Showing posts with label Clarence River. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clarence River. Show all posts

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

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.

Saturday, 26 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.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Noble Caledonia Limited changes the 'spin' around its "Australian Coastal Odyssey" cruise and the Port 0f Yamba-Clarence River visit


It seems that Noble Caledonia Limited has decided to downgrade its description of the delights of Iluka and is trying to hide from locals the short amount of time MV Caledonian Sky passengers will be spending on land during the ship's brief stop over.

Spot the difference.

This was a snaphot of Day 16 of the cruise itineray taken on 20 November 2017....




This is a a snaphot of Day 16 of the cruise itineray taken on 20 May 2018....



Monday, 21 May 2018

Water raiders are eyeing the Clarence River - again


In 2007 Clarence Valley communities saw off an Australian prime minister (John Howard) and his water minister (Malcolm Turnbull)  - telling them "Not A Drop".

The issue of inter-basin water transfer became an election issue that year and the National Party lost the seat of Page and the Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government lost the federal election.

Having learnt nothing from the commitment of local people in the Clarence Valley, including traditional owners, once again the water raiders have raised their heads above the parapet.

The Daily Examiner, letter to the Editor, 19 May 2018, p.14:

Clarence diversion

On April 18, 2018, Toowoomba Regional Council in south-east Queensland resolved to submit a motion to the National General Assembly of Local Government in June this year.

This motion calls for the Assembly to amend Resolution 77 (Griffith City Council) which was carried the previous year.

Resolution 77 called on the “Federal Government to carry out a further feasibility study on David Coffey’s “Scheme to Divert Tributaries of the Clarence River to the Murray Darling Basin” to gather up-to-date information for investigation into this scheme”.

The Toowoomba amendment seeks to incorporate a pipeline from the Clarence River to Toowoomba and the Darling Downs region into that request for federal government investigation.

Hot on the heels of this latest push to dam and divert water from the Clarence River system comes the NSW Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 5 “Augmentation of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales” report, released on May 14.

Although informed by Clarence Valley Council that it has resolved six times not to support diversion of the Clarence River, this Upper House report clearly favours damming and diverting water from the Clarence River system.

The wording may have been slightly watered down via a motion by Mick Veitch MLC but it is still of considerable concern: ”Resolution 40 - 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.”

However, the draft version of 6.89 which indicates the extent of support the dam and divert proposal enjoys within this Upper House committee was quite frankly alarming: “The committee notes that there may be potential benefits of diverting the Clarence River to the west.

“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, the committee believes that further investigation into water diversion schemes is warranted to consider their feasibility as a strategy to mitigate floods.

“The committee therefore recommends that the NSW Government investigate the feasibility of water diversion schemes as a flood mitigation tool.”

If these sentiments are echoed by the Berejiklian Coalition Government down in Sydney then Clarence Valley Council, the people of the Clarence Valley and communities whose local economies depend on a healthy Clarence River will have a fight on their hands.

Because the calls from communities and vested interests who have managed to reduce their region’s rivers to a series of mud puddles will grow louder and more insistent over time.

This time around the call is spearheaded by Griffith, Toowoomba and the shadowy lobby group, Australian Water Exploration Company Ltd, which is apparently looking to benefit from any infrastructure spend on a Clarence Valley dam and pipeline.

At the June National Assembly of Local Government they will be speaking to a sympathetic audience. Hopefully Clarence Valley Council is sending a representative to this gathering that will strongly counter their arguments.

Judith M. Melville, Yamba

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Problems with the Murray-Darling Basin plan just keep mounting and the NSW Northern Rivers needs to make sure these problems don't become ours


When it comes to the Murray-Darling Basin river systems there is never any really good news - we go from reports of town water shortages, pictures of permanently dry river beds and allegations of widespread water theft to the possibility of a fundamental legal error in the master plan circa 2012.

The Guardian, 2 May 2018:

One of Australia’s foremost lawyers has issued an extraordinary warning that the Murray-Darling basin plan is likely to be unlawful because the authority overseeing it made a fundamental legal error when it set the original 2,750-gigalitre water recovery target in 2012.

Bret Walker QC, who chairs the South Australian royal commission into the Murray-Darling basin plan, issued the warning in a second issues paper. He also spelled out the far-reaching implications of the plan being unlawful.

Not only does it mean that the original water recovery target of 2,750GL was likely to have been set too low to deliver the environmental goal of the Water Act and could be challenged in court, but it also means that amendments to the plan now being debated by the Senate are likely to be invalid as well.

These include a plan to trim 70GL from the northern basin water recovery targets and a suite of projects, known as the sustainable diversion limit adjustment projects, which would be funded in lieu of recovering 605GL in the southern basin.

Both are being strongly criticised by scientists and environmentalists because they believe that they further undercut the environmental outcomes of the plan. 
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) says it has relied on the best available science in recommending the changes.

The new uncertainty over the validity of the amendments will make it difficult for crossbenchers to support them as the Coalition government has urged.

Walker has provided a roadmap for environmental groups or an individual affected to challenge the plan in court.

At the heart of his advice is his view that the Water Act directs the MDBA to ensure environmental outcomes are achieved when it set the environmentally sustainable level of take (ESLT) from the river system. This is the flipside of setting the water recovery target.

But instead of considering the environmental outcomes only, the MDBA applied a triple bottom line approach, giving equal weight to social and economic impacts of water recovery.

“The MDBA also appears to have approached the word ‘compromise’ in the definition of ESLT in a manner involving compromise between environmental, social and economic outcomes rather than in relation to the concept of ‘endangering’ or ‘putting in danger’ environmental criteria such as key environmental assets, and key ecosystem functions,” the SA royal commission said.

 “The commissioner is inclined to take the view that this approach to the word ‘compromise’ in s4 of the Water Act is not maintainable, or alternatively that he is presently unable to see how it is maintainable,” the paper says.

“There is also evidence that recovering an amount of water for the environment of 2,750GL does not, as a matter of fact, represent an ESLT in accordance with the definition of that term under the Water Act.”

Walker pointed to numerous reports, including a 2011 CSIRO report which said modelling based on a 2,800GL recovery target “does not meet several of the specified hydrological and ecological targets”.

There is also evidence that the MDBA received legal advice on more than one occasion, consistent with the commissioner’s concerns.

The issue of water sustainability in the Murray-Darling Basin affects not just those living in the basin and the economies of the four states this large river system runs through – it also affects the bottom line of the national economy and those east coast regions which will be pressured to dam and divert water to the Basin if its rivers continue to collapse.

One such region is the Northern Rivers of New South Wales and in particular the Clarence River catchment area and the Clarence Valley Local Government Area.

Almost every year for the past two decades there have been calls to dam and divert the Clarence River – either north into south-east Queensland or west over the ranges into the NSW section of the Murray Darling Basin.

The latest call came last month on 18 April from Toowoomba Regional Council in south-east Queensland:



The response came on 24 April via NBN News and it was a firm NO:

However, because communities in the Murray-Darling Basin have for generations refused to face the fact that they are living beyond the limits of long-term water sustainability and successive federal governments have mismanaged water policy and policy implementation, such calls will continue.

These calls for water from other catchments to be piped into the Basin or into SE Queensland are not based on scientific evidence or sound economic principles. 

They are based on an emotional response to fact that politicians and local communities looking at environmental degradation and water shortages on a daily basis are still afraid to admit that they no longer have the amount of river and groundwater needed to maintain their way of life and, are wanting some form of primitive magic to occur.

The Clarence River system is the most attractive first option for those would-be water raiders, but experience has shown the Northern Rivers region that once a formal investigation is announced all our major rivers on the NSW North Coast become vulnerable as the terms of reference are wide.

The next National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) runs from 7-20 June 2018.

If Toowoombah Regional Council’s motion is placed on the assembly agenda it is highly likely that a number of councils in the Murray-Darling Basin will announce their support of the proposal.

Northern Rivers communities need to watch this NGA closely.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Is This The Clarence River Estuary Future If Berejiklian Government Has Its Way? "As the cruise season continues, smoke particles emitted from cruise ship funnels have left people living and working near the port increasingly alarmed"


Well the NSW Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight & Nationals MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey ended the fourth quarter of 2017 in much the same manner as she progressed through the three preceding quarters - she meet with representatives of international cruise lines.

I still didn't see any listed meeting with Yaegl native title representatives or with Clarence Valley Council in her published ministerial diary.

She certainly hasn't met with the communities of Yamba and Iluka which will be most affected by the 24/7 noise and fumes emanating from those cruise ships she is so eager to see make Port of Yamba-Clarence River a regular destination.

This is what happened in Hobart when it opened its doors to such cruise ships........ 


The Mercury, 15 March 2018:

HOBART residents are continuing to suffer the effects of air pollution from visiting cruise ships, says Acting Lord Mayor Ron Christie.

As the cruise season continues, smoke particles emitted from cruise ship funnels have left people living and working near the port increasingly alarmed, Ald Christie said.

“This is a real public health concern,’’ he said.

“I have been taking calls recently, elderly residents… traders… they say they can smell it. One gentleman, says he gets asthma.” Ald Christie said with 59 ships scheduled to visit Hobart by the end of this season, and with greater numbers expected next season, the smoke issue needed to be brought to a head.

The council in September called on the Federal Government to force cruise ships to burn cleaner fuel while in Hobart, which was already a requirement for Sydney Harbour.

Some cruise ships can burn a cheaper low-grade fuel called bunker fuel, which emits sulphur dioxide, while in port.

A ban on fuel containing high levels of sulphur is due to begin in 2020. The State Government’s Environment Protection Authority has been monitoring air quality from an installation at CSIRO since last June.

An EPA statement said an interim report on the cruise ship season’s results would be published by the end of July.

“Monitoring at Hobart Port over this cruise ship season has seen ambient levels of sulphur dioxide well within national and international air quality standards.” the statement said.
A State Government spokesman said imposing fuel regulations on cruise ships before the 2020 ban could cause cruise ships to bypass Tasmania, …..
Alderman Christie said his previous strong support for the promotion of cruise ship visits, was now tempered by pollution concerns…..