Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts

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.

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.”

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

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Anthony Waldron: "I knew there were a lot of threatened species in Australia, but I didn't realise things were getting worse so quickly."


ABC News, 26 October 2017:

(Supplied: WWF)

Australia is one of seven countries responsible for more than half of global biodiversity loss, according to a study published today.

Scientists based their findings on the worsening in conservation status of species between 1996 and 2008 on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

The IUCN red list uses a series of categories to rank how close a species is to extinction, from "least concern" through to "extinct in the wild".

Of the 109 countries studied, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, China and the United States (primarily Hawaii) also ranked inside the top seven as the worst offenders on conservation.

The researchers conceded that species native to multiple countries presented an obstacle to their calculations, but lead author Anthony Waldron says they were able to narrow down where the pressures were coming from.

"Once you actually work out [which country] might have been responsible for the loss of diversity, Australia is standing there at number two," Dr Waldron said.

"I knew there were a lot of threatened species in Australia, but I didn't realise things were getting worse so quickly."

Compared to Australia, which recorded a biodiversity loss of between 5 and 10 per cent of the total global decline, the study published in Nature found Indonesia had "absolutely the highest number of declining species", representing around 21 per cent of the total decline during the period.

Reduction in biodiversity was calculated by looking at species that had their IUCN red list upgraded during the period, such as from "least concern" to "threatened", or "vulnerable" to "endangered"……

Environmental sustainability professor Barry Brook from the University of Tasmania said there were a number of pressures threatening biodiversity in Australia.

"The predominant one is landclearing — ongoing clearing for habitat. New South Wales and Queensland have been particularly bad for that over the past two decades," Professor Brook said.

"[But] it's also what's known as 'lags' or 'extinction debt'. That's where you've had this historical change over many decades and it takes time for extinction to catch up as populations are reduced and fragmented and lose genetic diversity, then gradually fade away."

He said that spending on conservation is worthwhile when it involves preserving habitat or targeting pests.

"Native biodiversity is definitely improved by removing invasive plants and to a lesser extent invasive species."

(ABC News: Caroline Winter)

BACKGROUND


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Australian High Court places doubt over constitutionality of anti-protestor laws in New South Wales


In 2014 the Parliament of Tasmania enacted the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Act 2014 also known as the Protestors Act – an act designed to stifle even peaceful protest by individuals and groups concerned about government policy and actions by business or industry.

The Act allowed for fines of up to $10,000 for individuals and up to $100,000 for incorporated bodies, as well as additional fines and/or gaol terms of up to 4 years for further offences.

After the January 2016 arrests in the now destroyed Lapoinya Forest of individuals there for the purpose of raising public and political awareness about the logging of the forest and voicing protest to it, two of those arrested went to the High Court.

This is the result.

Excerpt from the High Court of Australia’s 18 October 2017 judgment in ROBERT JAMES BROWN & ANOR v THE STATE OF TASMANIA:

Question 2
Is the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Act 2014 (Tas), either in its entirety or in its operation in respect of forestry land or business access areas in relation to forestry land, invalid because it impermissibly burdens the implied freedom of political communication contrary to the Commonwealth Constitution?

Answer
Section 6(1), (2), (3) and (4), s 8(1), s 11(1), (2), (6), (7) and (8), s 13 and Pt 4 of the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Act 2014 (Tas) in their operation in respect of forestry land or business access areas in relation to forestry land are invalid because they impermissibly burden the implied freedom of political communication contrary to the Commonwealth Constitution. [my yellow highlighting]

The NSW Government is now considering implications of this judgment with regard to its own Part 4AD-Division 3 anti-protestor provisions in the NSW Crimes Act 1900 which carry a gaol term of 7 years.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 October 2017:

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman is seeking advice from the Solicitor-General about the effect on controversial NSW anti-protest laws of a High Court decision that found similar laws in Tasmania were unconstitutional.

The decision could have ramifications for three protesters facing up to 14 years in jail after becoming the first people charged under laws introduced by the NSW government last year.

Bev Smiles, Stephanie Luke and Bruce Hughes were charged in April with rendering useless a road belonging to a mine and hindering the working of equipment belonging to a mine following a protest at Wilpinjong Coal Mine in the Hunter Valley.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail.


Photo: Western Advocate, 19 April 2017