Saturday, 1 October 2016
After five years of wondering if the NSW Government would be mad enough to consider an unsolicited proposal to industrialise the Clarence River estuary by constructing a privatised international mega port built on the back of foreign investment, concerned Clarence Valley native title holders, residents, business owners, commercial fishers and farmers now appear to have an answer.
After a number of local people decided to make their concerns as visible as possible through word of mouth, the creation of a credible Facebook presence, distribution of factual leaflets outlining the proposal, the sale of bumper stickers, a pop-up protest, a science-based information night, writing letters to politicians and lobbying to make the mega port scheme a local issue at both the July 2016 federal election and recent local government election, many more people began to discuss the issue and three things came to pass:
* eight of the nine recently elected Clarence Valley councillors have stated their opposition to the mega port proposal and, both state and federal MPs representing the valley also publicly indicated their lack of support for the scheme;
* the unsolicited proposal is in disarray with Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd having to admit that it cannot progress the proposal due to state government planning policies and strategies relating to NSW ports; and
* the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Duncan Gay, has now stated the following.
This letter expands on a previous letter from Minister Gay to a NSW Greens member of parliament advocating on behalf of yet another concerned local resident.
As the contents of both letters correspond with the view of the Dept. of Premier and Cabinet directly put to a Lower Clarence resident on 17 August 2016, I am hopeful that the proposal for an international mega port in the Clarence River estuary - as envisaged by either Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd or United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd in conjunction with United Land Councils Ltd - will not be considered during the life of this current state parliament.
Once again Clarence Valley communities have demonstrated that when it comes to protecting the Clarence River system on which we all depend; they can act swiftly, with purpose and to effect.