Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Time for Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan to do more than shrug his shoulders

The Daily Examiner, Letter to the Editor, 6 July 2016:

Hogan no hero on Yamba mega port proposal

THE Nationals' Kevin Hogan was quoted in a June 26 Daily Examiner article as stating of the Yamba mega port proposal that "it was disappointing this was still an issue. There is absolutely no chance this will ever happen. It's absolute pie-in-the-sky stuff. The project is not feasible and has no support at any level of government."

Fine words which display little understanding of the situation.

For starters, neither the Turnbull or Baird Governments have formally rejected this proposal for the industrialisation of the Port of Yamba as set out by Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd, because the first stage documents are still being prepared for submission to state government according to the company directors.

Then there is the fact that in May this year a Moree local government councillor made a pro-mega port presentation to the Namoi Councils Joint Organisation and, two of the persons present were a regional co-ordinator with the NSW Dept. of Premier and Cabinet, which has the carriage of unsolicited proposals such as this, and the chair of Regional Development Australian Northern Inland.

The end result of that meeting was that Australian Infrastructure Developments was sent a letter inviting it to a joint organisation meeting to further explain its 36 sq. km Eastgate plan for the Clarence River estuary.

As the Baird Government has already privatised three major coastal ports (Newcastle, Port Kembla and Botany) to consortiums which include foreign investors and will be required to sell off more assets in order to receive federal government funding for future public infrastructure under the Asset Recycling Initiative, there is no guarantee that this particular privately funded overdevelopment won't be considered by Macquarie Street.

Finally, there is the matter of the degree of National Party support - examples of this being a NSW National Party member agreeing to be the talking head for a promotional video for the mega port, at least one North Coast Nationals politician being happy to be photographed while being lobbied on export potential by a mega port supporter, and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce allowing the company CEO a photo opportunity to accompany his April 2016 corporate statement in which Mr. Joyce was quoted as saying he could see no impediment to the proposal [being submitted to the NSW Government].

None of this inspires confidence in Mr. Hogan's view that the matter should not concern Lower Clarence.

Concerned residents can let the issue rest when the Baird Government formally announces it has rejected the unsolicited proposal and the Turnbull Government publicly supports that rejection.

Judith M. Melville, Yamba 

On  7 July 2016 Namoi Councils Joint Organisation continued its conversation with the greedy Australian and foreign corporations intent on laying waste to the aesthetic, environmental, social, cultural and economic values of the Clarence River estuary for their on financial benefit.

This is the second time this organisation has listened to a presentation of an expanded proposal which is yet to make it into the first stage of the Dept. of Premier and Cabinet's unsolicited proposal process.

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