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

Monday, 2 October 2017

Yamba Mega Port Proposal: "This clown just won't take no for an answer"


"This clown just won't take no for an answer" would be a fairly accurate assessment of most Lower Clarence River residents’ opinion of Desmond Euen’s (pictured left) latest attempt to promote his proposal to industrialise the Clarence River estuary by re-creating the Port of Yamba as a mega port.

Having been told repeatedly by local communities that his proposal was unwelcome and, by local government and the NSW Baird Government that the proposal would not be supported/endorsed, he still persists.

In August this year Mr. Euen participated in the following inquiry via the submission process.


On 24 November 2016, the Australian Government announced it will develop a national freight and supply chain strategy (the strategy) to increase the productivity and efficiency of Australia's freight supply chain. The strategy is in response to Infrastructure Australia's Australian Infrastructure Plan.

On 9 March 2017, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, released Terms of Reference PDF: 219 KB  for an inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities (the inquiry).

The Inquiry will inform the development of the strategy and determine how to best lift the productivity and efficiency of Australia's freight supply chain. The inquiry is being led by the Department assisted by Infrastructure Australia and a four member Expert Panel appointed by Minister Chester. On 26 May 2017, the Department released the Discussion Paper for the inquiry, marking the commencement of the public consultation period. Submissions closed on 28 July 2017 and the Department is now analysing the responses, together with comments received from meetings with key stakeholders.

A draft report will be made available for industry and government for comment by December, and the final report provided to the Government by March 2018.

A series of frequently asked questions about the inquiry and the strategy have been prepared to assist you.

The Discussion Paper, working papers prepared for the Inquiry and the submissions (except for those marked ‘in-confidence’) can be accessed below.

Discussion paper PDF: 558 KB 

As Inter-Port Global Pty Ltd he submitted two documents (Submission 27 in above link) – one of which was for Gladstone Strategic Development Area in Queensland and the other for the Port of Yamba on the NSW North Coast.
                               
The 42-page Yamba document was originally created by Euen on 27 July 2017 according to its “Properties” page. It asserts to be a submission originally made to Infrastructure Australia at an earlier date.

Desmond Euen of Unit 1103, 2865 Gold Coast Highway, SURFERS PARADISE QLD 4217 registered Inter-Port Global Pty Ltd on 24 August 2016. To date he is the sole director and shareholder as well as the company secretary.

There were a number of confidential submissions to the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities and it is possible that one of these may be from the group of corporate lawyers, investment companies and property developers behind United Land Councils Ltd and United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd who made a joint submission to the NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No. 6 Inquiry Into Crown Land in August 2016 which included the Yamba mega port proposal .

The Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities is due to hand its report to the COAG Transport and Infrastructure Council sometime before end March 2018.

Friday, 29 September 2017

WA company with Chinese & UK backing announces a desire to mine near, extract water from and potentially pollute Clarence River catchment waters



The Daily Examiner, 29 September 2017, p.1:

JUST 35km north-west of Grafton is a block of private land with the potential to change the face of Clarence Valley’s industry as we know it.

Mt Gilmore, which lies between Fine Flower and The Gorge, has been revealed to be home to several deposits of high-grade cobalt.

Now Western Australia-based company Corazon Mining is trying to work out just how big that deposit is, and whether it’s worth mining.

On June 16 2016, Corazon announced it had secured the right to earn up to 80% of the Mount Gilmore Cobalt-Copper-Gold Project from private company Providence Gold and Minerals Pty Ltd.

Their project tenure included one granted Exploration Licence covering an area of approximately 25km by 15km, and over the past couple of months they have been drilling to in an effort to find precious metals.

Corazon managing director Brett Smith said so far, things were looking good.

“We’ve been saying that this is one of the highest- grade cobalt deposits in Australia, we just don’t know how big it is,” he said. “There was a lot of gold and copper prospecting there back in the late 1800s, early 1900s, and so it’s amazing where it’s located how little modern exploration has gone on there.”

The reason they have their eye on cobalt, rather than gold or copper, is that the element’s value has risen exponentially in recent years due to its use in lithium-ion batteries.

Mr Smith said demand from the battery sector had tripled in the past five years and was projected to double again by 2020.

It is most commonly used in smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles.

“Cobalt is the most expensive raw material used for building lithium-ion batteries, paying about $61,000 per tonne,” Mr Smith said.

“A lot of people have been exploring for cobalt in NSW but are looking at oxide deposits. Ours is a bit different in that it’s a sulphide deposit, and they are fairly rare to be cobalt dominant.

“It’s all in vogue at the moment so we’re pretty hopeful this can be used to produce cobalt salts for batteries.”

Mr Smith said the company was currently on its second drill program, which they hoped could be used to accurately determine the lay of the land.’

Exactly what mining exploration licence is this newspaper article talking about?

Well according to NSW Planning & Environment on 1 September 2017 it is  EL8379 granted to Mt Gilmore Resources Pty Ltd on 23 June 2015.

So who is Corazon  Mining Limited?

The company’s 2016-17 Annual Report states:

Corazon Mining Limited (ASX: CZN) (“the Company” or “Corazon”) is an Australian based company exploring and developing the Lynn Lake Nickel-Copper-Sulphide project in Canada and Mt Gilmore Cobalt-Copper-Gold project in Australia.

It has three main exploration projects -  the Lynn Lake and  Victory projects both in Manitoba Canada and the Mt Gilmore Project in NSW Australia.

This is the corporations current Board of Directors:

Clive Jones, Non-Executive Chairman - 4,235,330 fully paid ordinary shares, 5,000,000 options exercisable at $0.035 expiring 31 March 2020, total annual remuneration $154,607
Brett Smith, Executive Managing Director - 7,107,131 fully paid ordinary shares, 10,000,000 options exercisable at $0.035 expiring 31 March 2020, total annual remuneration $417,250
Adrian Byass, Non-Executive Director - 9,357,370 fully paid ordinary shares, 7,000,000 options exercisable at $0.035 expiring 31 March 2020, total annual remuneration $144,600
Jonathan Downes, Non-Executive Director - 11,154,512 fully paid Ordinary Shares, 5,000,000 options exercisable at $0.035 expiring 31 March 2020, total annual remuneration $190,557
Mark Qiu, Non-Executive Director (appointed 18 August 2017) - 1,269,300 fully paid ordinary shares, total annual remuneration unknown
Robert Orr is company secretary and Chief Financial Officer, shareholding unknown, total annual remuneration $114,360.

The last annual report indicated that the company share structure comprised 1,039,283,317 fully paid ordinary shares held by 2,135 individual shareholders and, 60,000,000 unquoted options are held by 10 individual option holders.


The largest options holders are Brett Smith with 10 million held and Zenix Nominees Pty Ltd with 20 million held.

On 1 December 2016 the Company announced the issue of 3,410,840 shares to key management personnel in lieu of cash-based salary. This strategy was implemented in order to conserve cash reserves for operational expenditure.

Corazon Mining appears to be operating at a loss and apparently paid no tax in 2016-17.

Corazon Mining Limited’s Purchase Agreement for the Mt Gilmore Cobalt-Copper-Gold joint venture project:

Under the terms of the agreement with Providence and subject to Corazon completing due diligence to its sole satisfaction on or before 30 June 2016, Corazon has the exclusive right to earn up to an 80% interest in the Project as follows:

Corazon can earn an initial 51% interest by:
* Issuing Providence 25 million Corazon Mining Limited shares
* Paying cash reimbursements of costs totalling $100,000
* Spending $200,000 on exploration within the first 12 months from the date of satisfaction of all conditions precedent (“Commencement Date).

Corazon can earn a further 29% interest (totalling 80%) by:
* Completing $2M  in exploration within 3 years of the Commencement Date
* Paying $150,000 in cash or shares upon the earlier of the commencement of the third year and Corazon spending a minimum of $500,000 on exploration
* Paying $250,000 in cash or shares upon earning 80% equity in the Project.

Corazon has the opportunity to extend this earn-in period by one year by paying $50,000 in cash or shares.

According to Corazon Mining;

The Project is located only 35km from the major centre of Grafton in north-eastern New South Wales. Project tenure includes one granted Exploration Licence (EL8379 – one year old), covering an area of approximately 25km by 15km……

On 22 August 2017 the Company issued 139,856,665 fully paid ordinary shares at an issue price of $0.014. The share issue was comprised of:
- an issue of 120,000,000 shares to Hanking Australia Investments Pty Ltd under a Subscription Agreement for a $1,680,000 investment in the Company;
- an issue of 7,356,665 to sophisticated investors to raise $102,993; and
- an issue of 12,500,000 shares to Providence Gold and Minerals Pty Ltd pursuant to the Company’s Earn-in Agreement with Providence in respect of the Mt Gilmore Project. Under this Agreement, Corazon has the exclusive right to earn up to an 80% interest in the Project. The shares have a total valuation of $175,000.

On the same date, the Company also issued 85,000,000 options to Hanking Australia Investments Pty Ltd following their investment in the Company. The options were issued with an exercise price of $0.03 and an expiry of 22 August 2019.

On 18 August 2017, Dr Mark Qiu of Hanking Australia Investments Pty Ltd was appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors.

China Hanking Holdings Limited, registered in the Cayman Islands and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, is the parent company of Hanking Australia Investments Pty Ltd.

The second largest shareholder in Corazon Mining Limited is Crescent Nominees Limited, a private equity firm registered in Northern Ireland since 2014 and owned by venture capitalist Crescent Capital NI Limited.

As part of NSW Minerals Week Corazon Mining Limited had a booth at the 14th Sydney Resources Round-Up in May 2017 where interested geologists could view their sulphide core from the 2016 Cobalt Ridge drilling program. 

Area in which the proposed cobalt mine would be situated

Satellite image of Mount Gilmore (height 372m) situated just above the Clarence River system at The Gorge

It doesn’t take a genius to look at this image and see the potential for heavy rain episodes over Mt. Gilmore leading to surface water runoff into Clarence River tributaries.

So the first question is; what happens if Corozon Mining was granted a mining licence by the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government and one or more of its heavy metal contaminated holding ponds were breached during such a rain period? The potential exists for any such breaches to result in long-term contamination of surrounding soils and water courses, as well as higher sediment levels in surface waters.

Heavy metal and metalloid concentrations within stream-estuary sediments already occur naturally in NSW north-eastern coastal rivers and current Clarence River levels are also the result of historic mining in the upper catchment below the Dorrigo Plateau region.

This leads to a second question. Can a river system, which supplies drinking water to est.126,008 residents (Census 2016) along with water to farmers, graziers and commercial fishers in the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour City local government areas, safely tolerate higher heavy metal and metalloid concentrations in that water? Communities relying on the Clarence river system might not be happy with the thought of any increase in localised or overall toxicity.

Given that mining is a thirsty business and water used in its extractive processes has to come from nearby surface/groundwater sources, there is a third question which immediately springs to mind. In the face of increasing impacts from climate change can we afford to have the environmental water flow in the Clarence River system compromised further?

Then there is the question of required associated infrastructure, including transport of ore via trucks and rail – need I say more?

One has to wonder when Clarence Valley Council was going to mention this proposed mining activity to residents and ratepayers because it is highly likely that this mining company or someone acting on its behalf has approached either the Mayor or council administration.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Annual Eastern Freshwater Cod three-month fishing closure of the Mann and Nymboida Rivers and their tributaries is now in effect


The Daily Examiner, 3 August 2017, p.3:

Fishing closure

ANGLERS are reminded the annual three-month fishing closure of the Mann and Nymboida Rivers and their tributaries is now in effect.

The closed waters include the Mann River and all of its tributaries upstream of its junction with the Clarence River; and the Nymboida River and all of its tributaries from its junction with the Mann River upstream to Platypus Flat.

The closure does not apply to notified trout waters.

All fishing in the specified area is prohibited until October 31 to enable the endangered Eastern Freshwater Cod to spawn uninterrupted during its breeding season.

There will be an on-the-spot fine of $500 with maximum penalties of up to $44,000 and/or six months of imprisonment upon prosecution.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Surprise, surprise - those Murray-Darling Basin water raiders have slithered over the horizon once more and are eyeing off the Clarence Valley river system yet again


With so little fanfare that much of  Northern Rivers region missed it, the NSW Berejiklian Government reopened the March 2016 inquiry into augmentation of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales on 28 May 2017, with Terms of Reference published in July 2017.

This Upper House inquiry is chaired by Robert Brown MLC, from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and its reporting date has been extended to 30 March 2018. 

Current committee membership is as follows:

Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Chair
Mick Veitch MLC, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Chair
Jeremy Buckingham MLC, The Greens
Rick Colless MLC, The Nationals
Scot MacDonald MLC, Liberal Party
Greg Pearce MLC, Liberal Party
Penny Sharpe MLC, Australian Labor Party
Daniel Mookhey MLC, Australian Labor Party
Paul Green MLC, Christian Democratic Party
* Jeremy Buckingham MLC (Greens)is substituting for Dr Mehreen Faruqui MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
* Matthew Mason-Cox MLC (Liberal)  is substituting for Hon Greg Pearce MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
* Paul Green MLC and Penny Sharpe MLC will be participating for the duration of the inquiry.

A poorly advertised public hearing scheduled for 1 August 2017 in Lismore (with details sent to media on 31 July 2017) excluded Northern Rivers residents from giving evidence unless they represented a small number of invited groups.

It appears the committee had also determined that Clarence Valley Council was to be asked its view on diverting Clarence River system flood water.

Given flood water is already diverted to the purpose built Shannon Creek side dam to ensure a sustainable water supply for the est. 125,103 residents (Census 2016) currently living in Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour local government areas, there are no prizes for guessing where any additional water diversion would be allocated.

Yes, that paragon of sustainable water mismanagement - the cluster of councils, industries, irrigators and water traders within the Murray-Darling Basin.

It will come as no surprise that Griffith Council is still pursuing a Clarence River dam and divert scheme. North Coast Voices reported on its obsession in August 2016.

This is what the Griffith City Council Deputy mayor, Dino Zappacosta of Zappacosta Estate Wines in Hanwood, told the inquiry on 1 March 2017:

The issue that my committee, Build More Dams, has looked at is that we need more water because farmers are crying out for more water. We need new water. By "new water", I mean water that is not currently being used at all. We looked at various options, including the Clarence Valley area, where millions and millions of megalitres of water flow out into the sea for what seems to be no real benefit at all for the community of the Clarence region, other than for the natural farming land and the fishery industry there.

It soon became apparent that, appart from the notion of free water at the expense of Clarence Valley communities’ social, cultural, aesthetic, environmental and economic values, Griffith Council knew little about how this dam and divert scheme would work.

The Hon. RICK COLLESS: You have been talking about the Clarence River diversion scheme. Is it correct that that is essentially restricted to the Mann River subcatchment?

Mr ZAPPACOSTA: To the best of my knowledge, it covers most of the tributaries—for example, the Boyd River, the Mann River, the Nymboida River and the Timbarra River. They are highlighted on map 2, which was provided to the Committee.

The Hon. RICK COLLESS: I am a little confused about the way the map reads. It appears as though the water is coming out of the Mann River catchment, which is a subcatchment of the Clarence. The divisions appear to be above the confluence of the Nymboida and the Mann. You recommend a 23 per cent Clarence River diversion, but the question is: What percentage of is that of the Mann River flow and what environmental impact will that have on the Mann River below where it is diverted? We should keep in mind the history of the Snowy River and what has happened there over the past 50 years. Does anybody have any thoughts about that? Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I will have to take on notice exactly how much comes from the Mann River itself.

The Hon. RICK COLLESS: What is the reduction in flow from the sub-catchment rivers below where the water is diverted from them? What environmental impacts will that have on those rivers?

Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I appreciate the question. I think what you are asking is something we should dig into a bit deeper; there should be a study of it, preferably a feasibility study.

The Hon. RICK COLLESS: There needs to be a lot of work done on this, as you would appreciate.

While the Director of Utilities at Griffith City Council stated:

As an engineer I see the great benefits of supporting a scheme such as the Clarence River diversion scheme, not only from a water augmentation point of view. My directorate covers water supply as well as the flooding impacts caused by rainfall run-off. The Clarence River diversion scheme is not only a supply scheme but a flood mitigation solution, as the general manager mentioned. In my research I have referred to the document entitled Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 produced by BMT WBM consultants. They happen to be the same consultants who undertook our flood study and provided our flood mitigation options. They work across the State and they are well versed in flooding, from the Northern Rivers down to our area.

The Clarence River catchment on the far North Coast of New South Wales is one of the largest catchments on the east coast of Australia. It is approximately 20,000 square kilometres. It is above the towns of Grafton, Maclean and Yamba, and it is home to more than 20,000 people. The lower Clarence Valley has a long history of flooding, since settlement in about 1850. Bear with me as I read out the dates of the flooding events. I was just going to say a number, but it has more of an impact when you follow the years of flooding that the area has endured due to the large catchment that sits above it. Floods were recorded in 1863 and 1864. There was a record flood in 1890 in which two people lost their lives and there was extensive damage to the rural area. Further floods occurred in 1921 and 1928. Since 1945 the incidence of major flooding has been much higher, with floods occurring in 1945, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2001, 2009 and 2013.

There is a regular occurrence of extreme flooding in the Northern Rivers catchment, below the Clarence River. Section 4.4 of the Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 acknowledges that "the river flows originating from upstream of Grafton dominate flooding in the Lower Clarence Valley". Diversion of the Clarence River flows for that area towards the west, and the 25 per cent or 23.8 per cent that will be captured, diverted and controlled, will be of great benefit to flood mitigation in the Northern Rivers area. The document further says that it will maximise the investment from the Government not only to help solve water augmentation issues but to reduce the financial and human impacts flooding has in the northern coastal areas. The Clarence River diversion scheme was documented in 1981 by David Coffey and he estimated costings back then. We have done a projection to a present-day cost of approximately $10 billion. There are statistics on the map that I have provided to the Committee.

The Snowy Mountains scheme would have cost $10 billion in present-day money, so there are similar costings in the schemes. The 1,100 gigalitres diverted per annum from the Clarence River has generated $1.82 billion in agriculture. The scheme means that 23.8 per cent of the flows that would be heading down to flood people can be diverted. When you equate the $550 million a year in flood damages with the cost of a diversion scheme, 1,100 gigalitres can generate $1.8 billion a year in agriculture growth. The additional water means that 118,000 hectares of viable open country can be farmed. The offset of diversion and flood protection is that it is beneficial to all. That is where I will leave it.

The public hearing in Griffith was reported thus by The Area News on 2 March 2017:

HIGH-profile Griffith water users and city officials enjoyed a rare opportunity to sit face-to-face with Members of the NSW Upper House on Wednesday to discuss their handling of water….

The Honourable Rick Colless, The Honourable Paul Green, The Honourable Matthew Mason-Cox and The Honourable Penelope Sharpe were on hand to hear the concerns of the community….

Along with wanting to fix the water sharing plans, the other hot topic was the Clarence River Scheme, initially conceptualised by David Coffey in the 1970s.

The plan outlined diverting river flows westward from high rainfall catchments in the Northern Rivers.

According to Griffith City Council, the scheme will benefit lands south of the Dumaresq River while also providing flows into the Murray River, reducing the reliance for Murray-Darling Basin allocations to fill the original allocation to the basin. 

“We have looked at various options and we look at the Clarence Valley area where there are millions of millions of megalitres of water flowing out into the sea for what seems to be for no real benefit,” Councilor Dino Zappacosta said.

Griffith City Council general manager, Brett Stonestreet said it’s time the scheme is looked at again.

“It provides new water to give this state another shot in the arm,” he said.

“It also looks at potentially reducing flooding impact of the coastal communities adjacent to the Clarence by 25 per cent.

“There is a huge amount of money that can be generated and inland communities rediscovered and regenerated through new water.”

Mayor Dal Broi was pleased with how the inquiry was conducted and the feedback from the Senators.

“Some of the questions that were asked by the panel members, we know now what they are thinking,” he said.

“They were very receptive to the concept of new water so whether it's the diversion of the Clarence or lifting the wall on Burrinjuck Dam ... they were very receptive to that because we tried to make the point that the limited resources at the moment.”

“We need new water if our regions are to grow and have a better long-term sustainable allocation.”

Not content with bringing down the largest river system in Australia in order to line their own pockets, these wanabee water raiders just keep on coming after what they see as more 'free' water for the rorting.

Clarence Valley Council gave evidence at the re-opened inquiry on 1 August and the only question of interest to the water raiders came after a few minutes of questioning at Page 26 of the Lismore public hearing transcript:

The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Thank you for your submission. In your submission you talk about this idea of diversion of the Clarence River to west of the Great Dividing Range. Could you give us a bit of a background on that proposal and what your council thinks about it?

Mr ANDERSON: I will start but Mr Mashiah might finish. Our council has resolved six times that they do not support the diversion of the Clarence, and each time that has been unanimous in regard to council's position. That is based on the fact that damage to the environment and the ecological systems that work within the Clarence River emerge from there. 

The CHAIR [Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party]: You probably cannot answer this, but that is an all-encompassing position of council?

Mr ANDERSON: Yes.

The CHAIR : I wonder what the council's position would be on the diversion of floodwaters only.

Mr ANDERSON: Again, Mr Chair, like you said, I cannot answer that question.

The CHAIR: What I am asking you is that I guess the council's resolutions were not burrowed down to that extent to be able to answer that question. We might ask Clarence council for an opinion on that.

The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Are those decisions supported by an independent side to pick advice? How were they derived?

Mr MASHIAH: There was a Healthy Rivers Commission inquiry into the Clarence in I think it was 1999, from memory, and part of the outcome of that commission inquiry was the importance of regular flood events in terms of the fishing industry and also the cane industry. I believe you have representatives from the cane industry here with us later.

The CHAIR: This afternoon, yes.

Mr MASHIAH: And also in terms of fisheries, one of the aspects that Clarence Valley Council has been active in for the past 20 years is trying to manage the floodplain to address issues such as acid runoff.

The CHAIR: Solid sulfate soils.

Mr MASHIAH: As the sulfate soils and particular acids run off. So we have done things like open floodgates and—

The CHAIR: And you should be congratulated.

Mr MASHIAH: Thank you, Mr Chair, for that. I will pass that on to the relevant staff who have been coordinating that. The regular flushing of those areas, which are fish breeding grounds, by floodwaters is very important. So if floods were diverted there are significant concerns from the fishing industry about the ongoing viability of the industry because the grounds where fish breed, according to the studies that have been undertaken, would then be adversely impacted. So that is one of the reasons that the fishing industry has very strongly opposed, through our estuary management committee in particular and through the estuary management plan, any diversion of water and we have tried to ensure that the fish breeding grounds are protected.

The CHAIR: I just made the observation that most of those fish breeding grounds would not be the same areas of land that are subject to high residential development or business or commercial or other aspects. In other words, you are not talking about the township of Grafton itself, you are talking river peripheries, flooded-out areas, for breeding concerns?

Mr MASHIAH: The challenge is that the urban footprint on the lower Clarence floodplain is probably about 1 to 2 per cent of the total surface area and all the urban areas are surrounded by rural areas. So it is very hard to work out how you manage that 1 or 2 per cent without adversely impacting the other 98 per cent, or vice versa, how do you manage the 98 per cent without adversely impacting 1 or 2 per cent of urban area?

The CHAIR: The 2013 flood, you have described it as a major flood, correct?

Mr MASHIAH: It was the flood of record at Grafton.

The CHAIR: I am wondering how the 2013 flood would have enhanced the fishery on the Clarence?

Mr MASHIAH: The main issue with the 2013 flood—I guess with any flood in the Clarence the flood behaviour in the upper river is a lot different to the flood behaviour in the lower river because of the tidal influences in particular and also how wet the floodplain is already. The 2013 event was actually three floods.

The CHAIR: And they rolled up on each other?

Mr MASHIAH: Yes, within a three-week period—quite distinct flood events.

The CHAIR: So it was a prolonged flood.

Mr MASHIAH: It was a prolonged flood and that meant there was significant inundation of back swamp areas, and I understand that there were some areas that effectively were areas that were flushed that had not been flushed in floods probably since 2001, so it is probably 12 years. So from an ecological perspective, talking to our environmental scientists, I understand that it was actually quite beneficial because the bigger floods only get into those areas once every 10 to 20 years.

The CHAIR: Were there any concurrent blackwater events for the fishery?

Mr MASHIAH: Not that I can recall, and I think that is a result of the management measures that have been undertaken on the floodplain because most of the farmers now operate the floodgates and so only shut the floodgates when there is actually a flood coming and open them fairly soon afterwards.

The CHAIR: So it is their responsibility to operate their own floodgates, is it?

Mr MASHIAH: That has been passed on to them, yes.

The CHAIR: Do you have any oversight of that?

Mr ANDERSON: Yes, we do, and we work with those groups and undertake training et cetera . It is a two-way street of communication: they tell us what they need and, vice versa, we provide training associated with that and inductions and operate that through a number of committees et cetera as well.

Evidence was also given by the NSW Professional Fishermen’s Association (commencing Page 38) the NSW Canegrowers Association (commencing Page 45) and the Clarence Environment Centre (commencing Page 56).


One has to wonder why the committee members of this reformed Water Augmentation Inquiry didn't seek the views of those holding Native Title (See Yaegl People #1 Yaegl People #2) over the Clarence River from the waters approximately half-way between Ulmarra and Brushgrove right down to the eastern extremities of the northern and southern breakwater walls at the mouth of the river.

After all they are significant stakeholders in any discussion of water policy and water management in the Clarence River catchment area.

The other matter of note, arising from North Coast Voices somewhat belated discovery that the water raiders were back on the scene, is the suggestion that not all Clarence Valley councillors had forewarning that council staff were appearing before the inquiry on 1 August.

If true this would be a disturbing indication that council administration has retained some of the bad habits it acquired under the former general manager who was handed his hat in March this year.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Not for the first time the insurance industry sounds alarm over climate change impacts


COASTAL RISK AUSTRALIA 2100: Clarence River NSW,
 expected Highest Tide Flooding in 2100 at +0.54m.
High Tide flood extent (dark blue) and medium sea level rise scenario for 2100 (light blue)

Common Dreams, 29 August 2016:

Warning that climate change amounts to the "mother of all risks," three of the world's biggest insurance companies this week are demanding that G20 countries stop bankrolling the fossil fuels industry.

Multi-national insurance giants Aviva, Aegon, and Amlin, which together manage $1.2tn in assets, released a statement Tuesday calling on the leaders of the world's biggest economies to commit to ending coal, oil, and gas subsidies within four years.

"Climate change in particular represents the mother of all risks—to business and to society as a whole. And that risk is magnified by the way in which fossil fuel subsidies distort the energy market," said Aviva CEO Mark Wilson. "These subsidies are simply unsustainable."

According to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), fossil fuel companies receive an estimated $5.3tn a year in global subsidies—a figure that included, as the IMF put it, the "real costs" associated with damage to the environment and human health that are foisted on populations but not paid by polluters.

Tuesday's declaration is being issued as leaders prepare to convene for the 11th G20 summit, which is being held in Hangzhou, China on September 4-5 under the theme: "Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected, and Inclusive World Economy."

"We're calling on governments to kick away these carbon crutches, reveal the true impact to society of fossil fuels and take into account the price we will pay in the future for relying on them," Wilson added.

Indeed, insurance companies are increasingly shouldering many of the costs associated with a warming planet, whether it be from extreme weather damage or reimbursing farmers for lost crops.

In the first half of 2016 alone, natural catastrophes have caused $70bn in losses, of which $27bn was insured, according to an assessment by insurance and reinsurance company Munich RE—with events of particular note being climate-related "storms in the U.S. and Europe, massive forest fires in Canada, and the complete absence of typhoons in the northwestern Pacific."

And housing data firm Zillow recently published an analysis which found that as many as 1.9 million homes across the country could be underwater by 2100 if the seas rise as much as climate scientists predict, amounting to property losses in the hundreds of billions of dollars……

West Yamba: Expected Highest Tide Flooding in 2100 at +0.74m. Image courtesy of John Edwards.
High Tide flood extent (dark blue) and high sea level rise scenario for 2100 (light blue)

Monday, 5 September 2016

No Yamba Mega Port group puts port question to candidates in Clarence Valley local government election


29 August 2016 · 

With an upcoming council election on 10 September we contacted all candidates standing for the Clarence Valley Council to ask their stance on the proposed Yamba Mega Port.
This is what we asked:
1. Do you support the proposed Yamba Mega Port?:
A. No
B. Yes
C. Unsure
D. Yes, with qualifications
2. Please provide an explanation of your position.
A summary of all answers to question 1 can be seen in the table below.
The statements provided in response to question 2 will be posted individually over the next few days.

NOTE:
Arthur Lysaught, elected unopposed at a council by-election in 2015, is overseas for the duration of this local government election campaign and the 10 September polling day.
Brett Tibbett, a first time candidate, is a surprising absence from this list.

Individual statements supplied to No Yamba Mega Port by candidates to date:
John Riggall
Arthur Lysault - no statement supplied

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Yamba Port & Rail Scheme: was the NSW Upper House Inquiry into Crown Land misled?


“We service the property developers and property investors by unlocking access to the best available lands at the best available price.” [United Land Councils Ltd, website page retrieved 20 August 2016]

On 15 August 2015 four representatives of United Land Councils Ltd & United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd gave evidence before the NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No. 6 INQUIRY INTO CROWN LAND.

These are excerpts of evidence given by MICHAEL ANDERSON, Deputy Chair, United Land Councils and United First Peoples Syndications:

We advocate the idea of forming a working party with key government stakeholders through which we will secure the support of Aboriginal New South Wales. We are confident that, if we cannot achieve greater unity of Aboriginal people, we will certainly be able to deliver a large number of the most important strategic areas of New South Wales, particularly the coast and some regional locations west of the Blue Mountains. We have brought to the Committee a sample of works we are doing. We present to the Committee our introductory brochure with which we introduce ourselves to Aboriginal organisations across Australia. The brochure sets out our objectives and the benefits we bring to them as members uniting with us. In that brochure, we identify major projects such as damming the Great Katherine dam and building pipelines inland to irrigate the arid central Australia, converting it to Australia's food bowl to the world. We also discuss the project of a super port in Yamba to cater for the international trade for the next two centuries and, through that port, opening up the vast network of disused rail networks to provide a safe and efficient transportation mode. We attach a separate summary of the Yamba super port proposal because that is directly relevant to this Committee and how, working with Indigenous communities, major infrastructure can be created combining port and rail to become the leading means for distribution throughout Australia. We also attach a profile of our leading joint venture partners such Grossman, which a leading German solar, civil engineering and construction company, and the MHR Group, which is a leading Dubai pipeline and infrastructure group. One thing Arabs know is deserts and how to irrigate them. We provide a Lever arch folder that contains some of the template agreements used to effect an amicable settlement on the current Aboriginal land claims that are outstanding. We have drafted a master settlement agreement and we provide for every conceivable use of the land. We provide draft agreements for parks and conservation management, licences for Aboriginal farming and fishing use and access, Indigenous social housing models, trust funds for the provision of the next generations of Aboriginal peoples, and a series of land use agreements to promote business and industry….

Large high-tech warehousing is ideally suited to land under claim. The promise of employment and lasting careers for the younger generation on their own land is meaningful to the Aboriginal community. This same thinking applies to the Yamba super port and rail development. New regional hubs will be created around train intersections. Almost all of these potential growth areas involve Aboriginal lands or land claims.…..

As we hope to present to you, we have the backers, both in international investors and venture partners. We have the capacity and funds to change our destiny. All we ask is that we get on with it. We need no charity. We need no patronising. We ask that we plan for the future together and get the red tape out of our way…..

I sit on another national committee on water planning. New South Wales is yet to put its water plans in to the Commonwealth Government under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. I sit on those committees and I am one of the assessors on whether New South Wales is doing the right thing with their water resources plan. So we are looking at those rivers and factors that are important to us in terms of looking after them. When you talk about planning, Aboriginal people already know what can be used and what cannot be used. I can tell you that a lot of that land will not be used……

The Hon. SCOTT FARLOW: Could you come back to us on notice as to which land councils in New South Wales are part of your organisation?

Mr PETERSON: Sure.

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: I would ask on notice what is your relationship like with the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council? Is it a positive relationship, have you sat down and spoken with them about this particular proposal, are you on the same page? Secondly, what do you mean by "progressive" land councils, if you could provide that on notice?

Mr PETERSON: Those that have been keen to show interest in development.

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: Development-focused land councils?

Mr PETERSON: Yes, taking it from bush to something.

Mr ANDERSON: I know a lot of the land councils really want to progress and develop economic strategies, housing estates and start doing that, but unfortunately they are really tied down with a noose around their neck.

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: If you could answer Mr Farlow's question and mine about the land council on notice that would good.

The CHAIR: We are also looking for the cemetery and the ports attachments, if you can table them.

Mr PETERSON: Yes. [my red bolding]

This development group was thought to have been in discussion with Des Euen and Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd (A.I.D.) for some time and, although it is possible that United Land Councils & United First Peoples Syndications may have adopted this infrastructure scheme as its own when the original Yamba Port & Rail (Y.P.R Australia Ltdunsolicited proposal was rejected by the NSW Government in April 2014, all may not be as it first appears.

A.I.D. and United First Peoples Syndications are sharing the same graphics and presenting the port proposal in the same terms.

Clarence Valley residents who attended the 2 June 2016  A.I.D.'summit' in Casino will probably recall this graphic prepared by David C Jones, Inverell, for Yamba Port and Rail aka Y.P.R Australia Ltd sister company to Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd (A.I.D.):

This is a similar graphic also prepared by David C Jones, Inverell, for Yamba Port and Rail, being used by United First Peoples Syndications:

[See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loWRePyoHjI, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KzCURkafsI & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sgGg8QU_Uc, Sydney, 17 May 2016]

If any sort of business relationship exists between A.I.D. and either or both of the two companies which gave evidence, then a reasonable person might expect that this would have been disclosed to the Inquiry - given formal rejection of the Yamba Port & Rail development proposal by the Baird Government.

Just as this inconvenient fact was sidestepped, so too the companies avoided telling these same committee members that both United Land Councils Limited (registered in New Zealand in July 2016) and United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd (registered in Australia in April 2016) share Richard John Green as sole director of both companies and, when one delves into the official corporate history, he is the only reliably identified shareholder as well.

Nor did any of those representatives who appeared before the Inquiry explain why United Land Councils appears to believe that it has a right to use Clarence Valley estuary land to; service the property developers and property investors by unlocking access to the best available lands at the best available price. Outright sales are available, but often it will be the interests of the developers or investors to enter into collaborative arrangements…..

When it came to the actual Yamba ‘mega port’ it was more than misleading to avoid mentioning to this parliamentary standing committee the fact that the Yaegl people (holding native title on Clarence River waters from just above Brushgrove right down to the river mouth at the breakwater walls) are concerned about this scheme to industrialise 27.2 per cent of the total estuary area and had refused to meet with A.I.D. in August.

That some measure of local indigenous concerns would have been known to the United Land Councils and United First Peoples Syndications can be inferred by the following statement in the Clarence Valley Independent on 24 August 2016:

Chair of the Yaegl Traditional Owners Corporation (YTOAC), Billy Walker, told the Independent that his board has not yet discussed the matters raised at the inquiry; however, he said it had met with Messrs Green and Anderson earlier this year. Mr Walker said: “From my point of view, I’d have to see what they have to say to the board before making any comment.” He said that a future meeting had not been organised.

When questioned on the subject of the peak state land council the companies avoided disclosing the obvious antipathy towards the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, evidenced by the director's opening remarks at a company event:

“We’ve got the state land council which is not helping our people in any way. You know we’ve got all the councilors sitting up in there in those big offices earning all this money and what have we got for over the last forty years….”
[See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loWRePyoHjI]

There was also a marked failure to mention that, along with the existing port infrastructure ie. “Goodwood Island wharf, a large shed that can accommodate vessels up to 120 metres in length, a small tug wharf and pontoon” [Port Authority of New South Wales Annual Report 2014/15], the estimated land area required to build the proposed "super port" terminals is land on which native title has been officially extinguished

Additionally, the vast majority of this land is privately-held regionally significant farmland. In other words, not Crown land (including land under claim) which is the focus of the inquiry.

Full details of the extent of the legitimate Native Title proudly and responsibly held by the Yaegl people can be found here.

When United Land Councils Ltd & United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd spoke of having backers who were international investors and venture partners, like A.I.D.,  they weren't telling untruths. One only has to look at what correspondence is publicly available and, the photos and videos turning up on social media of various "super port" proponents with individuals representing foreign capital, multinationals, professional company directors, corporate strategists and legal shills.

It is hard to escape the suspicion that Chinese investors and foreign/domestic infrastructure and development companies have been using both these companies (just as they use Australian Infrastructure Developments) as a way of bypassing the values of Clarence Valley communities and other vulnerable communities across Australia in order to sate their own financial avarice.

One has to wonder what the Committee Chair The Hon. Paul Green (CDP, LC Member), Deputy Chair The Hon. Lou Amato (Lib, LC Member) and members The Hon. Catherine Cusack (Lib, LC Member), The Hon. Scott Farlow (Lib, LC Member), The Hon. Daniel Mookhey (ALP, LC Member), Mr David Shoebridge (The Greens, LC Member) and The Hon. Ernest Wong (ALP, LC Member) would think of being given less than the full picture when it came to the proposed Port of Yamba overdevelopment.

The Inquiry into Crown Land reports to the NSW Parliament on 13 October 2016 and, as there is no way for local communities to correct the record, Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No. 6  will make recommendations regarding Crown lands on the NSW North Coast with an imperfect understanding of the situation in the Clarence Valley.

Brief background

A full list of registered New Zealand companies in which Richard Green was/is a director and/or shareholder can be found here.

Further information on a number of these companies can be found here.

Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC), United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd organisation details:

It is noted that no company named First Peoples Advancement Charitable Trust of 89 Kiteroa Street, Rd 2, Cambridge appears on the New Zealand online company register as of 20 August 2016. However, on 22 April 2016 First Peoples Advancement Charity Pty Ltd was registered in NSW, with Richard John Green as sole director & company secretary and all shareholdings held by First Peoples Advancement Charitable Trust (NZ) on behalf of unidentified individuals and/or corporations.

Google Earth image of the New Zealand address of the First Peoples Advancement Charitable Trust: