmed what his group's members had known since the O'Farrell government changed the river's water-sharing plan in 2012 to allow irrigators to pump even during low-flow periods.

Poor policy had been compounded by "totally inadequate monitoring and compliance systems", Mr Korn said.

"Some irrigators have capitalised on this poor management by the NSW government to such an extent that their removal of critical low flows has denied downstream landholders and communities their basic riparian rights to fresh clean water," he said. "This is totally unacceptable."….

Fairfax Media also sought comment from federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.

Once publicly outed for sitting on the review report the Murray Darling Basin Authority finally decided to publish it this week.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 February 2018:

The NSW government intervened to urge the purchase of water rights from a large irrigator on the Darling River that delivered a one-off $37 million profit to its owner while leaving downstream users struggling with stagnant flows.

Gavin Hanlon, the senior NSW water official who resigned last September amid multiple inquiries into allegations of water theft and poor compliance by some large irrigators, wrote to his federal counterparts in the Agriculture and Water Resources Department, then headed by Barnaby Joyce, in late December 2016 urging the buyback of water from Tandou property to proceed.

The Tandou water purchase proposal "should be progressed...given the high cost of the alternative water supply solution" for the property south-east of Broken Hill, Mr Hanlon wrote, according to a document sent on December 23, 2016 and obtained by Fairfax Media.

Early in 2017, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences estimated the property's annual water entitlements of 21.9 billion litres to be $24,786,750 "based on recent trade values", according to another document listed as "Commercial in Confidence".

Despite this valuation, the federal government by 16 March, 2017 would pay Tandou's owner Webster Ltd more than $78 million. At its announcement on 21 June last year, Webster said in a statement it "expects to record a net profit on disposal in the order of $36-37 million".

The transfer of the water rights are apparently the subject of inquiries by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, with several people saying they have discussed their knowledge of the deal with the agency. An ICAC spokeswoman declined to comment.

Liberal Party donor Christopher Darcy “Chris” Corrigan is Executive Chairman and a significant shareholder in this company

Monday, 19 February 2018

Surprise, Surprise. Nationals appear to be telling pork pies to voters on the NSW North Coast yet again

Echo NetDaily, 15 Februaty 2018:

An animal activist has accused two National Party MPs of 'misleading the public' over claims the RMS has revegetated more than a hundred hectares of land along the Pacific Highway Ballina upgrade route with tens of thousands of koala feed trees.
In recent weeks both roads minister Melinda Pavey and north coast MLC Ben Franklin have made public statements regarding the re-vegetation of koala habitat at Meerschaum Vale to compensate for the damage caused by the highway upgrade construction.
On February 3, Minister Pavey said in a press release that 'the government had re-vegetated 130 hectares of land with 95,000 koala feed trees.'
Then on February 9, Mr Franklin said that 'about 110 hectares, equating to 80,000 koala food trees had so far been planted and there were plans to plant another 20 hectares as part of the Woolgoolga to Ballina Upgrade.'

Empty paddock

But co-ordinator of Australians For Animals, Sue Arnold, told Echonetdaily she took a field trip to the re-vegetation site earlier this week, which 'revealed an empty paddock with no koala feed trees planted in spite of a sign indicating that the planting was part of a "130 hectares of Koala Food Trees planted".'
Ms Arnold said she was unable to find any other planting sites in the vicinity.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Environmental disaster in NSW a herald of things to come given impacts of climate change are being felt in coastal communities and coastal waters

The Newscastle Herald, 1 February 2018:

THERE are fears thousands of “ravenous” kingfish that escaped a state-government jointly run fish farm off Port Stephens will devastate the marine park's wild fish population.
Up to 17,000 predatory yellowtail kingfish, used to being fed automatically, are now hunting in the marine park waters after 20,000 escaped last week from a fish-farm sea cage, described as a "fortress pen", that was destroyed in rough seas. About 3000 fish have been recaptured.
The future of the controversial joint NSW government and Tasmania-based Huon Aquaculture project, which is 18 months into a five-year research trial, is under a cloud following the loss of almost half its stock with a retail value of more than $2 million.
Conservation groups and local tourism operators described the multi-million dollar project as a “disaster” threatening the pristine marine park's delicate ecosystem.
Marine Parks’ Association chairman and whale watching tour operator Frank Future said fisheries staff “repeatedly assured” the community the pens could handle waves up to 15 metres.
According to Huon, the “fortress pens” were designed to withstand “high energy, exposed sites, frequently receiving storms swells and gale force winds”.
“The pen that had the release was mangled and now we have thousands of mature kingfish released into the wild, nothing will be safe from them,” Mr Future said.
“They are voracious feeders and from what I understand they are ravenous. Once they realise they won't get any food in the form of pellets they'll be eating anything they can find. I don't want to think about the impact on wild species.”
The commercial-scale kingfish trial at Providence Bay - the result of an existing offshore research lease being boosted to 62 hectares - includes five pens, each about 60 metres across, two that were stocked with 20,000 fish each. There is capacity for 12 sea pens in the trial......

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Bellingen Environment Centre (BEC): “The reality is the hardwood native forest industry on the North Coast is in long term decline following the overharvesting of our native forests to meet over commitments in wood supply to North Coast sawmills"

Guardian News, Nambucca Valley Conservation Association, 29 January 2018:

Melinda Pavey's  recent comments on forestry issues  frequently begin with phrases like  " let's consider reality" or "let's listen to the science". 
Unfortunately she appears to do neither according to the Bellingen Environment Centre (BEC) and the Nambucca Valley Conservation Association. 
"The reality is the hardwood native forest industry on the North Coast is in long term decline following the overharvesting of our native forests to meet over commitments in wood supply to North Coast sawmills . In response the industry  is seeking  to intensify harvesting to convert remaining available forests into highly flammable matchstick farms, harvested  intensely  by machines  when very young with much of the outputs burnt in 3 biomass plants proposed for Grafton, Kempsey and Taree," BEC spokesperson Ashley Love said.
"The authoritative document for the North Coast forests is the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) for North East NSW.  It is one of nine regional forest agreements covering the majority of the forested regions of Australia. 
"The reality and the data shows that  North Coast  forests  have the worst representations of forests in conservation reserves of any of the nine regional forest agreement regions throughout Australia.
The forestry industry is seeking to intensify harvesting to convert remaining available forests into highly flammable matchstick farms
Ashley Love, Bellingen Environment Centre
"Rather than a ratio of conservation reserves to harvestable forest of 6:1 as Ms Pavey claims, the RFA  reveals a ratio of conservation reserves to total forest area of 1:3.
"Admittedly, not all the forests are harvestable and not all the reserves are covered in forest, so Ms Pavey must be cautious with figures which she uses."
Mr Love said Ms Pavey's claim that recent field survey work had found high koala occupancy in state forests did not have a broad scientific consensus as "the methodology used for the assessment was largely based on the results from placement of limited numbers of sound recording devices in the field – a very imprecise way of assessing koala populations".
"Her claim that harvested areas of forest regenerate is contradicted by the recent progress report of the RFAs which reports natural regeneration of  70 per cent over of areas harvested during the last 15 years. 
"We don't want to see 30 per cent of our forests lost each time they are harvested." 
"Ms Pavey's report of 27 timber mills between The Hunter and the Tweed indicates just how much the industry has declined – once there were hundreds of mills on the North Coast and thousands of employees in the timber industry.  Logging practices of cutting smaller and smaller trees have meant that the future sawlogs are not being left to grow on."
"She infers that 750 direct jobs in the timber industry are at risk by the establishment of the Great Koala National Park (GKNP) .  In so claiming, she is including in her estimate all the people employed in the industry between the Hunter and the Tweed Rivers and is including those working within plantations and private forest areas which are not included in the GKNP proposal."
NVCA president Paula Flack said that regardless of the National Party's continuous exaggeration of timber industry job numbers on the North Coast, they were dwarfed in comparison to the number of direct and indirect jobs which the GKNP would generate. 
"One recent study from Victoria indicated that one conservation reserve proposal for the Central Highlands forests would generate an additional 750 jobs," Ms Flack said.
"The establishment of national parks on public land and marine parks at sea is a global phenomenon and one of the universal responses to the increasing recognition of the need to protect and, in many cases, restore our natural environments. 
"Unfortunately our current Liberal National Party political leaders are unwilling see the wider environmental, social and economic benefits of the Great Koala National Park and would rather ignore the facts and science by swimming against the tide." 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

NSW Environmental Defender's Office has served irrigator and Nationals donor Peter Harris a summons demanding he return more than five billion litres of water he is alleged to have illegally taken from the Barwon-Darling River

The Australian, 14 November 2017:

The NSW Environmental Defender’s Office has served irrigator and Nationals donor Peter Harris a summons demanding he return more than five billion litres of water he is alleged to have ­illegally taken from the Barwon-Darling River.

The incidents of alleged water theft are the subject of ICAC, Ombudsman and Office of Water inquiries, which follow the standing down and resignation of former senior NSW water bureaucrat Gavin Hanlon.

It has also been revealed that NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair benefited Mr ­Harris, a cotton farmer, and other irrigators by changing the laws to pardon Mr Harris retrospectively for illegal flood works and that Mr Blair lobbied Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton to change the law to justify a decision to give Mr Harris more water trading rights.

In their action in the Land and Environment Court, the plaintiffs demand “the return of water, up to the equivalent of the total volume ... (to) occur immediately after the water is extracted from the water source and has passed through metering equipment” to measure it, but before it is stored.

Alternatively, the defender’s office is seeking orders so that Mr Harris forfeits his entitlement to the equivalent amount of water in ­future to replenish the river.

The summons was served on Peter James Harris and Jane Maree Harris and the matter is listed for December 8.

The amount of water allegedly taken would fill more than 2000 Olympic swimming pools.

Office chief executive David Morris said the action was being taken because the NSW government was not moving quickly enough to penalise Mr Harris.

“On two occasions EDO NSW has written to the NSW government outlining concerns about potential breaches of the Water Management Act 2000 (NSW) and informing the government of intention to commence civil enforcement proceedings,” he said.

“No adequate response has been received from the government. In the face of government inaction, our client (the Inland Rivers Network) has seen no other choice but to commence proceedings in the Land and Environment Court.”

Monday, 13 November 2017

Is the NSW Berejiklian Government cruising for a bruising on the Clarence River?

It would appear that the Clarence Valley may be less than whole-heartedly enthusiastic about the NSW Berejiklian Coaltion Government's plans for the Port of Yamba.

Editor Bill North at The Daily Examiner, 25 October 2017, p.9:

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’

ONCE again dollar-sign gazes are cast in the direction of the pristine Clarence River estuary.

The Future Transport 2056 strategy announced by the NSW Government yesterday is considering Coffs and Yamba as potential ports for international cruise ships.

But I think the suggestion of a cruise ship terminal at Yamba could turn into a shipwreck before the idea ever sets sail.

It harks back to the ‘Eastgate Port’ proposal being pushed by developers which has ruffled feathers of residents, activist groups and politicians alike.

There are plenty of obstructions standing in the way of such a large scale development in the Clarence River.

Heavy dredging will be required to navigate the Yamba Bar, which happened to be the subject of a landmark native title claim for the Yaegl people in August.

Then where to build? The mind boggles when looking at aerial photographs of the Yamba estuary. To upgrade the current marina it’s difficult to imagine Hickey Island and Dart Island escaping impact.

Creating a gimmick stopover for lavish spenders would undoubtedly provide a significant economic boost for the region, but would also redefine Yamba as a tourist destination. And something tells me we like Yamba just the way it is, thank you very much.

Editor Bill North at The Daily Examiner, 26 October 2017, p.7:

WHILE massive industrial harbours dominate major river mouths throughout the developed world, forever and a day the Clarence River has managed to resist such a human-induced transformation and maintain its pristine beauty.

The river delta provided many a natural barrier for early explorers of the coastline, and no doubt helps explain the low population of the region compared to other, more accessible major river systems.

Just take a look down the coast at Newcastle to see coal loaders, ships and warehouses flood the landscape of its vast river delta system.

We’ve grown used to shunning large-scale port developments. We’ve come to expect environmental priorities will win the day. Some cling onto this inertia with hope, others find it a frustrating impediment to progress.

This week the NSW Government broached the idea of an international terminal at Yamba.

Many confidently declare that such a project will never get off the ground. Such statements are either naive or a prophetic summation of the strong will of the people of the Clarence because you can bet your bottom dollar developers from across the seas are admiring the untapped potential of such a destination – for industry, tourism or whatever makes a quick buck.

25 October 2017 David Whitby Getting a boat of that size in the Clarence would be a HUGE problem due to the lack of water depth at several places leading to the Goodwood wharf. Then there would be a traffic problem through to the Highway, not to mention the lack of facilities ....or NO facilities at the Goodwood wharf. Just another pipe dream.

29 October 2017 Bill Robb The blokes dreaming, there's not a chance as the reef at the entrance to the clarence is too high. If you dont mind dredging or blowing the reef down to size, then it could happen! Good luck with that environmental impact statement. Coffs would be the only engineering option available. The Jetty harbour would need some major work at the entrance and dredging of the harbour, not to mention fixing up the rest of the place. Plus I live in Coffs, so of course I am going to be biased.

31 October 2017 Michelle Argent I'm deeply sceptical about the whole thing particularly in light of Chris Gulaptis' media comment that Goodwood Island (Yamba Port) could not be used because it was used for live cattle exports. It is not but that is part of Euen's megaport insane proposal. Makes me think this is a softly softly approach to step 1 - get dredging done and navigate negotiations with our local aboriginal elders regarding the reef

2 November 2017 Karen von Ahlefeldt Fully agree

1 November 2017 Lloyd Palmer They would have to discharge ballast before the bar crossing, that will include anything tropical exotic and nasty

1 November 2017 Peter Lowry What Berejiklian as well ?

1 November 2017 Lloyd Palmer Whatever that is it sounds nasty

1 November 2017 Billy Walker And to mention the most significant site, the Dirrangan Reef which is sacred to the Yaegl Traditional Owners and the wider Aboriginal communities on the North Coast of NSW

2 November Billy Walker The Yaegl Traditional Owners have protection orders for the protection of the reef, known to the Yaegl people as Durrarngan reef, regardless of any proposals we must be notified under the Native Title Act, this also applies to any further dredging in and around the mouth of the river

3 November 2017 Matty Carlin Maybe I'm way out of the loop, but WHY would you think there would be such a push for a cruise ship terminal?
There's no transport options.
Nothing overly touristy to see or stay at.
Next to no infrastructure.
Yamba cannot be expanded on due to swamp, river & National Park.
So many things.
A terminal is a place of passenger exchange, or somewhere to get off to do touristy things.
I honestly can't envision it becoming a feasible and logical process.
If anything I think it would be great for the area to expand on the Slipway to encourage some vessels to use it for repairs, etc. Would bring in jobs and external income to the area which is what is lacking.

4 November 2017 Michelle Argent Another excellent commentary on this issue on in 3/11 blog. We are going to have to be very alert. Write to the Minister as recommended in this blog.

4 November 2017 Colin Beeby When you look at the mouth of the Clarence and then a shot of a cruise ship, you have to laugh. Then look at the mayor and Govt.members talking about a conjunction and fall over laughing.

4 November 2017 Peter Appleton Matthew I could be wrong but I believe ships of similar draught have worked the Clarence over the years without impacting on the reef or the need for extra dredging etc.

5 November 2017 Sebastian Rooks I am of the same opinion, however we need to be certain that this is not an opening salvo to get shipping in.
The way they have gone about this is alarming.

5 November 2017 Colin Ogilvie Could you supply dates and details of such visits ?

5 November 2017 Peter Appleton No Colin but someone mentioned it on another forum. The ships mentioned were The Island Trader (Yamba Trader), The Avondale, The Vili and The Kuri Pearl. I don't really know any more than that or if there were any issues with them.

5 November 2017 Matty Carlin The Island Trader is half that size.

5 November 2017 Kate Maclaren Nooo! That would be tragic!

5 November 2017 Michelle Argent What the bureaucrats don 't or won't understand is that people flock here precisely because the clarence coast is natural and not too touristy. Crass cruise ships of this type are the very thing that are not wanted. Write to your local member and the Minister for Infrastructure and be heard otherwise the punters and lobbyists will win out!

6 November 2017 Matthew Smith Liz Mercy-Bushell the whole community needs to stand up on this it could be the thin edge of the wedge

Clarence Valley IndependentLetter to the Editor, 7 November 2017:

Valley Watch is alarmed to read the joint media release from Ministers Melinda Pavey (Roads, Maritime and Freight) and Andrew Constance (Transport and Infrastructure) and Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser which states unequivocally “In October 2018, the Cruise Ship Caledonian Sky plans to stop off at Yamba as part of the Australian Coastal Odyssey”.

Talk about being treated like mushrooms! They claim it is part of the Future Transport 2056 strategy, but this “strategy” hasn’t yet been presented to the community of Yamba, and when the Future Transport team does come in late November, its mobile van will visit Grafton and Coffs Harbour. But will it come to Yamba, the area most affected? Apparently not.

There are just too many unanswered questions. Cruise ships like these use their auxiliary diesel  motors non-stop when they are moored to provide lighting, air conditioning and heating.

That means diesel fumes wafting over Yamba and Iluka all day and night. In May last year P&O was reportedly fined $15,000 by the NSW Environment Protection Authority for exceeding its diesel emissions limits.

They generate dangerous wastes and produce sewage, grey water and solid waste which are stored on board. Just one accidental discharge could do irreparable damage to our estuary, our fishing industry and our reputation. And accidents do happen.

There needs to be careful, painstaking consideration of all aspects of this proposal before our parliamentarians and councillors agree. Instead we seem to have a reckless, off-the-cuff endorsement of a potentially dangerous project.

Ros Woodward
November 2, 2017

The Daily Examiner, 9 November 2017, p9:

Cruisin’ for an eco bruisin’

BY NOW most Daily Examiner readers will have heard about the Berejiklian Government announcement that the Port of Yamba is being considered as a “small cruise ship” destination and possible site for a cruise terminal.

Such ships currently operating in Australian waters can be as big as 5000 tons with a carrying capacity of more than 800 passengers.

What some people may not realise, that even before any completed investigation or genuine community consultation, the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey has announced that the first small cruise ship will arrive in October next year.

Her office reportedly identified that ship as the Caledonian Sky, which is a 26-year-old, 90.6m long vessel with 4200 gross tonnage, a beam width of 15.2m, maximum draft of 4m and a carrying capacity of up to 114 passengers.

This is the same cruise ship which caused irreversible damage to a candidate UNESCO World Heritage Site pristine reef system off Indonesian Papua in March this year, and the London-based cruise operator has reportedly been fined £350 million by the Indonesian Government.

Such accidents are relatively common among small cruise ships as official maritime incident reports between 2008-2017 mention repeated groundings, collisions with wharfs and breakwaters, in port onboard fires and accidental contaminated water/fuel discharges. Norovirus-infected passengers have also been reported on small cruise ships and excessive air emissions found on inspection by authorities.

This is not the only information Minister Pavey was not broadcasting to the Lower Clarence.

What the Berejiklian Government is also not telling Clarence Valley residents is that along with Eden and Coffs Harbour, the Port of Yamba is to be designated a “multipurpose port” which will ideally include “commercial shipping, cruise shipping and Defence facilities”.

Apparently this generic vision for NSW regional ports will likely translate in the environmentally sensitive Clarence River estuary into an estimated 20km of capital and development river dredging, a possible multi-storied cruise ship terminal with parking for 400 cars, 20 coaches, eight trucks and 20 taxis as well as a new commercial shipping wharf capable of berthing freighters up to 300m long carrying “liquids, timber, coal, iron ore...”.

Locals might remember that this is the same ship length as one class of super freighters mentioned in that private proposal to turn Yamba into an industrialised mega port.

When considering this State Government preferred style of coastal development, the words loss of environmental and cultural values, increased traffic generation, industrial level noise, congestion and waste management immediately spring to mind.

One wonders if Clarence Valley Council and the Yamba Chamber of Commerce will be as enthusiastic about those cruise ship plans once they realise that these ships are merely the thin end of the wedge that NSW Nationals and Sydney-centric Liberals hope to drive into a Lower Clarence community resolved to keep the estuary clean, green and seafood productive.

Judith M Melville, Yamba

Thursday, 9 November 2017

So you think it is a good idea, Gladys, allowing a small cruise ship into a relatively shallow Port of Yamba?

The Clarence River Estuary is part of the largest combined river-ocean commercial fishery on the Australian east-coast.

It also contains the Port of Yamba at its mouth.

Every vessel entering the port has to navigate past a coffee rock reef protected by Native Title which curves around the entrance waters.

The navigation channels these vessels sail range in depth from 3m to 5.5m on a good day.

This port can safely take vessels with an overall length of no more than 120m, a maximum beam of 20m and a draft limit of 5m or less.

Even small recreation boats straying a few feet out of the main navigational channel can sometimes get stuck in shifting mud banks. While the Yamba-Iluka ferry has been known to find itself momentarily stuck in sand within feet of the wharf in Yamba Bay.

This is the port that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has given the nod to as a cruise ship destination if the October 2017 announcement by two of her ministers is any indication. Minister Pavey’s office afterwards stating that the first small cruise ship is to arrive in October 2018.

That ship has been identified as the Caledonian Sky, a 26 year-old, 90.6m long vessel with 4200 gross tonnage, a beam width of 15.2m, maximum draft of 4m and a carrying capacity of 114 passengers.

This first cruise ship visit has been approved ahead of any investigation of estuary/port conditions and capacity, community consultation or practical preparation.

But what could possibly go wrong? It’s a small cruise ship, right? It will get in and out of the port OK, won’t it?

Well let us look at other small cruise ships which were not making their very first visit to the area in which they were sailing……..

A limited selection of typical maritime incidents involving small cruise ships 

8 July 2008 - Spirit of Glacier Bay grounded just after 7am (local time) today near Glacier Bay in Alaska. The ship had 51 people on-board. No injuries were reported. Unclear whether the grounding was caused by human error or a mechanical or electronic malfunction.

9 September 2009The Balmoral anchored off Portree, Skye with severe gales preventing it from berthing in the harbour. The liner departed Invergordon on 7 September with a reported 18 cases of the highly infectious novovirus among its 1,280 passengers and 516 crew.

23 May 2010 - Deutschland moored at the quay in Eidfjord in Norway when a fire broke out in the engine room. The 608 passengers were evacuated safely and 205 crew stayed on-board to help battle the fire. Damage was contained to an isolated area and limited with the help of fire doors.

29 August 2010 - M/V Clipper Adventurer  ran aground Friday when it hit a rock. It was carrying 110 passengers on a cruise through the Northwest Passage when the mishap happened. No injuries have been reported among the passengers and 69 crew members on board. In 2017 a Canadian court ordered the owners to pay pollution related costs and fines arising from the incident finding the Coast Guard properly warned the Clipper Adventurer's crew of the rock shelf through a notice to shipping, which was not on board the ship. The court wrote "as it was, this nonchalant attitude put the lives of close to 200 souls at risk." A total of 13 tanks aboard were breached during the grounding. Some of those tanks held fuel, freshwater and sludge.

15 September 2011 - MS Nordlys was sailing from Bergen, Norway to the town of Kirkenes when fire broke out in the engine room of the cruise ship with 207 passengers on-board.  Passengers were safely evacuated from the ship at the port of Alesund, Norway. Two crew members were killed and nine others were taken to the hospital for treatment. The investigation concludes that the fire probably started when a diesel leakage was ignited coming into contact with an un-insulated indicator valve on starboard main engine. The most probable cause of the diesel leakage was fatigue fracture in the feed pipes for a fuel injection pump due to the pump being loose. AIBN is of the opinion that insufficient job specification in the shipping company’s maintenance system had contributed to the fuel injection pump not being sufficiently fastened and to the indicator valve not being sufficiently insulated.
3 June 2012Independence allegedly discharge of soapy water into the harbour at Bar Harbor from the cruise ship as it was tied up to the town pier. The water was effluent from clothes washing machines on the ship; the overboard discharge valves to the forward washing machines had been left open. 

21 May 2013 - MS Serenissima, which had 112 people on board, became stuck in sand and gravel at about 18.30 on Monday 20 May. It was refloated at about 01:10 after an earlier attempt failed due to high winds.

11 May 2015 - MV Hamburg grounded on charted rocks near the New Rocks buoy in the Sound of Mull, Scotland with 461 persons on board. There were no injuries but the accident caused considerable raking damage to the hull and rendered the port propeller, shaft and rudder unserviceable. Ship’s captain plead guilty to two charges.
12 August 2015State of Alaska issued cruise ship operators 18 notices of violation involving 48 instances of excessive air emissions since 2010. Each violation of law carries a fine of approximately $37,500. Between 2009 and 2013 Alaska reportedly issued 174 Notices of Violation for cruise ships discharging in violation of Alaska Water Quality Standards.
23  December 2015 - Star Pride while passing through UNESCO World Heritage Site Coiba National Park on 22 December hit some slightly submerged rocks while attempting to navigate through a shallow channel. The ship underwent repairs in this delicate ecosystem.

31 March 2016 - Adventure Hornblower was attempting to dock at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, California. As the vessel made its approach to the pier, its bow unexpectedly swung to starboard and allided with the pier’s passenger embarkation dock. The ship then accelerated forward until it struck the seawall at the foot of the pier. Eight passengers sustained minor injuries in the accident. The allision caused nearly $1.06 million in damage to the vessel, pier, and seawall.

14 October 2016Pacific Princess struck a breakwater at Villefranche-sur-Mer (port to Nice, France) at 6am. The accident occurred in rough seas, with strong winds of over 50 mph (80 kph), causing the ship’s portside hull to hit rocks at the harbor’s entrance. Just as the vessel passed the harbor’s opening in the breakwater, a sudden gust of wind hit and skidded it into the breakwater’s wall. 

2 September 2016 - SeaDream I with 105 passengers and 61 crew caught fire off Naples, Italy. The vessel was making a voyage between Amalfi and Palinuro in Tyrrhenian sea, but one of the generators suffered failure and started smoking. The thick smoke and flames engulfed the whole engine compartment, causing damages to the engineering. Local authorities dispatched tug at the scene of the accident, which towed the cruise ship to Naples

19 December 2016 -  Spirit of Baltimore cruise ship captain fell asleep while navigating the ship on 28 August. Unattended, the boat with approx. 400 passengers veered off course and crashed into two moored recreational boats and floating pier at Henderson’s Wharf Marina in Fells Point, Maryland.

12 March 2017 - MV Caledonian Sky hit coral reefs at Crossover Reef, inflicting significant damage to one of the world's most biodiverse reefs on 4 March. It has been voted among the best diving spots in the world According to NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey this cruise ship will be mooring in Yamba in October 2018. This ship is a repeat offender having previously damaged coral off Medan in Sumartra.

5 April 2017 - L'Austral grounded on 9 January 2017 at Snares Island with hull breached and one ballast tank damaged. It then grounded a second time in Milford Sound on 9 February.

By now, Premier Berejiklian, you may be entertaining the idea that lining up the small regional port and town of Yamba for cruise ship visits may not be the best idea your government has floated.

But that's not what this port expansion push is really all about, is it Gladys?

No, your government has decided that all three small regional ports ideally should become multipurpose ports which include commercial shipping, cruise shipping and defence facilities as well as extensive channel & mooring area dredging to at least an 8m minimum with channel access suitable for ships 300m long - which is as long as a Panamax super freighter.

Sadly, in the future there won't be a viable, biodiverse, seafood rich, clean and green Clarence River Estuary if the Berejiklian Coalition Government has its way.


North Coast Voices, 15 March 2017, Is the NSW Dept. of Industry seeking to significantly expand the Port of Yamba?

ICAC investigating water theft and allegations of NSW government corruption involving party donors

Eventually full details of this investigation will become public, as it cannot seriously be thought to be in the public interest for the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) not to publish findings.

The Australian, 27 October 2017:

ICAC has begun a preliminary ­investigation into whether NSW public officials favoured Nationals donor and irrigator Peter ­Harris by not prosecuting him over ­alleged water theft.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is also investigating whether public officials made decisions in favour of western NSW irrigator and lobbyist Ian Cole by changing water sharing arrangements to benefit him.

A day after The Australian ­revealed that the corruption watchdog was investigating a case where Multicultural Affairs Minister Ray Williams wrote to ­Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair asking for prosecutorial ­action against constituent Garry Bugeja to be dropped, it has emerged that the NSW government is facing a ­series of inquiries over its water policies.

The Berejiklian government is facing the real spectre of a public ICAC inquiry potentially involving the two ministers and at least one former primary industries minister, Katrina Hodgkinson, just months out from the 2019 state election.

ICAC is investigating whether former deputy director-general of the Department of Primary ­Industry Gavin Hanlon disclosed confidential information to ­Barwon-Darling irrigators, allegations that have been the subject of a government inquiry and led to Mr Hanlon’s resignation.

The commission is also understood to be looking at whether any public official failed to properly investigate or prosecute Mr Harris, a cotton farmer from Moree, in northern NSW. ICAC is also understood to be investigating why the department’s strategic investigations unit was disbanded, leading to the abandonment of several water compliance operations.
There is also an investigation into whether any public official acted inappropriately in making changes to the Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan to benefit ­irrigator Mr Cole.

Another line of investigation is understood to be whether any person improperly gave access to departmental files and confidential material for the benefit of Mr Harris. Investigations into Mr Cole are understood to also involve whether pumps were attached to a property and were authorised by the department in breach of water laws…..

It was revealed earlier this year that Mr Blair sought law changes which may have benefited Mr Harris by retrospectively approving water-trading rights granted to him that appeared to not comply with the law. But Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton blocked the changes.

Mr Blair also legislated to allow past illegal works to be retrospectively approved — another piece of law which may have helped Mr Harris….

Mr Bugeja was not prosecuted for an alleged ­illegal dam in Sydney after Mr Williams wrote to Mr Blair

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Is the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government taking the Norther Rivers bushfire risk level seriously?

The NSW Nationals Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) manages more than 870 national parks and reserves totalling over 7 million hectares.

With 22 per cent of the Clarence Valley covered by heavily timbered national parks and the entire NSW Northern Rivers region having 10 national parks, at least 9 nature reserves and 2 state forests, the risk of bushfires has always been high.

With climate change raising the fire risk and the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government stripping the NWPS of personnel and funding, many local residents are beginning to worry.