Showing posts with label Yamba. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yamba. Show all posts

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Killing coastal trees is an occupation for individuals with puny minds and shrivelled souls


Clarence Valley Council, media release, May 21, 2018:

Tree vandals hit Yamba again

MULTIPLE trees on the headland between Yamba’s Convent and Pippi beaches are dying in what Clarence Valley Council staff believe is a deliberate and brazen attempt to improve views for nearby residents.

Council’s works and civil director, Troy Anderson, said coastal trees had an important role in protecting headlands and landowners needed to remember they belonged to the community.

“The environment is not theirs to destroy,” he said.
“It belongs to everyone.”

Mr Anderson said about 20 trees had been poisoned in the area over the past six months. They included coastal casuarinas, coastal banksias, pandanus and tuckeroos – all native and endemic to the area.

“In the past two years we have lost between 50 and 100 trees along our coastline.
“We’ve had it happen in Wooli, Diggers Camp, Angourie and twice in Yamba last year – including the site of this latest poisoning.”

He said staff would prepare a report to council recommending a range of actions to mitigate tree vandalism that could include:

managing views for public benefit only at approved locations;

planting species that will enable views to be substantially retained in locations where those views may be enjoyed by the public;

public awareness and education initiatives;

installation of signage at the vandalised area;

installation of view screens or containers at the vandalised area, and
rehabilitation of the vandalised area.

“If people have any evidence of who might be responsible they should report it to council and we will follow it up,” he said.

The sites of where some of the trees have been destroyed.



Trees between Yamba’s Convent and Pippi beaches destroyed by vandals.....





Monday, 28 May 2018

Noble Caledonia Limited changes its mind about Port of Yamba-Clarence River?



noble-caledonia.co.uk, 27 May 2017

Noble Caledonia Limited’s “Australian Coastal Odyssey” twenty-two day cruise from 9-31 October 2018 - flying from London to Cairns to Port Moresby, then sailing through the Torres Strait and down the east coast of Australia to berth in Melbourne before returning home on 31 October - is still being advertised online and it just got a lot cheaper.

In an apparent effort to fill cabins aboard the vessel MV Caledonian Sky, the UK-based cruise line is now offering across-the-board discounts of £1,000 per two-person cabin.

There has also been a change in the ship’s itinerary for Day 16 - 24 October this year.

All mention of entry into Port of Yamba-Clarence River was removed from the cruise line's website sometime between 21 and 27 May and, Trial Bay, South West Rocks inserted instead for both its October 2018 “Australian Coastal Odyssey” and October 2019 “Australian Coastal Discovery” east coast cruises.
Caledonian Sky has already booked port berths/moorings in Queensland and Victoria as well as for two of the six official ports along the NSW leg of the 2018 cruise – Port of Newcastle (7am 25 October) and Port of Eden (7am 27 October). There is no published booking for Port of Yamba which requires piloted entry for sea-going ships.

Which has set Lower Clarence residents to wondering about the reasons for this welcome change of plan.

Some think it may be a public relations feint by Noble Caledonia to dampen expression of local concerns and it may yet decide to slip into the Clarence River estuary on or about 24 October this year.

Others point to the level of risk always associated with bringing ships like the 5-deck high, 91 metre long, est. 4,200 gross tonne Caledonian Sky across the entrance bar while avoiding collision with the culturally important Native Title reef “Dirrangun” and, the possibility that the cruise line’s insurance company might not be impressed if that risk were to be realised and it was faced with a second reef maritime incident in less than nineteen months involving the same ship.

Given the protracted negotiations between Noble Caledonia, its insurer and the Indonesian Government over a reported £350 million ‘fine’ incurred when the Caledonian Sky damaged over 18,000 sq. metres of pristine coral reef in the Raja Ampat island chain in March 2017, it is understandable that Noble Caledonia Limited may have reassessed the original “Australian Coastal Odyssey” itinerary and decided it preferred a less problematic short-stay mooring for Day 16.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Patagonia Australia held a "Never Town" conservation activism event at Yamba in May 2018


On Friday 18 May 2018 Patagonia Australia held a “Never Town” film showing and information night on environmental and conservation issues affecting the Clarence Coast.

NEVER TOWN TRAILER from Patagonia Australia on Vimeo.

The evening started with live music and a slide show against the sides of the water tower on Pilot Hill overlooking the Clarence River mouth and ocean at Yamba.

The good-sized crowd that gathered reflected the make-up of the Lower Clarence - retirees, young adults, families with children, along with local business owners and surfing enthusiasts. At least one Clarence Valley councillor was there.

Welcome to country was given by “Fox” Laurie accompanied by DJ Eamens on the didgeridoo.

Judith Melville spoke on some of the issues surrounding the state government’s proposal to designate Port of Yamba-Clarence River an official cruise ship destination and possibly build an international cruise ship terminal.

Dianne Chapman from the Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation spoke of the Yaegl community’s connection to country and commitment to protect Clarence Valley land and waters.

After the film ended a Valley Watch Inc. petition was sent round the audience with this wording:

“We, the undersigned, respectfully call on the Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, Minister Melinda Pavey (Roads, Maritime and Freight) and Minister Andrew Constance (Transport and Infrastructure) to reject any proposals to allow cruise ships to enter the Port of Yamba or Clarence River estuary.

The Clarence River estuary is an integral part of a valuable Clarence Valley tourism sector which contributes over $300 million to the Clarence Valley’s annual income and employs more than 2000 people. To put that at risk for the dubious benefit to be derived from a brief morning visit is unacceptable, given the threats that a 4,000 tonne, 90 metre long cruise ship pose to the estuary, the fishing industry and Yamba/Iluka’s reputation as a clean, green holiday destination, and to the Dirrangun Reef, which is protected under the Native Title Act (1993).”

Anyone wishing to sign this petition can call in at the Valley Watch booth at Yamba River Markets held on the fourth Sunday of every month at Ford Park next to the ferry jetty. 

The next three market days are Sunday 27 May, 24 June and 22 July 2018.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Noble Caledonia Limited changes the 'spin' around its "Australian Coastal Odyssey" cruise and the Port 0f Yamba-Clarence River visit


It seems that Noble Caledonia Limited has decided to downgrade its description of the delights of Iluka and is trying to hide from locals the short amount of time MV Caledonian Sky passengers will be spending on land during the ship's brief stop over.

Spot the difference.

This was a snaphot of Day 16 of the cruise itineray taken on 20 November 2017....




This is a a snaphot of Day 16 of the cruise itineray taken on 20 May 2018....



Thursday, 26 April 2018

Well hoorah, NBN Co is to roll out its inbuilt obsolescence across Yamba commencing in June 2018


It has been reported in local media that NBN Co will be commencing the Yamba rollout of its allegedly high speed broadband in June 2018, with Maclean and Grafton rollouts to commence in January 2019.

This news is quite frankly underwhelming.

Whatever information NBN Co was giving out obviously didn’t include the type of connection that was on offer, as this important point was not mentioned by journalists and there is contradictory information on the company's website.

These three urban areas in the Clarence Valley are yet to hear if households and businesses are being offered fibre-to-the-curb, fibre-to-the-node or fixed wireless.

Because it is certain that the best option fibre-to-the-premises isn’t on offer to regional second cousins of the big metropolitan areas.

Personally I will carefully refuse to look at any construction works taking place in Yamba come June, July and August.

The sight of all those water-filled trenches will be too depressing.

Who starts extensive in-ground construction in winter at the low-lying, high water table mouth of a floodplain, I ask you?


* Image from Hakuri Sad Party

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Tweets of the Week




Monday, 5 February 2018

The Australian Face of UK-based Noble Caledonia Cruise Line


The Noble Caledonia Limited cruise line would like the option of extending the number of its cruise days this coming October when it boards its UK passengers on the MV Caledonian Sky for its Australian Coastal Odyssey down the east coast of Australia.

This “small” cruise ship of 4,200 gross tonnage, dead weight of 645t, 90.6m in length, 15.3m wide, with a 4.25 maximum draft, will enter the Port of Yamba-Clarence River across a difficult bar at the river mouth in a month where coastal storms and strong wind warnings are not uncommon.

A ship with a reputation for damaging reefs will attempt this crossing in close proximity to a culturally important reef protected by Native Title.

It will ignore potential risk - not just to the ship and marine environment but to race relations in the Clarence Valley should the ship’s captain collide for a third time with a mapped underwater natural feature.

Noble Caledonia will be sending its cruise ship into the Clarence River estuary because it can – reaping the benefit of insistent and persistent lobbying of the NSW Berejiklian Government by the international cruise industry.

Which included meetings last year between Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight & Nationals MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey and Royal Caribbean (28 February & 8 June), Carnival Australia (10 March, 8 June & 8 July), Carnival Global (21 March), Norwegian Cruise Lines (8 June), Cruise Line International Association (8 June & 21 June). As well as meetings between cruise ship industry representatives and Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW, Minister for Skills, Minister for Small Business, Nationals MP for John Barilaro, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, and Assistant Minister for Skills, Nationals MP for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall. Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events and Minister for Sport, Nationals MLC Niall Blair and, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Nationals MP for Bega Andrew Constance.

However, the then predominately British and Swedish owner-shareholders of Noble Caledonia Limited (UK) went one step further when they first contemplated a move into Australian waters. 

They formed a partnership with the APT Group (owned by wealthy Victorian businessman Geoff McGeary) in 2012 - thereby providing themselves with a number of Australian beards and the lobbying services of a political donor to the Liberal Party of Australia who had through this partnership become a significant shareholder in the cruise line.

Meet these alleged beards………………..

Christopher Phillips "Chris" HALL  – Group Managing Director of Noble Caledonia Limited and Noble Caledonia Holdings Limited since 7 May 2015, as well as Group Manager APT Group since July 2014 – allegedly still resident in Australia.

Ross Malcolm KEMP – Group Finance Director of  Noble Caledonia Limited and Noble Caledonia Holdings Limited since 9 October 2014, as well as Group Finance Director APT Group since 2012 – allegedly still resident in Australia.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

The true nature of Noble Caledonian Limited?


One can tell a great deal about a corporation if one looks at when and how it was created.

The Noble Caledonia cruise line* likes to brag that it was created in 1991 out of a passion for small ships.

The company which created the cruise line was called Quayshelfco  382 Limited (incorporated 1 August 1991) before its name change to Noble Caledonia Limited registered on 30 October 1991 and, it has extremely long articles of association.

Here is just one sub-clause:


Hmmmmm.......

Noble Caledonia also likes to boast that; Being an independent company where the owners are involved in all aspects puts us in a unique place. From this position of freedom and not having to pander to shareholders and financial institutions....

In fact this company is owned by Noble Caledonia Holdings Limited which in turned is owned by its shareholders Arawak Travel Holdings Limited (formerly Arawak Capital Limited) and Cruising Investments (NC) Pty Ltd and, the ultimate controlling party is Polhavet AB a company registered in Sweden.  Noble Caledonia Limited is not always free of the need "to pander" to financial insitutions as the group appears to borrow large sums as required.

* See opinion on Noble Caledonia's operations in Australia & South Pacific at  https://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com.au/2017/11/reef-destroying-cruise-ship-given-nsw.html

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Clarence Valley Council decides to open its door wide to the cruise ship industry


On 21 November 2017 at Clarence Valley Council’s ordinary monthly meeting Mayor Jim SimmonsDeputy Mayor Jason Kingsley and Crs. Richie WilliamsonArthur Lysaught, and Andrew Baker voted in effect to open council’s doors to the cruise ship industry by indicating in principal support for the Port of Yamba to be a designated cruise ship destination, with the possibility of establishing an international cruise ship terminal within the Clarence River estuary.

The debate in the chamber indicated that councillors received a number of emails on this subject from valley residents and that the majority of these expressed concerns about this Berejiklian Government proposal.

However, community concern was virtually ignored by both council administration and this group of five councillors hell-bent on doing Sydney's bidding after Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis had reportedly lobbied on behalf of the proposal.

As usual Cr. Baker excelled himself when it came to the number of inaccurate statements he could pack into his participation in debate.

Concerned Iluka and Yamba residents now await this…….

FacebookABC North Coast, 21 November 2017:

Billy Walker The Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation held a meeting last week where this issue was raised. Keep an eye out for our response in the local papers in the next week or so.

Friday, 17 November 2017

It is being suggested to Lower Clarence communities that inviting the cruise ship industry into the Clarence River estuary will bring financial gain to their towns - but will it?


At this month’s ordinary monthly meeting Clarence Valley Council will be considering whether or not to give in principle support to the NSW Government’s proposal to designate the Port of Yamba as a cruise ship destination and possibly build a cruise ship terminal in the Clarence River estuary.

The Berejiklian Government appears to be presenting this proposal as a way to increase the annual regional income of the Clarence Valley. But is it and will it?

Nowhere have I found any mention of the business model employed by the global cruise ship industry. An industry which seeks to create demand through the judicious use of political donations and paid lobbyists.

According to  Professor Ross Klein, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland; “Standing up to a cruise line can sometimes be difficult, especially given the industry’s generous contributions to political campaigns, their active lobbying efforts, and their degree of influence with mass media” [Klein, R. (2013) The Cruise Industry’s Business Model: Implications for Ports]

As an example, between 1997-2007 Cruise Line International Association spent US$10 million on lobbying the U.S Congress

In the first instance the business model used by cruise ship operators seeks to have passengers spend most of their money on-board the ship.

So many of the traditional services supplied on a cruise are no longer covered by the upfront cost of the fare and attract an additional charge per use.

Any land-based tours or shopping trips are organised by the cruise operator and not infrequently the cost is not absorbed by the cruise line so a fee for participation is paid by passengers directly to this shipping company.

The fee paid by the cruise operator to a land-based tour business contracted to supply the actual service usually ranges from as little as 10% up to an est. 50% of the fee paid by passengers.

Even when passengers leave the ship to wander around coastal zone towns you can bet that the cruise ship operator will have approached local businesses requesting a fee to include these businesses on a list of recommended shops/cafes/hotels/clubs - because that is part of the business model.


From state government a cruise line expects and often receives reduced harbour fees & charges and from state and local government it expects upgrades in infrastructure worth literally millions of dollars, without giving a firm guarantee that it will continue to use a particular port as a genuine destination rather than as a short "technical call".

What is worse is that once the cruise industry becomes established in a small port there is evidence to suggest that the regular incursion of up to 350 passengers at a time into coastal towns sees a decrease in the number of land-based tourists, who now see these towns as crowded and impersonal - no longer offering an intimate holiday experience.

It is these land-based tourists who fill Yamba and Iluka’s camping grounds, motels, hotels and holiday units and, are more likely to patronise the full range of dining/entertainment/sporting experiences on offer. So to see a significant proportion of them replaced by cruise passengers over time is not likely to compensate for the risk of economic loss during peak holiday periods in the Lower Clarence.

The first small cruise ship is due in Yamba on or about 24 October 2018 and this is it’s published itinerary: arrive during breakfast, disembark to visit “Flinders Well, Yamba Lighthouse, and the Yamba Historical Museum” or “alternatively walk in the nearby Iluka Nature Reserve”, return to ship for lunch and depart in the afternoon.

Now I'm no economist but even I know that this itinerary doesn’t exactly ring the till in a big way for businesses in Yamba or Iluka.

This cruise ship, which is a repeat offender when it comes to reef and coral damage, is probably coming in on the high tide but as it expects to leave in the afternoon it is not going out with maximum water depth under its keel  -  which should ring some alarm bells.

Through the prism of this industry business model the Port of Yamba will not be seen as a boutique destination but merely as one more excuse to extend the number of nights passengers spend on a floating hotel being milked by the hotelier for as much money as possible before they finally leave the cruise at a major city port.

What Australian lobbyists for the cruise industry are not telling the regional ports they are currently attempting to smoodge is that when it comes to Australian east coast cruise destinations Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne accounted for 65% of total passenger onshore visit days and 90% of the home port passenger onshore visit days. [Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)2016 & 2017]

Which means most of the spending money cruise ship passengers have in their wallets is more likely to be spent at large ports.

One cannot escape the suspicion that the health of the Clarence River estuary, existing coastal tourism revenue and safety of the Native Title reef Dirrangun are being placed at risk by this proposal, for what is essentially a dream of financial return for Lower Clarence communities rather than a solid reality.

Interested readers can find more information in the presentations included in the report of an international symposium held in 2013 which can be found at http://www.jbna.org/IS%20-%20Charleston-Report.pdf. For an idea of how many of these not-so-small cruise ships come into a regional harbour once berthing facilities are established see https://www.portauthoritynsw.com.au/port-of-eden/port-services-facilities/eden-cruise-schedule/.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Is the NSW Berejiklian Government cruising for a bruising on the Clarence River?


It would appear that the Clarence Valley may be less than whole-heartedly enthusiastic about the NSW Berejiklian Coaltion Government's plans for the Port of Yamba.

Editor Bill North at The Daily Examiner, 25 October 2017, p.9:

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’

ONCE again dollar-sign gazes are cast in the direction of the pristine Clarence River estuary.

The Future Transport 2056 strategy announced by the NSW Government yesterday is considering Coffs and Yamba as potential ports for international cruise ships.

But I think the suggestion of a cruise ship terminal at Yamba could turn into a shipwreck before the idea ever sets sail.

It harks back to the ‘Eastgate Port’ proposal being pushed by developers which has ruffled feathers of residents, activist groups and politicians alike.

There are plenty of obstructions standing in the way of such a large scale development in the Clarence River.

Heavy dredging will be required to navigate the Yamba Bar, which happened to be the subject of a landmark native title claim for the Yaegl people in August.

Then where to build? The mind boggles when looking at aerial photographs of the Yamba estuary. To upgrade the current marina it’s difficult to imagine Hickey Island and Dart Island escaping impact.

Creating a gimmick stopover for lavish spenders would undoubtedly provide a significant economic boost for the region, but would also redefine Yamba as a tourist destination. And something tells me we like Yamba just the way it is, thank you very much.

Editor Bill North at The Daily Examiner, 26 October 2017, p.7:

WHILE massive industrial harbours dominate major river mouths throughout the developed world, forever and a day the Clarence River has managed to resist such a human-induced transformation and maintain its pristine beauty.

The river delta provided many a natural barrier for early explorers of the coastline, and no doubt helps explain the low population of the region compared to other, more accessible major river systems.

Just take a look down the coast at Newcastle to see coal loaders, ships and warehouses flood the landscape of its vast river delta system.

We’ve grown used to shunning large-scale port developments. We’ve come to expect environmental priorities will win the day. Some cling onto this inertia with hope, others find it a frustrating impediment to progress.

This week the NSW Government broached the idea of an international terminal at Yamba.

Many confidently declare that such a project will never get off the ground. Such statements are either naive or a prophetic summation of the strong will of the people of the Clarence because you can bet your bottom dollar developers from across the seas are admiring the untapped potential of such a destination – for industry, tourism or whatever makes a quick buck.


25 October 2017 David Whitby Getting a boat of that size in the Clarence would be a HUGE problem due to the lack of water depth at several places leading to the Goodwood wharf. Then there would be a traffic problem through to the Highway, not to mention the lack of facilities ....or NO facilities at the Goodwood wharf. Just another pipe dream.

29 October 2017 Bill Robb The blokes dreaming, there's not a chance as the reef at the entrance to the clarence is too high. If you dont mind dredging or blowing the reef down to size, then it could happen! Good luck with that environmental impact statement. Coffs would be the only engineering option available. The Jetty harbour would need some major work at the entrance and dredging of the harbour, not to mention fixing up the rest of the place. Plus I live in Coffs, so of course I am going to be biased.


31 October 2017 Michelle Argent I'm deeply sceptical about the whole thing particularly in light of Chris Gulaptis' media comment that Goodwood Island (Yamba Port) could not be used because it was used for live cattle exports. It is not but that is part of Euen's megaport insane proposal. Makes me think this is a softly softly approach to step 1 - get dredging done and navigate negotiations with our local aboriginal elders regarding the reef

2 November 2017 Karen von Ahlefeldt Fully agree


1 November 2017 Lloyd Palmer They would have to discharge ballast before the bar crossing, that will include anything tropical exotic and nasty

1 November 2017 Peter Lowry What Berejiklian as well ?

1 November 2017 Lloyd Palmer Whatever that is it sounds nasty

1 November 2017 Billy Walker And to mention the most significant site, the Dirrangan Reef which is sacred to the Yaegl Traditional Owners and the wider Aboriginal communities on the North Coast of NSW

2 November Billy Walker The Yaegl Traditional Owners have protection orders for the protection of the reef, known to the Yaegl people as Durrarngan reef, regardless of any proposals we must be notified under the Native Title Act, this also applies to any further dredging in and around the mouth of the river

3 November 2017 Matty Carlin Maybe I'm way out of the loop, but WHY would you think there would be such a push for a cruise ship terminal?
Seriously.
There's no transport options.
Nothing overly touristy to see or stay at.
Next to no infrastructure.
Yamba cannot be expanded on due to swamp, river & National Park.
So many things.
A terminal is a place of passenger exchange, or somewhere to get off to do touristy things.
I honestly can't envision it becoming a feasible and logical process.
If anything I think it would be great for the area to expand on the Slipway to encourage some vessels to use it for repairs, etc. Would bring in jobs and external income to the area which is what is lacking.

4 November 2017 Michelle Argent Another excellent commentary on this issue on northcoastvoices.blogspot.com in 3/11 blog. We are going to have to be very alert. Write to the Minister as recommended in this blog.

4 November 2017 Colin Beeby When you look at the mouth of the Clarence and then a shot of a cruise ship, you have to laugh. Then look at the mayor and Govt.members talking about a conjunction and fall over laughing.

4 November 2017 Peter Appleton Matthew I could be wrong but I believe ships of similar draught have worked the Clarence over the years without impacting on the reef or the need for extra dredging etc.

5 November 2017 Sebastian Rooks I am of the same opinion, however we need to be certain that this is not an opening salvo to get shipping in.
The way they have gone about this is alarming.

5 November 2017 Colin Ogilvie Could you supply dates and details of such visits ?

5 November 2017 Peter Appleton No Colin but someone mentioned it on another forum. The ships mentioned were The Island Trader (Yamba Trader), The Avondale, The Vili and The Kuri Pearl. I don't really know any more than that or if there were any issues with them.

5 November 2017 Matty Carlin The Island Trader is half that size.

5 November 2017 Kate Maclaren Nooo! That would be tragic!

5 November 2017 Michelle Argent What the bureaucrats don 't or won't understand is that people flock here precisely because the clarence coast is natural and not too touristy. Crass cruise ships of this type are the very thing that are not wanted. Write to your local member and the Minister for Infrastructure and be heard otherwise the punters and lobbyists will win out!

6 November 2017 Matthew Smith Liz Mercy-Bushell the whole community needs to stand up on this it could be the thin edge of the wedge

Clarence Valley IndependentLetter to the Editor, 7 November 2017:

Valley Watch is alarmed to read the joint media release from Ministers Melinda Pavey (Roads, Maritime and Freight) and Andrew Constance (Transport and Infrastructure) and Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser which states unequivocally “In October 2018, the Cruise Ship Caledonian Sky plans to stop off at Yamba as part of the Australian Coastal Odyssey”.

Talk about being treated like mushrooms! They claim it is part of the Future Transport 2056 strategy, but this “strategy” hasn’t yet been presented to the community of Yamba, and when the Future Transport team does come in late November, its mobile van will visit Grafton and Coffs Harbour. But will it come to Yamba, the area most affected? Apparently not.

There are just too many unanswered questions. Cruise ships like these use their auxiliary diesel  motors non-stop when they are moored to provide lighting, air conditioning and heating.

That means diesel fumes wafting over Yamba and Iluka all day and night. In May last year P&O was reportedly fined $15,000 by the NSW Environment Protection Authority for exceeding its diesel emissions limits.

They generate dangerous wastes and produce sewage, grey water and solid waste which are stored on board. Just one accidental discharge could do irreparable damage to our estuary, our fishing industry and our reputation. And accidents do happen.

There needs to be careful, painstaking consideration of all aspects of this proposal before our parliamentarians and councillors agree. Instead we seem to have a reckless, off-the-cuff endorsement of a potentially dangerous project.

Ros Woodward
President
November 2, 2017

The Daily Examiner, 9 November 2017, p9:

Cruisin’ for an eco bruisin’

BY NOW most Daily Examiner readers will have heard about the Berejiklian Government announcement that the Port of Yamba is being considered as a “small cruise ship” destination and possible site for a cruise terminal.

Such ships currently operating in Australian waters can be as big as 5000 tons with a carrying capacity of more than 800 passengers.

What some people may not realise, that even before any completed investigation or genuine community consultation, the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey has announced that the first small cruise ship will arrive in October next year.

Her office reportedly identified that ship as the Caledonian Sky, which is a 26-year-old, 90.6m long vessel with 4200 gross tonnage, a beam width of 15.2m, maximum draft of 4m and a carrying capacity of up to 114 passengers.

This is the same cruise ship which caused irreversible damage to a candidate UNESCO World Heritage Site pristine reef system off Indonesian Papua in March this year, and the London-based cruise operator has reportedly been fined £350 million by the Indonesian Government.

Such accidents are relatively common among small cruise ships as official maritime incident reports between 2008-2017 mention repeated groundings, collisions with wharfs and breakwaters, in port onboard fires and accidental contaminated water/fuel discharges. Norovirus-infected passengers have also been reported on small cruise ships and excessive air emissions found on inspection by authorities.

This is not the only information Minister Pavey was not broadcasting to the Lower Clarence.

What the Berejiklian Government is also not telling Clarence Valley residents is that along with Eden and Coffs Harbour, the Port of Yamba is to be designated a “multipurpose port” which will ideally include “commercial shipping, cruise shipping and Defence facilities”.

Apparently this generic vision for NSW regional ports will likely translate in the environmentally sensitive Clarence River estuary into an estimated 20km of capital and development river dredging, a possible multi-storied cruise ship terminal with parking for 400 cars, 20 coaches, eight trucks and 20 taxis as well as a new commercial shipping wharf capable of berthing freighters up to 300m long carrying “liquids, timber, coal, iron ore...”.

Locals might remember that this is the same ship length as one class of super freighters mentioned in that private proposal to turn Yamba into an industrialised mega port.

When considering this State Government preferred style of coastal development, the words loss of environmental and cultural values, increased traffic generation, industrial level noise, congestion and waste management immediately spring to mind.

One wonders if Clarence Valley Council and the Yamba Chamber of Commerce will be as enthusiastic about those cruise ship plans once they realise that these ships are merely the thin end of the wedge that NSW Nationals and Sydney-centric Liberals hope to drive into a Lower Clarence community resolved to keep the estuary clean, green and seafood productive.

Judith M Melville, Yamba

Friday, 3 November 2017

Reef destroying cruise ship given NSW Government permission to enter the Clarence River in October 2018


This was the NSW Berejiklian Government in roll-over-the-top-of-Clarence-River-Estuary-communities mode, courtesy of Nationals MP Andrew Fraser and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey with the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance in an October 2017 media release:


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.

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance, alongside Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser announced the start of investigations as part of the launch of the government’s Future Transport 2056 strategy.

“This is a major step, with the need for a facility being recognised in the 10 to 20 year horizon, so early investigations can begin now”, Mrs Pavey said.

The new facility has the potential to link in with North Coast tourist hotspots and part of the process will look at how to integrate the proposed port with the wider area.

“The Cruise Industry is booming and is set to get bigger in coming years. A cruise terminal would give the region a share of that industry,” Mr Constance said.

Future Transport 2056 is Transport for NSW’s new strategy to meet our transport needs over the coming four decades and is currently seeking community feedback.

“The strategy has a strong focus on regional NSW, with an emphasis on customer needs, better connectivity and growing regions,” Mr Fraser said.

Future Transport 2056 is currently open for public feedback until December 3, 2017. To view the draft strategy, go to future.transport.nsw.gov.au. Alternately, the Future Transport team will be visiting Port Macquarie on October 30, 2017. Details on our website.

What this does not say is that Future Transport 2056 only mentions Yamba twice.

The first time in the dot point sentence; Maritime infrastructure development (e.g. Coffs Harbour/Yamba).

The second time in another dot point one liner; Coffs Harbour / Yamba cruise terminal/ infrastructure development.

In a section titled Our Customers the draft plan makes the generic one sentence statement; Improve public transport connections to arrival and departure points such as airports and cruise terminals.
The media release talks of a need for “investigation” and a plan to consult with the community in Grafton – not downriver at the  two communities most affected, Yamba or Iluka.

Despite the claims that Yamba is only a “potential” location, Roads, Freight & Maritime Minister and Nationals MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey blithely announced in the Clarence Valley Independent that the first cruise ship will moor in the Clarence River estuary in October next year:

The NSW Tourism plan outlines a commitment to a Cruise Development Plan over the next 10 years to develop the state’s tourist economy into the future,” Ms Pavey’s office wrote in an emailed response.

“The plan identifies the North Coast as being the most visited regional destination in NSW and the cruise industry offers further opportunities to strengthen that.

“There is considerable interest across industry and community in using the North Coast of NSW as a place for ships to berth.

“In fact, operators are already beginning to look at destinations such as Yamba for smaller cruise vessels. “

On this, Ms Pavey’s office said: “In October 2018, the Cruise Ship Caledonian Sky plans to stop off at Yamba as part of the Australian Coastal Odyssey.”

This will be the small cruise ship Caledonian Sky, a 26 year-old 90m long vessel which has seen better days, with a carrying capacity of 114 passengers.


What Minister Pavey was careful not to point out is that this same small cruise ship ran aground and smashed a wide area of pristine coral reef in Raja Ampat, Indonesian Papua, in March 2017, with the damage area extending 18,882 sq. metres. The majority of this area being heavily damaged and even reefs receiving medium damage only having a 50% chance of survival .

The situation was allegedly made even worse when a tugboat helped pull the vessel to deeper waters.

According to Rappler.com, 14 March 2017:

"JAKARTA, Indonesia (UPDATED) —The government of Indonesia had harsh words for the captain of cruise vessel MV Caledonian Sky, which was responsible for destroying a huge amount of coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Papua.

The damage by Caledonian Sky which was captained by Keith Michael Taylor was devastating and irreparable," said a statement from Djoko Hartoyo of the Information and Law Bureau of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, released on Tuesday, March 14.

"The destruction of Raja Ampat coral reefs which were developed by nature for hundreds of years was done in less than one day by Caledonian Sky and its Captain. It is simply impossible to restore that part of Raja Ampat. Fish that were normally seen in that particular were all gone."

The statement then went on to suggest that Taylor cared little about the destruction he inflicted.

Melinda Pavey’s desire to keep this incident under wraps comes as no surprise, given that this cruise ship would have to navigate a relatively narrow passage past the culturally significant coffee rock reef, Dirragun, which is now covered by Native Title.

Perhaps it is time for concerned Lower Clarence residents to start contacting the minister in order to express their views on her grand plans for the Port of Yamba at:

The Hon. Melinda Pavey MP
GPO Box 5341
SYDNEY NSW 2001
Phone:(02) 8574 7300
Fax: (02) 9339 5570
Email Link: Contact the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight

UPDATE

Taranaki Daily News, 15 February 2013, p.3:

Talking of visitors, we turn to the good folk of the cruise ship Caledonian Sky and their Wednesday visit to New Plymouth. A smartly dressed reporter at this paper had the gumption to approach a pair of these travellers to see what they thought of the city. It didn't quite go according to plan, with the English pair mistaking him for a hawker and rudely demanding identification. Come now, chaps, the reporter didn't ask you for identification. Mind you, it was obvious you were from a cruise ship. The expansive waistlines, white walk socks and boorish behaviour gave it away.

Papua New Guinea Post – Courier, 2 May 2014, p.5

TROBRIAND Islanders have threatened to "block or disrupt" future visits by tourists to protest the alleged dumping of rubbish by cruise ship.

Kudeuli and Wapaya villagers on the island of Kitava, which is part of the famed Trobriand Islands group, have alleged that the cruise ship MV Caledonian Sky dumped bags of rubbish on their beaches after a recent visit.

The villagers took pictures of empty bottles of wine, can drinks and plastic bags which they alleged were dropped off by five dinghies not far from their villages. The rubbish eventually washed up on their beaches while heavy items sank to the bottom of the ocean, the islanders claimed.

The Jakarta Post, 17 March 2017:

Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has said the captain of UK cruise vessel MV Caledonian Sky, which recently ran aground in Raja Ampat, West Papua, had previously made a similar mistake, in which his vessel entered shallow waters in Medan, North Sumatra, destroying sea biota in the area.
“We have data on the ship captain’s mistake in Medan,” said Luhut on Thursday. 

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