Showing posts with label environmental vandalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label environmental vandalism. Show all posts

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Stopping coal expansions in NSW that are bigger than Adani's proposed Carmichael Mine complex


Friday, 13 July 2018

Five to face Brisbane court over serious breaches of environmental law


It is thought that up to 320 square kilometres of agricultural land around Chinchilla may be at risk from contamination by chemicals and gases, due to alleged mismanagement of underground burning by Linc Energy Limited.

In November  2016 former Linc Energy chief executive Peter Bond along with four former staff members – Donald Schofield (managing director), Stephen Dumble (chief operations officer), Jacobus Terblanche (chief operations manager) and Darryl Rattai (former general manager) – were summonsed for breaching environmental law.

However their matters were adjoined until after The Queen v. Linc Energy Ltd was concluded and are all five are now due to face a committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court this month.

BRIEF BACKGROUND

ABC News, 11 May 2018:

A gas company has been fined a record $4.5 million for causing serious environmental harm at its underground coal gasification plant on Queensland's western Darling Downs.

Linc Energy was found guilty by a District Court jury in Brisbane last month after a 10-week trial.

The company was charged with five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm between 2007 and 2013 at Hopeland near Chinchilla.

Linc Energy mismanaged the underground burning of coal seams, which caused rock to fracture and allowed the escape of toxic gases which contaminated the air, soil and water on site.

The court heard the highest fine imposed upon a company so far in Queensland for similar offending was $500,000.

Linc Energy did not defend itself during the trial because it is now in liquidation.
Five executive directors have been charged with failing to ensure compliance of the company and are due to face a committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court in July.

Prosecutor Ralph Devlin told the court the company knew it was causing damage but pressed ahead with operations, and described its offending as "serious".

"The defendant acted in devious and cavalier way … its motivation was commercial gain," he said.

"It pursued commercial interests over environmental safeguards."

The court heard there would be monitoring and remediation of the site for decades to come, and it will take potentially between 10 to 20 years for groundwater to recover.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April 2018:

“It was an undefended case, the liquidators chose not to defend it, so, of course, there is going to be a guilty verdict,’’ he [Peter Bond] told The Australian of Monday's court ruling.

“It means nothing; there was no one in court to call bullshit and there was a lot of bullshit to that case."

Excerpt from THE QUEEN v. LINC ENERGY LTD (IN LIQUIDATION), 11 May 2018, Sentence:

HIS HONOUR: On the 9th of April 2018, Linc Energy Limited in liquidation was found guilty by a jury of five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm. That followed a 10-week trial, and the offence is contained in the Environmental Protection Act. There was no appearance by the defendant in in  liquidation pursuant to an order of the Supreme Court under the Corporations Law. The liquidators did not have to appear. That caused particular difficulties during the trial and also has an impact on sentence proceedings as I have not been assisted by any submissions on behalf of the defendant in relation to penalty.

As the defendant is a corporation, the only penalties that are open are financial: either a fine or compensation. The provision in relation to the imposition of fines is covered by sections 45 to 48 of the Penalties and Sentences Act. The first aspect of that is that, pursuant to section 48(1)(a) and (b) and subsection (2) of that Penalties and Sentences Act, the Court must take into account:

 …so far as is practicable, the financial circumstances of the offender and the nature of the burden the imposition of the fine would have on the offender.

Section 48, subsection (2) provides the Court may fine if it is unable to find out the  matters referred to in subsection (1). There is no information before me as to the circumstances of the liquidation of the corporation. I am unaware of any of its assets or liabilities, or whether it will have the capacity to pay fines. As to the utility of imposing a financial penalty on a corporation in liquidation, there are no restrictions in law as to that. Indeed, the cases referred to me demonstrate it is appropriate, 25 whether as a need for denunciation or general deterrence of specific criminal conduct…..

In relation to counts 1 to 3, a combination of section 437 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and 45 section 181B of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 provides a maximum penalty of five times the 4165 penalty units, that is, a total of 1,561,875 thousand dollars for each of the offences covered in counts 1 to 3……

In my view, the defendant put its commercial interests well above its duty to conduct its processes in a way that safeguarded the environment. This is shown by its continued efforts to be seen as a successful Gas to Liquid producer on a commercial scale, where it operated gasifiers clearly above hydrostatic pressure to produce suitable gas for the GTL process, well knowing that contaminants were escaping widely and that damage to the land structure was occurring. As I have noted during the course of argument, there are varying degrees of wilfulness, which is an element of each offence.

The Prosecution have submitted that the appropriate way to approach the quantum is 45 by assessing the maximum and then reaching an appropriate proportion to address each offence. In terms of the section I earlier quoted in relation to the quantum of  fines, it seems to me the damage occasioned by each of these offences is significant and needs to be taken into account in the calculation of a quantum. In relation to each of counts 1 to 3, I accept the Prosecution’s submission that it is appropriate to impose 50 per cent of the maximum in relation to those.

In relation to each of counts 4 and 5, as I have noted, there are aggravating features. The defendant was well aware of the problems with the site and proceeded in disregard of its own experts. They had clearly advised the site was unsuitable because of the earlier gasifier operations; however, the defendant persisted simply 10 on a commercial basis.

In relation to the final count, the defendant purposely hid the issue of groundwater contamination from the regulator. I accept the Prosecution’s submission that fines in relation to each of those later offences should be at 75 per cent of the maximum.
I intend to reduce each of those fines to recognise the totality issues that I have spoken about, including the interplay between each offence and the damage that has actually been occasioned. On each of counts 1, 2 and 3, I fine the defendant the sum of $700,000. On each of counts 4 and 5, I fine the defendant the sum of $1,200,000. Convictions are recorded. The Prosecution does not seek its costs in relation to this Prosecution.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Japan finds threats and bribery not working as well as expected with member countries in International Whaling Commission – will seek to change voting rules


I’ve lost count of the times that Japan has threatened to leave the International 
Whaling Commission (IWC) and bribery allegations seem to have been floating 
around forever. 


However, it appears the Government of Japan is not satisfied with results to date 
and now want to see IWC voting rules changed so that it won’t take as many 
threats and bribes to get its way and recommence large-scale commercial whaling.

Kyoda News, 27 June 2018:

Japan is set to propose resuming commercial whaling of some species at a 
meeting of the International Whaling Commission in September as a ruling 
party endorsed the government plan on Tuesday.

Tokyo is targeting certain types of whales whose numbers are relatively 
abundant such as minke whales for the proposal, but it remains uncertain 
whether it can secure support from members of the IWC that are split over 
whaling.

Tuesday's approval by the Liberal Democratic Party came amid emerging 
calls from some government officials and ruling party lawmakers that Japan 
should weigh withdrawal from the IWC.

Their criticism is directed at the divisive and what they see as dysfunctional 
nature of the international body, with one ruling party source saying, "We 
are not going to drag this out."

At the meeting from Sept. 10 to 14 in Brazil, to be chaired by Japanese 
government representative Joji Morishita, Japan plans to make a packaged 
proposal that also calls for easing of the IWC's decision-making rules, a plan
seen as a tactic to court anti-whaling members.

Currently, approval from a majority of three-fourths of IWC members is 
needed to set a catch quota or a sanctuary where whaling is banned. 
The Japanese proposal is to lower the hurdle to a simple majority.

The potential easing of the rules will make it easier for anti-whaling members
to secure support for designating a new whale sanctuary.

Of the IWC's 88 members, 40 support whaling while the remaining 48 are 
against the practice, according to Japan's Fisheries Agency.

The IWC, which aims to manage whaling and conserve whales, was 
established in 1948. In 1982, it declared there should be a moratorium on 
commercial whaling and the ban came into force in 1986.

Japan stopped commercial whaling across the board in fiscal 1988. But it 
continues to hunt whales for "research purposes," drawing criticism 
overseas that the practice is a cover for commercial whaling.

Phys Org, 27 June 2018:

At September's meeting in Brazil, Japan "will propose setting a catch 
quota for species whose stocks are recognised as healthy by the IWC 
scientific committee", Hideki Moronuki, an official in charge of whaling at 
Japan's fisheries agency, told AFP.

Moronuki said the proposal would not specify which whale species and 
how many mammals Japan wants to hunt, but he said the IWC classifies 
several species as no longer depleted.

The moratorium has been in place since 1986, and Japan's previous 
attempts to win a partial lifting have been unsuccessful.

Japan will also propose measures to change the body's decision-making 
process, lowering the threshold for proposals to pass from three quarters 
of members to half.

"The IWC has not been functioning. We should get united to build a more 
cooperative system," Moronuki said.

Tokyo has continued to hunt whales despite the moratorium, exploiting a 
loophole allowing "scientific research". It says the research is necessary to prove whale populations are large enough to sustain a return to commercial 
hunting.

It makes no secret of the fact that meat from the expeditions ends up on dinner tables, despite a significant decline in the popularity of whale meat.

Whales were a key protein source in the immediate post-World War II years, 
when the country was desperately poor, but most Japanese now say they 
rarely or never eat whale.

But foreign pressure on Japan to stop whaling has hardened the positions 
of conservative activists and politicians.

Japan cancelled its 2014-2015 hunt after the International Court of Justice 
said permits being issued by Tokyo were "not for purposes of scientific 
research".

But it resumed the hunts in 2016, and conservationists were furious this 
year after Japan reported it had caught 333 minkes on its latest expedition, 
122 of which were pregnant.

Japanese officials said the high rate of pregnant whales showed the strength 
of the minke population.

Japan's last bid to ease the restrictions was in 2014, when the IWC voted 
down its request to hunt 17 minke whales in its coastal waters—where 
smaller whales which Japan claims are not regulated by the committee are 
already hunted.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

IT'S TIME TO #standup4forests AND TELL THE NSW GOVERNMENT TO LEAVE OUR FORESTS ALONE, Community Meeting, 5pm Saturday 30 June 2018, Grafton District Service Club



Conservationists Alarmed at NSW Government Plans for our Forests


Conservationists are alarmed about the NSW Government’s proposals to increase logging intensity in our public forests.

And while the Government is proposing drastic changes weakening logging rules, it is avoiding holding meaningful public consultations about their plans. North Coast conservationists had wanted to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to visit local forests to see first hand the damage that has already resulted from the current logging practices. The EPA refused to participate.

This is probably not surprising given that the EPA, which is charged with monitoring and ensuring compliance of logging operations in the State Forests, has failed in ensuring that the current regulations have been adhered to.  And on those occasions when it has determined that there have been breaches, the penalties it imposed have been of the “slap on the wrist” nature. So it is no wonder that the current rules have frequently been ignored.

The North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) and the North East Forests Alliance (NEFA) are countering the Government’s current consultation failure by holding their own meetings to explain to the community exactly what the Government has in mind for the future of our public forests. Several meetings have already been held on the North Coast with more planned, including one for Grafton at the Grafton District Services Club (upstairs) on Saturday June 30.

In a recent statement NCEC Vice-President Susie Russell outlined the consequences of the Government’s proposed changes.

“If the proposed rules are implemented, every population centre on the north coast will see its water yields drop as intensive land clearfell logging dries out the catchments. There will be increased erosion and sedimentation of streams from decreased stream buffers.
“The extinction cliff for many of our native animals and plants will be reached faster as there will no longer be a requirement to look for them prior to logging.

“The carbon storage capacity of our forest estate will be greatly diminished as logging intensity increases and the dense, young regrowth is more flammable than the mature forests it replaces.

“All this at a time when climate change is accelerating and the planet's temperature is rising. We need now to be protecting our future by maximising the shade, natural water and carbon storage, while connecting habitats to enable animals to move to more suitable areas,” she said.

The NCEC is concerned that areas that have been off-limits to logging for 20 years - old growth forest, stream protection buffers, and high quality koala habitat – will be sacrificed to meet wood contracts.

Our state Government needs to be reminded that State Forests belong to the people of this state – not to the timber industry or to a Government that seems hell-bent on damaging as much of the natural environment as it can while it is in office.

            - Leonie Blain

Friday, 1 June 2018

This barbaric whale slaughter must end!


Antartic minke whale in Science, Space and Robots blog, 23 April 2014

News.com.au, 30 May 2018:

The Courier-Mail can reveal that 95 per cent of the female whales slaughtered by the Japanese were carrying calves.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has slammed the Japanese whale hunt.

“The Australian Government is deeply disappointed that Japan continues to undertake so-called ‘scientific’ whaling,” he said.

“The Government has made representations at the highest levels to Japan – and will continue to do so…..

Japanese whalers killed 333 minke whales – plus 122 unborn calves – in the Southern Ocean last summer.

“Apparent pregnancy rate of sampled animals was high’’, the Japanese whalers stated in a new report to International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee meeting in Slovenia this month.

“One or two minke whales were sampled randomly from each … school using harpoons with a 30g penthrite grenade.’’

The whalers killed one in every three of the protected marine mammals they spotted.
Eleven whales managed to avoid the harpoons by hiding in water with high-density ice.

Over three months, two Japanese ships equipped with cannons hunted the whales for 12 hours a day – harpooning some whales 10m long.

Commercial whaling was banned more than 30 years ago but Japan continues to hunt by using a loophole to kill whales for “scientific research’’.

The Humane Society International (HSI) blasted the harpooning of pregnant whales as a “truly gruesome and unnecessary’’.

HSI senior program manager Alexia Wellbelove said the “scientific whaling’’ was a front for the meat trade, as the whales were taken back to Japan for human and pet food.

“The killing of 122 pregnant whales is a shocking statistic and sad indictment on the cruelty of Japan’s whale hunt,’’ she said yesterday.

Ms Wellbelove called on State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to use her trade visit to Japan this week to lobby its government to stop whaling.

“They claim it’s necessary to understand whale biology but that information can be obtained through a biopsy,’’ Ms Wellbelove said.

“The whales often get used for pet food.’’

The IWC report, written by employees of the Institution of Cetacean Research in Tokyo, the Kyodo Senpaku fishing company and Tokyo University, says the whales were killed to obtain data on the “age, sexual maturity and body length of the whales’’.

The Japanese analysed the stomach content to “estimate prey consumption’’ and measured blubber thickness to “study the nutritional condition’’ of the dead whales.

Minke whale surfaces through Antartic ice, vms.edu photo set

Thursday, 31 May 2018

The people of the Liverpool Plains versus Santos and its irresponsible domestic and international shareholders


Oil and gas mining corporation Santos Limited is currently seeking approval to drill up to 850 natural gas wells on est. 425 sites over 95,000 hectares in the Pilliga Forest region of north-west New South Wales. 

Pilliga Forest is consdered a rare example of intact temperate forest and covers an est. 300,000 hectares sitting atop a recharge area of the Great Artesian Basin.

Santos presents itself as an Australian company, yet two affilated Chinese companys hold over 624 million voting shares in the companyand its top institutional shareholders contain the usual mix of international banks, finance and investment companies2.

In its 2017 annual report Santos admits; A range of environmental risks exist within oil and gas exploration and production activities3

This is the response of the people living on the Liverpool Plains. 


The backyard of New South Wales is facing its biggest threat yet – invasive gasfields. Betrayal by governments has meant protectors are fighting to save the things they love. The Pilliga, Great Artesian Basin, Liverpool Plains – all are at risk. This is a David and Goliath battle to save our land, air and water from destruction. It’s also a fight for the soul and future of Australia. In this film we meet the experts and people living in the sacrifice zone and uncover the truth behind the real gas crisis confronting ordinary Australians.

https://youtu.be/h3h1FxwI1CE

Footnotes
1. As of 27 June 2017 Hony Partners Group, L.P and ENN Ecological Holdings Co Ltd acting in concert
2. At Page 130 https://www.santos.com/media/4319/2017-annual-report.pdf.
3. 15 February 2017 Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection fined Santos  $12,190 for non-compliance with a Soils Management Plan.

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.....





Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners: "We're on the frontline defending our lands against Adani" and we ask your help


From: Adrian Burragubba - via CommunityRun <info@getup.org.au>
Date: Thu, May 24, 2018 at 5:46 PM
Subject: We're on the frontline defending our lands against Adani
To: [redacted]


This is a message from the leaders of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners. They are the Traditional Owners of the land where mining giant Adani want to build the Carmichael coal mine. Your details haven't been shared with anyone.

Dear [redacted],

We are leaders of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners. We're the people on the frontline defending our ancestral lands in the fight against Adani's destructive coal mine.

Our people have said no four times to a miserly land deal offered by Adani in exchange for the destruction of our homelands. We have been opposing Adani and holding them off since 2012.

Our resistance has nothing to do with dollars. No amount of money or promises from a deceitful corporation can stop us standing strong in defence of Wangan and Jagalingou lands and waters and sacred sites.

But Adani are ruthless. They have used the dirtiest tactics to undermine our right to say no, and manufacture a phony "Indigenous Land Use Agreement".

Right now we're fighting against Adani's shoddy tactics and their sham "agreement" in court. The judge could hand down a decision any day now. But it won't end there.

Can you sign our petition to stand with us against Adani?

We are willing to fight Adani all the way to the High Court to protect our environment and sacred sites. We are working for a positive future for our people on our country. We won't stand by and watch its destruction for coal.

Adani are relentlessly pressuring the Queensland government to clear our Native Title rights out of the way — and as the clock ticks and Adani gets more desperate, it will only intensify.

So we need to show Adani and our Governments that they can't fake or force our consent.

We have never given our consent to Adani to destroy our country, and we never will. Our land is our living law; we are connected to it through our ancestors and our culture. Without it we will cease to exist as a people.

Our people have been leading a courageous fight against a cashed-up mining giant with politicians in its pockets, and top end of town lawyers to argue away its collusion, bad faith and dishonesty.

We're calling time on this. It's time for Adani to walk away.

Sign our petition to tell Adani No means No.

Adani can't keep bullying us, or pretending they have our consent. Consent is written in our hearts and minds, and the truth is we have said no. Time and again.

And we shouldn't have to keep saying it. Adani haven't been able to put money on the table for this project or even say when they'll start digging. They've given nothing to our people, or to the people of Queensland and Australia, except a bunch of false promises. The smart money and honest commentators know Adani's Carmichael mine is going nowhere.

But still our rights are at extreme risk. The Queensland Government could yield to this corrupt polluting corporation and "legally" rip up our Native Title, just so they can say they have their final "approval".

We continue to hold the line and have many tens of thousands of supporters in Australia and around the world, but we need more. We need to build a more powerful movement, standing in solidarity with us, to take on Adani's wealth, political influence and dirty tricks.

Sign our petition to support our fight against Adani.

We are in the fight of our lives. Adani have shown a relentless determination to use unjust legal maneouvres to trample our rights. But this fight is bigger than Adani. It's about the rights that all Aboriginal people have to say no to dirty extractive industries that profit from our traditional homelands. It's about our right under international law to be free from discrimination, and to choose our own economic future.

We have a vision for our people that's sustainable. We want economic independence, and to make a future on our country that is respectful of the land and uplifting for our people. We want to invest in solar energy and other new clean enterprises. We don't want scraps from a corrupt corporation looking to profit from the permanent destruction of our culture, or meagre handouts and low paid dirty jobs that require us to give up our human rights.

When we say No to Adani, we mean No. We hope you'll stand with us.

Support our fight: http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/our-fight/

Adrian Burragubba, cultural leader and senior spokesperson
with Murrawah Johnson, Youth spokesperson
and Linda Bobongie, W&J Council Chairperson

for the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council


Adrian Burragubba

CommunityRun is a new online organisation that lets anyone start, run and win their own campaigns. It receives no political party or government funding and is not affiliated with any political party. To unsubscribe from CommunityRun updates, please visit here or visit http://www.getup.org.au/unsubscribe?cr=true. To unsubscribe from individual CommunityRun campaigns, please visit www.communityrun.org.
Our team acknowledges that we meet and work on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We wish to pay respect to their Elders - past, present and future - and acknowledge the important role all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within Australia and the GetUp community.
Authorised by Paul Oosting, Level 14, 338 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.

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....



Monday, 21 May 2018

Water raiders are eyeing the Clarence River - again


In 2007 Clarence Valley communities saw off an Australian prime minister (John Howard) and his water minister (Malcolm Turnbull)  - telling them "Not A Drop".

The issue of inter-basin water transfer became an election issue that year and the National Party lost the seat of Page and the Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government lost the federal election.

Having learnt nothing from the commitment of local people in the Clarence Valley, including traditional owners, once again the water raiders have raised their heads above the parapet.

The Daily Examiner, letter to the Editor, 19 May 2018, p.14:

Clarence diversion

On April 18, 2018, Toowoomba Regional Council in south-east Queensland resolved to submit a motion to the National General Assembly of Local Government in June this year.

This motion calls for the Assembly to amend Resolution 77 (Griffith City Council) which was carried the previous year.

Resolution 77 called on the “Federal Government to carry out a further feasibility study on David Coffey’s “Scheme to Divert Tributaries of the Clarence River to the Murray Darling Basin” to gather up-to-date information for investigation into this scheme”.

The Toowoomba amendment seeks to incorporate a pipeline from the Clarence River to Toowoomba and the Darling Downs region into that request for federal government investigation.

Hot on the heels of this latest push to dam and divert water from the Clarence River system comes the NSW Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 5 “Augmentation of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales” report, released on May 14.

Although informed by Clarence Valley Council that it has resolved six times not to support diversion of the Clarence River, this Upper House report clearly favours damming and diverting water from the Clarence River system.

The wording may have been slightly watered down via a motion by Mick Veitch MLC but it is still of considerable concern: ”Resolution 40 - 6.89 The committee heard evidence from some inquiry participants that there may be potential benefits of diverting the Clarence River to the west.

“These inquiry participants were of the view that there is merit to any strategy that seeks to mitigate floods and flood damage in the Clarence Valley and provide additional water for agriculture in the Barwon region. The committee acknowledges that stakeholders were divided on the issue of water diversion. However, some inquiry participants held strong views against diverting waters from the Clarence River to the west.”

However, the draft version of 6.89 which indicates the extent of support the dam and divert proposal enjoys within this Upper House committee was quite frankly alarming: “The committee notes that there may be potential benefits of diverting the Clarence River to the west.

“There is merit to any strategy that seeks to mitigate floods and flood damage in the Clarence Valley and provide additional water for agriculture in the Barwon region.

“The committee acknowledges that stakeholders were divided on the issue of water diversion. However, the committee believes that further investigation into water diversion schemes is warranted to consider their feasibility as a strategy to mitigate floods.

“The committee therefore recommends that the NSW Government investigate the feasibility of water diversion schemes as a flood mitigation tool.”

If these sentiments are echoed by the Berejiklian Coalition Government down in Sydney then Clarence Valley Council, the people of the Clarence Valley and communities whose local economies depend on a healthy Clarence River will have a fight on their hands.

Because the calls from communities and vested interests who have managed to reduce their region’s rivers to a series of mud puddles will grow louder and more insistent over time.

This time around the call is spearheaded by Griffith, Toowoomba and the shadowy lobby group, Australian Water Exploration Company Ltd, which is apparently looking to benefit from any infrastructure spend on a Clarence Valley dam and pipeline.

At the June National Assembly of Local Government they will be speaking to a sympathetic audience. Hopefully Clarence Valley Council is sending a representative to this gathering that will strongly counter their arguments.

Judith M. Melville, Yamba