Monday, 27 June 2016

A little bit of local history for Australian Infrastructure Developments, its Queensland backers and potential overseas investors

Since time immemorial there have been people living in the Clarence Valley

Some families have been in this valley for thousands of years, some for over one hundred years and some less than ten years, but they are all part of the same vibrant local communities.

Connection with the Clarence River and its flood plain runs deep in these communities.

Their allegiance has always been Clarence first when the valley needs protection, but do understand they are also part of the bigger Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.

In the 1850’s Clarence Valley residents successfully resisted moves to place the region within the boundaries of the Colony of Queensland by sending petitions to the British Parliament.

Indigenous communities along the Clarence River protected the reef “Dirragun” in the 1950s, from NSW Government plans to remove this important cultural and spiritual site at the river mouth, by speaking up about its importance.

People from the Clarence Valley were involved in the battle of Terania Creek in 1979 and subsequent protests which defeated NSW Wran Government and timber industry plans for extensive logging of native forest in the Terania and Mt. Nardi areas, eventually leading to the creation of the 8,080ha Nightcap National Park which was World Heritage listed in 1986.

In the 1980s Clarence Valley residents helped save the Washpool rainforest.

In 1988-1989 the Clarence Valley successfully opposed the Wran & Greiner governments’ support of the Daishowa proposal to establish a pulp paper mill on the Clarence River.

The Yaegl people of the Clarence Valley launched a native title claim for the Clarence River from Harwood Bridge to the sea in 1996, in part to protect the Clarence River estuary from overdevelopment which would destroy environment and connection to land. Native Title was granted in 2015.

1999 saw the Ross gold mine at Timbarra (in the upper reaches of the Clarence River catchment) permanently closed due to sustained opposition from the northern NSW region, including people in the Clarence Valley.

Along came 2007 and the Clarence Valley saw off the federal Howard Government’s proposal to dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment for the benefit of mines and irrigators in inland New South Wales.

In July 2014 the value we placed on protecting the river systems and ensuring water security for the region helped convinced Labor's Janelle Saffin to co-sponsor an urgency motion at a NSW State Conference calling for a CSG Free Northern Rivers.

By 2015 the valley had also been part of the broad community movement which sent the NSW Baird Government and the coal seam gas industry packing from the Northern Rivers region:

 Photographs contributed

Now the 2016 federal election campaign has rolled around and the Clarence Greens are saying this:

While market goers in Yamba on 26 June were receiving handouts like this flyer:
And taking home this bumper sticker:

The question that Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd, its backers and potential investors in the Yamba industrial port plan, have to ask themselves is this; “Will the Clarence Valley show us the door as well?”

I rather suspect that it will.

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