Sunday, 10 July 2016

Australia Infrastructure Development doesn't know its rivers

The Message from Iluka....


I read with some bewilderment that a “summit” had been held in Casino last week by AID (Australia Infrastructure Development) for the development of a mega port to accommodate massive ships in the Lower Clarence River.

Thought I’d Google here to see what is going on:

This proposal would completely destroy the lower Clarence.

It would appear to be a box ticking exercise as part of a formal application process to government.

Ticking the “community consultation” box.

Community consultation indeed!

This company has completely failed to consult the right communities.

Surely the business people and residents of Iluka, Yamba, Maclean, Grafton and all the smaller villages and islands along the river should have been the target audiences?

One would think the company’s “summit” might have been held in one of the fine clubs that are at Iluka, Yamba, or perhaps Maclean or Grafton, rather than Casino over 100kms away.

And hey, not even the right river! Casino is on the Richmond River. Go figure.

Perhaps AID just had some bad advice about matching the right town/s to the right river.

Or is this just being a tad sneaky? Trying to keep us all in the dark until the paperwork has been lodged.

Or worse still, trying to bluff us and the government that AID conducted extensive “community consultation”.

Either way, there will be huge opposition to this MEGA PORT proposal if it is ever considered.

Tony Belton, Iluka

The Message from Grafton....

The Daily Examiner, Letter to the Editor, 8 Jul 2016:

Ugly transformation

THE Yamba Port and Rail proposal first raised its ugly head three or four years ago, and now the promoters, Australian Infrastructure Developments, and Deakin Capital Pty Ltd, are ramping up the pressure, promoting their multi billion dollar, 36sqkm obscenity, which would completely transform the lower Clarence into an export port facility to rival Newcastle.

Gone would be the fishing, sugar and tourist industries that are the current economic drivers, replaced by heavy industry and its associated noise, air and water pollution, as huge freighters, tankers, and container ships, spewing their poisonous bilge sludge into the river as they go, replace the current pleasure craft and fishing vessels.

Gone would be the quiet relaxing retirement destination described in a series of Government development strategies over the past 20 years, as coastal villages of Iluka, and Harwood, along with communities on Palmers Island and elsewhere, are decimated to allow for the widening and dredging of the river estuary, to four times the current depth.

Gone would be the culturally significant Dirrangun Reef, sacred to the Yaegl people, as part of that massive dredging.

Gone would be the supposedly protected significant agricultural land on the delta, replaced by endless kilometres of wharfs and warehouses, and massive holding pens for the proposed live cattle export, their stench wafting over the urban centres of Yamba and Maclean.

And don't forget border security, with the proponents making provision for a naval base that, in the event of conflict, could see the area become an enemy target.

There are of course the obvious obstacles to such a scheme; the sacred reef, the unstable delta soils which will collapse into the river as a result of the dredging.

There are regular floods that will require mountains of fill to raise the entire project area above flood level, a barrier that is bound to divert those flood waters across Yamba, causing even worse flooding there.

Then there is the added problem of climate change and rising sea levels. Even a modest .75 of a metre within 80 years will see most of the land proposed for the industrial complex inundated at high tide, a situation that will worsen even further with the passage of time.

It's hard to take such a proposal seriously, but over the years we have heard reports that politicians, state and federal, various northern NSW councils, including some of our local councillors, meeting with the scheme's proponents. The Northern Star's report featuring a happy Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, with arms around the proponents smiling for the cameras, adds a worrying dimension to this abhorrent proposal.

It's time for our leaders to come clean, tell us exactly what has, and is still being discussed behind closed doors, and if this proposal is pie in the sky, then to inform the proponents of that fact, and tell them to back off and put their foreign investment into something useful, like renewable energy.

John Edwards, South Grafton

The Message from Yamba....

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