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

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 http://www.clarenceconversations.com.au 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 https://www.castillocopper.com/board/ 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.”….

Thursday, 7 June 2018

CONSERVATION GROUP FOUNDED TO COMBAT PULP MILL CELEBRATES ITS HISTORY


"No Pump Mill" memorabilia - image supplied

The Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition celebrated its “almost” thirty years of activity at a Re-Weavers’ Awards Dinner in Grafton on 1st June.

The Re-Weavers Awards, which are held annually on the Friday nearest to World Environment Day, recognise the valuable contribution individuals and groups have made to environmental protection over many years.

The Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition was founded almost thirty years ago because of a proposal for a chemical pulp mill in the Clarence Valley.

On 30th August 1988 The Daily Examiner’s front page headline shouted: “$450m valley mill planned by Japanese”.  Daishowa International had made an in-principle decision to build a chemical pulp mill on the Clarence River near Grafton. This, it was claimed, would create about 1200 direct and indirect jobs in the region.

This fired up the local community.  Some community members welcomed the announcement, claiming the mill would provide an enormous boost to the local economy. 

But not everyone welcomed it.  Many feared the impact such a large industrial development would have on the local environment – not just of the Clarence Valley but of the whole North Coast because it was obvious that such a large mill would be drawing its feedstock from across the region.  Concerns included the amount of water this mill would use, the decimation of the forests, the likelihood of poisonous effluent being released into either the river or the ocean and air pollution.

On 19 September 1988 concerned people met in Grafton to discuss the proposal and consider what action should be taken.  This meeting resulted in the formation of the Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition (CVCC).

Rosie Richards became its President.  She was an ideal person for the job in many ways.  In the conservative Clarence community she was not publicly associated with any of the recent or on-going conservation issues. While she was concerned about environmental impacts, both short and long-term, and made no secret of the fact, she did not look like a greenie – or the conservative view of what a greenie looked like. Rosie was 56 years old.  She was a grandmother. Her background was not that of a stereotype greenie either. She grew up in Pymble and in the early fifties was a member of the Liberal Party Younger Set.  Her other life experiences included years as a farmer’s wife and the wife of a professional fisherman.  (Her husband Geoff had been both.)

Rosie’s personality also qualified her for this leadership role in the pulp mill campaign.  She ran both the CVCC committee and general meetings efficiently.  She was calm, sincere, friendly, articulate and very much “a lady” in old-fashioned terms.  But she was also determined and possessed a “steel backbone”.  This “steel backbone” and her courage were very necessary in the campaign to obtain information and disseminate it to the North Coast community. 

Courage was necessary to the campaigners because those promoting the benefits of Daishowa’s plans attacked the CVCC, referring to its spokespersons as scaremongers and “a benighted group who distort the facts.” Those in power locally and at the state level weren’t in any hurry to provide facts but they decried the efforts of community members who were trying to find information on pulp mill operations.  However, this did not deter the CVCC.  It sought information on pulp mills and pulping processes from around the world, asked questions of those in power and disseminated information to the community.

Other important campaigners included media spokesperson Martin Frohlich and Bruce Tucker whose time in Gippsland had shown him what it was like to live near the Maryvale Pulp Mill. Others who played vital roles were John Kelemec, Rob Lans, Geoff Richards and Bill Noonan as well as core members of the Clarence Valley Branch of the National Parks Association. These included Peter Morgan, Stan Mussared, Celia Smith and Greg Clancy.

Public meetings were held in Grafton, Iluka, Maclean and Minnie Water as well as in other North Coast towns.  In addition the group produced information sheets, issued many media releases, participated in media interviews, distributed bumper stickers, circulated a petition, met with politicians both in the local area and beyond, and wrote letters to politicians and The Daily Examiner.

And there were many others who wrote letters of concern to the paper as well as some who wrote supporting the proposal.  It was an amazing time as there was a deluge of letters to the Examiner. There has been nothing like it since!!

One of my memories is taking part in a Jacaranda procession, probably in 1989.  We used Geoff Welham’s truck which was decorated with eucalypt branches, and driven by Rob Lans with Bill Noonan beside him. Others of us, wearing koala masks, were on the back.  As we drove down Prince Street, Bill had his ghetto blaster on full volume blaring out John Williamson singing “Rip, rip woodchip.” I think we drowned out music of the marching bands.

Following Daishowa’s announcement that it would not be proceeding with its pulp mill proposal, CVCC President Rosie wrote to the Examiner (4 April 1990) praising the efforts of the community in defeating the proposal:

“It has been an interesting nineteen months; a period that has seen the resolve of north coast people come to the fore; we have seen People Power used in a democratic way to say ‘No’  to something that we knew would harm our existing industries and our air and water.  If it had not been for the people of the Clarence Valley and their attendance at public meetings, their letters to politicians, to newspapers in Tokyo and our own Daily Examiner, and their strong support of the Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition, we may have had a huge polluting industrial complex set down in our midst, without a whimper.”

People Power did do the job – but Rosie Richards and the others on the Coalition Committee played a very important part in organizing and channelling that people power.

The lessons of history never seem to be learned.  Those campaigning to protect the environment from the greed of pillagers face the same problem today.

What Rosie wrote in a letter to The Daily Examiner in November 1990 still applies today:

“It seems that every time we stop for breath another issue crops up that summons us to speak up for common sense and common interest.  Most of us would much rather be doing other things besides acting as watchdogs for what we see as poor bureaucratic decisions and flawed advice to governments.”

In the same letter she answered a criticism that conservationists were “greedy”:

“We speak out as we do because we believe that the people of today’s and tomorrow’s Australia will not be well served by a country whose finite resources have been exhausted by sectional interests that have until now not had to make long term plans for the sustainability of their industries.”

The pulp mill campaign was significant both in the Clarence and further afield.  It reinforced the message of the other earlier environmental victory – the success of the Clarence Valley Branch of the National Parks Association in campaigning to save the Washpool Rainforest.  Both of these campaigns showed the state government and local councils as well as the North Coast community in general that there were people who were prepared to campaign strongly for effective protection of the natural environment.

            - Leonie Blain


Leonie Blain (left) & Lynette Eggins (right) - image supplied

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Saying "Thank you"......




A letter from mum and dad

Ed,

We will never forget certain things from this journey ever in our lives. On March 22, 2018 our lives changed forever.

Watching our baby Emerald (7 months old) go into cardiac arrest and multi organ failure one hour after arriving at our local hospital, me just taking her because I thought she was sick, then it all went downhill from there. The NETs retrieval team was called in to take us to Westmead; Emerald suffered a seizure in Grafton from low blood sugar that resulted in a brain injury and fluid on her brain, needing life support. It took NETS another six hours to stabilise her to get on the plane. Emerald was blue and lifeless and no one thought she would make it; in that moment I thought my baby had died, then the next day eight hours after arrival at the children’s hospital, we had a diagnosis of a very rare CHD called ALCAPA that Emerald had been silently fighting for seven months and was never picked up. They took her for major open heart surgery at 8am on March 23; the longest day of my life. They told me to be prepared for the worst as they expected Emerald to come back on the ECMO (the double bypass machine for lungs and heart).

3pm came and Emmy was about to come out of surgery and she wasn’t on the machine! When the head surgeon sat me down and pretty much told me no one told him about her low blood sugar and Emerald suffered another seizure creating a complication for the surgery, yet she still didn’t come back on that machine, they kept telling me that she would end up on it to give her heart a rest; the next week was very touch and go, we almost lost our girl three more times but still no ECMO; Emerald was fighting so hard
And the doctors telling me that her liver and kidneys won’t make it; she was so puffed up with fluid and so yellow from the jaundice and that they thought she had more seizures, but couldn’t tell because she was on the muscle relaxant, the only thought in my head was if she was going to be ok. I didn’t care if her brain injury resulted in her being a little more special, I just wanted to know she was ok – they couldn’t guarantee us anything and they still can’t. Emerald also contacted two blood infections, pneumonia from being on the life support and a collapsed lung.

This experience has been very trying and testing and very traumatising and we feel so out of our comfort zone being here and almost 700km away from home.

A few anxiety attacks from mum and dad over the last 5 weeks
Some very touch and go moments I will never forget.
We are slowly on the road to recovery, Emerald has astounded all her doctors with how far she has come and that she ever once stopped fighting.
Emerald is a miracle five weeks post op and she is saying mum, hi, can do high 5; eating solids again and rolling over from side to side!

I could not be standing here today beside my heart warrior if it wasn’t for the support from my family and friends and the entire community who has rallied around my daughter to help us. Thank you for all the donations and the prayers; we are truly blessed to have such caring kind hearted people in our lives and our little gem is fighting to get back to our little community so we can say thank you to everyone that has helped us.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I know this journey still has a long, long way to go and the shock has worn off finally and is only just hitting me now, but every day is a step closer to home and Emmy is improving every single day.
And I appreciate everything you all have done – Thank you.

Thank you for never leaving Emerald in the dark.
Jess and Kev – Emerald’s parents

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.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

When a secular public school goes bad......



Parents at a NSW public school say they have been left "horrified" after students were repeatedly placed in scripture classes against their parents' wishes and told they needed to have an interview with a deputy principal before they could attend non-scripture classes.

The NSW Department of Education is making inquiries into a letter sent to parents by the principal of Maclean High School in northern NSW, which strongly advocates for scripture classes and appears to breach the department's policy on religious education in several instances.

Parents also said students with written permission to attend non-scripture had been repeatedly put into scripture classes at the start of every year and parents were told to provide new notes, in breach of the department's policy.

"Updated permission is required each year for your child to access this arrangement [non-scripture]," states a form attached to the principal's letter, dated February 1, 2018.

"In addition, each student wishing to be exempt from SRE [special religious education] must arrange an interview with a deputy principal to discuss the above arrangements.

"NB: If the note above is not returned then the student will attend SRE."
The Education Department's SRE policy specifically states "students are to continue in the same arrangement as the previous year, unless a parent/caregiver has requested a change".

The department's director of early learning and primary education Rod Megahey also recently confirmed that students should be placed in non-scripture "if the parents/caregivers do not return the SRE participation letter", in a letter to the director of the Fairness in Religions in School (FIRIS) group sent in November last year.

One parent, who did not wish to be named, said there was "an inequality" in Maclean High's scripture policy.

"The kids who are attending SRE don't have to have an appointment with the deputy," the parent said.

"I just feel like my voice isn't being heard and my choices aren't being respected."
The parent said they were also shocked by the rest of the principal's letter, in which he strongly advocates for scripture classes.

"I highly recommend the opportunities provided by the SRE program," the letter stated.
"The potential to develop moral and ethical positions within a framework of Christian values should not be underestimated in today's world."

A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said: "The department is following up with Maclean High School in regards to their letter."…..

Maclean High School newsletters list Mr Greg Court as Principal with Mrs Gaye Kelsey and Mr Scott Dinham as Deputy Principals.

Maclean High School employs the Think Faith SRE curriculum.



On its website the school states:

Maclean High School is a district comprehensive secondary school servicing the educational needs of the entire Lower Clarence geographical area. The drawing area includes the towns and villages of Maclean, Yamba, Iluka, Brooms Head, Lawrence, Angourie, Harwood, Chatsworth Island, Palmers Island, Ashby and Tyndale. Approximately 65% of the school population is bused daily from outlying areas.
The school has a student population of 900 students with a complement of over 100 teaching and support staff. The staff are dedicated, experienced and stable. The school core values are FRESH, standing for FAIR, RESPECT, EFFORT, SAFE and HONEST. All that we do at Maclean High School can be linked to these values
. [my yellow highlighting]

Such a pity it doesn’t live up to this boast.