Showing posts with label tourism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tourism. Show all posts

Friday, 4 August 2017

Surprise, surprise - those Murray-Darling Basin water raiders have slithered over the horizon once more and are eyeing off the Clarence Valley river system yet again

With so little fanfare that much of  Northern Rivers region missed it, the NSW Berejiklian Government reopened the March 2016 inquiry into augmentation of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales on 28 May 2017, with Terms of Reference published in July 2017.

This Upper House inquiry is chaired by Robert Brown MLC, from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and its reporting date has been extended to 30 March 2018. 

Current committee membership is as follows:

Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Chair
Mick Veitch MLC, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Chair
Jeremy Buckingham MLC, The Greens
Rick Colless MLC, The Nationals
Scot MacDonald MLC, Liberal Party
Greg Pearce MLC, Liberal Party
Penny Sharpe MLC, Australian Labor Party
Daniel Mookhey MLC, Australian Labor Party
Paul Green MLC, Christian Democratic Party
* Jeremy Buckingham MLC (Greens)is substituting for Dr Mehreen Faruqui MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
* Matthew Mason-Cox MLC (Liberal)  is substituting for Hon Greg Pearce MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
* Paul Green MLC and Penny Sharpe MLC will be participating for the duration of the inquiry.

A poorly advertised public hearing scheduled for 1 August 2017 in Lismore (with details sent to media on 31 July 2017) excluded Northern Rivers residents from giving evidence unless they represented a small number of invited groups.

It appears the committee had also determined that Clarence Valley Council was to be asked its view on diverting Clarence River system flood water.

Given flood water is already diverted to the purpose built Shannon Creek side dam to ensure a sustainable water supply for the est. 125,103 residents (Census 2016) currently living in Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour local government areas, there are no prizes for guessing where any additional water diversion would be allocated.

Yes, that paragon of sustainable water mismanagement - the cluster of councils, industries, irrigators and water traders within the Murray-Darling Basin.

It will come as no surprise that Griffith Council is still pursuing a Clarence River dam and divert scheme. North Coast Voices reported on its obsession in August 2016.

This is what the Griffith City Council Deputy mayor, Dino Zappacosta of Zappacosta Estate Wines in Hanwood, told the inquiry on 1 March 2017:

The issue that my committee, Build More Dams, has looked at is that we need more water because farmers are crying out for more water. We need new water. By "new water", I mean water that is not currently being used at all. We looked at various options, including the Clarence Valley area, where millions and millions of megalitres of water flow out into the sea for what seems to be no real benefit at all for the community of the Clarence region, other than for the natural farming land and the fishery industry there.

It soon became apparent that, appart from the notion of free water at the expense of Clarence Valley communities’ social, cultural, aesthetic, environmental and economic values, Griffith Council knew little about how this dam and divert scheme would work.

The Hon. RICK COLLESS: You have been talking about the Clarence River diversion scheme. Is it correct that that is essentially restricted to the Mann River subcatchment?

Mr ZAPPACOSTA: To the best of my knowledge, it covers most of the tributaries—for example, the Boyd River, the Mann River, the Nymboida River and the Timbarra River. They are highlighted on map 2, which was provided to the Committee.

The Hon. RICK COLLESS: I am a little confused about the way the map reads. It appears as though the water is coming out of the Mann River catchment, which is a subcatchment of the Clarence. The divisions appear to be above the confluence of the Nymboida and the Mann. You recommend a 23 per cent Clarence River diversion, but the question is: What percentage of is that of the Mann River flow and what environmental impact will that have on the Mann River below where it is diverted? We should keep in mind the history of the Snowy River and what has happened there over the past 50 years. Does anybody have any thoughts about that? Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I will have to take on notice exactly how much comes from the Mann River itself.

The Hon. RICK COLLESS: What is the reduction in flow from the sub-catchment rivers below where the water is diverted from them? What environmental impacts will that have on those rivers?

Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I appreciate the question. I think what you are asking is something we should dig into a bit deeper; there should be a study of it, preferably a feasibility study.

The Hon. RICK COLLESS: There needs to be a lot of work done on this, as you would appreciate.

While the Director of Utilities at Griffith City Council stated:

As an engineer I see the great benefits of supporting a scheme such as the Clarence River diversion scheme, not only from a water augmentation point of view. My directorate covers water supply as well as the flooding impacts caused by rainfall run-off. The Clarence River diversion scheme is not only a supply scheme but a flood mitigation solution, as the general manager mentioned. In my research I have referred to the document entitled Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 produced by BMT WBM consultants. They happen to be the same consultants who undertook our flood study and provided our flood mitigation options. They work across the State and they are well versed in flooding, from the Northern Rivers down to our area.

The Clarence River catchment on the far North Coast of New South Wales is one of the largest catchments on the east coast of Australia. It is approximately 20,000 square kilometres. It is above the towns of Grafton, Maclean and Yamba, and it is home to more than 20,000 people. The lower Clarence Valley has a long history of flooding, since settlement in about 1850. Bear with me as I read out the dates of the flooding events. I was just going to say a number, but it has more of an impact when you follow the years of flooding that the area has endured due to the large catchment that sits above it. Floods were recorded in 1863 and 1864. There was a record flood in 1890 in which two people lost their lives and there was extensive damage to the rural area. Further floods occurred in 1921 and 1928. Since 1945 the incidence of major flooding has been much higher, with floods occurring in 1945, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2001, 2009 and 2013.

There is a regular occurrence of extreme flooding in the Northern Rivers catchment, below the Clarence River. Section 4.4 of the Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 acknowledges that "the river flows originating from upstream of Grafton dominate flooding in the Lower Clarence Valley". Diversion of the Clarence River flows for that area towards the west, and the 25 per cent or 23.8 per cent that will be captured, diverted and controlled, will be of great benefit to flood mitigation in the Northern Rivers area. The document further says that it will maximise the investment from the Government not only to help solve water augmentation issues but to reduce the financial and human impacts flooding has in the northern coastal areas. The Clarence River diversion scheme was documented in 1981 by David Coffey and he estimated costings back then. We have done a projection to a present-day cost of approximately $10 billion. There are statistics on the map that I have provided to the Committee.

The Snowy Mountains scheme would have cost $10 billion in present-day money, so there are similar costings in the schemes. The 1,100 gigalitres diverted per annum from the Clarence River has generated $1.82 billion in agriculture. The scheme means that 23.8 per cent of the flows that would be heading down to flood people can be diverted. When you equate the $550 million a year in flood damages with the cost of a diversion scheme, 1,100 gigalitres can generate $1.8 billion a year in agriculture growth. The additional water means that 118,000 hectares of viable open country can be farmed. The offset of diversion and flood protection is that it is beneficial to all. That is where I will leave it.

The public hearing in Griffith was reported thus by The Area News on 2 March 2017:

HIGH-profile Griffith water users and city officials enjoyed a rare opportunity to sit face-to-face with Members of the NSW Upper House on Wednesday to discuss their handling of water….

The Honourable Rick Colless, The Honourable Paul Green, The Honourable Matthew Mason-Cox and The Honourable Penelope Sharpe were on hand to hear the concerns of the community….

Along with wanting to fix the water sharing plans, the other hot topic was the Clarence River Scheme, initially conceptualised by David Coffey in the 1970s.

The plan outlined diverting river flows westward from high rainfall catchments in the Northern Rivers.

According to Griffith City Council, the scheme will benefit lands south of the Dumaresq River while also providing flows into the Murray River, reducing the reliance for Murray-Darling Basin allocations to fill the original allocation to the basin. 

“We have looked at various options and we look at the Clarence Valley area where there are millions of millions of megalitres of water flowing out into the sea for what seems to be for no real benefit,” Councilor Dino Zappacosta said.

Griffith City Council general manager, Brett Stonestreet said it’s time the scheme is looked at again.

“It provides new water to give this state another shot in the arm,” he said.

“It also looks at potentially reducing flooding impact of the coastal communities adjacent to the Clarence by 25 per cent.

“There is a huge amount of money that can be generated and inland communities rediscovered and regenerated through new water.”

Mayor Dal Broi was pleased with how the inquiry was conducted and the feedback from the Senators.

“Some of the questions that were asked by the panel members, we know now what they are thinking,” he said.

“They were very receptive to the concept of new water so whether it's the diversion of the Clarence or lifting the wall on Burrinjuck Dam ... they were very receptive to that because we tried to make the point that the limited resources at the moment.”

“We need new water if our regions are to grow and have a better long-term sustainable allocation.”

Not content with bringing down the largest river system in Australia in order to line their own pockets, these wanabee water raiders just keep on coming after what they see as more 'free' water for the rorting.

Clarence Valley Council gave evidence at the re-opened inquiry on 1 August and the only question of interest to the water raiders came after a few minutes of questioning at Page 26 of the Lismore public hearing transcript:

The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Thank you for your submission. In your submission you talk about this idea of diversion of the Clarence River to west of the Great Dividing Range. Could you give us a bit of a background on that proposal and what your council thinks about it?

Mr ANDERSON: I will start but Mr Mashiah might finish. Our council has resolved six times that they do not support the diversion of the Clarence, and each time that has been unanimous in regard to council's position. That is based on the fact that damage to the environment and the ecological systems that work within the Clarence River emerge from there. 

The CHAIR [Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party]: You probably cannot answer this, but that is an all-encompassing position of council?


The CHAIR : I wonder what the council's position would be on the diversion of floodwaters only.

Mr ANDERSON: Again, Mr Chair, like you said, I cannot answer that question.

The CHAIR: What I am asking you is that I guess the council's resolutions were not burrowed down to that extent to be able to answer that question. We might ask Clarence council for an opinion on that.

The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Are those decisions supported by an independent side to pick advice? How were they derived?

Mr MASHIAH: There was a Healthy Rivers Commission inquiry into the Clarence in I think it was 1999, from memory, and part of the outcome of that commission inquiry was the importance of regular flood events in terms of the fishing industry and also the cane industry. I believe you have representatives from the cane industry here with us later.

The CHAIR: This afternoon, yes.

Mr MASHIAH: And also in terms of fisheries, one of the aspects that Clarence Valley Council has been active in for the past 20 years is trying to manage the floodplain to address issues such as acid runoff.

The CHAIR: Solid sulfate soils.

Mr MASHIAH: As the sulfate soils and particular acids run off. So we have done things like open floodgates and—

The CHAIR: And you should be congratulated.

Mr MASHIAH: Thank you, Mr Chair, for that. I will pass that on to the relevant staff who have been coordinating that. The regular flushing of those areas, which are fish breeding grounds, by floodwaters is very important. So if floods were diverted there are significant concerns from the fishing industry about the ongoing viability of the industry because the grounds where fish breed, according to the studies that have been undertaken, would then be adversely impacted. So that is one of the reasons that the fishing industry has very strongly opposed, through our estuary management committee in particular and through the estuary management plan, any diversion of water and we have tried to ensure that the fish breeding grounds are protected.

The CHAIR: I just made the observation that most of those fish breeding grounds would not be the same areas of land that are subject to high residential development or business or commercial or other aspects. In other words, you are not talking about the township of Grafton itself, you are talking river peripheries, flooded-out areas, for breeding concerns?

Mr MASHIAH: The challenge is that the urban footprint on the lower Clarence floodplain is probably about 1 to 2 per cent of the total surface area and all the urban areas are surrounded by rural areas. So it is very hard to work out how you manage that 1 or 2 per cent without adversely impacting the other 98 per cent, or vice versa, how do you manage the 98 per cent without adversely impacting 1 or 2 per cent of urban area?

The CHAIR: The 2013 flood, you have described it as a major flood, correct?

Mr MASHIAH: It was the flood of record at Grafton.

The CHAIR: I am wondering how the 2013 flood would have enhanced the fishery on the Clarence?

Mr MASHIAH: The main issue with the 2013 flood—I guess with any flood in the Clarence the flood behaviour in the upper river is a lot different to the flood behaviour in the lower river because of the tidal influences in particular and also how wet the floodplain is already. The 2013 event was actually three floods.

The CHAIR: And they rolled up on each other?

Mr MASHIAH: Yes, within a three-week period—quite distinct flood events.

The CHAIR: So it was a prolonged flood.

Mr MASHIAH: It was a prolonged flood and that meant there was significant inundation of back swamp areas, and I understand that there were some areas that effectively were areas that were flushed that had not been flushed in floods probably since 2001, so it is probably 12 years. So from an ecological perspective, talking to our environmental scientists, I understand that it was actually quite beneficial because the bigger floods only get into those areas once every 10 to 20 years.

The CHAIR: Were there any concurrent blackwater events for the fishery?

Mr MASHIAH: Not that I can recall, and I think that is a result of the management measures that have been undertaken on the floodplain because most of the farmers now operate the floodgates and so only shut the floodgates when there is actually a flood coming and open them fairly soon afterwards.

The CHAIR: So it is their responsibility to operate their own floodgates, is it?

Mr MASHIAH: That has been passed on to them, yes.

The CHAIR: Do you have any oversight of that?

Mr ANDERSON: Yes, we do, and we work with those groups and undertake training et cetera . It is a two-way street of communication: they tell us what they need and, vice versa, we provide training associated with that and inductions and operate that through a number of committees et cetera as well.

Evidence was also given by the NSW Professional Fishermen’s Association (commencing Page 38) the NSW Canegrowers Association (commencing Page 45) and the Clarence Environment Centre (commencing Page 56).

One has to wonder why the committee members of this reformed Water Augmentation Inquiry didn't seek the views of those holding Native Title (See Yaegl People #1 Yaegl People #2) over the Clarence River from the waters approximately half-way between Ulmarra and Brushgrove right down to the eastern extremities of the northern and southern breakwater walls at the mouth of the river.

After all they are significant stakeholders in any discussion of water policy and water management in the Clarence River catchment area.

The other matter of note, arising from North Coast Voices somewhat belated discovery that the water raiders were back on the scene, is the suggestion that not all Clarence Valley councillors had forewarning that council staff were appearing before the inquiry on 1 August.

If true this would be a disturbing indication that council administration has retained some of the bad habits it acquired under the former general manager who was handed his hat in March this year.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Which NSW coastal town has "world-class surf, more beaches than you can shake a stick at, friendly, easygoing locals and over 300 days of sunshine a year"?

Aerial photograph found at

Yamba, situated where the Clarence River meets the sea, received some well deserved media attention this week.

It is now a year round go to destination which helps produce tourism statistics like this for the NSW North Coast:

NSW destination preference: regional and Sydney, 2015 vs 2016
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014-March 2015 (n=15,913) and April 2015-March 2016 (n=15,074). Base: Australians 14+

Travellers who’d like to holiday on the NSW North Coast are also a high-value group (27.9% of them spent $200+ per night on their last holiday); just ahead of those with a preference for Sydney Surrounds – North (27.2%). The Murray Riverina (23.3%) is the least likely of the new Destination Networks to be on the radar of big-spending holiday-goers. [Roy Morgan Research, July 2016, Destination NSW: A Regional Perspective], 24 July 2016:


With world-class surf, more beaches than you can shake a stick at, friendly, easygoing locals and over 300 days of sunshine a year, Yamba has understandably been a longtime favourite for surfers in-the-know. However, since Australian Traveller Magazine named it “Australia’s best tourist town” back in 2009, word has quickly started to spread and the former-fishing village is now truly coming into its own.

Yes, it’s still populated by surfboard carrying, wetsuit clad beach bums but amid the salty surfers, the number of both visitors — and city slickers relocating — is increasingly annually and with this increase of stressed urbanites flocking to Yamba for a sea change, a burgeoning food scene has been born.

You can see this in action at Irons and Craig, a cafe where fresh produce rules and everything is made on site, from the bread to the custom-blended coffee.

In contrast to the jam-packed beaches of Byron, Yamba’s 11 pristine stretches of white sand, five of which are close to the town centre, are positively Robinson Crusoe-like and with 16 great surf spots, an empty break is virtually guaranteed.

But for serious surf-hounds, the nearby beachside enclave of Angourie — just 5km down the road — is bona fide surfing Mecca. A National Surfing Reserve — the second site in Australia to be recognised — it remains a fixture on the international surfing map.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Management of Calypso Caravan Park in Yamba changes hands

A number of locals have contacted North Coast Voices asking whether JKT & Sons Pty Ltd lost the tender for management of Calypso Caravan Park at Yamba because Cr. Karen Toms is a vocal critic of Clarence Valley Council when it doesn’t follow proper local government process.

As I haven't been following this matter the only answer I can give is to set out established fact and quote from tender notifications and the official June minutes of council.

RFT16/014 Operation and Management of Calypso Yamba Holiday Park. Tenders for the operation of this caravan park were called on 7 May and closed on 9 June 2016.

Tenders are invited from suitably experienced applicants for the contract operation and management of Calypso Yamba Holiday Park. The initial contract will be for a period of 5 years from 29 August 2016, with the option of a further 3 years plus a further 3 years at the discretion of the Clarence Coast Reserve Trust.
A non-mandatory pre-tender site meeting will be held on Monday 16 May 2016 at 1.00pm. Registration is requested to attend the meeting by contacting Libby Douglas on (02) 6643-0219.
The tender documents can be obtained at no charge by registering and downloading (see option below).
All tender enquiries are to be directed to Julie Schipp, Holiday Parks and Saleyards Officer via (see option below).
Tenders are to be submitted electronically in accordance with the instructions included in the tender documentation by no later than 3:00pm on Thursday 9th June 2016.

Clarence Valley Council quoted the pre-estimate for the tender at $250,000 (inc GST).

Those listed as tendering were:

Valley Pool Services Pty Ltd - M. Irwin (director) PO Box 5119, Glenreagh NSW 2450
CM & PA Easdown Pty Ltd - A. Easdown (director) PO Box 159, Evans Head NSW 2473
JKT & Sons Pty Ltd –J. Tom (director) 14 Harbour St, Yamba NSW 2464, current operator
Belgravia Leisure Pty Ltd - D. Beck (director) 20 Longstaff Rd, Bayswater VIC 3153
Discovery Holiday Parks Pty Ltd - G. Wilckens (director) L2 157 Grenfell St, Adelaide SA 5000
IBA Tourism Asset Management Pty Ltd - C. Carroll (director) L2 15 Lancaster Pl, Majura Park ACT 2609.

On 28 June 2016 the Clarence Valley Council  Ordinary Monthly Meeting listed this item:


The vote was as follows:


That Council as corporate Trust Manager of the Clarence Coast Reserve Trust:
1. accept the tender from CM & PA Easdown Pty Ltd for the management and operation of the Calypso Yamba Holiday Park under RFT16/014 with a retainer of $200,165 (incl. GST) plus commissions to be funded from PJ996780 – Calypso Holiday Park
2. authorise the General Manager to approve any contract variations up to 10% of the contract sum
3. affix the Council seal to any required documentation
4. respond to NTSCORP Ltd as outlined in the Marsdens Law Group letter dated 9 June 2016.
5. The tender price from all tenderers be made public by including them in the Minutes for this item, being:

Tenderer                                                              Tendered Price
Belgravia Leisure Pty Ltd                                   $433,123
CM & PA Easdown Pty Ltd                                $200,165
Discovery Holiday Parks Pty Ltd                      $550,000
IBA Tourism Asset Management Pty Ltd         $420,484
JKT & Sons Pty Ltd                                            $304,600
Valley Pool Services Pty Ltd                             $120,000

Voting recorded as follows:
For: Williamson, Baker, Kingsley, Hughes, Lysaught, Howe
Against: McKenna, Simmons


During the tender process a submission was received from NTSCORP Ltd (NTSCORP) on 3 June 2106, on behalf of the Yaegl Traditional Owners (refer to confidential attachment). Legal advice (confidential attachment) was sought from Council’s lawyers, Mardens Law Group to enable a response to be drafted as a reply. To date the letter from NTSCORP has been acknowledged, however the proposed response supplied by Marsdens dated 9 June 2016 is attached (Confidential Attachment) to this report for consideration by the Trust when considering this tender.

According to ASIC records details of the company managing Calypso Caravan Park from late August 2016 are:
140 423 614
Registration date:
Next review date:
Australian Proprietary Company, Limited By Shares
Locality of registered office:
Australian Securities & Investments Commission

The ABN record for the company lists its current main place of business as Post Code NSW 2473 where the company manages the North Coast Holiday Parks Evans Head* formerly known as Silver Sands Caravan Park. The initial contract expired on 30 June 2016 but presumably was renewed, as the Easdowns are expecting to be resident on site during the upcoming $12 million upgrade to the Evans Head holiday park and community reserve.

I note that the Clarence Valley Council tender vote was not unanimous. As the two councillors who voted against acceptance are both practicing accountants one has to wonder what it was about the bid that gave them pause.

*North Coast Holiday Parks [for NSW CROWN HOLIDAY PARKS TRUST] manage 32 Crown Reserves covering approximately 280 hectares of highly valued sensitive coastal environments. Included within these reserves are 23 holiday parks covering an area of 110 hectares, and approximately 170 hectares of other Crown Reserves consisting of expansive areas of coastal dunes, littoral rainforests, riparian zones and estuarine foreshores. 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Des Euen warned off Yamba by an online supporter

Not that Des Euen needed any hint that many Yamba and Iluka residents would be against the industrialisation of the Clarence River estuary…..

Facebook, 23 June 2016

Mr. Euen is rather sensitive about the few comments on the Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd Facebook page.

He recently removed comments from two Clarence Valley residents (at least one of whom attended the “summit” he organised at Casino on 2 June 2016) but left his accusations of selfishness against individuals living in the region which would be most affected by this highhanded attempt to make his fortune at the expense of so many ordinary people.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

President of the Casino Chamber of Commerce, Luke Bodley, lends his support to proposed environmental vandalism on a large scale

Des Euen and ‘friend’ on the Iluka side of the Clarence River mouth at an unspecified date

There is obviously one born every minute somewhere in the world and on 26 May 2016 it was the turn of the National Party's Luke Bodley of Realo Group Pty Ltd to step into the limelight and be recognised .

Here he is on Facebook promoting a proposal to destroy existing environmental, cultural, social and economic values in the Clarence River estuary:

And who is he doing this promotion for? Why for a $1 shelf company, with no apparent business address (instead using the address of the Minter Group), no listed business phone number and, most importantly,  no local, state or federal government support.

A phantom-like company which states it has had international development funding approved for five inter-related projects est. to cost $42.7 billion in total.

Projects which appear to still be mere sketches on the back of envelopes if this plan for a large industrial port is any indication:

Figure 1 shows a port precinct which covers an est. 27.2 % of the entire Clarence River estuary

According to Mr. Euen the indicative timeline will see Stage 1 of this approx. 36 sq km super-port operational sometime in 2018 - even though not one of the required in-depth reports has been generated to date by AID Australia, no planning application has been submitted yet and no comprehensive surveying undertaken. He laughably states the entire proposed port infrastructure will be completed in around twelve years.

I wonder if Mr. Bodley has ever puzzled over the fact that there is no roar of support emanating from the Clarence Valley for these personal projects of former Queensland truck driver Desmond John Thomas Euen?

Has he thought about why an infrastructure 'plan' that has been hawked around the country for at least the last four to five years has been unable to gain official support in all that time from either local, state or federal governments?

Or wondered why Euen isn't holding his "summit" in the area covered by the lynch-pin in his grandiose plan, the Lower Clarence?

Perhaps this Google Earth snapshot of what the lowest section of the Clarence River estuary looks like today might give him a hint:

What this image shows is a river from the mouth to Harwood which has been held under Native Title since 2015 and an approach to the river partially blocked by a culturally & spiritually significant coffee rock reef which is the indigenous ancestor Dirrangun.

It shows the base for the largest commercial river & offshore fishery in NSW (generating in excess of an est. $92M output and $15.4M annual income) which supports a fleet moored on both the Iluka and Yamba sides of the river and as far up as Maclean.

There are also oyster leases and aquaculture ponds within the estuary.

This snapshot covers part of the range of one of only two river-dwelling dolphin pods on the east coast of Australia and one which successfully co-exists with the tourism-reliant small towns of Yamba, Iluka and Maclean, as well as with the many domestic and international yachts and other pleasure boats which use the lower river.

The green is this image predominately comprises cane farms, extensive national parks, dedicated foreshore nature reserves and one of this country’s few World Heritage areas, a 136 ha remnant of the ancient Gondwanna subtropical rainforests proclaimed by the United Nations in 1986.

In 2006-07 the people of the Clarence Valley successfully fought off a Howard Government proposal to dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment for the benefit of mining, agricultural irrigation and land development interests in the Murray Darling Basin and southern Queensland.

That fight was part of the reason why Australia’s federal government changed in 2007.

As late as 30 May 2016 Nationals MP for Clarence and Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast, Chris Gulapatis, has this to say in response to Euen's scheming:

While even Des Euen himself recently told The Daily Examiner that it is NSW Government policy to direct import-export sea freight to the major ports of Port Jackson, Port Botany, Port Kembla and the Port of Newcastle.


North Coast Voices received this email today:

North Coast Voices Blog - Correction of information required

From: redacted []
Sent: Wednesday, 8 June 2016 1:59 PM
Cc: Darren Perkins
Subject: North Coast Voices Blog - Correction of information required

Good afternoon,

With regard to the below blog link for North Coast Voices, Luke Bodley ceased employment with GNF Real Estate Pty Ltd on the 28th April 2016. We request that the mention of George & Fuhrmann Real Estate be removed from the article.

Darren Perkins
Managing Director

George & Fuhrmann

However Luke Bodley was still listed as part of this real estate company's Casino staff as at 2.28PM on 8 June 2016:

When there is public evidence online that Mr. Bodley is no longer associated with this company the mention will be removed from the body of the post, but the correspondence and comment will remain.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Queensland infrastructure fantasist to hold "summit" on turning the Clarence River estuary into a coal & bauxite loading port

On 2 June 2016 Desmond John Thomas Euen will be holding a “summit” at the Returned Servicemen's Memorial Club in Casino NSW.

This A “Key” Nation Building Infrastructure Plan Summit holds the promise of containing more spin than the federal election campaign.

Readers may recall Mr. Euen (seen left) as that almost compulsive creator of shelf companies - Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd (created 31.08.12), Y.P.R (AUST) Pty Ltd (created 13.03.14), A.I.D (HK) LTD (possibly created in 2015), and N.S.W. Export Logistics Pty Ltd (created 17.03.16) – and the man who wants to turn NSW Far North Coast fishing port and popular holiday destination, Yamba, into a coal port.

Euen appears to have sent out many invitations to attend and has listed the following invitees on various websites:

Local Yagel & Bundjalung Land Council Representatives
Supply Nation (Indigenous Business Development)
Mr Lester Rogers (General Manager of Moree Shire Plains Council)
Tamworth Mayor Mr Col Murray
Mayor Richie Williamson (Clarence Valley Council)
Regional Development Australia RDANI
Regional Development Australia (Mid North Coast NSW)
Liverpool Council South Western Sydney
Australian Rail Association
Australian Industry Group
Riverina Inland Rail Alliance Group.

He has also listed a changing kaleidoscope of presenters/keynote speakers.

Starting with:

Which changed to this:

Des Euen’s grand plans get little media coverage in the Northern Rivers and what it does must give this Queensland fantasist little comfort.

This is an example of the Clarence Valley’s enthusiasm for a coal loading facility in the Clarence River estuary, published on the front page of The Daily Examiner on 27 May 2014:

The idea of establishing the Port of Yamba as the centre of a massive transport hub on the northern NSW coast has surfaced again.
The proposal, labelled the YPR Project, is the brainchild of Desmond John Thomas Euen, the managing director of the $1, one share company Australian Infrastructure Developments.
It aims to create a transport network linking the coalfields in the north-west of the state to an international port in Yamba, all funded by private equity.
The YPR website claims it will be ready to make a big announcement next month.
"YPR (AUST) Pty Ltd is currently in dialog with the relevant departments of both the NSW and Federal Government."
"THE company expects to be in position to submit development plans and financial endorsements by June 2014," it read.
The news has sparked alarm in the conservation movement, with Lock the Gate activists promising to fight any attempts to set up infrastructure for a massive port in the Clarence River estuary.
But an expert in the field believes the "common sense test" rules it out.
Harwood Marine managing director Ross Roberts said he had been following Mr Euen's plans but had spotted some major flaws.
"Anyone can come up with big ideas and put them forward," he said. "But when they do, they have to pass the common sense test.
"The first thing you ask is: who is going to pay for it and then why would you want to do it?"
Mr Roberts said the current economy was contracting, so finding people willing to stump up the amount of money required would be hard.
"The other question is why?" he said. "In 1990 there were 22 ships operating out of the port, now there are none. That has to tell you something."
Mr Roberts, who does marine industry business around the world, said the Clarence estuary contained 100 islands and nowhere on the planet had he seen an attempt to create a huge port in such an area.
"Dealing with floods would be the first worry," he said. "Do they build up all the islands by a metre? Then where does that water go in flood?"
Mr Euen claims to be in talks with Federal and NSW government departments, but these claims seem exaggerated.
Last year Mr Euen met with a senior policy adviser from the office of Duncan Gay, the NSW Minister for Roads and Ports.
The minister's office said a senior staff member met with Mr Euen, who signalled an intention to submit a proposal, but did not receive the ministry's in-principal support.
The Daily Examiner contacted Mr Euen, who said he would be happy to outline the plans at "a mutually convenient time".

A sample of unfavourable comments left under the online article:

Fedup - Junction Hill

NO,NO,NO. In my opinion if this was to go ahead Yamba would be ruined. Maybe Mr Euen should look at why vessels have left the port. It would not have anything to do with siltation would it? Just take a look at what has happened in QLD with their coal loader and the subsequent pollution of the Great Barrier Reef. Who has the money to build this or is he in discussions with the Chinese who are after the CSG and anything else they can get their hands on.

yambaman - Yamba 

Hmm, fantasy indeed, the day this is approved is the day I blow up Oyster Channel bridge!

BigUglyWaz - Waterview Heights

Does anyone really think this is something more than a dream?

Have a look at the YPR website, google a few things and tell me you can see any of this happening, forget the cost involved, and the environmental destruction.

Port of Yamba Depths. "Shipping channel depths are maintained at 4.0 metres"

"..... the deepening of the Suez Canal from 18 m (60ft) to 20 m (66ft) in 2009 permits most capesize vessels to pass through it."

Capesize bulk carriers. "Due to their large dimensions and deep draughts, capesize ships are suitable to serve only large ports with deep water terminals in the world. As a result, they can serve a comparatively small number of ports in the world."

Probably going to need a little dredging to get those to carriers into the Clarence.

Maybe Clive can get onto this, something to spend his billions on after he finishes the Titanic II?

EmmaB – Yamba

Has anyone looked closer at this crazy plan? It can be found at

Mr. Euen is expecting that ships of Post-Panamax and Capesize will come into his proposed port.

Post-Panamax ships are larger than 294,13 m (965 ft) long, 32,31 m (106 ft) wide and have draughts in excess of 12,04 m (39.5 ft).

Capesize ships are very large and ultra large cargo vessels with a capacity over 150,000 DWT. They are categorised under VLCC,ULCC, VLOC and ULOC and can be as large as 400,000 DWT or even more. They serve regions with largest deepwater terminals in the world and are primarily used for transporting coal and iron ore. Because of their giant size, they are suitable to serve only a small number of ports with deepwater terminals.


grippy - Yamba

Just remembered you have the sacred Aboriginal reef at Yambas mouth.
Who will blow that up?

JohnHancocks – Maclean

I won't be parting with any of my savings for such a scheme - nor would I advise anyone else to contribute a cent toward anything connected to it.

Not that Mr. Euen doesn’t have a gift for convincing the gullible, as this excerpt from a Queensland Bauxite Limited 4 March 2016 announcement demonstrates:


I wonder if Queensland Bauxite can hear the laughter coming from south of the QLD-NSW border?

For readers who have never sighted Des Euan's unrealistic and ever expanding grand plan for Goodwood, Chatsworth and Palmers islands, as well as for lands on the Iluka side of the Clarence River estuary and the Mororo district, here it is all neatly laid out:


Facebook Clarence Forum:

John Hagger 

I am told that the plan includes:

The removal of the existing breakwater to open up the river and

Incorporating Chatsworth, Harwood and Gilbert Islands into the Port complex
The apparent goal is to become the biggest Port in Australia.

The claims include:
25% Australian Infrastructure Development shareholding by 1st Nations groups.
Current guarantee of 51.2 Billion Dollars funding.
The support of Clarence Valley Council and other Councils.
That Clarence Valley Council was represented at a recent joint Council meeting in Namoi and voted in favour of the proposal.
Three (3) letters of support from Mayor Richard on CVC letterhead.

Des Euen has promised to send copies of the above claims.
He has also promised that the Port would not be used for Coal or Gas.

To date none of the promised papers have arrived.

Letter from Clarence Valley Council Mayor Richie Williamson to John Hagger posted on Clarence Forum 24 May 2016:

“Dear Mr. Hagger,

Thank you for your email regarding the Australian Infrastructure Development (AID) letter of support and whether it was signed by me.

It seems the letter (which was signed by me in 2011) is being used to grossly misrepresent the truth as the letter is about a different proposal all together. I also draw your attention to the top of the letter, dated 11/2/2011, which thanks Mr Euen for presenting his proposal, which was “The Trans Seaport Eastern Integrated Land Proposal” my recall was that this proposal was about transporting containers via the road network to and from the Port of Yamba from Port Kembla and Brisbane, hence the reference to the Pacific Highway upgrade and other road transport businesses that council had worked with in the past. The letter does not support this proposal, but the larger “transport hub” idea that I know you have also supported in the past.

The letter is in no way supporting the current AID proposal around rail from inland NSW to the Port of Yamba. Any claim by AID of my support is strongly rejected by me; in fact, I have been completely opposed to the rail proposal from the first time I heard of it.

Please see the links below as an example;

I stress Council has given no written letter of support to the present AID proposal and would be, in my view, highly unlikely to provide such a letter.

I also note the claim that; “I and/or a council officer attended a meeting recently in the Namoi district regarding the current AID proposal” is completely untrue and false.

I hope this clarifies this matter.


The original list of invitees to the Euen “summit” posted at Linked in, courtesy of Google Cache on 11 May 2016:

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce MP
The Hon Darren Chester MP the Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Development
Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten MP
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure
 [ this would be an opportune time for both parties to show bipartisan support for private enterprise funded regional and nation building infrastructure development]
Premier of NSW The Hon Mike Baird MP and/or NSW Deputy Premier
NSW Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure Andrew Constance MP
NSW Trade and Investment
Transport for NSW
IA (Infrastructure Australia)
ACTU President Ged Kearney
National Farmers Federation
NSW Farmers Association
Qld Farmers Association
Victorian Farmers Association
Riverina Inland Rail Alliance Group
Namoi Cotton Farmers and other Regional Industry peak bodies as they come to hand.