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

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

UN-UNESCO Global Assessment Report: "The loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is already a global and generational threat to human well-being.", 6 May 2019:

Our world is losing biodiversity, and fast. According to a report released today by the United Nations, up to one million species could face extinction in the near future due to human influence on the natural world. Such a collapse in biodiversity would wreak havoc on the interconnected ecosystems of the planet, putting human communities at risk by compromising food sources, fouling clean water and air, and eroding natural defenses against extreme weather such as hurricanes and floods.

In the sweeping UN-backed report, hundreds of scientists found that biodiversity loss poses a global threat on par with climate change. A 40-page “Summary for Policy Makers” was released in advance of the full report, which is expected to be published later this year and span nearly 2,000 pages. The document calls the rate of change in nature “unprecedented” and projects that species extinctions will become increasingly common in the coming decades, driven by factors such as land development, deforestation and overfishing.

“The basic message is the same as what the scientific community has been saying for more than 30 years: Biodiversity is important in its own right. Biodiversity is important for human wellbeing, and we humans are destroying it,” Robert Watson, the former chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) that produced the report, said during a press conference on Monday.

To produce the report, 145 biodiversity experts plus hundreds of other contributors compiled information over three years from 15,000 sources. For years, scientists have been sounding the alarm about biodiversity’s dramatic decline in what some have dubbed the world’s sixth mass extinction event. This die-off, however, differs from the other five in its central cause: humans.

As the global assessment confirms, human activity is a major driver of biodiversity decline among the millions of species on Earth. The report ranks some of the top causes of species loss as changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms (like hunting or fishing), climate change, pollution and invasive alien species (often introduced by human travel across ecosystems). The current global rate of species extinction is already “at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years,” and it’s expected to keep accelerating.

All in all, human action has “significantly altered” about 75 percent of the world’s land environment and 66 percent of its marine environment, according to the report. Insect populations have plummeted in tropical forestsgrasslands are increasingly drying out into deserts, and pollution along with ocean acidification is driving many coral reef ecosystems to the brink.

The destruction of biodiversity at all levels, from genes to ecosystems, could pose significant threats to humankind, the report says. In addition to affecting human access to food resources, clean water and breathable air, a loss of species on a global scale could also clear a path for diseases and parasites to spread more quickly, says Emmett Duffy, a biodiversity expert with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center who contributed to the report.

“Historically, a lot of us have thought about conservation and extinction in terms of charismatic animals like pandas and whales,” Duffy says. “But there’s a very strong utilitarian reason for saving species, because people depend on them. There’s an environmental justice aspect.”

The effects of biodiversity loss won’t be distributed equally, either, the researchers found. The most devastating impacts would disproportionately affect some of the world’s poorest communities, and the report concludes that the decline in biodiversity undermines global progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, milestones set by the U.N. General Assembly in 2015 to reduce global inequality…..

Important aspects of the Global Assessment
Building upon earlier IPBES assessment reports, especially the recently-released Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment and the Regional Assessment Reports for Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe and Central Asia (March, 2018), the Global Assessment:
• Covers all land-based ecosystems (except Antarctica), inland water and the open oceans
• Evaluates changes over the past 50 years — and implications for our economies, livelihoods, food security and quality of life
• Explores impacts of trade and other global processes on biodiversity and ecosystem services
• Ranks the relative impacts of climate change, invasive species, pollution, sea and land use change and a range of other challenges to nature
• Identifies priority gaps in our available knowledge that will need to be filled
• Projects what biodiversity could look like in decades ahead under six future scenarios: Economic Optimism; Regional Competition; Global Sustainability; Business as Usual; Regional Sustainability and Reformed Markets
• Assesses policy, technology, governance, behaviour changes, options and pathways to reach global goals by looking at synergies and trade-offs between food production, water security, energy and infrastructure expansion, climate change mitigation, nature conservation and economic development
What the CSIRO and state about coastal New South Wales:


·         Average temperatures will continue to increase in all seasons (very high confidence).
·         More hot days and warm spells are projected with very high confidence. Fewer frosts are projected with high confidence.
·         Decreases in winter rainfall are projected with medium confidence. Other changes are possible but unclear.
·         Increased intensity of extreme rainfall events is projected, with high confidence.
·         Mean sea level will continue to rise and height of extreme sea-level events will also increase (very high confidence).
·         A harsher fire-weather climate in the future (high confidence).
·         On annual and decadal basis, natural variability in the climate system can act to either mask or enhance any long-term human induced trend, particularly in the next 20 years and for rainfall.

At its ordinary monthy meeting of 23 April 2019 Clarence Valley Council passed the following resolution:

Friday, 10 May 2019

Memo to NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole & NSW Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance: Pull you fingers out and fix this!

Sportsman's Creek Bridge (1910) sited close to where the creek meets the Clarence River
Image: GeoLink

The Daily Examiner
, 6 May 2019, p.1:

As he stood on the now dismantled Sportsmans Creek Bridge approaches, Lawrence Museum and Historical Society president Rob Forbes held a series of letters that appalled him.

For the past two years, based on a positive relationship with Roads and Maritime Services, the society had made plans to reconstruct a full section of the bridge, preserving its memory at the museum.

Now, with a change in management, that agreement made has seemingly vanished, with RMS offering a ‘take it or leave it’ approach to what will be preserved.

“I’m appalled to think that a small local historical society trying to save one of the most historic and important structures in Lawrence has to record every single conversation made with every single person we talked to so we don’t get shafted,” Mr Forbes said.

Mr Forbes said for the first stages of planning, the rapport with RMS could not have been better, with RMS employees regularly visiting the museum to see what could be done.

“They couldn’t do enough for us,” he said. “They even organised a license from the EPA so we could take some of the building that was removed for the bridge which had lead paint.

“It carried over when we wanted a section of the bridge. I stood in the museum with the representative and we looked at the model so we were talking about the exact same thing.”

Originally it was agreed two complete ends of one span (both sides of the structure) could be reassembled to create a good representation of the bridge.

“The engineer at the meeting said we could have two complete ends of one span and ‘probably’ also a large amount of the other bridge timbers ‘if we wanted it’,” Mr Forbes said.

After the bridge was demolished recently, and with a change in management at RMS, these verbal agreements made months earlier were disregarded, according to Mr Forbes.

“An email was received stating we could now have only two ends of one truss (one side of the structure only) and 150 square metres of decking – and that this was non-negotiable,” he said.

“We’ve even had emails saying if we had a problem with the quality of the timber they’ll sell the whole lot to salvage... and we feel pressured to sign the new agreement or it’ll best lost forever.

“There was no agreement, but when they said yes for two years, as far as I’m concerned the deal was done.”

A spokesman said RMS had worked with the Lawrence community, including the museum and historical society, throughout the Sportsmans Creek Bridge project.
“Roads and Maritime has provided a replica of the bridge to the society to commemorate this historic structure, along with an agreement to supply timbers from the old bridge for re-use as a commemorative structure,” the spokesman said.

“The agreement includes providing 150sqm of bridge decking timbers to be used as a floor to support the old Ashby ferry, two ends of one truss (each end of one single truss) and supports for display purposes only and transport of the timber and truss to the museum.

“This agreement has not changed and Roads and Maritime will continue to work with the historical society to commemorate the old Sportsmans Creek timber truss bridge.”

The Lawrence Historical Society urges people to show support for the cause by either contacting Mr Forbes on 0412 715 805, or leaving comments on their Facebook page.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The Liberal & Nationals answer to all the water policy mistakes they have made in the past. Full speed ahead to make some more!

In 2006 the Howard Coalition Government’s then Minister for Water Malcolm Bligh Turnbull attempted an under-the-radar progression of a proposal to dam and divert water from the Clarence River system into the Murray Darling Basin. He was sprung and it lost his government the seat of Page in 2007.

When Tony Abbott was prime minister he was all gung-ho for damming east coast rivers, but was by then wary of the mood of Clarence Valley communities.

Despite a certain coolness on Tony Abbott’s part and Turnbull's silence once he followed Abbott as prime minister, the wannabee water raiders within the Basin have never given up on the idea of destroying the Clarence River in order to continue lucrative water trading for profit and inappropriate levels of farm irrigation in the Basin.

This is a mockup of what these raiders would like to see along the Clarence River. 

North Coast Voices, 1 March 2013
On 30 April 2019 Scott Morrison and Co announced the proposed creation of the National Water Grid which in effect informs communities in the Northern Rivers region that our wishes, being “political” because we are not their handpicked ‘experts’, will be ignored when it comes to proposed large-scale water diversion projects including dams if they are re-elected on 18 May 2019.

The Daily Examiner, 4 May 2019, p.10:

“Just add water” is the Nationals’ answer to “unleashing the potential” of regional Australia but it would come at a cost to areas flush with the precious resource.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced on Tuesday at the National Press Club that a returned Coalition government would establish an authority, the National Water Grid, to manage water policy and infrastructure.

“We know the key to unlocking the potential of regional Australia is simple – just add water,” he said.

The announcement of the National Water Grid has sparked fears the Clarence and Nymboida rivers may be dammed to irrigate drought-stricken areas of the country – a prospect the Clarence Valley community has faced before.

The Nationals’ Page MP, Kevin Hogan, said there were “no plans to dam the Clarence River”.

“There are proposals in other drought-affected areas of the country,” he said…..

The planned National Water Grid would ensure water infrastructure would be based on the best available science, “not on political agendas”, Mr McCormack said.

It would “provide the pipeline of all established, current and future water infrastructure projects and then identify the missing links”.

Mr McCormack said dams were the answer to “create jobs”, “back agriculture and back farmers”.

“While we are being bold and building big, we are often stopped at the first hurdle when it comes to short-sighted state governments that choose politics over practicality, and indeed science,” he said…..

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Clarence Valley winter woolies drive on 29 April to 5 May 2019

The Daily Examiner, 22 April 2019, p.4:

If you have clothes piling up in the back of your wardrobe you’ve forgotten about or won’t be wearing any more, now is the time to dig them out.

What started out as an initiative of the Waste Not Want Not Facebook group has quickly become a tradition now in its sixth year.

The original yarn bombing movement was about injecting colour and joy into everyday life, but for Sue Noddy and the other organisers, it was a chance to help others.

“If it’s been sitting your wardrobe forever and you don’t wear it any more bring it down, it is all about recycling things,” Ms Noddy said.

She said anything warm is welcomed but hoodies, jeans and mittens are particularly useful.

“We do have some ladies who are knitting crochet all year-round rugs, hats and scarves and they will peg their hand knitted items up,”

“We run it for a week, we don’t take the items in at night because some people don’t want to be seen taking things off the fence,” she said.

“We leave it out all night, all day, even if it rains people still come and take the items.”
There will be three locations for the community to donate their pre-loved winter woollies, two in Grafton and one in Maclean.

Drop off points from April 29–May 5:

New School of Art neighbourhood house, corner of Spring and New streets, South Grafton
The Hub Baptist Church, corner of Queen and Oliver streets
River St, Maclean, next to the fire station.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Yaegl Aboriginal cultural heritage areas in the Clarence Valley to be mapped

Clarence Valley Council, media release:

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

April 15, 2019

Mapping areas of Yaegl Aboriginal cultural heritage

A PROJECT that aims to help protect areas of cultural value to the Aboriginal community is about to get under way in the Clarence Valley.

Representatives of the Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, the Office of Environment and Heritage and Clarence Valley Council recently signed a memorandum of understanding for a cultural mapping project of the Clarence.

The project aims to identify and map known and “high potential” areas of Aboriginal heritage to ensure culturally appropriate information is used to inform conservation and local plans.

The MoU says plans, which include cultural heritage management initiatives, are intended to better protect Aboriginal heritage within or adjacent to all mapped areas.

“Assessment of the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System data and extensive field surveys in company with nominated cultural representatives to validate and record data is also a necessary project component,” it says.

The project aims to produce 1:25,000 scale topographic maps for the Yaegl Native Title Claimed Area, annotated with “known” and “high potential” areas of Aboriginal cultural heritage, within and immediately adjacent to the Clarence Valley local government area.

Once complete, a training program will be developed for Yaegl site officers, Clarence Valley Council staff and other appropriate agencies.

Release ends.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Valley Watch urgent message to Clarence Valley residents about saving Lawrence koala habitat

Koala habitat within Larwence village streets

Valley Watch Inc has sent this email out…….

Hi everyone brief history and response from Essential Energy below.  

Upgrade and change of route required due to safety (currently passing over someone's house).  Project planned then needed to change route as an underground water main was identified in their proposed route.  New route chosen and vegetation clearing increased from two trees and trimming to approx. 28 trees & shrubs being cleared in a known koala corridor.

Thanks to Community who raised concerns and attended special meeting where they presented new route that could be considered.  As per email below we need to ensure Essential Energy hear there is large community support for protecting koala habitat.

Please telephone and email Raelene Myers at Essential Energy.


----- Forwarded message -----
From: Linda redacted]
Sent: Friday, 5 April 2019, 05:06:11 pm AEDT
Subject: save Lawrence koala habitat

Hi everyone,

At the end of an information session today in Grafton, led by Essential Energy Community Liaison Officer Raelene Myers, the Essential Energy staff told the assembled concerned Lawrence and wider Clarence Valley residents, after much discussion, that they will now put the plan to relocate some poles and wires to an area that would involve koala habitat destruction on hold, while they examine an alternative route that would not. 

The alternative route was put forward by meeting attendees. The plan attached shows the existing route in green, the habitat-destroying route in orange, and the non-habitat-destroying route in red.

Raelene has undertaken to keep updated people who let her know they want to be. Our best chance of saving the koala habitat now is to get as many people as possible to contact her and let her know we are in favour of the non-habitat destroying route and want to be kept updated. Her contact details are below.

Please pass this information on to anyone you think might care.



T: 02 6589 8810 (extn 88810) M: 0407 518 170
PO Box 5730 Port Macquarie NSW 2444
General Enquiries: 13 23 91


The Daily Examiner, 10 April 2019, p.5:

Clarence Valley councillor Greg Clancy said the the proposal would result in the removal of a number of trees and put at risk the koala population in the area.

“We think they could reroute the power lines a different way to reduce the number of trees that would need to cut down,” he said. “I think it’s going to push the local population further towards extinction"

Mr Clancy said despite the relatively small number of trees marked for removal, the frequency with which koalas could be found in them meant they should be saved.

“I was out there the other day with a representative from Essential Energy and there was a koala in one of the marked trees,” he said.

“The point is the koalas are always in these trees and there is a lot of habitat they may not find as suitable. You need to rely on where the koalas are, not where they might be.”

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Big Bat & Wildlife Festival, Noon to Sunset, 30 March 2019 Showground, Maclean NSW

Cyclone Oma might have postponed the festival but the events organisers are ready to go again. 

The new date is Saturday 30th March at the Maclean Showground. 

It is the same day as the Yamba Gourmet Food festival - so the Clarence Valley can offer culture and conservation. 

 It is also Earth Hour on the 30th March. 

At the Big Bat & Wildlife Festival Uncle Ron Heron will be giving a Welcome to Country; while Bill Walker will tell some yarns about Yaegl experiences with wildlife and explaining totems. 

As for the singers in the community they are planning an 'all-together-now' performance of 'Sing for the Climate' lead by the Macleles Ukulele Band. 

Friday, 22 March 2019

Police hunt for information in Lawrence and Sandy Beach about alleged perpetrator of NZ terrorist attack

The New Daily, 18 March 2019:

Family members of the Australian man charged with murdering Muslim worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand are devastated one of their own could be involved in a massacre.

Brenton Tarrant’s grandmother, Marie Fitzgerald, said the family was gobsmacked he’d been charged over Friday’s shooting attacks on mosques in Christchurch.

“It’s just so much of everything to take in that somebody in our family would do anything like this,” the 81-year-old woman told Nine News in the NSW city of Grafton on Sunday.

“The media is saying he has planned it for a long time so he is obviously not of sound mind.”

Tarrant went to Europe after his father died of cancer in 2010 and came back a different man, Mrs Fitzgerald said.

“It’s only since he travelled overseas I think, that that boy has changed completely to the boy we knew,” she said.

His uncle Terry Fitzgerald apologised on behalf of the family for his nephew’s alleged murderous act.

“We are so sorry for the families over there, for the dead and the injured,” Terry Fitzgerald said.

“What he has done is just not right.”

Tarrant spent most of his time on computer games during his high school days, rather than chasing girls, his grandmother added.

The family had dinner with Tarrant in Grafton a year ago for his sister’s birthday.

His sister and mother have been put under police protection after Friday’s attack, which has left 50 dead and others in a critical condition on hospital.

Meanwhile, counter-terrorism police raided two homes on the NSW mid-north coast on Monday as part of investigations into the shootings.

Officers from the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team searched a property in Sandy Beach, near Coffs Harbour, about 8.30am on Monday, before storming a second house at Lawrence, near Maclean.

“The primary aim of the activity is to formally obtain material that may assist New Zealand Police in their ongoing investigation,” the Australian Federal Police and NSW Police said in a joint statement.

“The community can be assured that there is no information to suggest a current or impending threat related to this search warrants.”

Tarrant was not on any watchlist in Australia or New Zealand, despite online profiles linked to him containing white supremacist material.

The 28-year-old posted a 74-page document online before the attack. A 17-minute video of the shootings was also live-streamed.

The JCTT is made up of officers from the AFP, NSW Police, as well as ASIO and the NSW Crime Commission.

"Please don’t run away from this so fast we fail to learn anything by it. Call out racism. Call out bigotry. Then call it out again, and again."

The Daily Examiner, 20 March 2019, p.28:

The Grafton community is in shock, left heartbroken after news that Friday’s terrorist attack in New Zealand was perpetrated by a man who grew up here.

So it’s understandable we want to try to distance ourselves from what is now one of the worst mass killings in modern history.

We feel for our city, we feel for the local family caught up in this, and we feel for the people of New Zealand.

What is apparent though is a lack of acknowledgement of the people who were specifically targeted in this murderous rampage. Muslims. People, including children as young as two, who were killed because of their faith and their race.

And don’t for one minute think it’s not about race, it’s a package deal for white supremacists, and the 28-year-old who grew up here is one of those.

So why do Clarence Valley spokespeople gloss over such details like they are trivial facts in this horrendous story?

If a Middle Eastern gunman of Muslim faith walked into a Catholic church in Australia and open fired on white Christian families there would be no such leniencies extended to the perpetrator or his ilk in the conversations that follow.

But here we are in protection mode. This isn’t our Grafton. This isn’t our Australia. 

This isn’t us. Which is correct if we judge the perpetrator only on his actions on Friday.

But we have to come to terms with the fact these things don’t happen overnight. There is an innate beginning to a journey that takes you to a place where you are capable of planning an attack of this level of calculation and carnage, write an extensive manifesto to showcase the act, film it and broadcast it live, and, after being captured, smirk to the media as you face the first of the many legal consequences of your actions.

So if it’s not us, who is it? Pakistan, Finland, any other country? Is it the internet or social media? Computer games? Is it the moment he left Grafton? The moment he was ‘radicalised’?

Ultimate responsibility lies with our society and the attitudes we foster. The conversations we have and behaviours we encourage and allow.

Everything contributes to this. What we hear from governments, what we hear from the media, what we hear from our family and friends. What we are exposed to growing up, what we talk about when we are old, the messages we share in pubs and on social media.

So in the Clarence, our Muslim-free narrative is very telling. So, too, the idealistic version we create of ourselves.

Please stop telling me how wonderful this place is. I already know it is; as long as you look like me, you go OK.

But describing the Clarence Valley and Grafton as a diverse and multicultural region that prides itself on being inclusive, while it makes a great sound bite or quote in a news story there is plenty to fault in these broad overviews with little evidence to back them up.

About 80 per cent of Grafton is made up of white people and more than 70 per cent identify as Christian (national averages are 65 per cent and 52 per cent respectively). 

Our demographic is made up of Australians, English, Irish, Scottish and Germans predominantly. Our indigenous population falls under the Australian component and makes up 7.4per cent of that, representing the major group as far as our cultural diversity goes. It is more than double the state average at 2.9per cent. Our representation of other people of colour is negligible by comparison.*

So to call us a culturally diverse place is a stretch. Inclusiveness is easy when we all look the same and have the same beliefs.

Our indigenous locals may have a different take on what that looks like.

When it comes to sport and the arts, sure we champion inclusiveness with First Nations people, but when we are really tested, like we were with the Coutts Crossing name debate, we demonstrate a low tolerance. Same with national issues like changing the date of Australia Day.

When our Citizen of the Year expressed her support of that in her acceptance speech she received random boos from an audience that also included members of our indigenous community.

Every October when we are – to quote someone well known for her lack of regard for other races – “swamped with Asians”, our lack of tolerance for the influx of visitors eager to photograph our beautiful trees is demonstrated with the barrage of abuse they receive from passing motorists.

But it’s not about race, they’re just idiots standing in the way, right? Like the booing of Adam Goodes wasn’t because he was an Aborigine, he was just a bad sport.

What if the Muslim community came en masse to Grafton to mourn their slain? What if they came to a town where they don’t exist?

It’s impossible to have all those other conversations about our wonderful town without having this one.

As difficult as it is, not mentioning the war as we wait for things to blow over isn’t an option. It’s no longer Grafton’s story to tell, or its agenda to set. The city will forever wear a horrific international act of terrorism as part of its story and in its history books.

Interest will follow us for a long time as the world learns who the perpetrator was, what kind of place he grew up in and how he ended up committing an act of hatred so obscene it stopped the world.

Like all the official spokespeople out there, I too love the Clarence Valley, but I’m not blindsided by that affection so much I believe we are incapable of being a breeding ground for racism. We aren’t the only Australian town to have this potential, but we are the town caught up in this mess.

Please don’t run away from this so fast we fail to learn anything by it. Call out racism. Call out bigotry. Then call it out again, and again.

*2016 ABS Census