Showing posts with label flora and fauna. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flora and fauna. Show all posts

Monday, 19 November 2018

Eastern Australia is now a global deforestation hotspot and koala numbers are plummeting

Image: Wilderness Society

Echo NetDaily, 16 November 2018:

Koala numbers have plummeted by 33 per cent over the last twenty years and experts are now warning that they are likely to be driven to extinction. In NSW the decline of koalas and other native wildlife is being driven by inadequate state laws regulating both private land clearing and logging.

The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) is calling on the NSW government to ‘abandon its draconian logging plans and chart an exit out of native forest logging, and for the federal government to rethink its commitment to signing new Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs),’ said Ms Alix Goodwin, NPA CEO.

They’ve based their call on the recent study by three University of Canberra academics for Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA) reported recently in the Sydney Morning Herald that showed a strong majority of people oppose native forest logging. 

‘The study found that urban and rural votes broadly share the same strong disapproval of logging – putting the lie to claims that only urban dwellers care about the environment – and that logging is unpopular even where the remnants of the industry persist,’ said Ms Goodwin. 

‘The results are in line with polling conducted in the NSW electorates of Lismore and Ballina in December 2017 that showed 90 per cent support for protecting forests for wildlife, water, carbon stores and recreation.

‘This is the latest piece of evidence that clearly demonstrates how far the NSW government’s plans to intensify logging, abandon species protections and open protected forests up for logging are removed from public expectation,’ she said……

‘Koala numbers are plummeting in NSW. It is estimated they fell from 31,400 to 21,000 in the two decades from 1990–2010, and their numbers are continuing to decline in most parts of the state.

‘Deforestation rates have escalated in NSW and eastern Australia is now a global deforestation hotspot. We need new laws to turn this around.

‘We want people to understand that koalas face extinction unless we stop destroying their homes, which means ending deforestation and the bulldozing of habitat.’

NSW Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: ‘In one district in the northwest of the state, more than 5,000 hectares of koala habitat were bulldozed in just 12 months.

‘Trees in that region were bulldozed at a rate of about 14 football fields a day, and that’s just one part of our state.

‘We know what the solution is. We need strong new laws to end deforestation and start restoring degraded habitat so wildlife like koalas can thrive.

‘That’s why we are advocating for law reform to protect high-conservation-value forest and bushland, and to set up a biodiversity and carbon fund to pay landholders to restore degraded areas.....

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

This private member's bill signals an ongoing threat to forests on the NSW North Coast and elsewhere in the state

This is Austin William Evans, NSW Nationals MP for Murray since 14 October 2018 when he won the seat on the back of a by-election after fellow Nationals Adrian Piccoli resigned.

On 18 October 2018 Evans introduced a private member’s bill in the NSW Legislative Assembly titled, National Parks and Wildlife Legislation Amendment (Riverina) Bill 2018 or An Act with respect to certain lands in the Riverina region reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 or dedicated under the Forestry Act 2012; and for other purposes.

As yet no text of this bill is publicly available.

However, there are no prizes for having guessed that this bill seeks to revert  the Murray Valley National Park to a state forest to allow timber harvesters back in.

According to state parliamentary records the Bill lapses in accordance with Standing Orders on 19/4/2019.

Make no mistake Evans’ bill represents the unsustainable native timber industry’s desire to make inroads into the wider national park system.

In fact it made sure it never really left the Murray Valley National Park, having received milling timber via so-called ''ecological thinning'' of sections of the park since 2012.

Given the number of national parks and reserves in the Northern Rivers region it is time to put pen to paper and remind Premier Gladys Berejiklian that growing the total area covered by the national park system, as well as reining in broad scale land clearance and/or extensive logging in rural and regional areas, is one of the easiest ways to mitigate against rising state greenhouse gas emissions.

The Berejiklian Government has already walked back from the transfer of 23,000 hectares of low productivity state forests to the national park estate and presented a whittled down version of the National Park Estate (Reservations) Bill 2018 which passed both Houses on 17 October 2018.

Although under this passed bill an est. 2,200ha of state forest will become part of the national park estate in January 2019 and and further est. 1,791 of state forest will be rededicated as state conservation areas, the total amount of protected viable koala habitat is limited.

In an effort to redress this, amendments were proposed which include the creation of the Great Koala National Park.

As of 18 October 2018 both NSW Greens and NSW Labor support the Great Koala National Park proposal and, if there is a change of government at the 23 March 2019 state election, we should see a genuine start to placing protection on enough viable habitat to begin to reverse the koala's decline towards local extinctions.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

INVITATION FOR PUBLIC COMMENT: Proposed 19.4ha subdivision at Hickey Street, Iluka. curently being assessed as a controlled action

This proposed development of 19.41ha of forested land adjacent to World Heritage Gondwana coastal rainforest in Iluka, NSW, was first sent for public consultation in December 2015.

This is probably the last chance that community members have to offer their opinion on the plan for a 141 lot subdivision on the lot.

The Stevens Group has issued an Invitation for Public Comment which reads in part:

The preliminary documentation for the proposed action is on display and will be publicly available, to be viewed or obtained by download from the online facility without charge, from the 24 September 2018 until 4:30pm (AEST) on the 2 November 2018, at the following locations:

 § Clarence Valley Council Administrative Centre – 2 Prince Street, Grafton, NSW;
 § Clarence Valley Council Administrative Centre – 50 River Street, Maclean, NSW;
 § Iluka Library – Corner Duke Street & Micalo Street, Iluka, NSW;
§ NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Level 4, 49-51 Victoria Street, Grafton, NSW;

§ Online at /– a link to the preliminary documentation will be available by selecting the ‘Residential’ page, then by choosing the “Iluka Subdivision – Invitation For Public Comment” tab.

Interested persons and organisations are invited to view the preliminary documentation. Written comments can be directed to Stevens Holdings Pty Limited, C/- Ocean Park Consulting Pty Limited, PO Box 99, Miami, QLD 4220, or email ( 

Deadline for submissions is 2 November 2018.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Two koalas return to their home range in the Clarence

Clarence Valley Council, Media Release, 18 September 2018:

Mayor: Jim Simmons LOCKED BAG 23 GRAFTON NSW 2460
General Manager: Ashley Lindsay Telephone: (02) 6643 0200
Fax: (02) 6642 7647

Miss Starry in the fork of a tree and Ashby David is a little reluctant to go from his washing basket transport.

Coming home to the Clarence

Clarence Valley Council natural resource management project officer, Caragh Heenan, said Miss Starry was picked up by a WIRES carer and assessed by a local vet, then sent to Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital where she was also treated for chlamydia – a serious and potentially fatal infection that causes blindness and internal infections if not treated.

Ms Heenan said her last few weeks were at the Friends of Koala Nursery in Lismore where she had been regaining strength for her release.

Another koala was released the same day; ‘Ashby David’ was found on the ground in Ashby and was sent to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for treatment for chlamydia.

Ms Heenan said Clarence koalas were under threat from fire, cars, dogs and disease.

“WIRES carers play a big role in caring for injured animals, and koalas need your help too,” she said.

“With funding from the NSW Environmental Trust, council is running a project to support our koalas.

“Register where you’ve seen a koala at and help us plan for Clarence koalas into the future.

“With the public’s help we can help koalas remain safe and healthy for the long term.”

Release ends.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Berejiklian Government accused of timber fraud on NSW North Coast

North East Forest Alliance (NEFA), 27 August 2018:

 The North East Forest Alliance has accused the NSW Government of fraudulently claiming a shortfall in high quality logs available from State Forests in north-east NSW to justify their wind-back of environmental protections and intention to log oldgrowth forest and rainforest.

NEFA today released a review of timber yields and modelling for north-east NSW over the past 20 years that has identified a number of serious problems with yield estimations and allocations from the region that will be referred to the Auditor General.

"The most significant issue revealed is that the Government has removed hardwood plantations from yield calculations to concoct a yield shortfall to justify removing environmental protections, while apparently intending to reallocate plantation timber to low value products for export" says report author Dailan Pugh.

"According to the Government's data there is absolutely no need to log oldgrowth forests, or to remove other existing environmental protections to satisfy current timber commitments.

"The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) turned an identified surplus of 37,000 cubic metres per annum of high quality sawlogs from State Forests in north-east NSW over the next hundred years into a claimed deficit of 8,600 cubic metres per annum by simply excluding hardwood plantations from their calculations.

"The NRC's claim that 'it is not possible to meet the Government’s commitments around both environmental values and wood supply' is based on a lie. Nowhere do they identify that they excluded plantations. They did this to create the pretence of a shortfall.

"Plantations already provide some 30,000 cubic metres(14%) of high quality hardwood log commitments per annum, with yields projected to increase up to 75,000 cubic meters of high quality logs per annum into the future.

"NSW Taxpayers have spent $27 million just since 2000 establishing hardwood plantations explicitly to provide high quality logs to take the pressure off native forests.

"It is outrageous that the Government has excluded plantations to concoct a shortfall in timber from State Forests in order to justify increasing logging intensity, reducing retention of habitat trees, removing protections for numerous threatened species, halving buffers on headwater streams, as well as now opening up oldgrowth forest and rainforest protected in the Comprehensive Adequate and Representative (CAR) reserve system for logging.

"The Government recently issued an Expression of Interest for 416,851 tonnes per annum of low quality logs from north-east NSW, of which 219,000 tonnes (53%) is apparently to be obtained by downgrading all timber from the 35,000 ha of north-east NSW's hardwood plantations to low quality logs and committing them in new Wood Supply Agreements aimed at the export market.

"Three NSW Environment Ministers (Parker, Stokes and Speakman), along with the Environment Protection Authority, repeatedly promised that the new logging rules (Integrated Forestry Operations Approval) would result in no net change to wood supply, no erosion of environmental values, and no reductions in the CAR reserve system.

"Instead of honouring their promises, in a blatant ploy the Government has changed the wood supply, by surreptitiously excluding plantations, to justify erosion of environmental values and reductions in the reserve system.

"NEFA calls upon the NSW Government to honour their promises by reinstating the intended role of plantations in providing high quality sawlogs to take the pressure off native forests, and to use the resultant timber surplus to reinstate the environmental protections they are intending to remove", Mr. Pugh said.

Port News, 28 August 2018:

I noticed in the report by the NSW Government DPI’s principal research scientist, Dr Brad Law, which was published in the Port News on August 1that he claims recent audio recordings of male koalas in the hinterland of our state forests revealed evidence of up to 10 times the previously estimated occupancy.

Well obviously if this was the first time audio study of male koalas in the breeding season had been carried surely finding any koalas at all would be an increase in findings. The Australia Koala Foundation showed that one male koala 'Arnie' a dominant male occupied a home range of 43 hectares in area so no doubt the study took precautions to not record the same koala in other of the 171 sites.

Each site however did not always record even one or two scats. The evidence proves only 65% of the 171 sites tested held one koala and the scats do not prove in any way a home colony had even once existed at these sites.

Dr Law rejoices that in his study that heavily logged, lightly logged and old growth forest areas showed similar results which seemed to suggest that logging of our NSW State Forests has no effect on koala numbers.


In a study by the recognised koala expert, Dr Steve Phillips, commissioned by our own PMHC he found that most of the suitably sized koala food trees have already been logged out.

So WTF do they eat?

This no harm heavily logged forest claim by Dr Law will get a real test soon when the NSW Government introduces intensive logging in “Regrowth B” area. A map obtained under GIPA by the North Coast Environment Centre indicates 142,818 ha. of our north coast state forests between Taree and Grafton will be clear-felled.

Any small trees left will be hauled away to the soon be established Biomass Plants at Taree, Kempsey and Grafton and now it seems a new “renewable energy” diesel manufacturing plant at Heron’s Creek. “Renewable” meaning over the next 100 years.

Any regrowth in the intensively logged forests will likely be sprayed and Blackbutt monocultures planted.

Oh, and so no damage is done to the forest populations of koalas and protected animals and plants small clumps of forest will be left.

How a male koala will roam to the next paradise island of the living dead to breed without being attacked by wild dogs or run over by logging trucks is not discussed in the literature.

Even Dr Law did not bother to defend his government’s offset scheme which will according to evidence presented at the PMHC Koala Roundtable result in local extinction of koalas in the Port Macquarie local government area…..

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

NSW Northern Rivers koala deaths continue at an alarming rate in 2018

Echo NetDaily, 12 July 2018:

Friends of the Koala reports that despite its campaign to prevent koala extinction on the North Coast, 12 sick, injured and dead koalas were brought to its Care Centre within the space of three days this week.

On Sunday and Monday eight animals were brought to FOK’s East Lismore centre.
Yesterday two more dead animals came in and another two were brought in on Tuesday.

Only two of the animals are is still alive.

Two of the dead animals were at peak breeding age, according to FOK president Ros Irwin.

Two were hit by cars – one in Wyrallah Road, Lismore, and one on Ewingsdale Road, Byron Bay.

Call-out to contain dogs

Marley, vet nurse at FOK, said of the remainder most were infected with chlamydia and one adult male had suffered multiple dog attacks.

Almost all were either dead on arrival or had to be euthanised.

Just two animals, dubbed Glow and Eli, are in a condition to be re-released.

‘Glow was found in a mango tree, with no koala trees around. He’s fine and will probably released somewhere close,’ Ms Erwin said.

‘Eli was also found “in the wrong place” here in Lismore,’ she added.

Ms Irwin made a special call-out to people contain their dogs at night.

‘It’s horrific, generally there’s not much we can do because they shake them around so much,’ she said.

Horrific car strike

One of the animals killed was collected by Bangalow Koalas’ president Linda Sparrow from Ewingsdale Road outside SAE, where it had been the victim of an ‘horrific car strike’.

Ms Sparrow yesterday wrote an impassioned letter to Byron Shire councillors demanding action on koala warning signage that she said has been long promised but not delivered.

‘I have personally rescued three koalas in Byron in last two months alone(Ewingsdale/ Byron/ Myocum),’ she wrote
‘All three had to be euthanised and this is the fourth one this morning.

‘The poor boy (very healthy male) clearly had no chance. Sorry for gruesome images but this is what it is like on the frontline when you are called to this. Cars and koalas do not mix.

‘How much are our koalas worth if not to provide safe passage?

‘I am still waiting for koala signage on Lismore Road opposite Dudgeons Lane where 11 months ago I had to pick up this other healthy dead male 25 metres down from 201 Lismore Road.....

Sunday, 10 June 2018

The political endorsements of extinction by Turnbull, Berejiklian and Palaszczuk governments continue

Wild fish stocks in Australian waters shrank by about a third in the decade to 2015, declining in all regions except strictly protected marine zones, according to data collected by scientists and public divers.

The research, based on underwater reef monitoring at 533 sites around the nation and published in the Aquatic Conservation journal, claims to be the first large-scale independent survey of fisheries. It found declining numbers tracked the drop in total reported catch for 213 Australian fisheries for the 1992-2014 period.

The biomass of larger fish fell 36 per cent on fished reefs during 2005-15 and dropped 18 per cent in marine park zones allowing limited fishing, the researchers said. There was a small increase in targeted fish species in zones that barred fishing altogether.
"Most of the numbers are pretty shocking," said David Booth, a marine ecologist at the University of Technology Sydney. “This paper really nails down the fact that fishing or the removal of large fish is one of the causes” of their decline.

Over-fished stocks include the eastern jackass morwong, eastern gemfish, greenlip abalone, school shark, warehou and the grey nurse shark. The morwong catch, once as common as flathead in the trawl fishery, dived about 95 per cent from the 1960s to 109 tonnes in the 2015-16 year to become basically a bycatch species……

…Peter Whish-Wilson, the Greens ocean spokesman, said the new research was largely based on actual underwater identification – including the Reef Life Survey using citizen scientists. It suggests fishing stocks "are not as rosy as the industry or government would like us all to think".

"This study also shows that marine parks can be successful fisheries management tools but we simply don’t have enough of them or enough protection within them to deliver widespread benefits," he said.

"The new Commonwealth Marine Reserves are woefully inadequate and won’t do anything to stop the continuing decline in the health of our oceans."

Humane Society International Australia (HSI), represented by EDO NSW, is seeking independent review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s (GBRMPA) decision to approve a lethal shark control program in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

HSI has lodged an appeal in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) which will require a full reconsideration of the approval of the shark control program. The 10 year lethal control program targets 26 shark species in the Marine Park, including threatened and protected species. The appeal is based on the public interest in protecting the biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.....

As apex predators, sharks play a vital role in maintaining the health of the Great Barrier Reef. HSI is concerned about the ongoing impacts caused by the use of lethal drumlines which are known to impact not only on shark species but also dolphins, turtles and rays. HSI is calling for non-lethal alternatives for bather protection.

Forest covering an area more than 50 times the size of the combined central business districts of Sydney and Melbourne is set to be bulldozed near the Great Barrier Reef, official data shows, triggering claims the Turnbull government is thwarting its $500 million reef survival package.

Figures provided to Fairfax Media by Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy show that 36,600 hectares of land in Great Barrier Reef water catchments has been approved for tree clearing and is awaiting destruction.

The office of Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg did not say if his government was comfortable with the extent of land clearing approved in Queensland, or if it would use its powers to cancel permits.

The approvals were granted by the Queensland government over the past five years. About 9000 hectares under those approvals has already been cleared.

Despite the dire consequences of land clearing for the Great Barrier Reef – and billions of dollars of public money spent over the years to tackle the problem – neither Labor nor the government would commit to intervening to stop the mass deforestation.

Freedom of information laws are an important mechanism for making government decisions transparent and accountable. But the existence of such laws doesn’t mean access to information is easy.

It took a three-year legal process for the Humane Society International (HSI), represented by EDO NSW, to access documents about how the Australian Government came to accredit a NSW biodiversity offsets policy for major projects

The NSW policy in question allowed significant biodiversity trade-offs (that is, permitting developers to clear habitat in return for compensatory actions elsewhere) seemingly inconsistent with national biodiversity offset standards. HSI wanted to know how the national government could accredit a policy that didn’t meet its own standards.

Despite Australia being a signatory to important international environmental agreements and accepting international obligations to protect biodiversity, in recent years it has been proposed that the national government should delegate its environmental assessment and approval powers to the states, creating a ‘one stop shop’ for developers.

The original FOI request in this case was submitted in early 2015, during a time when Federal and State and Territory Governments were actively in consultation on handing over federal approval powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). This was to be done in the name of efficiency, with the assurance that national standards would be upheld by the states.
Over 60 documents finally accessed by HSI show this was a false promise. The documents reveal that federal bureaucrats in the environment department identified key areas of the NSW policy that differed from federal standards.

Despite this, the policy was accredited.

Accreditation meant that the NSW policy could be used when approving developments with impacts on nationally threatened species found in NSW, instead of applying the more rigorous national offsets policy.

In the time it took to argue for access to the documents, NSW developed a new biodiversity offsets policy as part of broader legislative reforms for biodiversity and land clearing. Unfortunately, the new NSW biodiversity offsets policy continues to entrench many of the weaker standards. For example, mine site rehabilitation decades in the future can count as an offset now; offset requirements may be discounted if other socio-economic factors are considered; and supplementary measures - such as research or paying cash - are an alternative to finding a direct offset (that is, protecting the actual plant or animal that has been impacted by a development).

While there have been some tweaks to the new policy for nationally listed threatened species, there is still a clear divergence in standards. The new policy, and the new NSW biodiversity laws, are now awaiting accreditation by the Australian Government.

How our unique and irreplaceable biodiversity is managed (and traded off) is clearly a matter of public interest. And on the eve of a hearing at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the federal environment department agreed and released over 60 documents. While it was a heartening win for transparency and the value of FOI laws, it was a depressing read when these documents revealed the political endorsement of extinction.

Thursday, 7 June 2018


"No Pump Mill" memorabilia - image supplied

The Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition celebrated its “almost” thirty years of activity at a Re-Weavers’ Awards Dinner in Grafton on 1st June.

The Re-Weavers Awards, which are held annually on the Friday nearest to World Environment Day, recognise the valuable contribution individuals and groups have made to environmental protection over many years.

The Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition was founded almost thirty years ago because of a proposal for a chemical pulp mill in the Clarence Valley.

On 30th August 1988 The Daily Examiner’s front page headline shouted: “$450m valley mill planned by Japanese”.  Daishowa International had made an in-principle decision to build a chemical pulp mill on the Clarence River near Grafton. This, it was claimed, would create about 1200 direct and indirect jobs in the region.

This fired up the local community.  Some community members welcomed the announcement, claiming the mill would provide an enormous boost to the local economy. 

But not everyone welcomed it.  Many feared the impact such a large industrial development would have on the local environment – not just of the Clarence Valley but of the whole North Coast because it was obvious that such a large mill would be drawing its feedstock from across the region.  Concerns included the amount of water this mill would use, the decimation of the forests, the likelihood of poisonous effluent being released into either the river or the ocean and air pollution.

On 19 September 1988 concerned people met in Grafton to discuss the proposal and consider what action should be taken.  This meeting resulted in the formation of the Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition (CVCC).

Rosie Richards became its President.  She was an ideal person for the job in many ways.  In the conservative Clarence community she was not publicly associated with any of the recent or on-going conservation issues. While she was concerned about environmental impacts, both short and long-term, and made no secret of the fact, she did not look like a greenie – or the conservative view of what a greenie looked like. Rosie was 56 years old.  She was a grandmother. Her background was not that of a stereotype greenie either. She grew up in Pymble and in the early fifties was a member of the Liberal Party Younger Set.  Her other life experiences included years as a farmer’s wife and the wife of a professional fisherman.  (Her husband Geoff had been both.)

Rosie’s personality also qualified her for this leadership role in the pulp mill campaign.  She ran both the CVCC committee and general meetings efficiently.  She was calm, sincere, friendly, articulate and very much “a lady” in old-fashioned terms.  But she was also determined and possessed a “steel backbone”.  This “steel backbone” and her courage were very necessary in the campaign to obtain information and disseminate it to the North Coast community. 

Courage was necessary to the campaigners because those promoting the benefits of Daishowa’s plans attacked the CVCC, referring to its spokespersons as scaremongers and “a benighted group who distort the facts.” Those in power locally and at the state level weren’t in any hurry to provide facts but they decried the efforts of community members who were trying to find information on pulp mill operations.  However, this did not deter the CVCC.  It sought information on pulp mills and pulping processes from around the world, asked questions of those in power and disseminated information to the community.

Other important campaigners included media spokesperson Martin Frohlich and Bruce Tucker whose time in Gippsland had shown him what it was like to live near the Maryvale Pulp Mill. Others who played vital roles were John Kelemec, Rob Lans, Geoff Richards and Bill Noonan as well as core members of the Clarence Valley Branch of the National Parks Association. These included Peter Morgan, Stan Mussared, Celia Smith and Greg Clancy.

Public meetings were held in Grafton, Iluka, Maclean and Minnie Water as well as in other North Coast towns.  In addition the group produced information sheets, issued many media releases, participated in media interviews, distributed bumper stickers, circulated a petition, met with politicians both in the local area and beyond, and wrote letters to politicians and The Daily Examiner.

And there were many others who wrote letters of concern to the paper as well as some who wrote supporting the proposal.  It was an amazing time as there was a deluge of letters to the Examiner. There has been nothing like it since!!

One of my memories is taking part in a Jacaranda procession, probably in 1989.  We used Geoff Welham’s truck which was decorated with eucalypt branches, and driven by Rob Lans with Bill Noonan beside him. Others of us, wearing koala masks, were on the back.  As we drove down Prince Street, Bill had his ghetto blaster on full volume blaring out John Williamson singing “Rip, rip woodchip.” I think we drowned out music of the marching bands.

Following Daishowa’s announcement that it would not be proceeding with its pulp mill proposal, CVCC President Rosie wrote to the Examiner (4 April 1990) praising the efforts of the community in defeating the proposal:

“It has been an interesting nineteen months; a period that has seen the resolve of north coast people come to the fore; we have seen People Power used in a democratic way to say ‘No’  to something that we knew would harm our existing industries and our air and water.  If it had not been for the people of the Clarence Valley and their attendance at public meetings, their letters to politicians, to newspapers in Tokyo and our own Daily Examiner, and their strong support of the Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition, we may have had a huge polluting industrial complex set down in our midst, without a whimper.”

People Power did do the job – but Rosie Richards and the others on the Coalition Committee played a very important part in organizing and channelling that people power.

The lessons of history never seem to be learned.  Those campaigning to protect the environment from the greed of pillagers face the same problem today.

What Rosie wrote in a letter to The Daily Examiner in November 1990 still applies today:

“It seems that every time we stop for breath another issue crops up that summons us to speak up for common sense and common interest.  Most of us would much rather be doing other things besides acting as watchdogs for what we see as poor bureaucratic decisions and flawed advice to governments.”

In the same letter she answered a criticism that conservationists were “greedy”:

“We speak out as we do because we believe that the people of today’s and tomorrow’s Australia will not be well served by a country whose finite resources have been exhausted by sectional interests that have until now not had to make long term plans for the sustainability of their industries.”

The pulp mill campaign was significant both in the Clarence and further afield.  It reinforced the message of the other earlier environmental victory – the success of the Clarence Valley Branch of the National Parks Association in campaigning to save the Washpool Rainforest.  Both of these campaigns showed the state government and local councils as well as the North Coast community in general that there were people who were prepared to campaign strongly for effective protection of the natural environment.

            - Leonie Blain

Leonie Blain (left) & Lynette Eggins (right) - image supplied