Showing posts with label Income. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Income. Show all posts

Friday, 6 July 2018

The Lib-Nats class war continues apace and General Turnbull reminds us of another victory


On 1 July 2018 Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull proudly reminded his fellow Australians that the planned personal income tax cuts had started that day.




He was careful not to point out that to get that $530 tax refund next year this nurse or school teacher would have to earn above the average full-time wage in their respective professions.

Turnbull was also careful not to mention that these personal tax cuts excluded the lowest income earners - many of whom would be hit with the second tranche of penalty rate cuts which came into force on 1 July as well.

While the fact that on 1 July he just happens to get a 2 per cent parliamentary pay rise for the third year in a row, during a period of extremely low wage growth for ordinary workers, passes without mention as well.

It did not go unnoticed...........

The Guardian, 1 July 2018:

This week saw criticism of Labor starting a class war. But the real class war is being fought by those who seek to erase people on low and middle incomes from the debate. And too often the media are willing participants in this erasure.

Let us be honest: Australia is a nation whose politicians are for the most part drawn from similar socioeconomic (and education) backgrounds, covered by journalists who (including myself) come from similar backgrounds, and where any interruption to this course of events – such as when Ricky Muir was elected to the Senate – is greeted with a barely disguised level of condescension that someone not university educated or white collar has deigned to enter the sanctum.

It is a situation of course not solely devoted to income – gender and especially race are also major factors at play. In positions of power we remain a very white, relatively well-paid male nation (and I speak as one of that group).

It is not a situation without consequences.

Retirement age of 70? Well, that seems doable to one who sits behind a desk. The shift of jobs to the services sector? Well, after all, who would want to work in a factory? Low levels of industrial disputes? That must be good – let me quote some measure of international competitiveness while I pass over these record low wages growth and wonder at the coincidence.

It’s the type of thinking that has journalists asking “Is $120,000 the new rich” because that will generate a headline without even caring that it is more than double the median income.

And it is why I have little time for the theatre criticism that can infest political coverage where journalists writing for publications whose target audience is the very wealthiest in our society talk about how Labor’s “class war” attacks on Malcolm Turnbull are poor politics that won’t fly, and are divisive.

That’s pretty rich given today low-paid fast-food, hospitality, pharmacy and retail workers around the country are seeing cuts to their penalty rates.

Let us not fall into the trap of believing we can’t suggest that the situation and wealth of those in power has no impact on the policies they put forward, even while such policies actually benefit those same people who are putting them in place.

Oh no, we must instead keep to the myth that Australia is some egalitarian paradise where our history is one of everyone buckling down and working together to forge a nation against the odds. Bugger the rum rebellion, put John Macarthur on the $2 note, and bask in the warmth of misremembered history……

We see this erasure in his speeches where he talks of “school principals and police superintendents” to describe those deserving of a tax cuts as being somehow not wealthy – indeed as very much middle class.

The base level salary for a Victorian police superintendent is $154,412, the median salary for a Victorian school principal in 2015-16 was $113,446. That someone would use such incomes to talk up tax cuts says all you need to know about who he sees as the most deserving.

And here I must admit the media is often hostage to this erasure as well.

Upon the passing of the income tax cuts, one newspaper ran the line “What do low-medium income earners get?” and noted that “From July next year, Australians who earn up to $125,333 will get up to $530 cash-back when they lodge their tax return”.

In 2017 the median income was $52,988 and the top 10% of employees earned more than $109,668. Congratulations to those in the top 10%, you’re now officially middle-income Australia.

It means those who are actually middle and low-income workers are effectively erased from the debate – their situation ignored, and where to even raise it draws a rebuke – how dare you play the class war card! Why do you hate deserving middle class like the police superintendent?

The budget, despite what we might be led to believe, given the tax cuts that have just been passed without any savings measures attached, is not a magic pudding. Money spent on tax cuts to those presented as middle class but who are actually wealthy, means less money for those on actual low and middle incomes.

We do have a class war in Australia, and right now it is being won by those who not only would have you believe it is not occurring – and should not be mentioned – but who also would have you believe that those who are actually well off are doing it tough.

We need to be honest about who makes decisions in this country, how they are made and who they benefit. And we need to be honest about what is the reality for people on low and middle incomes. Failure to do so not only erases them from the debate, it ensures the system remains unchanged.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Wealth Inequality in Australia – something to think about



In 2015-16 there were an est. 326,000 to 337,000 households out of 8.9 million households which could be classified as the richest Australian households based on income and/or wealth, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Wealth in this cohort starts at $10 million and rises, with average weekly incomes starting at a little over $5,000.

The Guardian, 18 March 2018:

The richest 20% of Australians hold about 40% of the national income but nearly 65% of the national wealth, and a majority of the wealth is held by those over 55. And our tax system is designed to help them not only keep it, but to garner more and then give it to their children (who then garner more and then give it to their children, who then ...)

Our retirement system is based around tax-free holdings of wealth – through the family home, which is exempt from capital gains tax, and tax-free income from superannuation.

With those exemptions comes revenue forgone, and the cost of paying for our ageing population is an issue that is hitting us square between the eyes.

The prime earning age for workers is between 25 and 54. Between those ages, you are no longer studying, and not really thinking about retirement. These workers not only power much of our production, but also our tax revenue.

And right now the cohort is shrinking.

Currently just 41% of the population is aged between 25 and 54. The last time it was that low was in 1987, when the first baby boomers were entering their 40s.

Back then, it wasn’t a problem because only 10.5% of the population was aged over 65. But now those 40-year-old baby boomers are retiring and those over 65 account for 15.5% of our population.

That jump is the equivalent of about 1.2 million extra people aged over 65 – people who mostly don’t work (and nor should they be expected to), or pay income tax, but whose pensions and services need to be paid for by the revenue derived from those prime-aged workers.

So what is to be done?

You could – as is the government’s current policy – increase the retirement age to 70 (this policy is still on the Department of Human Services website). That might be fine for someone like me typing away at a desk but not for many others.

You could “crack down on welfare cheats”. The problem is, despite protestations from the government and conservative media, there aren’t many of those.

On Friday, the government announced that it had saved $43.4m – $17.8m in this financial year – from “more than 1,000 wealthy welfare cheats”. That’s from a $46.1bn annual budget for Newstart, DSP and Family Tax Benefit (and the aged pension is another $45.4bn).

Or you could, as the ALP is doing, seek to find extra revenue by cutting out rorts that were designed as electoral sweeteners and favours to the Howard-Costello key demographic.

When this imputation cash rebate was introduced, not many were affected but like any good tax rort, accountants soon caught wind. Add in the 2006 decision to make income from superannuation tax free for those over 60, and suddenly you had a lot of people with a high actual income but very low or zero taxable income taking advantage of it.

Further add in this weird belief that the retirement nest egg must not be touched, and you get a lot of idiotic reporting – such as in the Herald Sun, which had the case study of a woman with an income of $160,000, who we should feel sad for because she will lose her $12,775 rebate. She could, of course, sell some of her shares, but that would actually be using superannuation for its purpose and not as a tax-free inheritance fund.

So it is a smart and needed policy, but also a dangerous one because it affects an area shrouded in confusion and thus very much susceptible to fear-mongering……


Friday, 2 February 2018

How we see the cost of living in Australia in 2018


Essential Report, 30 January 2018:


A substantial majority believe that, in the last 12 months, cost of living (73%) and electricity costs (75%) have all got worse. The only economic measure that has got better is company profits (42% better/12% worse).
Compared the last time this question was asked in February 2016, there has been an increase in the percentage that think electricity costs (up 13% to 75%) have got worse. However, there has also been an increase in the percentage that think company profits (+12), unemployment (+19) and the economy overall (+18) have got better.


51% (down 2% since August) believe that, in the last two years, their income has fallen behind the cost of living. 28% (up 3%) think it has stayed even with the cost of living and 14% (down 1%) think it has gone up more.

64% of those earning under $600 pw and 58% of those earning $600-1,000 pw think their income has fallen behind while 54% of those earning over $2,000 pw think it has stayed the same or gone up.
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)media release, 31 January 2018:



Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 1 November 2018:




According to the ABS, over the last twelve months up to end September 2017 the Living Cost Index* rose:

2.0% for Pensioner and Beneficiary Households
2.1% for Other Government Transfer Recipient Households
1.7% for Age Pensioner Households
1.6% for Self-Funded Retiree Households
1.5% for Employee Households 

One of the principal drivers to the rise in costs for these groups has been the rise in housing costs due to the rise in wholesale electricity costs.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

A florid symptom of global economic and social inequality


The wealthiest 1 per cent of the world’s population owned 50.1 per cent of all global household wealth in 2017 – that is they collectively held an est. US$140.28 trillion [Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2017].

The world’s richest 500 people had a collective personal worth in excess of US$5.3 trillion at the end of that year – 3.77 percent of the wealth held by the top 1 per cent.

Bloomberg Billionaires Index as of Dec. 28, 2017:
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index is a daily ranking of the world’s richest people. Details about the calculations are provided in the net worth analysis on each billionaire’s profile page. The figures are updated at the close of every trading day in New York.
Billionaires ranked 14 to 500 with personal wealth ranging from $46.8B to $4.9B can be viewed here.


Australians on 2017 Top 500 Billionaires Index

#85 Gina Rinehart est. current worth $14.9B
#213 Harry Triguboff est. current worth $7.52B
#256 Ivan Glasenberg est. current worth $6.42B
#316 Anthony Pratt est. current worth $5.75B
#346 Frank Lowy est. current worth $5.44B
#480 James Packer est. current worth $4.22B

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Don't laugh, this Nationals MP was serious


David Arthur Gillespie of Wauchope entered the Australian Parliament in 2013 as a National Party Member of the House of Representatives representing the Lyne electorate, with an annual salary many of his constituents can only dream about.

He is quite literally a man of property – aside from his house and farm he owns four commercial and residential investment properties, which appear to be snugly sitting in one or more family trusts along with a portfolio of shares.

His total parliamentary entitlements expenditure paid by the Department of Finance was $65,512.97 in 2013,  $399,946.31 in 2014, $339,797.06 in 2015 and $381,651 in 2016.

Yet two years ago he caught the greed bug and wanted more, more, more………..

ABC News, 2 December 2017:

The Prime Minister's Department has lost a two-year fight to conceal a minister's bid for thousands of dollars in extra pollie-perks, including charter flights and boat rides.

Former speaker Bronwyn Bishop's taxpayer-funded helicopter ride sparked an inquiry into politicians' entitlements.

Most MPs and senators' submissions were publicly released, but bureaucrats decided to hide Nationals MP David Gillespie's proposal.

After a lengthy freedom of information (FOI) battle, the ABC can reveal Dr Gillespie argued politicians in seats like his should annually be given:

* Nearly $15,000 extra "charter allowance" for charter flights, hire cars, boat rides or taxis
* 14 days more travel allowance for overnight stays within the electorate
* An additional office
* One more full-time employee

Dr Gillespie is the member for Lyne on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

He argued the boost would help meet "the significant logistical challenges that confront all rural MPs in meeting the needs and expectations of their constituents".

"If the additional costs are $10 million, it is a small price to pay to ensure fairness within our democracy is delivered," he wrote in the October 2015 submission.

Dr Gillespie wanted extra expenses for all electorates 10,000 square kilometres or larger.

The Assistant Health Minister's seat is about 16,000 square kilometres in size, and includes towns of Taree and Wauchope.

If implemented today, 24 Coalition MPs would benefit, along with six Labor members and two independents.

Electorates 100,000 square kilometres or larger would have received an even bigger windfall under the blueprint.

But the Government has only partly adopted one of his ideas by funding an extra office in Australia's seven biggest electorates — a group of seats that does not include Lyne.

I’m sure David Gillespie is as pleased with mainstream media outing this attempted cash grab as he was when they reported this……

The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 October 2017:

A Turnbull government minister is facing up to $500,000 in personal legal bills to defend his job against a Labor High Court challenge.

While the government is covering the costs of the seven federal politicians referred to the court over their citizenship status, the eighth MP facing constitutional eligibility questions is not getting the same assistance.

Labor is challenging Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie's right to stay on in Federal Parliament, putting the government's slender majority at risk, because it believes he may have an indirect financial interest in the Commonwealth – grounds for disqualification under section 44(v) of the constitution.

As revealed by Fairfax Media in February, the Nationals MP owns a small suburban shopping complex in Port Macquarie and one of the shops is an outlet of Australia Post – a government-owned corporation.

The Lighthouse Beach Australia Post outlet in Port Macquarie owned by Nationals MP David Gillespie. 
Photo: Peter Daniels

Alley v Gillespie [2017] HCA is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday,12 December 2017 by High Court of Australia.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Will all working women in Australia ever achieve equal pay?


Most Australians appear to understand that gender-based discrimination against women is a fact of life females of all ages have to cope with at some point in their lives - often at multiple points in their lives.

This poll gives a clear indication of the level of community awareness of this issue.

Essential Report, Sexism and Discrimination Against Women, 5 December 2017:


A majority of respondents think there is a lot or some sexism in the media (64%), politics (60%), advertising (60%), workplaces (57%) and sport (56%).

Women were more likely than men to think there is a lot or some sexism in all areas – but especially in workplaces (women 67%, men 46%) and politics (70%/49%).

There has been some small changes in these figures since this question was asked in January last year – sexism in workplaces has dropped 4%, in the media up 6%, in sport down 4% and in schools up 8%. However, there has been more significant change in the differences between men and women on some issues. On sexism in the workplace the gap between perceptions of men and women has increased from 12% to 21%.

Despite society knowing that gender-based discrimination against women exists, institutions put in place by government to allegedly mitigate inequality and ensure fairness still manage to entrench such discrimination.

The shorter version of the observations and conclusions set out below is that if you are a female worker on minimum wage working in an industry sector which employs significantly more women than men, then you still cannot reliably look to either the private sector or the Liberal-Nationals version of the Fair Work Commission for the equal pay first promised by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in 1972.


Excerpt from Barbara Broadway & Richard Wilkinson, Melbourne University (October 2017), Probing the effects of the Australian system of minimum wages on the gender wage gap, pp.3-4:

In Australia, minimum wages are binding for a large part of the labour market: in 2014, 24% of all employees were paid the applicable minimum wage. Based on the above studies, one would therefore expect minimum wages in Australia to reduce the gender wage gap substantially. However, somewhat unusually, the Australian labour market contains many different minimum wages arising from industry and occupation-based ‘awards’ made by an industrial court. These awards specify legally binding minimum rates of pay, which vary considerably across occupations and industries, applying not only to the low-pay sector of the labour market, but to occupations of all levels, including high-skilled, high-paid jobs such as airline pilots, university professors and medical practitioners.1 The effects of these many minimums will therefore depend, in quite complex ways, on how men and women are distributed across occupations and industries and how minimums are distributed across occupations and industries.

The industrial court does not set different wages for men and women. However, it could, in principle, produce a gender wage gap by setting lower minimum wages in occupations and industries in which women are relatively more concentrated. A gender wage gap caused by legally set minimum wages could therefore be greater than or less than the gender wage gap created by market wages.

Indeed, the raw median gender wage gap among full-time employees in Australia is, at 18%, in the middle range of all OECD countries (Figure 1)2, providing a hint that the minimum wage system does not reduce the gender wage gap as much as might be expected given the high proportion of employees that are paid the applicable minimum wage. This is reinforced by the finding that the raw mean gender wage gap among full-time employees is approximately 20% (and indeed the gap has persisted at this level since the early 1990s (ABS 2016), despite relative growth in female educational attainment and work experience)…….

We therefore doubt that the observed job-femaleness penalty is actually derived from compensating differentials determined by the Fair Work Commission. Rather, what seems more likely is that the award-wage decisions have been influenced by observed “typical” wages in industries and occupations, and male-dominated fields have benefited from a long history of strong unionisation that led to higher average wages.

In any case, irrespective of whether non-skill-related differences in award wages are justified by other job characteristics, what is clear is that the gender wage gap among minimum-wage employees is greater than it would be were award wages neutral with respect to the gender composition of jobs.

Indeed, the gender wage gap within the award system would probably be negative if minimum wages depended only on the skill requirements of jobs, since the observed human capital of female minimum-wage employees is on average greater than the observed human capital of male minimum-wage employees…..

Comparing mean wages of award-reliant men and women shows there is indeed a gender pay gap among award-reliant employees, although it is considerably smaller than among non-award-reliant employees. The mean wage is $20.74 for men and $18.63 for women, corresponding to a mean gender pay gap of approximately 10%, compared to 19% among non-award employees.

1 These minimum wages are, however, less likely to be binding in high-paid occupations, where greater proportions of employees receive a salary that is above the applicable award rate.
2 Note that the OECD estimates are not entirely comparable across all countries because of differences in the way the median gender gap is calculated. For example, the wages variable may be measured over an hourly, weekly, monthly or annual time-frame. Figure 1 nonetheless provides reasonable indicative information on where Australia fits relative to other OECD countries.

Monday, 4 December 2017

FACT CHECK: Port of Yamba-Clarence River cruise ship and international cruise ship terminal proposal


In online debates concerning the NSW Government's proposal to make the Port of Yamba an official cruise ship destination and possibly build an international cruise ship terminal I have noticed a few misconceptions creeping in - so this post is a brief fact check.

The misconceptions are coloured red.

* The “MV Caledonian Sky” cruise ship is smaller than the “Island Trader” cargo ship and not much bigger than the Manly Ferry.

“Caledonian Sky” at 4,200 gross tonnage, dead weight of 645t, 90.6m length, 15.3m width, 4.25 maximum draft is over twice the size of the “Island Trader” which is 485 gross tonnage, dead weight of 242t, 38.8m long, 9m wide and maximum draft of 2.8m.

The four Manly ferries are 70 metres in length, 12.5 metres wide, with draughts of 3.3 metres and displace 1,140 tonnes and, only operate in a deep water harbour.

Cruise ships already come into the Clarence River.

There hasn’t been an ocean-going cruise ship carrying passengers enter the Clarence River in a good many years. There is some anecdotal information that one small cruise ship of indeterminate size entered the Clarence River sometime in the 1990s, but that appears to have been both the first and the last time that a local resident can recall its passage which ended with this vessel scraping its bottom on "Dirrangun" reef as it left. 

The last regular passenger service from Sydney to Port of Yamba ended in the mid to late 1950s when the small steamers operating on the NSW North Coast run were withdrawn.

Despite local media reports to the contrary, the “Caledonian Sky” has not entered the Port of Yamba in the past – this cruise ship’s scheduled visit in October 2018 will be her maiden voyage into the Clarence.

* There is not going to be any dredging of the Clarence River entrance or estuary if Port of Yamba becomes a cruise ship destination and an international cruise ship terminal is built.

A representative of the NSW Dept. of Transport raised eyebrows in apparent astonishment when I mentioned that particular belief. Although diplomatically silent the implication was clear - dredging would have to occur.

* Medium to small cruise ships will not have a problem entering the Clarence River because they will have a pilot on board.

In 2015-16 there were 18 ship visits to Port of Yamba, none were cruise ships and the majority of vessels piloted into the Clarence River came in for ship repair at Harwood Island.

However, even with a pilot on board a cruise ship may ground in a relatively narrow navigation channel. The “Regal Princess” grounded in Cairns Harbour in March 2001 as it sailed a 90m wide & est. 8.3 m deep navigation channel with a pilot aboard. The subsequent official investigation found that the dimensions of the Cairns port channel were too restrictive for the 32.25 m wide “Regal Princess”.

Because the Clarence River estuary is strongly tidal the position and width of its main navigation channel can vary and the Yamba-Iluka bar at the river entrance is problematic. 

The bar crossing appears to have been last dredged in 2004.

An Australian Navy tug 29m long, 8m wide with a draft of est. 3.4m grounded on the bar at the river mouth in October 1946 and from time to time cargo ships entering or leaving the Clarence have temporarily grounded when sand builds up outside the river entrance.

* Having cruise ships and a cruise terminal will raise personal incomes in the Lower Clarence Valley.

This argument is often put forward by governments pushing coastal development proposals.

St. John's (population over 108,000) - a regional port in Canada popular with small cruise ships - is currently conducting its own investigation into economic returns from cruise ship visits, because it was told this year that the average amount of money spent onshore by a cruise passenger can be as low as $28.20 and for a crew member as low as $20.79. Note: The Canadian dollar is roughly on par with the Australian dollar.

International cruise lines are usually the source of any financial information on passenger spending and industry observers tend to think that industry figures may be inflated. So it is not surprising to find one independent report published in 2015 states that passenger and crew spending in Cairns was 22 per cent lower than the figure supplied by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) a group representing the interests of cruise lines.

By the industry's own optimistic calculations, if all “Caledonian Sky” passengers come ashore then they should at a minimum spend in total between $4,750 and $5,937 during the five or so hours the ship is moored on the river in October next year.

Except that the cruise ship’s itinerary shows these approximately 114 passengers will have both breakfast and lunch on board ship before sailing away and, in the approx. three hours in between meals, will take a walk up to the Yamba Lighthouse at no charge, visit the Yamba Museum which has a gold coin entrance fee or cross to Iluka to wander the Nature Reserve up to Woody Head and back which is fee free - although it may be possible that the ship rents a mini-bus to transport passengers to Iluka wharf for return to the ship.

However, even then this hardly lives up to the cruise ship industry’s boast that each passenger spends on average $200-$250 a day in Australian regional ports.

* If ships the size of the "Rainbow Warrior" can navigate to the Harwood slipway then quite a few of the small similar size cruise vessels can safely do the same.

The second “Rainbow Warrior was a yacht with 555 gross tonnage, 55m long, 9m wide with a draft of 3m. The third and current “Rainbow Warrior has 855 gross tonnage, deadweight 180t, is 57.9m long, 11.3m wide and has a maximum draft of 5m.

To date I cannot find any cruise ships of similar size operating on the Australian east coast ocean route.

All east coast ships in P&O’s fleet are large ships, as are Holland America’s fleet. Princess Cruises’ ships are all large and, the  Royal Caribbean’s fleet is also composed of large ships. Ditto Carnival’s fleet and Celebrity Cruises’ ships. Norwegian Cruise Line, MCS Cruises and Cunard Line fleets contain only large vessels. While Oceania Cruises’ fleet is composed of somewhat smaller ships, but with drafts nudging 6m to 7m it probably wouldn't consider entering the Clarence . By comparison Noble Caledonia’s single cruise ship on the east coast is the ship with the shallowest draft found to date, but it may have difficulty coming over the bar in October 2018 and/or with swinging around to depart the estuary.

* Cruise lines are philanthropic - they will help people and the environment by giving money to a local cause.

Some but not all cruise lines do occasionally give money to institutions and causes within ports they regularly visit. It is often looked upon by port communities as 'guilty giving'. 

For example, in 2014 one of Carnival Cruise Line's ships severely damaged a section of pristine reef in the Cayman Islands. The next year the Carnival Foundation announced it was giving a $75,000 donation to the Cayman Islands-based Central Caribbean Marine Institute toward restoration of an ecologically distinct and globally endangered coral species. 

The Cayman Islands government had to step in before the cruise line would hand over $100,000 to the Cayman Islands National Trust towards the Magic Reef Restoration Project to cover the 11,000 sq feet of endangered coral that the "Carnival Magic" crushed.

If the international cruise ship industry genuinely had a social conscience then there wouldn't be reports like "Sweat Ships" (2002) which looks at the abuse of workers' rights aboard cruise ships.

* Modern cruising is really a form of eco-tourism

There is nothing inherently ecological about the design and functioning of a modern cruise ship. 

Modern cruise ships:
* predominately still use bunker fuel when underway and diesel/gas power when berthed if there is no dedicated shore electricity supply available to them; 
* give off emissions when these fossil fuels are burned and these emissions can and do sometimes exceed permissible levels of air pollution;
* emit underwater noise which disturbs whales and dolphins;
* are usually noisy when moored or berthed due to the need to generate power and/or provide entertainment for passengers;
* sewerage and waste water storage systems can sometimes malfunction or fail
* have been known to illegally dump sewerage whilst in port;
* will sometimes dump chlorinated swimming pool water overboard;
* sometimes illegally discharge oily waste into the ocean;
* will sometimes have issues with unlawful garbage disposal on some voyages; and
* anti-fouling paint on their hulls leaches into the waters at wharfs and affects the surrounding marine ecosystem.

* The state government will never be able to dredge the bar or the river because of Native Title.


Yes, Native Title covers the Clarence River from just below Ulmarra to the river mouth and out past the two breakwaters where it creates a 350m buffer around "Dirrangan" reef, as well as a narrower ocean water boundary out from the shoreline starting at Woody Head and going on down past Wooli.

Any cruise ship approaching the entrance to the Clarence River would be sailing in waters covered by Native Title.

However, Native Title rights are non-exclusive and so contain a number of qualifications. Therefore people of goodwill across the Clarence Valley and the wider Northern Rivers region will need to speak up in support of the Yaegl People's stated position if the Berejiklian Government decides to proceed with its international cruise ship terminal proposal.


General qualifications on native title rights and interests

8. Native title does not exist in:
(a) Minerals as defined in the Mining Act 1992 (NSW) and the Mining Regulation 2010 (NSW); and
(b) Petroleum as defined in the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 (NSW) and the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982 (NSW).

9. The native title rights and interests described in paragraphs 6 and 7 do not confer:
(a) possession, occupation, use and enjoyment to the exclusion of all others;
(b) any right to control access to, or use of, the Determination Area.

10. The native title rights and interests in the Determination Area are subject to and exercisable in accordance with:
(a) the laws of the State of New South Wales and of the Commonwealth;
(b) the traditional laws acknowledged and traditional customs observed by the Yaegl People; and
(c) the terms of any Indigenous Land Use Agreement, which may be registered by the National Native Title Tribunal in respect of any part of the Determination Area made after the making of this Determination…….

Other interest which existed at the time Native Title over “Dirrangun” was determined are protected.

10. Other interests generally

(a) Rights and interests, including licences and permits, granted by the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, the Clarence Valley Council or of the Commonwealth pursuant to statute or under regulations made pursuant to such legislation.

(b) Rights and interests held by reason of the force and operation of the laws of the State of New South Wales or of the Commonwealth.

(c) Rights and interests of members of the public arising under common law or statute including, but not limited to the following:
(i) any public right to fish;
(ii) the public right to navigate; and
(iii) the international right of innocent passage through the territorial sea.

(d) So far as is confirmed pursuant to section 18 of the Native Title (New South Wales) Act as at the date of the Determination, any existing public access to and enjoyment of:
 (i) waterways;
(ii) the bed and banks or foreshores of waterways;
(iii) coastal waters;
(iv) beaches;
(v) stock routes; and
(vi) areas that were public places at the end of 31 December 1993.

(e) The rights of:
(i) an employee, agent or instrumentality of the State of New South Wales;
(ii) an employee, agent or instrumentality of the Commonwealth;

(iii) an employee, agent or instrumentality of any Local Government Authority, to access the Determination Area and carry out actions as required in the performance of his/ her or its statutory or common law duty.

Sea claim judgment: Yaegl People #2 v Attorney General of New South Wales [2017] FCA 993 (31 August 2017)