Saturday, 25 June 2016

HOLIDAY COAST not TRADE COAST: protesting a plan to industrialise the Clarence River Estuary

Contributed by Clarence Valley resident

The Daily Examiner, 25 June 2016, page 5:

A "POP UP" protest at tomorrow's Yamba Markets could be the start of early and concerted opposition to a proposed mega port for the Clarence River estuary.

The Greens candidate for Page, Kudra Falla-Ricketts, said the successful fight against CSG companies coming into the Clarence Valley showed the value or organising protests early and not allowing the proposals to gain momentum.

"If the proposed redevelopment were ever to proceed it would irreversibly damage the character, economy and environment of the Lower Clarence," Ms Falla-Ricketts said.

"I have been meeting with residents there and their concerns are very real and heartfelt.

"It reminds me of the anguish that the threat of industrial gasfields generated in this region."

Australia Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd and Deakin Capital Pty Ltd are currently lobbying government to allow the construction of a large industrial port in the Clarence River estuary.

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 more than 27% of the entire estuary covered with container, liquid and bulk terminals and at least 14 associated shipping berths - operating 24 hours a day year-round.

"Industrialisation of the Clarence river on this scale would do untold damage to the tourism and fishing industries of the region, damage the riverine and marine environment and potentially open the door to coal and coal seam gas exports and even live cattle exports," Ms Falla-Ricketts said.

"The commercial fishing industry is worth at least $92m annually, and generates over 400 jobs. Tourism is one of the Lower Clarence's greatest economic asset generating $280m annually.

She said the pop-up protest would begin at the markets from 9am.

Ms.Falla-Ricketts also told North Coast Voices:

“Add to this the destruction of the relaxed lifestyle for residents of Yamba, Iluka and beyond and you have an industrialisation proposal that is immensely destructive of our region’s more sustainable industries.

Instead of investing in yesterday’s fossil fuel economy, we should be proud of region’s assets and support our existing sustainable  industries and lifestyles.

The threat of livestock export out of Yamba would also horrify many people and it is also a threat to family farming. The Chinese agricultural companies prefer to buy farms rather than farm produce so this port could also initiate a foreign land grab in the region.

This is another destructive corporate thought bubble that threatens our region. At a time when we should be investing in renewable energy, sustainable fishing, tourism and farming, we are being threatened with this major industrialisation project.

Communities of the lower Clarence and throughout the Page electorate can make their opposition to this proposal clear on July 2 by voting 1 Green then preferencing which ever other candidates can give an assurance they will oppose this destructive plan.”

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