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

Monday, 21 May 2018

Water raiders are eyeing the Clarence River - again


In 2007 Clarence Valley communities saw off an Australian prime minister (John Howard) and his water minister (Malcolm Turnbull)  - telling them "Not A Drop".

The issue of inter-basin water transfer became an election issue that year and the National Party lost the seat of Page and the Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government lost the federal election.

Having learnt nothing from the commitment of local people in the Clarence Valley, including traditional owners, once again the water raiders have raised their heads above the parapet.

The Daily Examiner, letter to the Editor, 19 May 2018, p.14:

Clarence diversion

On April 18, 2018, Toowoomba Regional Council in south-east Queensland resolved to submit a motion to the National General Assembly of Local Government in June this year.

This motion calls for the Assembly to amend Resolution 77 (Griffith City Council) which was carried the previous year.

Resolution 77 called on the “Federal Government to carry out a further feasibility study on David Coffey’s “Scheme to Divert Tributaries of the Clarence River to the Murray Darling Basin” to gather up-to-date information for investigation into this scheme”.

The Toowoomba amendment seeks to incorporate a pipeline from the Clarence River to Toowoomba and the Darling Downs region into that request for federal government investigation.

Hot on the heels of this latest push to dam and divert water from the Clarence River system comes the NSW Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 5 “Augmentation of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales” report, released on May 14.

Although informed by Clarence Valley Council that it has resolved six times not to support diversion of the Clarence River, this Upper House report clearly favours damming and diverting water from the Clarence River system.

The wording may have been slightly watered down via a motion by Mick Veitch MLC but it is still of considerable concern: ”Resolution 40 - 6.89 The committee heard evidence from some inquiry participants that there may be potential benefits of diverting the Clarence River to the west.

“These inquiry participants were of the view that there is merit to any strategy that seeks to mitigate floods and flood damage in the Clarence Valley and provide additional water for agriculture in the Barwon region. The committee acknowledges that stakeholders were divided on the issue of water diversion. However, some inquiry participants held strong views against diverting waters from the Clarence River to the west.”

However, the draft version of 6.89 which indicates the extent of support the dam and divert proposal enjoys within this Upper House committee was quite frankly alarming: “The committee notes that there may be potential benefits of diverting the Clarence River to the west.

“There is merit to any strategy that seeks to mitigate floods and flood damage in the Clarence Valley and provide additional water for agriculture in the Barwon region.

“The committee acknowledges that stakeholders were divided on the issue of water diversion. However, the committee believes that further investigation into water diversion schemes is warranted to consider their feasibility as a strategy to mitigate floods.

“The committee therefore recommends that the NSW Government investigate the feasibility of water diversion schemes as a flood mitigation tool.”

If these sentiments are echoed by the Berejiklian Coalition Government down in Sydney then Clarence Valley Council, the people of the Clarence Valley and communities whose local economies depend on a healthy Clarence River will have a fight on their hands.

Because the calls from communities and vested interests who have managed to reduce their region’s rivers to a series of mud puddles will grow louder and more insistent over time.

This time around the call is spearheaded by Griffith, Toowoomba and the shadowy lobby group, Australian Water Exploration Company Ltd, which is apparently looking to benefit from any infrastructure spend on a Clarence Valley dam and pipeline.

At the June National Assembly of Local Government they will be speaking to a sympathetic audience. Hopefully Clarence Valley Council is sending a representative to this gathering that will strongly counter their arguments.

Judith M. Melville, Yamba

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Lock The Gate back in court asking questions about "secretive deals" between NSW Coalition Government and Shenhua mining group


NSW Environmental Defender’s Office (EDO):


Our client Lock the Gate is seeking access to information held by the NSW Government about secretive deals relating to the “buy-back” of the coal exploration licence for Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Limited’s (Shenhua) controversial Shenhua Watermark Coal Mine in the Liverpool Plains in north central NSW, one of the nation’s most productive agricultural regions.

Lock the Gate argues that the public has a right to know about deals made behind closed doors in relation to the exploration and development of the proposed Watermark coal mine. Lock the Gate argues that accountability and transparency in this case are essential given the significant predicted impacts of the Watermark mine on the Liverpool Plains, the nation’s agricultural industry, local communities and the environment.

On behalf of Lock the Gate, we are asking the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to decide that the release of this information is in the public interest.


Farmland on the Liverpool Plains. Photo: Lock the Gate Alliance.

Background

In July and September 2017, respectively, Lock the Gate made applications to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet for information about Shenhua’s application to renew its exploration licence for the Watermark mine. That information encompasses secretive dealings between Shenhua and the NSW Government that resulted in the buy-back of around 51% of the exploration licence, which covered the highly fertile “black soils” of the Liverpool Plains, at the cost of $262 million to the public.

Whilst the NSW Government claims that the buy-back was necessary to protect the black soils from mining, and thereby the agricultural industry of the Liverpool Plains, Lock the Gate contends that the buy-back will do nothing to lessen the expected impacts of the mine. Furthermore, Lock the Gate argues that the buy-back was completely unnecessary. The NSW Government could have used its powers under the Mining Act to reduce the size of the exploration licence by 50% upon its renewal without the payment of any compensation to Shenhua.The NSW Government could also have cancelled the exploration licence outright given that Shenhua had allegedly failed to comply with a condition of the licence that required substantial development of the Watermark mine to have commenced by October 2016, eight years after the initial grant of the licence in 2008.

The information sought by Lock the Gate includes Shenhua’s submissions on the licence renewal application, its request for the abovementioned licence condition to be suspended, Ministerial briefings and draft deeds of agreement about coal exploration and mining titles. The NSW Government has withheld this information on the basis that, amongst other things, it contains Cabinet information, was provided in confidence, or that its release may be prejudicial to Shenhua’s business interests – and therefore that there is an overriding public interest against its disclosure.
On the contrary, Lock the Gate argues that the overwhelming public interest in the release of the information is clear.

Access to this information will increase the accountability and transparency of the NSW Government in relation to the exploration and development of coal in the Liverpool Plains. This is particularly important in these circumstances where the Government has done deals with a private, foreign-owned, coal mining company behind closed doors and these have resulted in the expenditure of vast amounts of public funds without clear justification.

Access to this information is also vital for the public to have confidence in the decision-making processes of the NSW Government in relation to dealings about coal mining and exploration projects. This is essential where these dealings involve projects that are likely to have significant economic, social and environmental impacts and in which a number of stakeholders have expressed competing views. 

The more transparency around those deliberative processes, the more likely it is that they will be of high quality and will serve the public interest.

The matter is listed for hearing on 9 May 2018.

Brendan Dobbie, solicitor for EDO NSW, has carriage of this matter for Lock the Gate and our Principal Solicitor, Elaine Johnson, is the solicitor on record.

We are grateful to barrister Scott Nash for his assistance in this matter.


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Saturday, 31 March 2018

Quotes of the Week



"the average tax evader may be financially better off even after they're caught and penalised" [Chris Leech, writing about low tax evasion penalties applied by the Australian Taxation Office in an unpublished study, quoted in The Age, 24 March 2018]


“Civil disobedience and protest are vital in a democracy. They open up political space for communities to intervene when the doors of governments are closed to them, and the price of entry to corporate boardrooms and political party fundraisers is beyond reach.”  [Barrister Julian Burnside writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 March 2018]

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Knitting Nannas show their teeth?


Given the rumours about Australian Deputy-Prime Minister and Nationals MP for New England Barnaby Joyce's not-so-private life, this tweet probably raised a few quiet chuckles in homes across northern New South Wales.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Tony Windsor on fighting the Santos pipeline


They were there in an attempt to survey a pipeline to convey coal seam gas from gas giant Santos’s proposed Narrabri gas field. As one landholder, David Chadwick, said: the pipeline was the “head of the snake” and if allowed to proceed would provide the infrastructure to convey the gas to Sydney or internationally and provide the political pressure to develop about 850 gas wells near Narrabri, with a view to hundreds more across the Liverpool Plains and associated areas.” [Tony Windsor, former  independent member for the federal seat of New England]

The Saturday Paper, 9-15 December 2017:

Last week I was working with my son Andrew on our farm 25 kilometres north of Coonamble when he received a message that there were trespassers on the neighbouring farm. A digital alert system had been put in place for such an event.

Within minutes, farm vehicles from all the neighbours converged on the scene. Others moved in on the trespassers from the eastern side and in a pincer movement the trespassers became trapped and unable to gain access to their vehicles.

By this time, about 100 agitated and concerned farmers, their employees and families were there to express their disgust at what had just occurred. The police had also arrived.
It was ascertained that these trespassers were not your everyday illegal pig hunters or bushwalkers. But they were no less illegal and in breach of the law.

These trespassers were eventually allowed to leave after the police took their details. They proceeded to another small town called Warren, more than 100 kilometres away, where they were observed acting strangely.

The next day, they were followed on the ground by vehicle and in the air by aircraft and again they invaded private lands without appropriate authority and were hunted off. They returned to Coonamble to complain to police about being harassed, and then they left the district.

The trespassers were dressed in new clothes, trying to look like ecological scientists but without any identification. They had a security officer with them.

The question is why? Why would these people climb over a gate to gain access to the property when on that gate was a sign warning about biosecurity, with the farmer’s mobile phone number on the sign? Why wasn’t contact made? Why were they behaving like this?

It has often been said there will be wars over water. In its own way, the scene I was watching was a skirmish in what has the potential to become a war and rewrite the politics of water, land use and energy in this country. It was also an insight into how threatened the farm community felt and demonstrated how it would be difficult to fight these farmers’ guerilla tactics. It was a warning they were serious players.

It also occurred to me that most people in our major cities would not necessarily understand why a small community would mobilise itself so quickly at an apparent breach of their rights.

This article is an attempt to explain some of the detail and policy clashes that will evolve over the coming year, on the Liverpool Plains, on the plain country west of the Pilliga, and around the Adani coalmine in Queensland.

Read the full article here.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Is the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government moving against Clarence River communities?



According to the state-owned corporation Port Authority of New South Wales, during the 2017-18 cruise season which commenced in October, international cruise ships will be visiting Sydney, Newcastle, Port Kembla and Eden.

On its website the Authority proudly announced an expectation of a bumper season – as other parts of the world buckle under the weight of the cruise ship industry’s agenda and start to say ‘no more’.

When cautionary tales like this are appearing…..

Traveller.com.au, 20 November 2017:

Venice is planning to divert massive cruise liners. Barcelona has cracked down on apartment rentals.

Both are at the forefront of efforts to get a grip on "overtourism", a phenomenon that is disrupting communities, imperiling cherished buildings and harming the experience of travellers and local residents alike……

The backlash has even given rise to slogans such as "Tourists go home" and "Tourists are terrorists".

"This is a wake-up call," Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the United Nations' World Tourism Organisation, told tourism ministers and industry executives last week at the World Travel Market in London.

Meanwhile Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (USA) and Carnival Corporation (USA) – the biggest cruise lines operating in Australian waters – are moving some of their passenger ships off the NSW list of scheduled stops and berthing then in Melbourne, Brisbane, Singapore and China.

The cruise ship industry goes where its rapacious business model can be utilised most effectively and Australia has been the flavour of the month for a few seasons now, even if Sydney is losing its sheen.

Before this latest Martin Place brain snap Port of Yamba was the only open port in New South Wales that had not been targeted by cruise lines as a destination port. Perhaps in part because they realise that a barrier estuary – where the barrier is the remains of a once living indigenous woman turned to stone - and multiple deck cruise ships are as compatible as oil and water.

Now the NSW Berejiklian Government and, particularly the NSW National Party, want to include this small regional estuarine port in grand plans for increasing cruise ship traffic in the state. Even though, according to Cruise Lines International Association Australasia, by 2016 New South Wales had captured around 58 per cent of the total Australian cruise market annual dollar spend - that's not enough for those greedy politicians down south.

The government tells us these passenger ships will only be “smaller cruise vessels” but it is also considering building an international cruise terminal in the Clarence River estuary.

Now if one goes online and looks at the cruise ships currently operating on the Australian east coast what is immediately obvious is the dearth of "smaller" ocean-going passenger vessels which might enter the Clarence River safely.

There aren’t enough of them to bring the economic benefit NSW Minister for Maritime, Roads and Freight and MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey implies would flow into the Lower Clarence River along with these ships.

Currently the NSW Dept. of Transport is sending a React Future Transport 2058 van all over the state selling the Draft Future Transport Strategy 2058 and asking people to tell those manning this van what they would like to see happen with regard to local transport needs.

The van came to Grafton in the hinterland of the Clarence Valley on 27 November 2017 wanting to hear opinions on trains, buses, roads, cycleways and air travel, but carefully avoided mention of sea transport, cruise ships or a cruise terminal unless a local specifically asked.

This van is never coming to the Clarence Coast - residents will never see it in Maclean, Iluka or Yamba. Their opinions are being deliberately limited in this faux consultation.

So what is going on here?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the idea being canvassed by the Berejiklian Government that all three NSW designated regional ports should ideally be multi-purpose ports which include cargo shipping, cruise ships and naval facilities.

The state government's push to establish the cruise ship industry in the Clarence River estuary looks suspiciously like the first move to bring this about, as inevitably demands will come from the international cruise lines for significant dredging to occur from the river entrance and along main the navigation channel to ship berths.

If such dredging occurs then it is possible the Australian Navy will be encouraged to revisit its strategy for use of smaller coastal ports and, a Sydney-centric NSW Government will begin to insist more freight passes through the port despite the known strong opposition of the wider Clarence Valley community to an industrialised Clarence River estuary.

Now might be the time for Ms. Pavey to consider the possibility that, Oxley being a regional electorate bordering the Clarence electorate, may induce many increasingly concerned people in the Lower Clarence to pack a hamper, get in their car and drive down to Oxley for the day and campaign for whomever of her political rivals takes their fancy during the next state election.

At the very least many are likely to write to local papers in her electorate during the 2019 state election campaign informing them of her actions in Clarence.

These letters could start off by mentioning those troublesome smokestacks at WestConnex, her support of the foreign multinational miner Adani’s plans for a mega coal mine which will inevitably pollute the Great Barrier Reef if it goes ahead,  her failure to support road workers who built a section of the new Pacific Highway for her on zero pay for months (pay they are never likely to see), removing historic Windsor Bridge, the reaction of others to her bizarre transport strategy - before moving on to the mess she is about to make of the Clarence River estuary.

After all the Clarence Valley has a habit of standing up for the aesthetic, environmental, cultural, social and economic values that underpin community in this valley and the wider Northern Rivers region.

Just ask Metgasco, Australian Infrastructure Development or Malcolm Turnbull.

NOTE

The name of the culturally significant reef just outside the mouth of the Clarence River is variously spelt Dirragun and Dirrangun in various books and documents, so both spellings are used interchangeably in North Coast Voices posts.

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?
Seriously.
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 northcoastvoices.blogspot.com 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
President
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

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The American Resistance has many faces and this is just one of them (16)



* The US Fox Nertwork LLC entered a contract to sshow this political advertisement. It has withdrawn this advertisement from Fox News on or about 28 October 2017.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Australian High Court places doubt over constitutionality of anti-protestor laws in New South Wales


In 2014 the Parliament of Tasmania enacted the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Act 2014 also known as the Protestors Act – an act designed to stifle even peaceful protest by individuals and groups concerned about government policy and actions by business or industry.

The Act allowed for fines of up to $10,000 for individuals and up to $100,000 for incorporated bodies, as well as additional fines and/or gaol terms of up to 4 years for further offences.

After the January 2016 arrests in the now destroyed Lapoinya Forest of individuals there for the purpose of raising public and political awareness about the logging of the forest and voicing protest to it, two of those arrested went to the High Court.

This is the result.

Excerpt from the High Court of Australia’s 18 October 2017 judgment in ROBERT JAMES BROWN & ANOR v THE STATE OF TASMANIA:

Question 2
Is the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Act 2014 (Tas), either in its entirety or in its operation in respect of forestry land or business access areas in relation to forestry land, invalid because it impermissibly burdens the implied freedom of political communication contrary to the Commonwealth Constitution?

Answer
Section 6(1), (2), (3) and (4), s 8(1), s 11(1), (2), (6), (7) and (8), s 13 and Pt 4 of the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Act 2014 (Tas) in their operation in respect of forestry land or business access areas in relation to forestry land are invalid because they impermissibly burden the implied freedom of political communication contrary to the Commonwealth Constitution. [my yellow highlighting]

The NSW Government is now considering implications of this judgment with regard to its own Part 4AD-Division 3 anti-protestor provisions in the NSW Crimes Act 1900 which carry a gaol term of 7 years.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 October 2017:

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman is seeking advice from the Solicitor-General about the effect on controversial NSW anti-protest laws of a High Court decision that found similar laws in Tasmania were unconstitutional.

The decision could have ramifications for three protesters facing up to 14 years in jail after becoming the first people charged under laws introduced by the NSW government last year.

Bev Smiles, Stephanie Luke and Bruce Hughes were charged in April with rendering useless a road belonging to a mine and hindering the working of equipment belonging to a mine following a protest at Wilpinjong Coal Mine in the Hunter Valley.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail.


Photo: Western Advocate, 19 April 2017

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.