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

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....

Monday, 24 December 2018

Clarence Valley Council gets its just deserts - a $300,000 fine

Every member of council staff who signed off on the desecration of this scar tree should be demoted a pay grade.

The Daily Examiner, 22 December 2018:

The removal of an Aboriginal scar tree in Grafton has resulted in a $300,000 fine for Clarence Valley Council.

The judgment was passed down on yesterday in the Land and Environment Court of NSW, prosecuting the council for the destruction of the registered culturally modified tree that stood on the corner of Breimba and Dovedale Streets, Grafton.

The offences occurred in two increments, in 2013 with a severe lopping that “exacerbated the decline in the health of the tree” and the complete removal of the remaining trunk in 2016.

The council potentially faced fines up to $1million for its actions.

The news provoked a backlash against the council on social media.

Ratepayers were disgusted at the thought their money would be used to pay the fine and court costs.

Many wanted the individuals who made the decisions that led to the tree’s removal to take on some of the costs of paying the legal bill.

The Daily Examiner will present more on the scar tree findings and reactions from Clarence Valley Council and the Aboriginal Lands Council in a special report next week.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Castillo Copper Limited operations suspended on exploration leases in the Clarence Valley NSW

Clarence Environment Centre brings welcome news as 2018 ends.

Castillo Copper Limited operations at Cangai, in the Mann River Catchment, Clarence Valley NSW have been suspended on the grouns that there is: a lack of sediment and erosion controls; poor management of drill cuttings/waste materials; clearing and excavation works undertaken outside of approved limits; the drilling of five bore holes without approval; and a failure to progressively rehabilitate in approved time frames.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

PEOPLE POWER: Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas six years old and still going strong

The Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas was officially launched six years ago on 19 October 2012.

The local nannas first began knitting in peaceful opposition to coal seam gas exploration and mining in the early days of the Glenugie blockade of a Metgasgo CSG test drill site in the Clarence Valley.

As part of the wider NSW Northern Rivers movement they helped keep the north-east "Gasfield Free!"

The Grafton Loop continues to be active on environmental issues and regularly hold knit-ins outside local state and federal MPs electoral offices.

This is the Grafton Loop on 13 December 2018 outside Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan's office, accompanied by "Nanna Kerry", a mascot veteran of mining protests in south-east Queensland.

This letter was sent to Kevin Hogan on the same day.....

Way to go, Nannas!

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Moving the Aboriginal Legal Service to Coffs Harbour will have adverse effects

The Daily Examiner, 3 December 2018:

A Grafton solicitor says the decision to move the Aboriginal Legal Service to Coffs Harbour will have adverse effects.

“As a lawyer who has worked with the Aboriginal community over many decades I was very surprised and concerned by your report in (Friday’s) Examiner that the Aboriginal Legal Service is closing its Grafton office and moving to Coffs Harbour.

If this move goes ahead it will have a significant and immediate adverse effect on the Grafton and Clarence Valley Aboriginal community that I feel the “ALS decision makers” in Sydney have not taken into account.

The Grafton building that ALS now works from is shared with a number of Aboriginal service providers and is a community hub that is safe, welcoming and holistically culturally appropriate for the services provided.

These services include tenancy advice, youth empowerment and support, addiction support, family violence support, mental health, homelessness – all of whom draw on ALS legal services for client support.

The reality is that the presence of the ALS in this group of service providers is the magnet that draws the community together. This original service hub is unique and should be maintained at all costs.

The logic as expressed by ALS Sydney for moving to Coffs Harbour appears to be short-sighted, rushed and vexing given the role now played by the Grafton ALS office within the Aboriginal community in the Clarence Valley.

Also, with the new Grafton jail soon to be opened, it is logical that a full time operating ALS office in Grafton would be of significant support to the courts and police and such support would be significantly diminished if the ALS moves to Coffs Harbour.

Jeff McLaren,
Jeffrey McLaren Solicitors

It comes as no surprise that Coffs Harbour City seeks to drain services from the Clarence Valley.

For years the NSW state government and elements on Clarence Valley Council have sought to draw Clarence Valley local government area into Coffs Harbour City Council's ambit - first as an outright merger push and later bundled together as a faux community of interest.

This is part of the inevitable outcome. Clarence Valley communities will have to get used to this state of affairs or vigorously fight it.

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.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Ulmarra community puts a win on the board concerning Pacific Highway blackspot

The Daily Examiner, January 2018: "Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command duty officer Acting Inspector Darren Williams said the collision was between two Queensland registered B Double trucks at 10.15pm Tuesday night when the northbound heavy vehicle collided with the other heavy vehicle heading south while attempting a left-hand bend near the beginning of the 50kmh speed zone."

Ulmarra is a picturesque Clarence Valley village which was established in 1857 and which served as a river port in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of its buildings are heritage-listed.

Unfortunately for the folk who live there the busy Pacific Highway runs through one section of this village and the lives of residents in that section are dominated by the movement of heavy road transport vehicles – and will continue to be so since it was revealed that the Ulmarra Bypass (due for completion in 2020) will not remove B-Double trucks and 'semis' from what will then be the old Pacific Highway.

This year the village successfully campaigned for an extension of the lowest speed limit and a speed camera to slow these big trucks down….

The Daily Examiner, 17 November 2018, p.4:

January 3
Two trucks collide on the southern end of Ulmarra the night before. From a visit to where one of the trucks has come to rest within metres of a home, it’s clear how lucky a young family are to be alive. That afternoon, The Daily Examiner team decides to launch the Let’s Not Wait campaign.

January 5
Ulmarra residents meet with The Daily Examiner at the latest crash site to share years of horror stories from living beside the Pacific Highway. The Daily Examiner Let’s Not Wait campaign is officially launched.

January 10
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis comes out in support of Ulmarra residents and begins discussions with the Minister for Roads and Maritime Services Melinda Pavey.

January 23
A front-page photo of Ulmarra resident Ryan Brown holding up a speed radar gun gets the attention of national media and the campaign is thrust into the national spotlight when Channel Nine’s Today show visits the village.

January 26
Following increased media attention, Mr Gulaptis and Roads and Maritime Services representatives meet with Ulmarra residents to discuss long and short-term solutions.

January 30
A tirade of threats and vulgarity is directed at Ulmarra residents through both online bullying and rogue truck drivers intentionally sounding their horns while passing through the village at night.

February 21
Coffs/Clarence Highway Patrol increase their patrols in and around the township to keep driver behaviour in check.

May 14
Clarence MP Chris Gulatpis announces the extension of the 50km/h speed limit zones following a review conducted by Roads and Maritime Services.

June 18
Another truck crashes at the notorious black spot. This time the accident comes within metres of the Brown family home and causes a power outage from Brushgrove, to Tucabia and South Grafton.

June 19
Clarence candidate Steve Cansdell calls on the NSW Government to do more to protect residents and motorists at the notorious black spot.

June 22
More members of the Clarence Valley community rally behind Ulmarra, including former ambulance officer Wade Walker who calls out RMS for failing in their duty of care to the Brown family.

July 23
Ulmarra resident John Leask accuses RMS of gross negligence in its handling of the Ulmarra black spot in a scathing email sent to various government officials.
Another collision occurs the same day, with two cars and a truck involved, near the southern end. No one is injured.

July 25
Coffs/Clarence Highway Patrol stop another potential crash when they find a fatigued driver after pulling over a southbound truck reported as swerving along the road.

August 17
Residents capture CCTV footage of a truck driver deliberately sounding their horn while travelling from one end of the village to the other and this reignites online debate over who is to blame for the behaviour.

September 5
Two truck drivers are caught by Highway Patrol, one for speeding, and the other for sounding their horn for a sustained period of time.

October 5
The truck driver captured on CCTV footage in August deliberately sounding the truck’s horn while travelling from one end of the village to the other is identified and charged by police.

November 16
The speed camera is switched on by residents of the Ulmarra community.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Two koalas return to their home range in the Clarence

Clarence Valley Council, Media Release, 18 September 2018:

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

Miss Starry in the fork of a tree and Ashby David is a little reluctant to go from his washing basket transport.

Coming home to the Clarence

Clarence Valley Council natural resource management project officer, Caragh Heenan, said Miss Starry was picked up by a WIRES carer and assessed by a local vet, then sent to Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital where she was also treated for chlamydia – a serious and potentially fatal infection that causes blindness and internal infections if not treated.

Ms Heenan said her last few weeks were at the Friends of Koala Nursery in Lismore where she had been regaining strength for her release.

Another koala was released the same day; ‘Ashby David’ was found on the ground in Ashby and was sent to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for treatment for chlamydia.

Ms Heenan said Clarence koalas were under threat from fire, cars, dogs and disease.

“WIRES carers play a big role in caring for injured animals, and koalas need your help too,” she said.

“With funding from the NSW Environmental Trust, council is running a project to support our koalas.

“Register where you’ve seen a koala at and help us plan for Clarence koalas into the future.

“With the public’s help we can help koalas remain safe and healthy for the long term.”

Release ends.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Castillo Copper Limited's Jackadgery Project: has spinning the truth already begun?

On 15 September 2018 The Daily Examiner reported that:

Concerns  about the health of the Mann and Clarence rivers have been raised by community members following explorations by Castillo Copper at Cangai, near the historic copper mine….

It’s the high grade of the finding that has some community members concerned, with the prospect of a mine opening in the area becoming more likely.

At a meeting attended by about 20 people, NSW Parliament Greens candidate for the Clarence Greg Clancy and John Edwards from the Clarence Valley Environment Centre explained their concerns with mining so close to the river.

After having trouble getting in contact with Castillo through its website, Mr Edwards took his inquiries about the exploration to the mining regulator.

“I got an email from their managing director … and he said they were just out there doing some investigation and it wasn’t very much to worry about,” he said.

But this has not eased his concerns about the future of the Clarence Valley’s rivers.

“It would be good to get out there and see what they are actually doing,” he said.

“They’ve been talking up their exploration finds to date … maybe that is to just get investors’ money, but it’s certainly in a bad position where the river is and where all this siltation and run-off and toxic crap that runs off when they mine copper, silver...

“It’s not going to be easy for them when they are at the top of a hill overlooking a river.”

Mr Clancy said the group would need to get more information so they could understand exactly how the ore would be mined.

“There is loss of vegetation and threatened species on the hill. This is going to be an open cut mine … and the water table may not be up there, but once they’ve got an open cut mine it will gather water and they have to use water in the process to get the minerals out.

“They will be creating their own artificial ponds and we would have to explore this further, but I know with (extracting) gold they use arsenic.

“There are a whole range of chemicals they could be using. Whatever projections they are supposed to use, they often don’t work.”

The group is planning to do more research and attempt to make contact with the company before they hold another meeting in one month’s time at the Grafton library.
[my yellow bolding]

Castillo Copper Limited (ASX:CCZ) is a West Australian base metal explorer listed on the stock exchange which has four subsidiaries:

Castillo Copper Chile Spa, Total Minerals Pty Ltd, Queensland Commodities Pty Ltd  and Total Iron Pty Ltd.

Castillo Copper Limited holds three mining exploration leases as part of its Jackadgery Project:

EL 8625 (1992) 17-Jul-2017 17-Jul-2020 35 UNITS About 43 km WNW of GRAFTON TOTAL MINERALS PTY LTD est. at 155 km2
EL 8635 (1992) 21-Aug-2017 21-Aug-2020 52 UNITS About 41 km WNW of GRAFTON TOTAL IRON PTY LTD
EL 8601 (1992)  21-Jun-2017 21-Jun 2020 51 UNITS About 38 km SE of DRAKE QUEENSLAND COMMODITIES PTY LTD.

Castillo Copper is not characterising its activities on these leases as "just doing some investigation".

In fact it is indicating to its shareholders and the stock exchange that the company has clear intentions to mine at the old Cangai Mine site before the end of the exploration on these leases:

* “Road to fast-track production taking shape”

* “Preliminary metallurgical test-work on samples from the two McDonough’s stockpiles, along the line of lode, has demonstrated the ore can be beneficiated materially….. Discussions continue with prospective off-take partners interested in processing ore as relevant information comes to hand …. Meanwhile, the geology team have approached the regulator for guidance on the optimal way forward to remove the stockpiles from site and capture the economic benefits”

“…they are an asset and could potentially generate early cashflow”

* “The clear options are third party processing locally or a direct shipping ore product once regulatory clearance is secured”.

 Castillo Copper Limited images

So who are the people behind Castillo Copper Limited?

Well, the board is composed of:

Peter Francis Meagher, company director since 2 February 2018, from East Freemantle, West Australia - position Chairman;

Peter Smith, on the board as but not officially listed as a director of Castillo Copper Limited - position Non-Executive Director; and

Alan David Stephen Armstrong, company director since 1 August 2017, from Canning Vale West Australia - position Executive Director.

Listed company director who is not included at is:

Neil Armstrong Hutchinson. company director since 1 August 2017, from Double View, Western Australia - position previously reported to be Technical Executive Director at Castillo Copper Limited since August 1, 2017. by Bloomberg.

NOTE; All three listed company directors appear to be shareholders in this miming company.

Castillo Copper Limited's Top 20 shareholders as of 20 September 2017 were:
Castillo Copper Limited Annual Report 2016-17

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Yet another opportunistic mining exploration company has the Clarence Valley in its sights: Public Meeting 2.30pm on 13 September 2018 at Grafton Regional Library

Having received approval from the NSW mining regulator in June 2018 Castillo Copper Limited (CCZ) has proceeded with its exploratory drilling program with a view to establishing an open cut mine at Cangai in the Clarence Valley.

Castillo Copper Limited image
This small West Australian base metal exploration company may be operating on a shoestring budget and currently trade at only $0.039 per ordinary share, however an open cut mine so close to the Mann River means that the greed of Messrs. Peter Meagher, Peter Smith And Alan Armstrong has the potential to severely damage the Clarence River system.

There is to be a community meeting and Clarence Valley residents are urged to attend:

2 hrs · 
Goodbye Mann and Clarence Rivers if this gets approval. The plan is to open cut mine and that involves removing a large hill and metal extraction usually involves highly polluting chemicals. This is no win for the Valley. It is a disaster. A meeting is being held at the Clarence Regional Library in Grafton at 2.30 PM on Thursday September 13 to discuss this threat to the Rivers. All welcome.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

NSW Berejiklian Government 2018: How not to conduct a community consultation in the Clarence Valley, NSW

The Daily Examiner, Letter to the Editor, 10 July 2018, p.13:

So Road and Maritime Services intends to establish a temporary asphalt batching plant at Woombah with a heavy truck access road crossing Iluka Road approximately 230 metres from the Pacific Highway T-intersection.

One couldn’t choose a site more unsafe for private vehicles and more disruptive to tourist traffic. One that also is less than 500 metres from a waterway which empties into the Clarence River Estuary.

One couldn’t find a more inadequate approach to community consultation.

The Pillar Valley community were given an RMS community information session scheduled to last one and a half hours in May 2016 ahead of construction of a temporary batching plant there.

In September 2016 the Donnellyville community received a detailed 5-page information document at least a month ahead of construction and this included an aerial map showing infrastructure layout within the proposed temporary batching plant site. Up front the community was allotted two drop-in information sessions.
Most of the residents in Woombah and Iluka appear to have found out about the proposed temporary plant planned for Woombah in July 2018, the same month construction is due to start.

This plant will be in use for the next two and a half years but only a few residents were given some rudimentary information in a 3-page document and initially the community was not even offered a drop-in information session.

Perhaps the NSW Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, and Roads and Maritime Services might like to explain the haphazard, belated approach taken to informing the communities of Woombah and Iluka of the proposed plant.

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 a representative of the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight in attendance as an observer.

They don’t deserve to be fobbed off with a quick patch-up, comprising a drop-in information session and one RMS representative deciding to attend a local community run meeting.

I’m sure that all residents and business owners in both Woombah and Iluka would appreciate a departmental re-think of this situation.

Judith Melville, Yamba

It is also beginning to look as though Roads and Maritime Services is only just getting around to meeting with Clarence Valley shire councillors as a group this week to brief them on the asphalt batching plant site.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

The journey towards a name change for Coutts Crossing begins.....

In November 1847 Clarence Valley grazier Thomas Coutts disgruntled by what he thought was a failure of local authority to act on his complaints, angry that his cattle herd had diminished over the space of eight years allegedly due to cattle theft and irritated at the size of his wages bill - all of which he blamed on local Aboriginal family groups living on 'his' property - decided to take action.

According to media reports at the time it soon became common knowledge that Coutts "had poisoned some aborigines" and this was eventually reported to the Commissioner of Crown Lands who, after visiting the group who had been given poisoned flour, hearing their account, arrested Thomas Coutts based on an affidavit sworn by one of his servants. 

One hundred and seventy year later on13 June 2018 The Daily Examiner reported:

Coutts Crossing could have two names and a memorial to the 23 Aboriginal people murdered by the man the town is named after, following a meeting called to discuss proposals to rename the village.

Prospects for a name change for the village have gathered pace since Daily Examiner indigenous columnist Janelle Brown’s article two weeks ago detailed how colonial settler Thomas Coutts murdered 23 Aboriginal people with arsenic-laced flour he gave as payment for work on his property at Kangaroo Creek in 1848.

Yesterday, about 40 people – indigenous and European – met at the Gurehlgam Centre in Grafton to discuss the next steps in proposing a name change for the village. The meeting did not produce formal resolutions, but the debate uncovered key areas to work on.

These included a proposal to include a traditional twin name for the village and to build a memorial in the village for the victims of the atrocity.

“I didn’t know I would get the amount of kick back from the article,” said Ms Brown, who led the meeting.

“But it’s good. It’s time to have these conversations and look at things like a name change for Coutts Crossing.

“What happened at Kangaroo Creek was a horrendous thing and not good for the Clarence Valley.

“It’s not good for a town to be named after a mass murderer.”

She said research into Gumbaynggir language revealed the original name for the area had been Daam Miirlarl, which meant a special place for yams.

However, she was reluctant to push this name as an alternative until there was further discussion among indigenous people about it.

Coutts Crossing resident Cr Greg Clancy said yesterday’s meeting was an initial step to move toward a name change.

“It’s not something that is going to happen next week,” he said.

Cr Clancy also made an apology for the deputy mayor Jason Kingsley, who was also the council’s delegate to the Aboriginal Consultative Committee. He said working through the council committee could be the best way to bring the push for a name change to the council.

Cr Clancy said the work of local historian and environmentalist John Edwards left no doubt Thomas Coutts murdered the 23 Gumbaynggir people with poisoned flour.

“In his book The History of the Coutts Crossing and Nymboida Areas, the chapter on the Kangaroo Creek massacre has all the transcripts from the court case,” he said.

“Its evidence is conclusive, but the case could not go ahead because the court at the time could not hear evidence from Aboriginal witnesses.”

The current owner of the property on which the massacre occurred, John Maxwell, had nothing positive to say about the original owner.

“What he did was cynical beyond belief,” Mr Maxwell said. “To poison 6kg of flour and give it to people, knowing they would take it home and kill a huge number more of their family, is too terrible to consider.”….