Showing posts with label Berejiklian Government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Berejiklian Government. Show all posts

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Another thing for NSW voters to remember as they cast their ballot in the 2019 state and federal elections


The Shenhua Group appear to have first approached the NSW O'Farrell Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government in 2011-2012 concerning its plans to mine for coal on the Liverpool Plains, a significant NSW foodbowl. 

This particular state government was the subject of not one but two investigations by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) - Operations Spicer (2014) and Credo (2014). 

After he was found to have misled the independent commission Premier O'Farrell resigned as Premier in April 2014 and as Liberal MP for Ku-ring-gai in March 2015. Similarly the then NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for the Central Coast, Special Minister of State and Liberal MP for Terrigal Chris Hartcher resigned as government minister in December 2013 after he was named in ICAC hearings and left the parliament in March 2015.

On 28 January 2015 the NSW Minister for Planning and Liberal MP for Goulburn Pru Goward granted development consent for a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned Shenhua Group, Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Ltd, to create and operate an open cut mine on the Liverpool Plains. 

On 4 July 2015 then Australian Minister for the Environment and Liberal MP for Flinders Greg Hunt ticked off on the Abbott Government's environmental approval for Shenhua Watermark Coal to proceed with its mining operation.

Glaringly obvious environmental risks associated with large-scale mining in the region and vocal local community opposition had led to a downsizing of the potential mine site, for which the  NSW Berejiklian Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government paid the Shenhua Group $262 million in compensation.
ABC News, 31 July 2015, projected new mine boundaries

However, in July 2018 the Berejiklian Government renewed Shenhua’s mining exploration licence.


Given that on the successive watches of the O'Farrell, Baird and Berejiklian governments instances of mismanagement and/or corrupt conduct in relation to water sustainability, mining leases and the environment have been reported one would think that an abundance of caution would be exercised.

Instead we now learn that that Shenhua Watermark Coal has been allowed to vary development consent conditions for the open cut mine on the edge of the flood plain and, it is looking increasingly like pro coalformer mining industry lawyer, current Australian Minister for the Environment and Liberal MP for Durack, Melissa Price, will wave through these variations on behalf of the Morrison Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government. 

Thereby placing even more pressure on the already stressed surface and underground water resources of the state.

The Liverpool Plains are said to be a significant groundwater source in the New South Wales section of the Murray-Darling Basin.

Lock The Gate Alliance, 8 January 2019:

The NSW Government has allowed mining company Shenhua to alter its development approval for the controversial Watermark open cut coal mine in the Liverpool Plains, near Gunnedah, which will enable work on site to begin without key management plans being approved.

Despite the NSW deal, Shenhua is still not able to commence work under the Federal environmental approval until two important management plans, including the crucial Water Management Plan, have been approved by the Federal Government.

Now local farmers are afraid that the Federal Environment Minister, Melissa Price, may be about to follow the NSW Government lead and vary the approval to allow Shenhua to start pre-construction for their mine without the management plans that were promised.

Liverpool Plains farmer John Hamparsum said, “We’re disgusted that the NSW Government has capitulated to Shenhua yet again, and amended the development consent to let them start pre-construction work without the crucial Water Management Plan in place.

"They have repeatedly stated that the best science would apply to this mine before any work was done, and now they’ve thrown that out the window.

"We’re calling on the Federal Environment Minister, Melissa Price, and New England MP, Barnaby Joyce to now step up and promise that not a sod will be turned on this mine until the full Water Management Plan has been developed and reviewed by independent scientists.

"This mine represents a massive threat to our water resources and our capacity to feed Australia, and if the National Party has any respect for agriculture they need to act now and deliver on their promise that the best science will be applied.

"We won’t accept creeping development of this mine and weakening of the conditions that were put in place to protect our precious groundwater," he said.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said, "It’s been four years since the NSW and Federal Governments approved Shenhua’s Watermark coal mine on the Liverpool Plains and there are still no management plans in place.

"Instead of upholding the conditions of Shenhua’s approval, the NSW Government has watered them down so that Shenhua can start work without these crucial plans in place.

"The community has a long memory and will not accept Governments changing the rules to the benefit of foreign-owned mining giants over local farmers," she said.

The former Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, made a strong commitment that a Water Management Plan for the project would not be approved unless the Independent Expert Scientific Committee was satisfied with it.

The amended NSW approval can be accessed here.

A legal perspective on the issues surrounding water management by Dr Emma Carmody, Senior Policy and Law Reform Solicitor, EDO NSW and Legal Advisor, Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, is included in the December 2018 issue of Law Society Journal,  Managing our scarce water resources: recent developments in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The bad news for NSW North Coast regional communities just never ends


According to the Berejiklian Coalition Government’s Transport for NSW  website: The Community Transport Program (CTP) assists individuals who are transport disadvantaged owing to physical, social, cultural and / or geographic factors.  Individuals who do not qualify for other support programs may be eligible for community transport. CTP is funded by the NSW Government and aims to address transport disadvantage at the local level via community transport organisations.

In the Clarence Valley medical specialist services are rather thin on the ground and residents are frequently referred to medical practices and hospital clinics hundreds of miles away.

For communities in the Lower Clarence where a high percentage of the population are elderly people on low incomes this can frequently present a transport problem, as often there is no family member living close by to assist or the person’s peer friendship group doesn’t include anyone capable of driving long distances.

Community transport has been the only option for a good many people.

Until now…..

The Daily Examiner, 8 January 2019, p.3:

The thought of paying $200 for a trip to see her specialist about her medical condition made Yamba pensioner Gloria George glad she was sitting down when she made the call.

The 80-year-old said when she contacted Clarence Community Transport and was told the price to be taken by car to the Gold Coast for a Wednesday appointment, it could have brought on a heart attack.

Mrs George said CCT told her there was a bus service to the Gold Coast that ran on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for $70.

“My appointment was on Tuesday and the clinic I was booked into was not available on the other days,” she said.

“They said they had made cutbacks and the price to be driven to the appointment was $200.

“I’ve got a bad heart problem and I nearly fell over when they told me.
“Who can afford $200 to go to an appointment?”

Mrs George said she still has a licence, but would not feel safe driving to her appointment.

“I think I’ll be able to get a friend to drive me there and take me home again. I hope so,” she said.

The manager of CCT, Warwick Foster, said the price rise for services had come in when the government cut $250,000 from CCT’s funding when the NDIS came in last year.

“We could no longer afford to operate the bus five days a week,” he said. “And we can’t afford to drive people to appointments for the same fee we charge for the bus service.”

Mr Foster said the government subsidy for transport of $31 a trip created a juggling act for CCT to afford its services.

“Each trip, no matter the distance, is subsidised at $31,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter if the trip is across town or to Brisbane, the subsidy is the same....


Saturday, 24 November 2018

Tweets of the Week


Thursday, 22 November 2018

Update on attempt by water raiders from the Murray-Darling Basin to get NSW Government agreement to dam and divert water from the Clarence River system


The NSW Legislative Council Industry and Transport Committee Inquiry report would not go so far as to recommend damming and diverting water from the Clarence River catchment and, the Berejiklian Government would only go as far as "noting' the fallback position held by the water raiders from the Murray-Darling Basin.


Recommendation 40

That the NSW Government consider establishing a stormwater and/or flood harvesting pilot program for flood mitigation in the Northern Rivers.

6.89 The committee heard evidence from some inquiry participants that there may be potential benefits of diverting the Clarence River to the west. These inquiry participants were of the view that there is merit to any strategy that seeks to mitigate floods and flood damage in the Clarence Valley and provide additional water for agriculture in the Barwon region. The committee acknowledges that stakeholders were divided on the issue of water diversion. However, some inquiry participants held strong views against diverting waters from the Clarence River to the west.

 6.90 We also acknowledge the work of local councils in undertaking repair work for public assets and infrastructure and the strain that such labour has on council resources, finances and staff. The committee acknowledges that stakeholders called for the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements to undergo a review in order to compensate for council resources and staff, the committee supports this idea and recommends the NSW Government pursue this through the Council of Australian Governments.



Expect this issue to be revisted by the Coalition Government if it wins the March 2019 NSW state election.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Whitehaven Coal’s Vickery mine extension community consultation has farmers up in arms

Whitehaven Coal Vickery Forest coal mining operation, 2018


Maules Creek section of coal mining operation, 2018

Whitehaven Coal Limited is seeking planning permission to extend its existing mining infrastructure footprint approx. 22kms north of Gunnedah in north-west NSW, by adding a coal processing hub with an on site coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP), train load-out facility and rail spur line to service its open cut mines at Tarrawonga, Rocglen and Werris Creek.

Quite naturally local rural communities are concerned…….

The Northern Daily Leader, 5 October 2018:

The Greens have condemned NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and called his decision to ignore the plea of drought-stricken farmers “the height of arrogance”.

The spraying follows comments Mr Roberts made to The Leader yesterday, where he referred to the 4000-page Vickery coal mine extension report as a “relatively short document”, as he knocked back the request of farmers for more time to read the submission.

Farmers say they are struggling to find time to read and understand the massive document, let alone write a response to it, when they are hand feeding cattle.
Greens resource spokesman Jeremy Buckingham wrote to Mr Roberts in September, seeking to extend the public consultation time from 42 days to 90 days, however is yet to receive a response.

“Minister Anthony Roberts has displayed the height of arrogance in ignoring local farmers and communities and failing to give them a fair chance of responding to a 4000-page document on Vickery coal mine,” Mr Buckingham said.

“Minister Roberts has failed to acknowledge that many local folks are flat out keeping their livestock and farms alive in drought conditions.

“Local farmers and community members have asked for an reasonable extension of time to read thousands of pages of documents and make a considered response, but the Minister won’t listen.

“What does the NSW Government have to hide on this Vickery coal mine proposal?”...

Sunday, 2 September 2018

PACIFIC HIGHWAY UPGRADE: Time for the NSW MP for Clarence and Federal MP for Page to front their respective ministers and insist this cost-shifting onto local ratepayers does not occur


Clarence Valley Council, media release, 27 August 2018:

Mayor: Jim Simmons LOCKED BAG 23 GRAFTON NSW 2460
General Manager: Ashley Lindsay Telephone: (02) 6643 0200
Fax: (02) 6642 7647

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 27, 2018

Some highway concerns remain for Clarence Valley Council

Clarence Valley Mayor, Jim Simmons, talks with Ulmarra residents today about their concerns about some of the arrangements that will be in place when the new highway opens.

THE Clarence Valley Council will call on the State and Federal governments to address a range of serious safety, access and cost issues related to the construction of the new Pacific Highway.

Council last week agreed to lobby the Deputy Prime Minister (as Minister For Infrastructure and Transport); the Federal Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government; the Member for Page; the NSW Premier; the NSW Minister for Roads; the NSW Minister for Local Government, and; the Member for Clarence in order to have some proposed arrangements relating to the new highway addressed.

Councillors were told there was a planned exit from the new highway at Eight Mile Lane, Glenugie, but it was not designed to cater for B-Doubles. That would mean many B-Doubles wanting to travel into or out of Grafton would have to use the proposed interchange at Tyndale.

Council’s works and civil director, Troy Anderson, said the planned B-Double route to and from Grafton would result in large numbers of B-Doubles travelling along the existing Pacific Highway and through Ulmarra and Tyndale.

“The communities of Tyndale and Ulmarra and all residences in between will still be subjected to significant B-Double movements through their villages,” he said.
“The residents in those areas have expressed concern about safety and noise.”

A further concern was that the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) maintenance of Eight Mile Lane.

“Despite a motorway exit and entry being planned at Eight Mile Lane, there are no plans to change its local road classification, leaving funding for maintenance and any upgrade works up to local ratepayers,” he said.

“From a road safety and capacity perspective, it is recommended this road is upgraded prior to thecompletion of the new Pacific Highway and that required works are funded by RMS not the Clarence Valley community.”

Mr Anderson said that once the new highway was operational, RMS planned to change the classification of the existing highway between Tyndale and Maclean to that of a local road, which would leave Clarence Valley ratepayers responsible for the cost of its maintenance and any upgrades.

“A more logical extension would be to extend the Gwydir Highway through Grafton to Maclean so these two major centres are connected via a State road network,” he said.
“The section of existing highway between Maclean and Tyndale is in poor condition and, being adjacent to the river for most of this section, has significant associated risks.

“A section of the existing highway has previously slipped into the river, causing major disruption and costly repairs. This overhanging burden should not be forced onto ratepayers of the Clarence Valley.

“These matters will create considerable cost shifting to council through necessary road upgrades and increased maintenance.

“In addition, a large number of residents will be still subject to B- Double movements close to their residences and through the villages of Tyndale and Ulmarra.”

A group of Ulmarra residents beside the Pacific Highway as a large semi-trailer passes.

Release ends.



Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Liberals continue to behave badly - Part Four


A Liberal local government councillor and a Berejiklian Government Liberal MP discovered conducting what appears to be some decidedly unparliamentary business by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption during Operation Dasha.

ABC News, 13 July 2018:

New South Wales Government MP Daryl Maguire has resigned from his role as a parliamentary secretary and will now sit on the crossbench after admitting before a corruption inquiry that he sought payment over a property deal.

Mr Maguire stepped aside from the parliamentary Liberal Party after the revelations at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

The corruption watchdog is investigating claims of improper conduct by former Canterbury City councillors Michael Hawatt and Pierre Azzi and today heard a tapped phone call between Mr Hawatt and Mr Maguire.

Mr Maguire, the Liberal MP for Wagga Wagga, told the ICAC he pursued Mr Hawatt on behalf of Chinese "friends" from the company Country Garden who he was trying to help get established in Australia.

'3pc is better, if you know what I'm talking about'

In a phone conversation played before the inquiry from May 2016, Mr Maguire said his friends were "mega big with mega money" and wanted to invest in as many as 30 development-approved properties.

Mr Hawatt suggested a $48 million project on Canterbury Road in Canterbury.
In the phone call, Mr Maguire asks Mr Hawatt what his margin is on the property.
Mr Hawatt replies that his margin is 1.5 per cent.

"1.5 per cent divided by two isn't very good," Mr Maguire says.

"Three per cent is a lot better, if you know what I'm talking about."

When questioned by counsel assisting the commission, David Buchanan, Mr Maguire said he had no client or consultant relationship with Country Garden.

But when challenged as to why he was interested in what the margin was on the property, Mr Maguire told the hearing: "It appears I was talking about a dividend."
"Who was the intended person?" Mr Buchanan asked.

"I suspect it was me," Mr Maguire replied.

Daryl Maguire in his electorate.....

The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 February 2018:

Premier Gladys Berejiklian is under pressure to explain why she agreed to meet two publicans with criminal records including for arson and attempted insurance fraud and illegally owning poker machines late last year.

The Premier met in late October to “discuss gaming issues” with three publicans in the Riverina and Wagga Wagga Liberal MP, Daryl Maguire, diaries disclosed by her department last week show.

But two of the men present, Gino Scutti and Nicholas Tinning, had criminal histories, it was revealed in Question Time on Thursday afternoon.

The Premier said she did not recall the meeting or answer questions from Labor about whether she retained confidence in Mr Maguire, who brokered the meeting. Mr Maguire is also the Parliamentary Secretary for counter terrorism and corrections…..

Scutti, the former owner of the Carrathool Family Hotel, was convicted in 2013 of burning down his pub three years earlier….. He was handed a suspended two-year sentence and a good behaviour bond for the charges of damaging a property by fire and publishing false information…..

Tinning, who was also present at the meeting, pleaded guilty last April to illegally possessing five poker machines and parts following an investigation by Liquor and Gaming NSW. He was fined $7500 in the same court.

Tinning is a Wagga-based hotel broker.


Friday, 6 July 2018

A CERTAIN RMS ASPHALT BATCHING PLANT: Open Letter to NSW Premier & Liberal MP for Willoughby, Gladys Berejiklian, as well as Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight & Nationals MP for Oxley, Melinda Pavey


Dear Premier Berejiklian and Minister Pavey,

Communities in the Clarence River estuary are concerned about an aspect of the NSW Government's current Pacific Highway construction planning.

Below are some of those concerns expressed to local newspaper The Daily Examiner with regard to a Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) plan to install a temporary asphalt batching plant at Woombah on the Clarence River flood plain.

The build is scheduled to start this month and the plant will operate for the next two and a half years.

Please note the attitude – local residents are not amused at the high-handed way in which the NSW Government and RMS went about a cursory declaration of intent.

“What they’re not happy about is an asphalt batching plant being built right near their houses, using their only connecting road to the villages”

“We want the highway, and we want the asphalt plant to be somewhere, but we want it to be away from our communities where it won’t impact on our health and safety”

“The plant will add a reported 500 truck moments and 100 car movements per day at peak, or one every minute, and residents are concerned the additional traffic will create safety problems, and a bottleneck at their intersection, which they already describe as “tight” after it was temporarily re-routed. They also cite concerns over possible health affects the dust may cause for nearby residents.”

We have a resident as close as 450 metres from the plant who is suffering from lung cancer….Although Pacific Complete have been made aware of this, since they were first told they have failed to take action to acknowledge her.”

“We live within one kilometre of the plant and we found out two weeks ago by letterbox drop”

“We found out last Wednesday they didn’t tell anyone else. We’ve been around to other residents who are just outside the area and they had no idea the plant was coming at all.”

I also draw your attention to the content of emails coming out of Iluka:

Woombah is surrounded by World Heritage National Park. Within the waterways affected by run off from the proposed asphalt plant is the organic Solum Farm. Woombah Coffee will also be affected. Not to mention the multiple organic gardners who sell at the Yamba Markets and those who grow their own food.

The small community of Woombah and its neighbour Iluka are places that welcome tourists for the natural and clean beauty of the environment. An asphalt plant WILL threaten that. 

In addition, the Esk River at Woombah is fed by many of the creeks and waterways in the bushland where the asphalt plant is proposed. They will be adversely affected, which will flow into the Esk which will flow into the Clarence which will affect the fishing, oyster and prawn industries, on which many make their living. Not to mention the tourist industry that survives because our area offers a clean environment with unpolluted air and water.

This proposal is an outrage. Teven said NO. Woombah says NO as well.​”

“What about our kids on school buses with no seatbelts and the increase in traffic particularly trucks”

“Iluka Naturally, turn off at the asphalt plant, how ironic.”

For my own part I would add to these expressions of concern the fact that the 80ha, NPWS-managed Mororo Creek Nature Reserve is only est. 98 metres from the western end of the southern boundary of the proposed asphalt batching site. 

This protected land parcel is one of the reserves which form part of a forested corridor linking Bundjalung National Park to the east and the protected areas of the Richmond Range to the west. It lies within the boundaries of the Yaegl Local Aboriginal Land Council area, the Clarence Valley Local Government Area and the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority.

The Mororo Creek Reserve conserves areas of endangered swamp sclerophyll forest, coastal saltmarsh, subtropical coastal floodplain forest and swamp oak floodplain forest.

Most importantly, Mororo Creek and several of its tributaries which run through this reserve empty into the Clarence River Estuary less than est. 2km from the proposed asphalt batching site.

Now I have no idea why the NSW Government decided that a brief three-page information sheet and invitation to comment published online at http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/documents/projects/northern-nsw/woolgoolga-to-ballina/w2b-woombah-batch-plant-notification-2018-06.pdf was to be the limit of its community consultation effort or why a similar document was sent at short notice to such a small number of Woombah residents.

I don’t pretend to understand why the information sheet contained just one small image of a section of a Pillar Valley temporary asphalt batching plant with no description of typical batching plant infrastructure and no Woombah site layout plan at all, much less one to scale.

There was not a hint in the information sheet of the range of known issues which can arise during site construction, plant operation and site rehabilitation.

Those residents who were originally invited to comment were supplied with less than rudimentary information on which to assess the desirability of a batching plant on the designated site.

Given that the proposed Woombah asphalt batching plant site is est. 2 to 2.5kms as the crow flies from Clarence River estuary waters which:

(1) are covered by Yaegl Native Title;

(2) at certain points are covered by international treaties, including JAMBA, CAMBA, ROKAMBA;

(3) contain the second largest area of seagrass (83 ha), the largest area of mangroves (765 ha) and the third largest area of saltmarsh (290ha) in the northern rivers region [Williams et al 2006 in Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan 2010];

(4) are part of the largest combined river-ocean fishery in NSW containing high fisheries value marine species; and

(5) are a vital component of regional tourism, 

perhaps Premier Berejiklian and Minister Pavey can answer two vital questions.

1. Is the Woombah asphalt batching plant site above the 100 year flood level for the lower Clarence Valley flood plain?

Because if it is not, then the NSW Government’s cavalier attitude to flood risk management would potentially see toxic waste from asphalt batching flow into the Clarence River estuary during a flood event – including solid waste and any organic solvents/hydrocarbons captured in holding ponds for the life of the plant – along with any nearby excavated plant/road construction materials. After all, extreme flood event height predictions for that general area are 3.5 to 4.5 mAHD.

2. Why on earth was a decision made to site the asphalt batching plant and access road at a point along the Pacific Highway where it would cause the maximum damage to Iluka’s clean, green destination image and vital tourism trade?

When the NSW Government first mooted the Pacific Highway upgrade on the North Coast one of the advantages it canvassed was an increase in tourism numbers due to better road conditions.


Most of these visitors holidayed along the Clarence Coast and Iluka is a strong component of that coastal tourism.

If the NSW Government seriously believes that leaving Woombah-Iluka with only one safe, unimpeded access point for day, weekend and long-stay visitors, the Yamba to Iluka foot passenger only ferry, will not significantly affect tourism numbers over the course of two and a half years, one has to wonder if it bothered to investigate the issue at all before signing off on the proposed plant site.

The effect of siting the asphalt batching plant and access road on the designated site will in all likelihood have the effect of diminishing not growing tourism traffic to Iluka for a period beyond the years it actually takes to complete the Maclean to Devil’s Pulpit section of the highway upgrade, as visitor perception of a holiday area can change when industrial level activity becomes visually prominent.

When it comes to commitment to the community consultation process, the NSW Government obviously hasn’t insisted that Roads and Maritime Services live up to its undertaking to engage with communities to understand their needs and consider these when making decisions.

In fact, looking at satellite images of the site one cannot escape the suspicion that pre-construction ground preparation had already commenced before any information was sent out to selected Woombah residents.

Since news of the asphalt batching plan site reached the Lower Clarence and residents began to approach their local state member, there appears to have been a promise made to hold a "drop-in information session" at an unspecified date.

Having experienced NSW departmental drop-in information sessions, I am well aware that they are of limited value as purveyors of anything other that the meagre degree of information found in the aforementioned three page RMS document and, ineffectual as vehicles for genuine community consultation.

The people of Woombah and Iluka deserve better.  They deserve a formal information night which canvasses all the issues, with representatives from RMS and the Pacific Highway project team prepared to address concerns and answer questions, as well as representatives of both the Premier and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight in attendance as observers.

I’m sure that all residents and business owners in both Woombah and Iluka would appreciate both Premier and Minster taking the time to consider these questions and ensure government genuinely consults with both village communities before considering proceeding with any Roads and Maritime Servces site proposal.

Sincerely,


Clarence  Girl

Monday, 2 July 2018

Yet another 'temporary' asphalt batching plant rears its ugly head - this time at Woombah in the Clarence Valley


It would appear that the Berejiklian Government is about to wish a temporary asphalt batching plant on the Lower Clarence River flood plain.

Running for two and a half years day and night.

Two years of bitumen odour from the holding tanks, lime dust from the silo, diesel fumes from the generator, sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides releasing during productionall wafting on the breeze - along with the never ending rumble of dusty heavy trucks belching exhaust fumes.

Then a cleanup of the toxic waste left behind.

With not even the courtesy of a genuine community consultation.


Australian and NSW Government-RMS, June 2018:

The Australian and NSW governments are jointly funding the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade. Roads and Maritime Services’ Pacific Highway Project Office, Pacific Complete and its contractor partners are working together to deliver the upgrade.

To build the upgrade, the project team will be establishing batch plants along the 155 kilometre route. These sites will have different functions and will support the building of the new road.

The project team is proposing to build a temporary asphalt batch plant at Woombah. The batch plant would be located on the eastern side of the existing highway about 700 metres north of the old Iluka Road turnoff. A map has been provided to show the proposed location of the temporary asphalt batch plant.

This facility would make asphalt for the upgrade between Maclean and Devils Pulpit. Batch plants are facilities where raw materials are brought in, mixed together and then loaded into trucks and transported to site for use.

If approved, we would start building this site in July, with the batch plant operational by mid-August 2018. This site is proposed to be operational for about two and a half years with the land to be rehabilitated after completion in line with the project’s conditions of approval…..

There would be up to 500 heavy vehicle movements and 100 light vehicle movements per day at peak…..

Typically work would be carried out during the project’s approved construction hours which are:
9am -  6pm Monday – Friday
8am – 5pm Saturday

In areas where residents live more than 200 metres from the work area, extended work hours are allowed between 6am and 7am and 6pm and 7pm from Monday to Friday. Additionally, work outside or normal construction hours is also allowed where the impact to residents is predicted to be low, including no greater increase in noise levels than 5 decibels above the existing background noise level. 

The batch plant would need to be operational whenever asphalting work is required on the road. To minimise the impact on the Pacific Highway and ensure the work sites are safe, some of this work would be carried out at night. The temporary batch plant would need to operate at night to support these activities. Residents would be notified in advance of this taking place.

We are seeking your feedback on the proposed building and operation of the temporary asphalt batch plant at Woombah. To have your say, please fill out the attached feedback form by Wednesday 4 July 2018.

You can return it by:


Alternatively, you can provide your feedback over the phone by calling 1800 778 900 (toll free).

Google Earth snapshot of Woombah site and surrounding land, an est. 2.5kms as the crow flies from the Clarence River estuary and est. 1km from residential dwellings.


Woombah batching site boundaries.


The Daily Examiner, Letter to the Editor, 29 June 2018, p. 9:

Iluka Road problems
THE safety of Iluka road users is being put at risk by increasing truck movements to an additional 500 truck and trailers as well as 100 cars per day. That’s an additional truck or car travelling on Iluka road at a rate of one every 50 seconds! A situation that will continue for two and a half years.
The NSW Government has put out a letter seeking feedback on a proposed asphalt batch plant at Woombah for the Pacific Highway Upgrade from Mororo to Devils Pulpit.
However speaking with other locals in the Woombah area I found out quickly that very few residents of Woombah, let alone IIluka have received this letter. It is something that will affect all the 2500 residents of Iluka/Woombah area, as well as tourists and service vehicles. The letter has only just been sent out, but the site is already being prepared. Another case of community consultation and feedback after the fact, and the decision has been made!
The new temporary turn off from Iluka Rd onto the highway is already a difficult and dangerous turn-off because of the short turning lanes, additional turns and give way signs. Along with increased truck movements and road blockages associated with the construction of the Iluka road overpass, the dangers associated with navigating this entrance and exit to Iluka Road has increased.
Now all the traffic for an asphalt batching plant is to also travel on Garretts Lane, coming from the Old Pacific Highway and crossing Iluka Rd onto this new temporary turn-off.
This will cause traffic congestion problems for all Iluka Rd users. It will create further problems entering and exiting the highway. It will increase that danger of motor vehicle collisions and possible injury. We must stand up for the safety of our loved ones, our children, and for the many families who holiday here.
Locating the batching plant where it has its own dedicated access road to the highway, one which could adequately accommodate this large number of truck movements is the only sufficient solution. They should not be placed on busy local roads.
There are several areas, including Mororo Rd, which have already been blocked to public access, which could easily be fitted out for this purpose without endangering people.
Also with the plant being on the Western side of the Pacific Highway, these fully loaded trucks that are all going north will not have to cross the busy Pacific Highway but instead only need to merge with traffic. This would also solve the problem
Davild Wilson, Iluka