Friday, 17 June 2016

Euen's 'Eastgate Port' exposed

The call went out to protect the Clarence River and its communities.....

The Daily Examiner, 14 June 2016:

LETTER: 'Eastgate Port' very real in eyes of investors

SIGN OF THE FUTURE? Coal ships loaded with their cargo at Port Waratah, Newcastle.
There are currently ongoing discussions to expand the Port of Yamba on the Clarence River estuary into a super-port.
(AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

THERE has been mention in the media recently of the so-called unsolicited proposal to expand the Port of Yamba into a 'super port'.

The latest version of this proposal has increased the size of port infrastructure so that is covers an estimated 36 sq km of the Clarence River estuary.

That's over 27 per cent of the entire estuary covered with container, liquid and bulk terminals and at least 14 associated shipping berths - operating 24 hours a day for up to 365 days a year.

Individuals associated with this proposal have indicated that the river will have to be deeply dredged to a depth of 18 metres from the mouth to beyond Goodwood Island, the entrance break walls will have to be removed and the reef Dirrangun destroyed, in order to accommodate container and bulk vessels with drafts of up to 16 metres.

A cluster of three small river islands (Turkey, Gourd and Palm) will be removed to create the container terminal and berths on the plan being shown at meetings outside the Clarence Valley and, the company has admitted there will be some foreshore loss in the estuary, although it hasn't said where or how much.

Communities living along the lower Clarence would be well aware of the potential for foreshore erosion and loss of river beaches this proposed port would bring with it, along with air, water, light and noise pollution in the vicinity of the new infrastructure. Even if the company is careful not to specifically mention these issues in public.

Now our elected representatives at local, state and federal government level have been telling people that this unsolicited proposal is pie in the sky and will never happen.

However, a company was created to specifically drive this bid to acquire the right to reconfigure the port and obtain a lease to run the new port as a civil corporation and, this company also created a subsidiary registered in Hong Kong.

Presumably this subsidiary will hold the income expected from the 35 per cent shareholding the company believes it will have in the second corporation eventually created to lease the port from the NSW Government.

According to Australian Securities & Investment Commission records the company has issued 494 million shares and over 461 million of these are classed as "not beneficially held". That is they are held on behalf of unnamed individuals, trusts and/or companies.

Representatives and supporters of this company have approached numerous councils, including Clarence Valley Council, to discuss its plan to build an extensive new rail system to ship everything from bauxite, rutile and petro-chemicals through to grain and live cattle from this new industrial port.

It has contacted companies in mainland China to inform them of its plans and its CEO has stated that if the Australian Government gives approval for this port expansion then Chinese money will help fund the project. The sum of $56 billion from Chinese investors was mentioned by one company director with regard to the port and rail system.

The Clarence River, along with its estuary and floodplain, comprise the largest coastal river system in New South Wales and it is home to the commercial fishing fleet working the biggest river and ocean fishery in the state.

The people who live within this system know how special the river is and in the past have spoken out to protect The Mighty Clarence.

This 'super port' plan may not be feasible or advisable given the existing environmental, cultural, social, aesthetic and economic values it will either diminish or destroy, but it continues to be put forward at every opportunity (sometimes promoted by NSW National Party members) and it is perhaps time for concerned Clarence Valley residents and communities to ask their elected representatives to do more than wave away any suggestion that this super port will be considered by government.

It's time to ask them to approach their own parties and get a firm commitment to protect the Clarence River estuary from this form of destructive overdevelopment.

If you want to see what this merry band of white shoe developers have planned for their own personal enrichment go to and read about their proposed $12 billion takeover of the Port of Yamba aka Eastgate Port.

Judith M. Melville, Yamba

Stinging attack on Williamson over Port meetings

And China is hearing about it........

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