Showing posts with label NSW Nationals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NSW Nationals. Show all posts

Thursday, 2 August 2018

NSW Roads & Maritime Services finally come clean: We don't give a damn about any of the concerns Woombah & Iluka residents have about our asphalt plant, it's only Pacific Complete's bottom line that matters


The Daily Examiner via Press Reader, 1 August 2018:

ROADS and Martime Services has revealed it will build at least two asphalt batching plants near the Pacific Highway, most likely between Tyndale and the Iluka turnoff, next year.

Pacific Highway general manager Bob Higgins said the RMS has pressed the pause button on construction of one plant at Woombah, but the need to supply the Glenugie to Iluka Rd turnoff section with 170,000 tonnes of asphalt would require two plants.

He said the RMS would review the supply strategy for the manufacture and delivery of asphalt on the stretch of highway upgrade after protests from the Woombah community.

But Mr Higgins said if push came to shove when the RMS review decided on locations, residents’ objections would take second place to the technical needs of the project. [my yellow highlighting]

What a travesty Pacific Highway Upgrade community consultations are cannot get much clearer than this.

I'm sure local residents will not be pleased to have their fears confirmed.

Whether he meant to or not, Bob Higgins has probably just cemented the proposed Woombah asphalt batching site as a March 2019 NSW state election issue in the Clarence electorate for both the NSW National Party and the Berejiklian Coalition Government.

No-one likes to be told their valid concerns - about environmental impact, road safety, air quality and potential reduction in tourism numbers which underpin the local economy - don't matter to the state government down in Sydney.

BACKGROUND






Thursday, 5 April 2018

When is the National Party going to stop attempting to turn the NSW North Coast into a barren rubbish dump?


Almost every crackpot idea - from turning coastal rivers inland, building pulp mills, establishing wall to wall gasfields, clearing forest remaining on private land through to monetising national parks and turning over biodiverse crown land to property developers - has initially been supported by some or many members of the NSW National Party. 

So I would bet my last dollar that NSW Nationals MP for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, thinks sending the North Coast nuclear is a great idea.

Both he and fellow National, the Minister for Regional NSW and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro, would be easy prey for persistent foreign and domestic lobbyists from the nuclear energy industry. 

The story so far......

The Northern Star, 31 March 2018:

THE debate on a nuclear power industry in NSW has once again reared its head.

NSW Labor Opposition has called on the Premier to intervene and put an end to the investigation by her Deputy, National Party Leader John Barilaro, into the potential establishment of a nuclear power industry in NSW.

In his speech to the Small Modular Reactor Summit in Atalanta this week Mr Barilaro said: "We need to have the discussion (about nuclear energy) and we need to have it now."

He added the discussion will take place over a "5-10 year period", before any nuclear energy options could even be introduced in Australia. 

A spokesperson for Mr Barilaro said he met with some companies in the US including NuScale and U-Battery, who are developing Gen IV reactors which will possibly be available mid 2020's, as well as the US Department of Energy to get an insight in relation to the Governments approach to new nuclear technology. 

They said "the meetings were an opportunity to learn and gain knowledge about the sector". 

The Nuclear for Climate Australia website identifies 18 possible sites for nuclear power plants in NSW - including a 250km stretch of coast from Port Macquarie to north of Grafton.

The plan envisages the 18 reactors being constructed in NSW by 2040.

Last year NSW Labor leader Luke Foley accepted Mr Barilaro's invitation to debate nuclear power and suggested Lismore host the forum.

In a letter addressed to the Premier dated June 1 2017, Mr Foley described nuclear power as "both risky and irresponsible" and said: "I accept your call for a debate and propose that we hold a public debate in Lismore to discuss the issues at stake.
"Lismore would be an appropriate location for such a debate as it is one of the most environmentally conscious communities in NSW."

But when asked if Mr Barilaro was considering the offer his spokesperson said Mr Foley was "playing politics with the issue and is completely ignorant to the issues and clueless about the technology".

"Mr Barilaro has always welcomed and encouraged discussion on the opportunity for NSW to consider the prospects, the technological advancements and associated benefits of nuclear energy.

"But any discussion should be done experts in the field...Mr Foley thinks of nuclear reactors as those seen in a Simpsons episode. 

"New Gen IV technology is promising reactors that no longer are water cooled, nor need to be located anywhere near the coast," they said.

More recently, Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Adam Searle MLC and Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Mick Veitch MLC, made a two day visit to the North Coast to meet with primary producers and explore potential solutions to the energy crisis.

Mr Searle said nuclear reactors would tarnish NSW's clean and green image, and threaten the reputation and emerging markets of many north coast primary industries.

"Mr Barilaro's nuclear thought bubbles were a distraction from real long term energy solutions that provide the cheapest and most sustainable forms of electricity for the community and business - which is renewable energy," he said.

"The Premier has let this debate run for too long and now needs to rule out herself any proposal to build nuclear power plants here in NSW."

He also called for the Deputy Premier to "come up to the North Coast and explain why the National Party believes nuclear reactors are the best option".
Mr Veitch said: "North Coast primary producers pride themselves on the quality of their goods and their clean and green reputation."…. [my yellow highlighting]

From Port Macquarie to north of Grafton in the coastal zone?

According to Nuclear For Climate Australia when siting a nuclear reactor:

 Some of the issues that will influence the selection of a region of interest would be:


* being near to the coast or inland bodies of water for cooling,
* having reasonable access to the grid,
* having low local population densities.
* presenting the potential to replace exiting coal or gas burning generators
* containing good regional geology for foundations.
* reasonable access to road, rail or ports for transport.

Let me see…..

Much of the NSW coastal land close to water sources between Port Macquarie and north of Grafton is between 1m and 17m above sea level. Further inland in the 100km coastal zone elevations are higher but the terrain is often unsuitable or has no road-rail infrastructure nearby.

Then there’s the Hastings River, Nambucca River, Bellinger River, Kalang River, Macleay River, Orara River, Nymboida River, Mann River, Clarence River, Wilsons River, Richmond River to name but a few in that area which regularly flood.

There are also at least four significant flood plains within the coastal range indicated by Nuclear For Climate Australia - one of which contains Grafton and northern lands beyond and another which is the largest coastal flood plain in NSW covering est.1,000 sq kms.



Where on earth do these NSW National Party ideologues think they can site a nuclear reactor on the mid-North Coast, or in the aptly named Many Rivers (Northern Rivers) region, where this will not happen?

 ABC News
ABC News
ABC News

Images range in no particular order from the Hastings River in the Port Macquarie district up to the Clarence River system and the Richmond & Wilsons Rivers in the Lismore and Ballina regions, NSW.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Surprise, Surprise. Nationals appear to be telling pork pies to voters on the NSW North Coast yet again



Echo NetDaily, 15 Februaty 2018:

An animal activist has accused two National Party MPs of 'misleading the public' over claims the RMS has revegetated more than a hundred hectares of land along the Pacific Highway Ballina upgrade route with tens of thousands of koala feed trees.
In recent weeks both roads minister Melinda Pavey and north coast MLC Ben Franklin have made public statements regarding the re-vegetation of koala habitat at Meerschaum Vale to compensate for the damage caused by the highway upgrade construction.
On February 3, Minister Pavey said in a press release that 'the government had re-vegetated 130 hectares of land with 95,000 koala feed trees.'
Then on February 9, Mr Franklin said that 'about 110 hectares, equating to 80,000 koala food trees had so far been planted and there were plans to plant another 20 hectares as part of the Woolgoolga to Ballina Upgrade.'

Empty paddock

But co-ordinator of Australians For Animals, Sue Arnold, told Echonetdaily she took a field trip to the re-vegetation site earlier this week, which 'revealed an empty paddock with no koala feed trees planted in spite of a sign indicating that the planting was part of a "130 hectares of Koala Food Trees planted".'
Ms Arnold said she was unable to find any other planting sites in the vicinity.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Is the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government moving against Clarence River communities?



According to the state-owned corporation Port Authority of New South Wales, during the 2017-18 cruise season which commenced in October, international cruise ships will be visiting Sydney, Newcastle, Port Kembla and Eden.

On its website the Authority proudly announced an expectation of a bumper season – as other parts of the world buckle under the weight of the cruise ship industry’s agenda and start to say ‘no more’.

When cautionary tales like this are appearing…..

Traveller.com.au, 20 November 2017:

Venice is planning to divert massive cruise liners. Barcelona has cracked down on apartment rentals.

Both are at the forefront of efforts to get a grip on "overtourism", a phenomenon that is disrupting communities, imperiling cherished buildings and harming the experience of travellers and local residents alike……

The backlash has even given rise to slogans such as "Tourists go home" and "Tourists are terrorists".

"This is a wake-up call," Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the United Nations' World Tourism Organisation, told tourism ministers and industry executives last week at the World Travel Market in London.

Meanwhile Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (USA) and Carnival Corporation (USA) – the biggest cruise lines operating in Australian waters – are moving some of their passenger ships off the NSW list of scheduled stops and berthing then in Melbourne, Brisbane, Singapore and China.

The cruise ship industry goes where its rapacious business model can be utilised most effectively and Australia has been the flavour of the month for a few seasons now, even if Sydney is losing its sheen.

Before this latest Martin Place brain snap Port of Yamba was the only open port in New South Wales that had not been targeted by cruise lines as a destination port. Perhaps in part because they realise that a barrier estuary – where the barrier is the remains of a once living indigenous woman turned to stone - and multiple deck cruise ships are as compatible as oil and water.

Now the NSW Berejiklian Government and, particularly the NSW National Party, want to include this small regional estuarine port in grand plans for increasing cruise ship traffic in the state. Even though, according to Cruise Lines International Association Australasia, by 2016 New South Wales had captured around 58 per cent of the total Australian cruise market annual dollar spend - that's not enough for those greedy politicians down south.

The government tells us these passenger ships will only be “smaller cruise vessels” but it is also considering building an international cruise terminal in the Clarence River estuary.

Now if one goes online and looks at the cruise ships currently operating on the Australian east coast what is immediately obvious is the dearth of "smaller" ocean-going passenger vessels which might enter the Clarence River safely.

There aren’t enough of them to bring the economic benefit NSW Minister for Maritime, Roads and Freight and MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey implies would flow into the Lower Clarence River along with these ships.

Currently the NSW Dept. of Transport is sending a React Future Transport 2058 van all over the state selling the Draft Future Transport Strategy 2058 and asking people to tell those manning this van what they would like to see happen with regard to local transport needs.

The van came to Grafton in the hinterland of the Clarence Valley on 27 November 2017 wanting to hear opinions on trains, buses, roads, cycleways and air travel, but carefully avoided mention of sea transport, cruise ships or a cruise terminal unless a local specifically asked.

This van is never coming to the Clarence Coast - residents will never see it in Maclean, Iluka or Yamba. Their opinions are being deliberately limited in this faux consultation.

So what is going on here?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the idea being canvassed by the Berejiklian Government that all three NSW designated regional ports should ideally be multi-purpose ports which include cargo shipping, cruise ships and naval facilities.

The state government's push to establish the cruise ship industry in the Clarence River estuary looks suspiciously like the first move to bring this about, as inevitably demands will come from the international cruise lines for significant dredging to occur from the river entrance and along main the navigation channel to ship berths.

If such dredging occurs then it is possible the Australian Navy will be encouraged to revisit its strategy for use of smaller coastal ports and, a Sydney-centric NSW Government will begin to insist more freight passes through the port despite the known strong opposition of the wider Clarence Valley community to an industrialised Clarence River estuary.

Now might be the time for Ms. Pavey to consider the possibility that, Oxley being a regional electorate bordering the Clarence electorate, may induce many increasingly concerned people in the Lower Clarence to pack a hamper, get in their car and drive down to Oxley for the day and campaign for whomever of her political rivals takes their fancy during the next state election.

At the very least many are likely to write to local papers in her electorate during the 2019 state election campaign informing them of her actions in Clarence.

These letters could start off by mentioning those troublesome smokestacks at WestConnex, her support of the foreign multinational miner Adani’s plans for a mega coal mine which will inevitably pollute the Great Barrier Reef if it goes ahead,  her failure to support road workers who built a section of the new Pacific Highway for her on zero pay for months (pay they are never likely to see), removing historic Windsor Bridge, the reaction of others to her bizarre transport strategy - before moving on to the mess she is about to make of the Clarence River estuary.

After all the Clarence Valley has a habit of standing up for the aesthetic, environmental, cultural, social and economic values that underpin community in this valley and the wider Northern Rivers region.

Just ask Metgasco, Australian Infrastructure Development or Malcolm Turnbull.

NOTE

The name of the culturally significant reef just outside the mouth of the Clarence River is variously spelt Dirragun and Dirrangun in various books and documents, so both spellings are used interchangeably in North Coast Voices posts.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

NSW North Coast Nats blame Turnbull for their re-election fears but refuse to look at the state government blunders they support


Image courtesy of Clarrie Rivers

This was The Daily Telegraph on 5 December 2017:

NATIONALS backbenchers have thrown their support behind NSW leader John Barilaro’s comments that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should resign by Christmas, with one MP saying he was reflecting the views of “the whole country”.

Tensions between the Liberal and National parties reached boiling point yesterday on both a state and federal level as George Brandis labelled Mr Barilaro’s words “the dribblings of some obscure politician who nobody outside of NSW has ever heard of”.

The comments — which were made to Sydney’s 2GB radio last week — have also angered state Liberals, with one senior figure telling The Daily Telegraph Mr Barilaro was “losing the support” of his colleagues….

However, NSW Nationals backbenchers backed Mr Barilaro, with Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis claiming his state leader was echoing the “views of NSW and probably whole country”.
“We’ve seen it month after month in the polls,” he said.

Mr Gulaptis said that while he conceded the comments were “unhelpful”, Mr Barilaro was “entitled to make statements like that” and had his full support.

Coffs Harbour Nats MP Andrew Fraser said they “had a history of going with what the electorate was feeling” and that voters were “frustrated” with Mr Turnbull.

“Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t seem to be engaging with the electorate,” he said.

Oh, all the gods on all the holy mountain peaks give me strength!

Yes, the Turnbull Government is a train wreck careering towards the precipice. Yes, the failures of Truffles & Co and their arrogant sense of entitlement will probably colour views in a number of electorates ahead of the next NSW election on 23 March 2019.

However, the NSW Nationals and especially the North Coast Nationals have also not been adverse to supporting punitive policy measures created by the Abbott and Turnbull governments which would impact on local people.

While they have almost invariably initially thrown their weight behind every hair-brained state government idea floated in far-off Sydney which would make life difficult for local communities, local government or damage the Northern Rivers environment.

From withdrawing state agencies or severely reducing their staff and slashing their budgets, through to the push to unsuccessfully impose super-sized regional councils the size of small European principalities, the failed attempt to rob coastal rivers of their water, the unsuccessful push to impose an industrialised landscape filled with gas fields on rural landowners or the current ploy to destroy a biodiverse, environmentally sensitive waterway and surrounding estuary land through a proposal like the Port of Yamba debacle – all of which were initially supported by some or all North Coast National Party MPs.

Communities on the NSW North Coast have always had to talk long, hard and very publicly before their erstwhile elected National Party representatives give them a decent hearing.

So these Nationals need to understand that calls to oust Malcolm Bligh Turnbull will not erase the memory of what their own votes in the NSW Parliament are doing to their electorates and the wider North Coast.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

VOICES THE BEREJIKLIAN GOVERNMENT DOESN'T WANT TO HEAR: comment on NSW Ministers Pavey & Constance's not so brilliant idea to invite cruise ships into the Clarence River Estuary


Northern Rivers voices telling it like it is.......

FacebookNo Mega Port Yamba, 15 November 2017:

Victoria Paine Dear Councillors,

I wish to express my deep concern and OBJECTION to the proposal that the Port of Yamba be designated a cruise ship destination and/ the creation of a cruise ship terminal.

My primary concerns are environmental. The self evident environmental damage cannot be justified by monetary gain.

In addition, I am concerned re the reduction on local amenity and negative impact on the quality of life of the community and on local ground based tourism which relies heavily on the integrity of the natural environment.

I urge you to strongly oppose this damaging proposal.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Victoria Paine

MBBS. MPH. BA. FRACGP.

Angourie.

The Daily Examiner, 29 November 2017, p.10:

Yamba port not in ship-shape condition

I would like to thank Valley Watch for keeping the people of the Clarence informed. After visiting their stall at the Yamba River Market this week, I am greatly concerned regarding the lack of public knowledge of the 4200 tonne cruise ship which will be docking in Yamba in October 2018.

Did you know about this cruise ship? I didn’t.

However on September 24, 2017 the NSW Government announced a plan to investigate constructing international cruise terminals in Yamba and Coffs Harbour.

This is part of the government’s launch of the Future Transport 2056 Strategy. Ms Pavey’s office announced: “In October 2018, the Cruise Ship Caledonian Sky plans to stop off at Yamba as part of the Australian Coastal Odyssey.”

There have been a few indications over the years of there being a Port in Yamba; it was even mentioned in the Yamba Survey a couple of years ago. If Yamba’s economy is going to increase by this ship docking in Yamba, think again. There is hardly time for a swim. Please have a look at the itinerary for the holiday makers’ short stay in the Clarence (www.noble-caledonia.co.uk)

The most important question I ask myself is what happens in rough weather? If we think back to the Island Trader, how many times was it forced to stay off shore due to inclement weather?

This cruise liner is eight times heavier than the Island Trader. What guarantee is there that this vessel will not harm the protected Dirrangun Reef? Have the Yaegl people been consulted? Once the reef is damaged, the damage is forever. I wonder if this has been considered or conveniently forgotten.

Yamba Community including the Yaegl people, Clarence Valley Council and the Chamber of Commerce all need to be in consultation before permission is given to allow such a vessel to come into Yamba waters.

The consequences of allowing this vessel into Yamba waters could be catastrophic.

Ilma Hynson, Yamba

The Daily Examiner, 23 November 2017, p.11:

No fortune from hop off, hop on cruise

Sorry to tell you, Ray (Hunt), that the proposed cruise ship visit in October 2018 will not introduce much money or employment to Yamba (Ship Size 21/11).

According to its own itinerary, Caledonian Star will land passengers after breakfast on board before a trip to Iluka Rainforest or YambaMuseum and then back on board for lunch before heading south.

Not many fortunes to be made there!

Gary Whale, Yamba

Facebook:

PE Barclay Tourists come to Yamba because its beaches are natural and so is the river.
Tourism is what keeps Yamba alive.
When we go messing with nature to allow cruise ships in to Yamba we have to calculate to what benefit is it to Yamba if the passengers eat and sleep on the boats and don't spend much locally.
Yamba is unique because of its natural environment and if we take that away what do we have left?
Coffs Harbour is already commercialised and cruise ships would be better to go there.

Greg Clancy The Clarence Estuary will never be a cruise ship port without major damage being done to the estuary as it just isn't suitable as it now stands. Yes I am scared of what damage might be done if the proposal gets legs. I don't have a problem with the current level of boat/ship activity although even with the limited commercial operations of the past we ended up with Fire Ants at the Goodwood Island wharf. There are real bio-security issues as well as ecological issues. The sands and mudflats of the Estuary provide habitat for many species of migratory shorebirds that migrate here from the northern hemisphere. Australia has signed a number of international treaties to protect them and their habitat. Water from the bilge can carry exotic organisms that could ruin local fisheries, both professional and amateur. Do I need to go on?

The Daily Examiner, 28 November 2017, p.9:

Crusing around facts

It is simply not true that “You can already cruise into Yamba” (D.Ex 24.11.2017).

The Google search attributed to Councillor Ellem is clearly dated “9th October 2018”.

I think Yambaites would have noticed a 90 metre long, 15 metre wide cruise ship 
coming into port!

We can argue about the merits of such a visit, but facts are stubborn things.

Gary Whale, Yamba

The Daily Examiner, 5 December 2017, p.9:

Community input

The Berejiklian Government in Sydney tells us that its “Future Transport 2056 Strategy and Plans have been created with input from the community since the program began in 2016. So far, we’ve engaged with over 40,000 people across the State in face-to-face and digital consultations”.

Allegedly towards that end the NSW Dept. of Transport had a “React Future Transport 2056” van in Grafton for the day on November 27.

I hopped on a bus and went to Grafton to visit the van because the “Draft Future Transport 2056 Strategy” documents had only two dot points mentioning maritime infrastructure development/ cruise terminal in Coffs Harbour/Yamba and I wanted to find out more, as this draft strategy is scheduled to become a final document in 2018.

I told one of the staff manning this van that I had read in the local newspapers about the van and asked if they could tell me what it was all about.

In response the staff member informed me that the government was going all around the state asking people what they felt they needed when it came to transport – not just for years far into the future but for smaller time frames like 10 years. That they weren’t just looking at what trains and buses were available, but they were also looking at roads, cycle ways and even air travel.

I was then asked if I wanted to give my opinion on what I felt the area needed.

What was strikingly absent from the conversation thus far was any mention of what else was in that draft document which might be thought very relevant to the Clarence Valley – the plan to make the Port of Yamba an official cruise ship destination and possibly build a cruise ship terminal in the Clarence River estuary.

So I introduced that particular topic into the discussion and this is what I found out:

1. There was no information available on the government’s proposal for a cruise ship terminal other than those two brief dot points;
2. The “React Future Transport 2056” van would continue to travel around the state but it was never coming to Yamba;
3. There was no timeline for when investigation of a cruise terminal in the estuary would begin; and
4. The communities of Yamba and Iluka would only be consulted when a site for the cruise terminal was being considered and that this community consultation would probably occur as a part of the Environmental Impact Statement process.

The Berejiklian Government obviously has no intention of opening a face-to-face dialogue with communities living within the Clarence River estuary or at the mouth of the river before plans for the Port of Yamba become set government policy and, will probably avoid any meeting with Yaegl traditional owners for just as long if Ministers Pavey and Constance think they can get away with such a blatant snub.

After all the government has already had discussions with the people it thinks matter – it spoke with representatives of the international cruise ship industry in the first half of last year.

Judith M. Melville, Yamba

Recent voices:



Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Was the NSW Port Authority even aware of Noble Caledonia cruise line's plan to enter the Port of Yamba in 2018?


On or about 23 October 2017 NSW Minister for Maritime, Roads and Freight Melinda Pavey, along with Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance and Nationals MP for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser, jointly announced “An investigation into a new International Cruise Ship Terminal for the NSW mid North Coast will start as part of a future transport blueprint, with Coffs Harbour and Yamba identified as potential locations.”


So much for the promised “investigation” before the starter's gun was fired.

On 20 November 2017 ABC North Coast's Facebook page revealed that the cruise ship’s scheduled ‘visit’ to Yamba was “not confirmed”:

A UK-based company is advertising an ocean cruise that includes a stop at Yamba.
The website for Noble Caledonia offers places on an Australian Coastal Odyssey which departs from Thursday Island in October next year.
The 90-metre-long Caledonia Sky will sail for 22 nights down Australia's east coast at a cost of more than $19,000 each for about 100 passengers.
One of the destinations listed is the north coast port of Yamba, but the state's Port Authority says there is no confirmed booking for the ship.
The ABC is seeking comment from the company.

Now the Noble Caledonia cruise line can formally request entrance to the Port of Yamba anytime up to 72 hours before “Caledonian Sky”’s arrival - although as an ocean-going ship requiring pilotage it would probably need to announce its intentions and book the pilot much sooner than that - so the Port Authority of NSW probably doesn’t have a confirmed booking yet.

Or is this response by the Port Authority more along the lines of a diplomatic face saver because Minister Pavey hasn’t told this state agency of a seemingly cosy little agreement she has with this cruise line?

Should Lower Clarence residents be checking the political donations register to see if the cruise ship industry has been making political donations to the NSW Nationals recently?

NSW Environmental Defender's Office has served irrigator and Nationals donor Peter Harris a summons demanding he return more than five billion litres of water he is alleged to have illegally taken from the Barwon-Darling River


The Australian, 14 November 2017:

The NSW Environmental Defender’s Office has served irrigator and Nationals donor Peter Harris a summons demanding he return more than five billion litres of water he is alleged to have ­illegally taken from the Barwon-Darling River.

The incidents of alleged water theft are the subject of ICAC, Ombudsman and Office of Water inquiries, which follow the standing down and resignation of former senior NSW water bureaucrat Gavin Hanlon.

It has also been revealed that NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair benefited Mr ­Harris, a cotton farmer, and other irrigators by changing the laws to pardon Mr Harris retrospectively for illegal flood works and that Mr Blair lobbied Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton to change the law to justify a decision to give Mr Harris more water trading rights.

In their action in the Land and Environment Court, the plaintiffs demand “the return of water, up to the equivalent of the total volume ... (to) occur immediately after the water is extracted from the water source and has passed through metering equipment” to measure it, but before it is stored.

Alternatively, the defender’s office is seeking orders so that Mr Harris forfeits his entitlement to the equivalent amount of water in ­future to replenish the river.

The summons was served on Peter James Harris and Jane Maree Harris and the matter is listed for December 8.

The amount of water allegedly taken would fill more than 2000 Olympic swimming pools.

Office chief executive David Morris said the action was being taken because the NSW government was not moving quickly enough to penalise Mr Harris.

“On two occasions EDO NSW has written to the NSW government outlining concerns about potential breaches of the Water Management Act 2000 (NSW) and informing the government of intention to commence civil enforcement proceedings,” he said.

“No adequate response has been received from the government. In the face of government inaction, our client (the Inland Rivers Network) has seen no other choice but to commence proceedings in the Land and Environment Court.”

Sunday, 19 November 2017

FACT CHECK: Size comparison - cargo vessel Island Trader and cruise ship Caledonian Sky


The debate concerning the Sydney-driven proposal to make the Port of Yamba a cruise ship destination continues.

I have noticed there has been some comment on social media that the small cruise ships Yamba could expect to have ‘visit’ would be same size or smaller than the Island Trader which used Yamba as its home port for around 17 years.

The phrase “small cruise ship” is being taken literally and the conclusion invited is that these cruise ships are so small there is nothing to be concerned about.

To assist with a more accurate size comparison I have laid out the dimensions of the cargo vessel MV Island Trader and the passenger ship MV Caledonian Sky below.

The comparison indicates that if the proposal goes ahead the average small cruise ship entering the Clarence River estuary is likely to be at least twice the size of the Island Trader.

# This is MV Island Trader

The Island Trader was built in 1981, has 485 gross tonnage, dead weight of 242t*, is 38.8m long, 9m wide and has a maximum draft of 2.8m.

This cargo vessel is owned by Lord Howe Island Sea Freight Pty Ltd and since 2009 has called Port Macquarie its home port.


# This is the small cruise ship MV Caledonian Sky due to enter Port of Yamba on or about 24 October 2018

The Caledonian Sky was built in 1991, has 4,200 gross tonnage, dead weight of 645t*, is 90.6m long, 15.3m wide and has a maximum draft of 4.25m.

This passenger ship is reportedly owned by Noble Caledonia Limited and is currently sailing under the flag of Bahamas.

* Dead Weight is the maximum weight of the cargo, crew, passengers, stores and bunkers that it can safely carry when loaded so that it settles in the water to the Plimsoll line.