Thursday, 31 May 2018

Liberals continue to behave badly in 2018 – Part Six, Cash subpoena for 1 August


The Guardian: Michaelia Cash giving evidence before Senate educaion & employment committee, Parlview video, Feb 2018





The Age, 30 May 2018:

The Federal Court has ordered embattled Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash to give evidence in the court case over last year's raids on the headquarters of the Australian Workers Union.

Court documents seen by Fairfax Media show a subpoena has been issued for Senator Cash to attend court on August 1.

The minister has been under pressure over her role in a federal police raid conducted on AWU offices in Melbourne in October, details of which were leaked to the media in advance.

Senator Cash's former staffer David de Garis - who has also been ordered to give evidence - took the blame for tipping off journalists and subsequently resigned.

Senator Cash has said she was unaware of the tip-offs. She was due to appear at a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday but sent the assistant minister Zed Seselja instead….

She previously failed in an attempt to stop subpoenas for communications between her office and the ROC about the raids….

Mr Turnbull has so far stood by his minister.

The people of the Liverpool Plains versus Santos and its irresponsible domestic and international shareholders


Oil and gas mining corporation Santos Limited is currently seeking approval to drill up to 850 natural gas wells on est. 425 sites over 95,000 hectares in the Pilliga Forest region of north-west New South Wales. 

Pilliga Forest is consdered a rare example of intact temperate forest and covers an est. 300,000 hectares sitting atop a recharge area of the Great Artesian Basin.

Santos presents itself as an Australian company, yet two affilated Chinese companys hold over 624 million voting shares in the companyand its top institutional shareholders contain the usual mix of international banks, finance and investment companies2.

In its 2017 annual report Santos admits; A range of environmental risks exist within oil and gas exploration and production activities3

This is the response of the people living on the Liverpool Plains. 


The backyard of New South Wales is facing its biggest threat yet – invasive gasfields. Betrayal by governments has meant protectors are fighting to save the things they love. The Pilliga, Great Artesian Basin, Liverpool Plains – all are at risk. This is a David and Goliath battle to save our land, air and water from destruction. It’s also a fight for the soul and future of Australia. In this film we meet the experts and people living in the sacrifice zone and uncover the truth behind the real gas crisis confronting ordinary Australians.

https://youtu.be/h3h1FxwI1CE

Footnotes
1. As of 27 June 2017 Hony Partners Group, L.P and ENN Ecological Holdings Co Ltd acting in concert
2. At Page 130 https://www.santos.com/media/4319/2017-annual-report.pdf.
3. 15 February 2017 Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection fined Santos  $12,190 for non-compliance with a Soils Management Plan.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Berejiklian Government stacks the deck ahead of next NSW state election


Echo NetDaily, 29 May 2018:

Nationals MLC Ben Franklin has defended new political donation laws after being accused by the Greens of ramming it through last Thursday night and providing only a week for the opposition to digest.

The new rules, say the Greens, will see ‘third party’ groups like unions, GetUp, Sea Shepherd and World Wildlife Fund see their spending caps halved to $500,000.
Additionally the new laws apply to local councils, where some will be able to spend more per voter than others, the party says.

Yet the Electoral Funding Bill 2018 ‘includes some positive measures’, including ‘the definition of prohibited donors, increased transparency and some spending caps in local government election’.

Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith described the new laws as ‘the most undemocratic ever seen in the state’.

‘Community groups like GetUp, Sea Shepherd, World Wildlife Fund and Marriage Equality have had their funding caps slashed while the old parties have given themselves a massive windfall in both money to run elections and money received after elections,’ Ms Smith told The Echo.

‘The Greens have led the charge when it comes to supporting caps on electoral expenditure but we say that if third party environmental and social justice groups have had their spending halved why haven’t political parties?’ she added.

The Guardian, 23 May 2018:

The legislation would cap campaign spending by an advocacy group at $500,000 during the lead-up to an election, down from the current limit of up to $1.288m, which applies to both major political parties and third-party groups.

Major parties would keep the higher cap on communications spending. The caps operate from 1 October in the year before an election until election day.

The 22 LiberalNationals, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers and Christian Democratic 
party members of the NSW Legislative Council voting for NSW Electoral Funding Bill 2018 on 23 May 2018 were as follows:

Amato, L
Blair, N
Borsak, R
Brown, R
Clarke, D
Colless, R
Cusack, C
Fang, W
Farlow, S
Franklin, B
Green, P
Harwin, D
Khan, T
MacDonald, S
Maclaren-Jones, N
Mallard, S
Martin, T
Mason-Cox, M
Mitchell,
Nile, F
Phelps, P
Ward, P

Which resulted in the bill officially passing in both houses of the NSW Parliament on 24 May 2018.

Killing coastal trees is an occupation for individuals with puny minds and shrivelled souls


Clarence Valley Council, media release, May 21, 2018:

Tree vandals hit Yamba again

MULTIPLE trees on the headland between Yamba’s Convent and Pippi beaches are dying in what Clarence Valley Council staff believe is a deliberate and brazen attempt to improve views for nearby residents.

Council’s works and civil director, Troy Anderson, said coastal trees had an important role in protecting headlands and landowners needed to remember they belonged to the community.

“The environment is not theirs to destroy,” he said.
“It belongs to everyone.”

Mr Anderson said about 20 trees had been poisoned in the area over the past six months. They included coastal casuarinas, coastal banksias, pandanus and tuckeroos – all native and endemic to the area.

“In the past two years we have lost between 50 and 100 trees along our coastline.
“We’ve had it happen in Wooli, Diggers Camp, Angourie and twice in Yamba last year – including the site of this latest poisoning.”

He said staff would prepare a report to council recommending a range of actions to mitigate tree vandalism that could include:

managing views for public benefit only at approved locations;

planting species that will enable views to be substantially retained in locations where those views may be enjoyed by the public;

public awareness and education initiatives;

installation of signage at the vandalised area;

installation of view screens or containers at the vandalised area, and
rehabilitation of the vandalised area.

“If people have any evidence of who might be responsible they should report it to council and we will follow it up,” he said.

The sites of where some of the trees have been destroyed.



Trees between Yamba’s Convent and Pippi beaches destroyed by vandals.....





Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Get Up!: Adani is paying for government staff to 'independently' assess Adani's mine.


Rio Tinto's RTM Wakmatha bulk carrier

Get Up!
is currently sending out an interesting email pointing out the close relationship between the Adani Group and government.


Given past behaviour of the Adani Group it is possible that it might also be considering looking to a small business focused, suspected 'greenwashing' front called the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, for assistance in the future.

Given the Turnbull Government's announcement of a $444 million grant gifted to the coal, ore, gas and petroleum export industries as well as bulk carrier fleets operating on the Australian east coast, by way of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

A foundation which classes Rio Tinto's RTFM Wakmatha (a Post Panamax bulk carrier on the Weipa to Gladstone run) as the foundation's research vessel in its so-called mission to save the reef.
https://www.marinetraffic.com
On Monday night 28 May 2018 the 'research' vessel was on the return trip north (destination Gove NT) sailing between the coast and Lizard Island. 

Two oil tankers were also travelling north behind it. 


Get Up! email, 28 May 2018:

Adani is paying for government staff to 'independently' assess Adani's mine.

The corporation has struck a mind-boggling deal that will see Adani pay up to $1.5 million in salaries, housing and vehicle costs for council employees who will directly assess parts of their coal project.1

Adani now has its tendrils deep in every level of our democracy. From local councils, to state governments, right through to our Federal politicians. Adani has infiltrated our democracy in a way that makes objective decision making virtually impossible.

Our Reef is on the brink, and so is our planet. If we're to stop this monstrous coal mine, we have to fight back against the huge influence dirty polluters have over our democracy.

Can you sign our open letter to Australian politicians demanding they get big polluters out of government?

This is only the latest sordid chapter in this country's big book of polluting politics.

From the beginning, there has been a revolving door of operators moving freely between Adani and political offices. Last Queensland election, an Adani lobbyist 'volunteered' to run Labor's election campaign.2

Resources Minister Matt Canavan stacked the board deciding whether or not to give $1 billion to Adani with his pro-coal friends.3 And when that didn't work, Trade Minister Steve Ciobo went out and changed the rules of government funding body EFIC (the Export Finance Insurance Corporation) to allow hundreds of millions in public money to fund projects exactly like Adani's coal mine.4

The fossil fuel industry and their vested interests are rotting our democracy from tip to root. If we are to get the real, urgent change we need, we need to clean them out on every level.

Sign our open letter demanding we get big polluters out of our politics.

It's not just Adani, either.
The Turnbull Government has just announced a plan to 'save the Reef'. Except instead of doing anything about climate change, this plan involves granting $444 million to an obscure group with links to climate-deniers. Their plan? Let "corporate interest help decide the science strategy and funding priorities."5


Yep. Nearly half a billion dollars for climate-deniers to work with big business to solve the problem. What could go wrong?

At the same time, the Government's Energy Security Board put out a call for energy companies to help implement Turnbull's new energy plan. Big polluters could be writing the rules they'll have to follow. Again, what could possibly go wrong?6

It's clear that our politicians, and especially this Turnbull Government, have shown us they are both incapable and unwilling to act on climate while they are dominated by climate deniers, the fossil fuel lobby and big coal donors.

Help get fossil fuels out of our democracy. Sign our open letter now.

It's time for a clean out.

Sam R and Jairaj, for the GetUp team.

References
[1] Adani to pay for Isaac council staff working on Carmichael mine activities, ABC Online, 28 May 2018
[2] Adani lobbyist Cameron ­Milner in Palaszczuk campaign, The Australian, 30 August 2017
[3] Conflicts of interest concerns over $900m Adani loan spark Senate estimates questions, ABC Online, 2 June 2017
[4] Coalition to allow government-backed loans to coalmines as banks hesitant, The Guardian, 11 September 2017
[5] Corporate figures to help decide Great Barrier Reef priorities under $444m grant, Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 2018
[6] Energy Security Board asks companies for staff to deliver National Energy Guarantee, Australian Financial Review, 21 May 2018


GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to contribute to help fund GetUp's work, please donate now! This email was sent to judith.melville@gmail.com. To unsubscribe this email address from GetUp, please click here.
Our team acknowledges that we meet and work on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We wish to pay respect to their Elders - past, present and future - and acknowledge the important role all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within Australia and the GetUp community.
Authorised by Paul Oosting, Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners: "We're on the frontline defending our lands against Adani" and we ask your help


From: Adrian Burragubba - via CommunityRun <info@getup.org.au>
Date: Thu, May 24, 2018 at 5:46 PM
Subject: We're on the frontline defending our lands against Adani
To: [redacted]


This is a message from the leaders of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners. They are the Traditional Owners of the land where mining giant Adani want to build the Carmichael coal mine. Your details haven't been shared with anyone.

Dear [redacted],

We are leaders of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners. We're the people on the frontline defending our ancestral lands in the fight against Adani's destructive coal mine.

Our people have said no four times to a miserly land deal offered by Adani in exchange for the destruction of our homelands. We have been opposing Adani and holding them off since 2012.

Our resistance has nothing to do with dollars. No amount of money or promises from a deceitful corporation can stop us standing strong in defence of Wangan and Jagalingou lands and waters and sacred sites.

But Adani are ruthless. They have used the dirtiest tactics to undermine our right to say no, and manufacture a phony "Indigenous Land Use Agreement".

Right now we're fighting against Adani's shoddy tactics and their sham "agreement" in court. The judge could hand down a decision any day now. But it won't end there.

Can you sign our petition to stand with us against Adani?

We are willing to fight Adani all the way to the High Court to protect our environment and sacred sites. We are working for a positive future for our people on our country. We won't stand by and watch its destruction for coal.

Adani are relentlessly pressuring the Queensland government to clear our Native Title rights out of the way — and as the clock ticks and Adani gets more desperate, it will only intensify.

So we need to show Adani and our Governments that they can't fake or force our consent.

We have never given our consent to Adani to destroy our country, and we never will. Our land is our living law; we are connected to it through our ancestors and our culture. Without it we will cease to exist as a people.

Our people have been leading a courageous fight against a cashed-up mining giant with politicians in its pockets, and top end of town lawyers to argue away its collusion, bad faith and dishonesty.

We're calling time on this. It's time for Adani to walk away.

Sign our petition to tell Adani No means No.

Adani can't keep bullying us, or pretending they have our consent. Consent is written in our hearts and minds, and the truth is we have said no. Time and again.

And we shouldn't have to keep saying it. Adani haven't been able to put money on the table for this project or even say when they'll start digging. They've given nothing to our people, or to the people of Queensland and Australia, except a bunch of false promises. The smart money and honest commentators know Adani's Carmichael mine is going nowhere.

But still our rights are at extreme risk. The Queensland Government could yield to this corrupt polluting corporation and "legally" rip up our Native Title, just so they can say they have their final "approval".

We continue to hold the line and have many tens of thousands of supporters in Australia and around the world, but we need more. We need to build a more powerful movement, standing in solidarity with us, to take on Adani's wealth, political influence and dirty tricks.

Sign our petition to support our fight against Adani.

We are in the fight of our lives. Adani have shown a relentless determination to use unjust legal maneouvres to trample our rights. But this fight is bigger than Adani. It's about the rights that all Aboriginal people have to say no to dirty extractive industries that profit from our traditional homelands. It's about our right under international law to be free from discrimination, and to choose our own economic future.

We have a vision for our people that's sustainable. We want economic independence, and to make a future on our country that is respectful of the land and uplifting for our people. We want to invest in solar energy and other new clean enterprises. We don't want scraps from a corrupt corporation looking to profit from the permanent destruction of our culture, or meagre handouts and low paid dirty jobs that require us to give up our human rights.

When we say No to Adani, we mean No. We hope you'll stand with us.

Support our fight: http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/our-fight/

Adrian Burragubba, cultural leader and senior spokesperson
with Murrawah Johnson, Youth spokesperson
and Linda Bobongie, W&J Council Chairperson

for the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council


Adrian Burragubba

CommunityRun is a new online organisation that lets anyone start, run and win their own campaigns. It receives no political party or government funding and is not affiliated with any political party. To unsubscribe from CommunityRun updates, please visit here or visit http://www.getup.org.au/unsubscribe?cr=true. To unsubscribe from individual CommunityRun campaigns, please visit www.communityrun.org.
Our team acknowledges that we meet and work on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We wish to pay respect to their Elders - past, present and future - and acknowledge the important role all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within Australia and the GetUp community.
Authorised by Paul Oosting, Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Noble Caledonia Limited changes its mind about Port of Yamba-Clarence River?



noble-caledonia.co.uk, 27 May 2017

Noble Caledonia Limited’s “Australian Coastal Odyssey” twenty-two day cruise from 9-31 October 2018 - flying from London to Cairns to Port Moresby, then sailing through the Torres Strait and down the east coast of Australia to berth in Melbourne before returning home on 31 October - is still being advertised online and it just got a lot cheaper.

In an apparent effort to fill cabins aboard the vessel MV Caledonian Sky, the UK-based cruise line is now offering across-the-board discounts of £1,000 per two-person cabin.

There has also been a change in the ship’s itinerary for Day 16 - 24 October this year.

All mention of entry into Port of Yamba-Clarence River was removed from the cruise line's website sometime between 21 and 27 May and, Trial Bay, South West Rocks inserted instead for both its October 2018 “Australian Coastal Odyssey” and October 2019 “Australian Coastal Discovery” east coast cruises.
Caledonian Sky has already booked port berths/moorings in Queensland and Victoria as well as for two of the six official ports along the NSW leg of the 2018 cruise – Port of Newcastle (7am 25 October) and Port of Eden (7am 27 October). There is no published booking for Port of Yamba which requires piloted entry for sea-going ships.

Which has set Lower Clarence residents to wondering about the reasons for this welcome change of plan.

Some think it may be a public relations feint by Noble Caledonia to dampen expression of local concerns and it may yet decide to slip into the Clarence River estuary on or about 24 October this year.

Others point to the level of risk always associated with bringing ships like the 5-deck high, 91 metre long, est. 4,200 gross tonne Caledonian Sky across the entrance bar while avoiding collision with the culturally important Native Title reef “Dirrangun” and, the possibility that the cruise line’s insurance company might not be impressed if that risk were to be realised and it was faced with a second reef maritime incident in less than nineteen months involving the same ship.

Given the protracted negotiations between Noble Caledonia, its insurer and the Indonesian Government over a reported £350 million ‘fine’ incurred when the Caledonian Sky damaged over 18,000 sq. metres of pristine coral reef in the Raja Ampat island chain in March 2017, it is understandable that Noble Caledonia Limited may have reassessed the original “Australian Coastal Odyssey” itinerary and decided it preferred a less problematic short-stay mooring for Day 16.

Office of Environment and Heritage v Clarence Valley Council (2018)


Clarence Valley Local Government Area covers approximately 10,441 square kilometres with nine heritage conservation precincts and official heritage listings as long as your arm.

It processes up to $100.5 million worth of development applications in a financial year.

With so much environmentally sensitive land, so many nature reserves, large swathes of native title, state forests and national parks, ancient cultural sites, unlisted historical burials, heritage buildings/bridges/cemetaries, quarries and a good many planning decisions to make, there is also a possibility that something will go awry.

This entry in the NSW Online Registry - Court Lists indicates that all is not well:

Land and Environment Court, Sydney
Justice T Moore
Office of Environment and Heritage v Clarence Valley Council
Case Number: 2018/00119684
Jurisdiction: Criminal
Class 5 Directions Hearing on 25 May 2018.

According the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website; Proceedings in Class 5 involve summary criminal enforcement proceedings, usually by government authorities prosecuting offences against planning or environmental laws and Class 5 prosecutions are heard by a judge without a jury.

This matter probably began its journey through the court in mid-April 2018 (or perhaps earlier) but it is unlikely council will tell the Clarence Valley electorate what event led to this court case anytime soon, as even a minimum degree of transparency concerning litigation is often missing in action.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Fair Funding Now campaign kicked off in the Page electorate on 23 May 2018


When Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan stated that "our local community was a winner from this year’s budget with money put back into family budgets, the creation of more jobs and a guarantee of the essential services that we depend on as the Government continues to heavily invest in regional infrastructure" and "Our schools will also receive an extra $23.5 billion over the next decade. This means funding per student is increasing by around 50 percent over the decade making sure our children get the education they deserve" he appears to have misjudged the mood of the electorate.

Echo NetDaily, 23 May 2018:

Principals, parents and teachers in the Page electorate will join with community members at the local launches of the Fair Funding Now campaign at Grafton and Sandy Beach today and tomorrow.

The campaign aims to secure fairer funding for public schools and a reversal of the Turnbull Government cuts which will cost local schools over $23 million in 2018 and 2019 alone.

Speakers at the campaign Grafton launch today (Wednesday) will include NSW Teachers Federation president Maurie Mulheron, South Grafton PS principal, Peter South and P&C President Kelly Vickers while principal Dianne Blevin will address the Sandy Beach PS event tomorrow.

Mr Mulheron said: ‘We are running the Fair Funding Now campaign because a fair go for all children is needed now.

‘All children in the Page electorate should have the opportunity to get the highest quality public education.

‘Polling by the union shows the overwhelming majority of voters in 18 key marginal electorates, including Page, believe federal funding for public school is too low and that funding should be increased straight away.

More important than tax cuts

‘Results show school funding will be a key federal election vote decider, with 83 per cent of respondents stating that public school funding is very important or fairly important to how they will vote. 

‘School funding is more important to voters than cutting company tax rates, with 79 per cent of respondents stating that increasing public school funding to the national schooling resource standard is better for Australia’s future than cutting company tax rates.

 ‘If our leaders can’t commit to ensuring every school is at 100 per cent of the resourcing standard, then they should look at every parent and teacher in the eye and explain to them why their children aren’t a priority.

‘We will be active across Australia, through social media, outdoor advertising, and targeted action in 18 marginal Federal seats including door knocking and phone banks.

Essential Research 22 May 2018 polling results suggests that this campaign will gain grass roots favour.

Click on images to enlarge


Perhaps Mr. Hogan should remember the last Nationals Deputy Speaker who held the seat of Page and who also voted blindly followed the  Coalition party line no matter what policy madness was on the table.

His end was less than glorious - facing a mutinous electorate and lacking credibility, he retired ahead of the 2007 federal election, before the could be sacked by voters. 

Another asylum seeker death on Manus Island


There have been three deaths of asylum seekers held in Australian off shore detention in the last nine months - one on Nauru and two on Manus Island - according to Border Crossing Observatory.

This recent death brings the count to four.

UNHCR: The United Nations Refugee Agency, media release, 22 May 2018:

UNHCR Statement
By UNHCR Regional Representation in Canberra  22 May 2018

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is profoundly saddened by the death of a Rohingya refugee on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, today. The tragic loss of yet another vulnerable person under Australian ‘offshore processing’ again underscores the need for proper care and immediate solutions.

“With the passage of too many years and the withdrawal or reduction of essential services, the already critical situation for refugees most in need continues to deteriorate,” said Nai Jit Lam, UNHCR’s Deputy Regional Representative in Canberra. “Australia’s responsibility for those who have sought its protection remains unchanged. Our thoughts and condolences are with the man’s family today.”

UNHCR renews its call for the Government of Australia to take immediate action to provide assistance and solutions, and to avert further harm and tragedy. Comprehensive, intensive support for refugees and asylum-seekers remains desperately needed in both Papua New Guinea and Nauru. The national authorities of both countries lack the means and infrastructure to address growing needs.

UNHCR is continuing to seek further information from the Governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea respectively.

UNHCR Regional Representation in Canberra
UNHCR’s Regional Representation is based in Canberra, and is responsible for the promotion and protection of refugee rights in Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.


The Guardian, 22 May 2018:

A Rohingya refugee has died in a violent motor vehicle incident on Manus Island.

The man was witnessed “coming out of a moving vehicle”, according to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, and suffered “very serious head injuries”.

He died at the scene, the organisation said. “It is not know who else was in the vehicle.”

The man, whose identity is not being released until his family is notified, had a long history of physical and mental illness and had been on Manus for more than five years.

A few years ago he was sent to Australia for medical treatment but was returned, according to the journalist and refugee Behrouz Boochani.

Boochani said the other refugees had been aware of his illness. They were “deeply saddened and horrified at the news of another friend’s death”.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Quotes of the Week


“The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny.” [Journalist Chris Hedges, writing in truthdig, 20 May 2018]

“…it is notable that in the past few weeks I've received close to 1,000 representations from local Greenway residents by email, phone and in person regarding the latest reports of systemic abuse in the live animal trade for sheep.”  [Labor MP for Greenway Michelle Rowland, Hansard,  21 May 2018]

“If you were even peripherally aware of history, you’d know that people subjected to lifelong exploitation, forced into a precarious existence or buried under annually compounding debts will, eventually, wheel guillotines into the town square and start taking names.” [Journalist and former Australian senator Scott Ludlam writing in The Guardian, 25 May 2018]

Tweets of the Week



Note: Cr Keith Williams is deputy mayor of Ballina Shire Council on the NSW Far North Coast.


Friday, 25 May 2018

Patagonia Australia held a "Never Town" conservation activism event at Yamba in May 2018


On Friday 18 May 2018 Patagonia Australia held a “Never Town” film showing and information night on environmental and conservation issues affecting the Clarence Coast.

NEVER TOWN TRAILER from Patagonia Australia on Vimeo.

The evening started with live music and a slide show against the sides of the water tower on Pilot Hill overlooking the Clarence River mouth and ocean at Yamba.

The good-sized crowd that gathered reflected the make-up of the Lower Clarence - retirees, young adults, families with children, along with local business owners and surfing enthusiasts. At least one Clarence Valley councillor was there.

Welcome to country was given by “Fox” Laurie accompanied by DJ Eamens on the didgeridoo.

Judith Melville spoke on some of the issues surrounding the state government’s proposal to designate Port of Yamba-Clarence River an official cruise ship destination and possibly build an international cruise ship terminal.

Dianne Chapman from the Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation spoke of the Yaegl community’s connection to country and commitment to protect Clarence Valley land and waters.

After the film ended a Valley Watch Inc. petition was sent round the audience with this wording:

“We, the undersigned, respectfully call on the Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, Minister Melinda Pavey (Roads, Maritime and Freight) and Minister Andrew Constance (Transport and Infrastructure) to reject any proposals to allow cruise ships to enter the Port of Yamba or Clarence River estuary.

The Clarence River estuary is an integral part of a valuable Clarence Valley tourism sector which contributes over $300 million to the Clarence Valley’s annual income and employs more than 2000 people. To put that at risk for the dubious benefit to be derived from a brief morning visit is unacceptable, given the threats that a 4,000 tonne, 90 metre long cruise ship pose to the estuary, the fishing industry and Yamba/Iluka’s reputation as a clean, green holiday destination, and to the Dirrangun Reef, which is protected under the Native Title Act (1993).”

Anyone wishing to sign this petition can call in at the Valley Watch booth at Yamba River Markets held on the fourth Sunday of every month at Ford Park next to the ferry jetty. 

The next three market days are Sunday 27 May, 24 June and 22 July 2018.