Showing posts with label people power. Show all posts
Showing posts with label people power. Show all posts

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Quotes of the Week

”Homosexuality was decriminalised in NSW in 1984. The first state or territory to take homosexuality out of the criminal code was South Australia in 1975 and the last was Tasmania in 1997.” [Julie McCrossin writing on ABC News, 23 September 2017]

“There are around 3,000 reported snakebites each year in Australia, resulting in 500 hospital admissions and an average of two fatalities.” [The Flying Doctor Service, 5 October 2017]

“In the first few months of 2017, more than 440,000 Australians have donated to a GoFundMe, demonstrating the staggering increase of people engaging with social fundraising across the country.”  [The Northern Star, 3 October 2017]

Monday, 2 October 2017

Yamba Mega Port Proposal: "This clown just won't take no for an answer"

"This clown just won't take no for an answer" would be a fairly accurate assessment of most Lower Clarence River residents’ opinion of Desmond Euen’s (pictured left) latest attempt to promote his proposal to industrialise the Clarence River estuary by re-creating the Port of Yamba as a mega port.

Having been told repeatedly by local communities that his proposal was unwelcome and, by local government and the NSW Baird Government that the proposal would not be supported/endorsed, he still persists.

In August this year Mr. Euen participated in the following inquiry via the submission process.

On 24 November 2016, the Australian Government announced it will develop a national freight and supply chain strategy (the strategy) to increase the productivity and efficiency of Australia's freight supply chain. The strategy is in response to Infrastructure Australia's Australian Infrastructure Plan.

On 9 March 2017, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, released Terms of Reference PDF: 219 KB  for an inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities (the inquiry).

The Inquiry will inform the development of the strategy and determine how to best lift the productivity and efficiency of Australia's freight supply chain. The inquiry is being led by the Department assisted by Infrastructure Australia and a four member Expert Panel appointed by Minister Chester. On 26 May 2017, the Department released the Discussion Paper for the inquiry, marking the commencement of the public consultation period. Submissions closed on 28 July 2017 and the Department is now analysing the responses, together with comments received from meetings with key stakeholders.

A draft report will be made available for industry and government for comment by December, and the final report provided to the Government by March 2018.

A series of frequently asked questions about the inquiry and the strategy have been prepared to assist you.

The Discussion Paper, working papers prepared for the Inquiry and the submissions (except for those marked ‘in-confidence’) can be accessed below.

Discussion paper PDF: 558 KB 

As Inter-Port Global Pty Ltd he submitted two documents (Submission 27 in above link) – one of which was for Gladstone Strategic Development Area in Queensland and the other for the Port of Yamba on the NSW North Coast.
The 42-page Yamba document was originally created by Euen on 27 July 2017 according to its “Properties” page. It asserts to be a submission originally made to Infrastructure Australia at an earlier date.

Desmond Euen of Unit 1103, 2865 Gold Coast Highway, SURFERS PARADISE QLD 4217 registered Inter-Port Global Pty Ltd on 24 August 2016. To date he is the sole director and shareholder as well as the company secretary.

There were a number of confidential submissions to the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities and it is possible that one of these may be from the group of corporate lawyers, investment companies and property developers behind United Land Councils Ltd and United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd who made a joint submission to the NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No. 6 Inquiry Into Crown Land in August 2016 which included the Yamba mega port proposal .

The Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities is due to hand its report to the COAG Transport and Infrastructure Council sometime before end March 2018.

Iluka Real Estate decided to tout a proposed development and instead stirred up the local community

Perhaps thinking to further his own commercial interests and apply a little pressure to the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (NJRPP) currently considering a proposed 140 lot development on environmentally sensitive land, Iluka Real Estate owner Graeme Lynn took to the airwaves on 26 September 2017 spruiking this development which he has been advertising online since  2015.

Unfortunately for Mr. Lynn all he did was demonstrate that the Iluka community is not happy with the scale and design of this development application, as well as concerned with loss of biodiversity and habitat – particularly destruction of a Coastal Cypress Pine Endangered Ecological Community (EEC), loss of local koala habitat and fragmentation of a known wildlife corridor.

Up to the point that Mr. Lynn rose to his feet at the NJRPP Public Briefing Meeting on 20 September, the community debate on this planning issue had remained civil and constructive. Most Iluka residents are obviously trying to ensure it stays that way.

Here is how the online response to Mr. Lynn's on-air statements played out:


Opponents of a major residential subdivision planned for Iluka say it puts the village's unique charm at risk.

The Birrigan Gargle Local Aboriginal Land Council has been working with the Stevens Group on a 140-lot development on Hickey Street.

The state's Joint Regional Planning Panel hosted a public briefing on the issue last week.

Tony Belton, from the Association of Iluka Residents, said it was a huge project which threatened the character of the village.

"Iluka has so far avoided the over-commercialised coastal development that now characterises many seaside destinations," he said.

"And I think that sort of sums it up, people come here for that unique coastal experience that sadly has largely been lost due to over development.

"One speaker at the meeting the other day said this kind of development would be more suitable for a place like Mount Druitt. 

"And indeed that's the issue, it's a huge development with little consideration for the world-heritage status next door or for the feel of Iluka as it is now."

But not everyone is opposed.

The President of the Iluka Ratepayers Association, Graeme Lynn, said residents could see benefits in the proposal.

The shops here need more customers," he said.

"The golf club is right next door and it definitely needs more customers and it'll give better access to the golf club ... coming all the way through. 

"And the shops in town need those extra customers."

A spokesperson for Birrigan Gargle Land Council declined to speak with the ABC until after the development application had been finalised.

Roslyn Woodward Grahame Lynne is not only from Iluka real estate, he is also the president of the Iluka golf club, president of the association of Iluka residents and president of the Iluka Rotary. He spoke at the judicial panel meeting but did not declare he had an obvious financial interest. This map clearly shows the proximity to the World Heritage Area on the other side of Iluka Rd and the important east-west wildlife corridor link to the Clarence River. There are many threatened species on the site and lots of Koala sightings. The land council may need funds we are not to question that - but this land could certainly qualify for a biodiversity off-set which would be a win for the land council, Iluka's amenity and wildlife.
6 · 19 hrs
Jill Garsden Oh, no, please, no......Iluka is the only north coast coastal town we can retreat to without feeling that it's become too overdeveloped and touristy. Its charm and attraction lies in the fact that it has withstood further development. If it becomes like every other coastal town then it will lose not only our regular visits, but also those of many others.
2 · 17 hrs
Annie Leggett Well of course Graeme Lynn thinks it's a great idea.... he is the real estate agent working with the developer to sell the land/development.... good for him sure.... lots of money in it for him.... Good for the people of Iluka ?? Now that is a better question? If you listen to others, who aren't just focused on the money .... there are many things that are not okay about the development in its current proposal.
Tania Laurie What's wrong with all you Anti-development activists. The fact of the matter is that the population is growing and more housing is required. Don't you realize that there were native flora and fauna once where houses are now. As stated, heritage listed land is near so these species will move to safer habitat, not be wiped out. And it would be a disgrace to think all this opposition is because the Aboriginal land Council is involved. Eventually communities have to grow to help accommodate existing residents family as they get older and will help keep communities family orientated. Besides all that, it's a great economic injection for the town. Wake up and stop whinging.
1 · 17 hrs
Louise Devonforlunch No mention is made of the fact there have been four gravesites discovered. Two are located on the DA site and two opposite on the crown land. Ground Penetrating Radar undertaken during the Heritage study confirmed one of the gravesites had an 9/10 chance of containing human remains but despite this the site was excavated recently to the extent that one of the most intact gravesites has been destroyed beyond recognition!
Dave Schwarz You'd have to wonder what the Land Council is up to, seems the mighty $ is more important than the precious land? I'm no Greenie, but the argument the shops need more customers is surely crazy, surely the residents need fewer shops? 
Elizabeth Street 
Iluka NSW 2466
The Iluka Cemetery has been subdivided into a lot of about .3 ha and is believed to contain three bodies. The graves are thought to be located on the crest of a small sand dune about 20 metres off the northern side of Elizabeth Street. The site of the graves is covered with scrub vegetation. Only one grave is marked with a wooden cross and it bears the name of Earnest Eaton. Graves are not visible from the road. A memorial wall is located on the same side of the road about 100 metres away.
Peter Appleton One thing that surprised me with the original DA, listed by council on Christmas Eve 2015, is that they appeared to be unaware that this is an historic sand mining site. Seems strange to me as there are records and maps everywhere saying its been sand mined. As I understand it a Section 149 Certificate is a legal document issued by NSW councils under the EPA Act which gives detailed information about sites. The Clarence Valley Council (CVC) Section 149(2) Certificate issued for this site (as per the released DA material) does not mention the sand mining history of the site. Page 10 of the certificate says, "Council records do not have sufficient information about previous use of this land to determine if the land is contaminated." The engineering consultants engaged by the developer (Cardno Pty Ltd) then seem to run with this in their 8 August 2015 report which says on page 5, "There is no available evidence of land clearing, mining infrastructure, mining pits or dredging ponds in the aerial photography, which suggests that no mining, or on site separation processes were conducted on site." Seriously??? Cardno would then appear NOT to have undertaken any soil samples with regards to Zircon, Rutile or any of the other associated sand mining minerals.
Louise Devonforlunch Yes the original Cemetery was near Sid & Eileen Gill Park however the DA site was set aside as an additional cemetery between 1910 and 1928 when it was returned to Crown Land. The gravesites that were found at the South Western end of the DA site about 100m from each other. There are four in total but now since one has been destroyed only three remain. This is a part of Iluka’s history and whether they are Aboriginal or European they warrant further investigation and respectfully treated not subjected to the heavy handed approach used recently by the Police as I understand it.
Peter Appleton As you know Louise the one that has been destroyed was mentioned at a JRPP briefing meeting at Clarence Valley Council offices on 16 August 2017. In attendance were panel members Garry West (Chair), Stephen Gow, Jim Simmons, Jason Kingsley. Apologies from Pam Westing. Also in attendance were council assessment staff Carmen Landers (Development Planner) and Nigel Sutton (Development Engineer). "Key Issues Discussed" included "Aboriginal Burial Site". 
No cultural heritage or aboriginal heritage reports were presented with either the original or amended DA, despite council being advised via submissions of the likely presence on site of at least one aboriginal gravesite. This latest round of submissions commenced before the completion of both the Extent Heritage "Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment" and "Baseline Historical Archaeological Assessment" reports. These reports were released to submitters only after they complained about their absence and were then only forwarded by council to two submitters that I am aware of. 
My email to council following this incident includes, "Were the local police involved in this operation advised by council that this site is currently subject to a development application and has been referred to the commonwealth with a decision still pending as to whether it becomes a controlled action? Were police advised by council that this is likely to be an aboriginal grave that they were bulldozing or is this something that council still wishes to dispute? Were police advised that this part of the DA site was an area described by the ecological consultant for the applicant as being the best example on site of the endangered ecological community Callitris columellaris? Were police advised that this is an historic sand mining site with the potential for radioactive concentrations of mineral sands to be found beneath the surface?" 
The excavator operator (a local) was left unsupervised to backfill after the excavation, was wearing no safety equipment, face mask etc and advised that he had excavated to a depth of 2 metres.

Friday, 29 September 2017

"As our land subsides and cracks open and our permanent creek is sucked dry, I can feel our patience towards the miners doing the same"

The Land, 24 September 2017:

Environmental hypocrisy
FOR the past 20 years, my husband and I have experienced first-hand the mining industry’s attitude to impacted farmers and to rehabilitation. 
Now, their recent attacks on environmental charities makes my blood boil. As the unsuspecting neighbours of the Wambo underground coal mine near Singleton, our beef cattle business’ productivity has been cut almost in half.
As our land subsides and cracks open and our permanent creek is sucked dry, I can feel our patience towards the miners doing the same. 
Despite decades of word-fests, reports and promises, we have seen no real action at all from the mining company to rehabilitate our land, or our creek water.        
It turns out our experience is not isolated; only nine per cent of all mining land across Australia has been successfully rehabilitated. Across Australia there are massive voids filling with toxic water, poisoned or destroyed creeks and land subsiding. And the mining industry’s solution to their gaping mess: get environmental charities to clean it up!
Currently there are reforms being proposed to the Tax Deductibility Status of all sectors of charities by Federal Treasury.  
The miners see this as their chance to not only duck their own responsibilities, but to also pass the buck to environmental charities. The changes promoted by the mining sector, single out environmental charities only, for them to spend half their time on physical works to clean up the toxic messes created by the mining industry.
The hypocrisy is astounding. When I saw that one organisation close to my heart, the Lock The Gate Alliance, was under attack by these reforms, I was sickened. Without them, our fight to rehabilitate our farm would have been a lot harder.  
Their help with connecting us with politicians and government officials, getting our story into the media and sharing experiences of other mine-impacted people has been priceless. 
Most importantly they help to keep us sane, giving us hope that one day we will break the impasse of inaction by the miners.
We earn our money, we pay taxes and we can choose to support charities that we believe are helping to create a better world. 
They should be left alone to do their work without these extra burdens, designed to feather the nest of multinational mining companies.
Wambo mine, and hundreds like it across Australia, must factor the cost of properly rehabilitating land and water into their cost of doing business.  
Otherwise it is a sham business model that the community is subsidising.
The proposed changes could mean Lock the Gate would have less time to help advocate for the rights of farmers to produce clean food for Australia. 
Instead, they’d be forced out into our paddocks with shovels, filling in the sink holes made by the mines.
We need groups like Lock the Gate holding the mining companies to account. 
I appreciate the help in getting my voice heard as a food grower. We need this to be a public debate in our cities.
If these changes go through, our support of Lock the Gate would be wasted on endless clean up jobs, while the miners continue to make profits and mighty mess, skirting any legal responsibilities for rehabilitation. And I for one find that an abomination.
Miners, clean up your own mess and leave farmers and Lock the Gate alone.
Janet Fenwick,

Monday, 11 September 2017

Knitting Nannas Visit Narrabri and Proposed Santos Gasfield During Third Annual Conference

The Knitting Nannas Against Gas and Greed (KNAG) held their third annual conference at Narrabri on August 25-27. Attendees came from around NSW and further afield. The theme of this year’s conference was “Well behaved women seldom make history”.    
Narrabri was chosen as the venue because of its proximity to Santos’ proposed gasfield.  (The gasfield starts 6 km from the Narrabri Post Office.)

The attendees welcomed the opportunity to network with other Nannas and to hear inspiring speeches from Sue Higginson (Environmental Defender’s Office ) and Sydney Morning Herald journalist  Elizabeth Farrelly as well as women from the local Gomeroi community.  Unfortunately Janelle Saffin, who had been scheduled to speak, was an apology because of illness.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the conference was the opportunity to learn more about Santos’ gasfield which will cover a large area of farmland as well as the Pilliga Forest. In addition to hearing about local concerns, the Nannas had the opportunity to tour parts of the gasfield.

This immense development of 850 gas wells will have a devastating impact on the biodiverse-rich Pilliga Forest which provides habitat for a range of threatened species including Koala.  It’s not just the number of wells proposed but all the accompanying infrastructure such as roads, pipelines, vents and flares which mean that large amounts of the forest will be cleared.

So here we have land owned by the people of NSW – it’s OUR forest – which is going to be devastated so that Santos can make massive profits.  What was of great concern is that there has ALREADY been extensive infrastructure (wells, flares, wastewater storage and pipelines) developed in the Pilliga Forest – although to date it has only been a pilot project. Forest clearing is not the only issue about Santos’ gasfield.  There are major concerns. about contamination of the water table and impact on the recharge of the Great Artesian Basin. Santos also has a poor record in preventing and then cleaning up toxic spills during operation of its pilot project. And then there’s the question of the disposal of huge volumes of produced water and salt.  Santos has not provided satisfactory answers to these and many other questions.

While final approval has not yet been given for this proposal[1], the Nannas are concerned about the NSW Government’s record in pushing destructive mining projects which are not in the long-term community interest. We fear that this project will be approved despite all the opposition and the very many concerns about its long-term impacts.  It seems the big end of town is much more important to our politicians than the future health of our natural environment or productive farmland.   The Nannas want to see this change.

- Leonie the Novice Knitter

[1] The massive EIS was on exhibition earlier this year.  A final decision on whether the project will be allowed to go ahead is yet to be made.

Images supplied

Guest Speak is a North Coast Voices segment allowing serious or satirical comment from NSW Northern Rivers residents. Email northcoastvoices at gmail dot com dot au to submit comment for consideration

Friday, 21 July 2017

A plea on behalf of NSW Liverpool Plains communities

It's been a difficult week on the Liverpool Plains.
Yesterday the New South Wales Government paid coal company Shenhua $262 million dollars in a deal that removes part of their larger exploration licence but still lets the company go ahead with it's full coal mining project on the irreplaceable Liverpool Plains.

There is a lot of public relations spin from the NSW Government, but the cold hard truth is that they haven't stopped the Shenhua Watermark coal mine and the company now says it plans to proceed to start the project.

The consequences for local farmers adjoining the mine, and the productivity of this vital national foodbowl, will be severe.

Phone in 4 the plains button
The Government is trying to throw the coal dust over our eyes by telling us this is a great win for the Liverpool Plains.

But in fact, all they have done is pay an exorbitant price for some areas that Shenhua never had any intention of mining, whilst allowing the full 4,000 hectare mine with 3 massive open-cut coal pits to go ahead full bore on the Plains.

The NSW Government has the legal power to cancel the entire Shenhua exploration licence and put an end to this dangerous mine proposal once and for all.
Phone in 4 the plains button
This is an incredibly crucial moment. We need a crescendo of voices demanding full protection of this magnificent country and an end to the Shenhua mine project.

Thanks for your help,
George Woods
Lock the Gate Alliance
Lock the Gate Alliance · PO Box 6285, Sth Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia
You can also keep up with Lock the Gate Alliance on Twitter or Facebook.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

PEOPLE POWER: gas pipeline resistance in the corn

HuffPost, 9 July 2017:

If the management team at Williams Partners was having flashbacks on Sunday, it was by design. The Oklahoma-based pipeline company has met stiff resistance to its proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline since it was first announced in 2014. On Sunday, hundreds of opponents of the project congregated in an outdoor chapel in Columbia, Pennsylvania on property owned by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, an order of Catholic nuns. Among those in attendance were representatives from another order, the Sisters of Loretto, from Kentucky who helped defeat Williams’ Bluegrass pipeline in 2014….

Lancaster Against Pipelines, a grassroots group dedicated to stopping the nearly 200-mile natural gas transmission pipeline, constructed the chapel on a grove just feet from where the pipeline would cut through a corn field. The field and nearly cloudless blue sky above provided the backdrop for the simple wooden altar facing a few rows of wooden benches.

Williams Partners tried to stop the dedication. Last Thursday, the company submitted a 45-page emergency motion to a federal district judge in an attempt to take immediate possession of the property and get permission to deploy U.S. Marshals on the nuns and “any third parties authorized by the sisters to be on the property.”

It was a particularly brazen attempt on Williams’ part to get ahead of the legal process. The company was already scheduled to take the nuns to court later this month when it filed its emergency motion. The regulatory process is not complete yet either. The project has not yet received the permits from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection necessary to proceed with the pipeline.

Mark Clatterbuck, one of the group’s board members who helped construct the chapel, told the crowd that he thinks the company is getting nervous. He believes it understands that the chapel “is not sort of symbolic resistance, that it’s real and we’re not going away.”

Lancaster Against Pipelines website:

“'If completed, it will go through more than 350 waterways, 220 wetlands and would permanently fragment over 44 interior forests,' said Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck, a local Mennonite pastor and cofounder of Lancaster Against Pipelines. '… We believe the collective damage to the Susquehanna watershed (and therefore the Chesapeake Bay) is irreparable, and that the state needs to intervene for the future of clean water and clean waterways in Pennsylvania.'”

Lancaster Against Pipelines Facebook page:

* Images taken form Lancaster Against Pipelines posts

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

"Water Is Life" anti-fracking campaign hit Australia's highways on 8 July 2017

Some images from the Water Is Life anti-fracking event held along the nation's highways on Sauturday, 8 July 2017.

Well done, one and all!

*All images found on Twitter

Monday, 3 July 2017

Is the Liberal Party of Australia taking a leaf out of Steve Bannon's playbook

This was a ‘news’ banner on the Liberal Party of Australia’s The Fair Go website on 27 June 2016:
The short eight sentence long spiel behind the login wall began with:

Where does Getup get its money from and what is the real agenda behind the bluster?

From Open Society to Podesta to The Sunrise Project, Avaaz to GetUp in Australia! There’s certainly been a lot of US money a-flowing toward Aussie Leftists groups. So, who is giving who how much and where is it all going?

And ended with this image:

However it did not disclose any “secret money trails” and appeared to base its claims in part on 'fake news' produced during the 2016 US presidential election and the political donations disclosures GetUp! (Getup Limited est. 29 April 2005) regularly submits to the Australian Electoral Commission which can be found on the commission’s website as well as on a GetUp! web page.

According to the staff writers at The Fair Go the villain of the piece is George Soros – one of the people Donald Trump likes to hate – who is supposedly nefariously funding GetUp! through Avaaz.

Of course no mention is made of the fact that two co-founders and current board members of GetUp! were later also co-founders of Avaaz, so there is an existing and acknowledged relationship which has seen these two groups work together on climate change campaigns.

Instead this little gem made it off a staff writer’s keyboard and onto the website:

Getup alone spent $10m on pro-Union, pro-Green, anti-development, anti-jobs agenda last year. They have been getting some help from American organisation Avaaz with $275,000 in donations over the last two years.

But where does Avaaz get their funding from? Open Society Foundation of course! 

All roads lead back to George Soros.

Small problem with the maths though. The figure for the last two Third Party Return of Political Expenditure forms submitted by GetUp! show zero donations from Avaaz in 2015-16 and a single $99,985 donation in 2014-15. Even if one goes back to the 2013-14 form, that included donation would only bring the Avaaz donation total to $195,605 over the last three financial years declared to date.

It should come as no surprise to find that Avaaz also publishes its US expenditure declarations which means that there is even less to The Fair Go’s secrecy claims. Avaaz received a general support grant in 2008-09 from the Open Society Institute (OSI est. 1979) and since then does not appear to have accepted donations from “foundations or corporations”.

As for George Soros and the Open Society Foundations (formerly OSI) – well that registered philanthropic organisation operating world-wide produces annual budgets which show what programs it is involved with and where. Australia is not one of the countries in which it has a presence and, apart from attending at least one international conference which happen to be held in this country and including Australia in its “Case Watch” series and the occasional report, it does not appear to be active here.

The 2016 Open Society Foundations budget showed expected expenditure of US$544.6 million and the 2017 budget expenditure is expected to come in at US$940.7 million. This money goes to small and medium sized organisations such as those providing advocacy, legal aid, assistance to refugees, early childhood development and education and food security in the face of climate change programs, as well as to grass roots activism.

Who would you believe when it comes to “secret money trails”? A political party (with its own political donation probity issues) which couldn’t even come up with an original design for a website which appears to be using the Steve Bannon approach to facts and is aping one of Donald Trump’s pet conspiracy theories, or the publicly available political donation disclosures GetUp! has been submitting since 2006-07.