Showing posts with label people power. Show all posts
Showing posts with label people power. Show all posts

Friday, 26 April 2019

"Stop Adani" convoy gets good reception as it passes through the NSW Northern Rivers region

Supporters at Ferry Park, Maclean, on Pacific Highway heading north
Photo: The Daily Examiner online

The Daily Examiner
, 22 April 2019, p.4:

Protesters came out in support of the anti-Adani convoy as it made its way through the Clarence Valley yesterday.

Up to 180 cars, many of them electric, decorated in “Stop Adani” paraphernalia made their way along the Pacific Highway as part of a two-week campaign, organised by conservationist Bob Brown, to stop the proposed Carmichael coal mine.

Karen von Ahlefeldt said many in the convoy stopped for a chat and were “boosted” by the show of support.

“A lot of people standing there wished they could be on the convoy, this was a good chance for them to be part of it,” Ms von Ahlefeldt said.

Clarence Valley Councillor and Greens party member Greg Clancy stood at South Grafton waving on the cars as they made their way north.

“Politicians are not listening, and some of the public don’t understand,” Cr Clancy said.

“They think it is jobs, we need coal, but we don’t, we are phasing it out. Coal is not the future, it is the past.”

He said it was unthinkable to “dig up more of the Galilee Basin” and the proposed coal mine would be “contributing to climate change”.

Cr Clancy said movements such as the convoy were important steps to making change.

“Bob Brown has said this is going to be another Franklin River issue,” he said.
“People are not going to stand by. There will be protests, there will be arrests, it will be big.”

“You just have to look at how many vehicles have gone past today to know it’s going to be big.”

Mr Clancy called on politicians to commit to oppose the Queensland mine ahead of the federal election next month.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Is NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian intending "to make it a priority to finish off effective protection of the natural environment – something started years ago under the Coalition State Government"?

On Thursday 4 April 2019 the local Knitting Nannas held a protest knit-in outside the electoral office of NSW Nationals MP for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis.

Below is the text of their letter to Mr. Gulaptis dated the same day.


 Knitting Nannas Against Gas
Grafton Loop

c/- PO Box 763
Grafton 2460

4th April 2019
                                                                        C O P Y

Mr C Gulaptis MP
Member for Clarence
11 Prince Street

Dear Mr Gulaptis

Dissolving of Office of Environment and Heritage

The Grafton Nannas are very concerned about your Government’s recently announced intention of doing away with the Office of Environment and Heritage as an independent entity.

We have long been worried about the Government’s lack of concern about protecting the natural environment for current and future generations of humans as well as for other life forms.

Government policies over recent years have been seen by many in our community and elsewhere as being a de facto war on the natural environment.

For example:
  • Changes to vegetation laws which have led to a large increase in clearing of habitat which is important to the survival of native flora and fauna.  This weakening of the former laws is also likely to lead to increased topsoil loss and general land degradation.
  • Changes to logging regulations which threaten the sustainability of native forests which belong to the people of NSW – and not to logging interests. These changes include limiting pre-logging fauna surveys, an inevitable increase in clear-felling, and reduction in the width of buffer zones along streams.  
  • Failure to protect the health of rivers, particularly those in the Murray-Darling Basin.  For years the NSW Government, as well as the Federal Government, has been pandering to the irrigation industry while ignoring the need to protect river health by ensuring that flows are adequate for river health.  The drought is not an excuse for this folly.
  • Other examples include the cutting of funding to the National Parks & Wildlife Service and penny-pinching changes to its structure as well as the failure to ensure that the existing weak environment laws are enforced and appropriate penalties imposed on those who breach them.
We are aware that the Premier recently stated that her Government would make the environment a priority. 

Since hearing that OEH was to lose any of the limited independence it currently has and is to be pushed into a mega-Planning Department, we are left wondering about what the premier actually meant about “priority”.  Did she mean that she intended to make it a priority to finish off effective protection of the natural environment – something started years ago under the Coalition State Government?  It looks very much like that to the Nannas.

Yours sincerely

Leonie Blain
On behalf of the Grafton Nannas


Thursday, 11 April 2019

When local people power has a win

The rejection of a $25 million development at Byron Bay’s Ewingsdale Rd for a 282-lot subdivision was met with thunderous applause.
Villa World’s plan for a controversial development was unanimously rejected by members of the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel at a meeting on Monday.
It was the second DA for the West Byron site to be refused by the panel, as a $40 million development put forward by West Byron Landowners Group was rejected earlier this year.
Numerous speakers pleaded with the NRPP on many grounds, including that they “did not want a Gold Coast” in Byron Bay.
The proposal was refused on 10 grounds including: adverse impacts to surrounding properties; a significant visual impact and undesirable impact on the street scape inconsistent with the northern entrance to Byron Bay; the development was likely to have had adverse impacts on threatened species and ecosystems; no adequate discharge of storm water and was not considered in the public’s interest.
Echo NetDaily, 9 April 2019:

No social or environmental license

Newly reelected MP Tamara Smith said this another great win for our community and people power. ‘The thousands of community submissions and actions highlighting the fundamental flaws in developing this land have successfully culminated in the NRPP rejecting both subdivision plans – against the odds,’ she said.

‘With the rejection of both the West Byron subdivision applications by the NRPP the developers should immediately approach the State government and request that they buy the land and restore it to the Cumbebin Swamp Reserve.

Ms Smith said there is no social or environmental license for a subdivision of the swamp land known as West Byron. ‘So why waste more money on legal battles when the community is utterly opposed.

‘Restitution is on offer for the landowners and they should jump at the chance to be made whole and walk away. They need only look to Condon Hill at Lennox to see decades of iconic land ownership that has never passed muster to see development on it. Get out now is my advice.

‘I strongly advise Byron Shire Council to shelve any idea of a reduced sub-division and instead respectfully ask them to help me actually deliver what the community wants – No West Byron Mega-development.”

Justifiable opposition

Former Byron Shire Mayor Jan Barham also spoke to the panel. She said she wanted to acknowledge the amazing efforts of the community in their justifiable opposition to the inappropriate proposals for the West Byron lands.

‘This development fails on every point,’ she said. ‘From the destruction of biodiversity and the threat to the local koala population and wallum froglet, the filling of a flood prone area, likely negative impact on the Belongil Creek and the Cape Byron Marine Park and further traffic chaos on Ewingsdale Road, that will not be alleviated by the bypass.

‘I’m confident these points have been raised in sufficient detail in the submissions to inform a refusal.’

Ms Barham summed up the general feeling on the day. ‘The refusal of Villa World by the Planning Panel alongside the previous West Byron refusal, justifies years of commitment by our community to protect and preserve our special place, with evidence, passion and genuine concern for the future,’ she said after the decision was announced.

‘It makes me feel so proud to be a member of an activist community who knows the value of standing up for what we believe in and thankfully, this time, the independence of the process delivered the right outcome.

‘Well done to everyone who took the time to be involved, no doubt there will be more challenges to come but the refusals vindicates us and our role as protectors.’

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Estimated 100,000 attended School Strike For Climate rallies across Australia on 15 March 2019


Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Knitting Nannas from across NSW took their protest to Sydney on International Women's Day

United to Protect Our Water

101 Knitting Nannas from around NSW converged on Parliament House in Sydney on International Women’s Day (March 8) to protest about water mismanagement and the lack of effective government action to protect river and groundwater health. The theme of the protest was “No Water no Life”.

The Nannas came from Loops (local Nanna groups) in the Northern Rivers, Grafton, Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Midcoast, New England-North West, Central Coast, Gloucester, Hunter Valley, Illawarra, and Sydney.

The Nannas have long been very concerned about unwanted water impacts around NSW – issues which have been raised with elected representatives over a number of years.

· These include impacts on urban water catchments from coal mines - the Wallarah 2 mine on the Central Coast and the Hume mine in the Southern Highlands as well as the long-wall mining in the Illawarra which leads to massive water loss into mines.

· The North West of the state is also impacted by coal mines which use vast amounts of water – Whitehaven’s Maules Creek mine and the proposed Vickery mine.

· Then there’s the threat to groundwater from Santos’ gasfield in the Pilliga State Forest. This project is slated to extract 35 billion litres of groundwater – most of it in the first five years.

· But the most dramatic impact is the most recent – the Darling fish kills - the result of years of mismanagement and favouring of irrigators over the health of the river system.

The Nannas assembled in Martin Place where they donned their specially made t-shirts bearing a picture of a Nanna declaring “The Water Needs You” (in the spirit of the Lord Kitchener First World War recruiting poster) and their yellow, red and black suffragette-style sashes emblazoned with “No Water No Life”. 

After a group photo under the big banner (“United to Protect Our Water”), the Nannas walked to Parliament House and ranged themselves along the fenceline.  There they used their sashes to tie on to the iron railing of the fence in the manner of the suffragettes.

The brightly-dressed Nannas with their banners and their singing and chanting attracted a great deal of attention from pedestrians and those driving along busy Macquarie Street. A highlight of the street performance was the powerful rendition by Nanna Purl Stockinstitch of her poem about the death of farmer George Bender who was hounded by a CSG company in Queensland.  The Nannas hoped that the pollies in our parliament heard and took note of the effect the unconventional gas industry has had - and continues to have - on the lives of communities in gasfields.

Various politicians met with the Nannas on the footpath and were presented with their “knagging list” - the Nannas’ demands for action.

While the theme of the protest focused on the major problems with rivers and water, the Nannas demands were much broader. They included a call for immediate climate action, transition to 100% renewables, a state-wide ban on gas extraction (including in the Pilliga), proper protection of Aboriginal sacred sites and revocation of the draconian anti-protest laws brought in by the current NSW Government. 

The Knitting Nannas Against Gas and Greed are hopeful that all of the state political parties will accept their calls for effective action on these important matters. It should be noted that the Nannas, who are very concerned about the protection of the land and water for future generations, are non-party political and have a policy of annoying all politicians equally – something we aim to continue doing!

            - Leonie Blain
               Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas & Greed

Friday, 1 March 2019

A reminder of just how far the mining industry will go to deny the lack of a social licence and undermine community opposition

ABC News, 19 February 2019:

Lawyers for mining firm Adani proposed waging "war" on opponents of its controversial Queensland mine by using the legal system to pressure government, silence critics and financially cripple activists, according to documents obtained by the ABC.

The draft copy of Adani's new law firm's aggressive strategy to bring the Carmichael mine to life is labelled "Taking the Gloves Off" and outlines a commercial proposal by AJ & Co to win a multi-million-dollar legal contract with the Indian mining giant.

In the document, the Brisbane firm promised to be Adani's "trained attack dog".

The strategy recommended bankrupting individuals who unsuccessfully challenge Adani in court, using lawsuits to pressure the Queensland Government and social media "bias" as a tool to discredit decisionmakers.

In a section called "Play the Man", it recommended "where activists and commentators spread untruths, use the legal system to silence them".

It also urged Adani to hire private investigators to target activists and work "with police and a criminal lawyer to ensure appropriate police action is taken against protesters".
"Like a well-trained police dog, our litigations know when to sit and shake, and when it is time to bite," the law firm promised.

"To achieve its commercial goal, Adani needs to accept it is involved in a war."

Thursday, 20 December 2018

PEOPLE POWER: Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas six years old and still going strong

The Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas was officially launched six years ago on 19 October 2012.

The local nannas first began knitting in peaceful opposition to coal seam gas exploration and mining in the early days of the Glenugie blockade of a Metgasgo CSG test drill site in the Clarence Valley.

As part of the wider NSW Northern Rivers movement they helped keep the north-east "Gasfield Free!"

The Grafton Loop continues to be active on environmental issues and regularly hold knit-ins outside local state and federal MPs electoral offices.

This is the Grafton Loop on 13 December 2018 outside Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan's office, accompanied by "Nanna Kerry", a mascot veteran of mining protests in south-east Queensland.

This letter was sent to Kevin Hogan on the same day.....

Way to go, Nannas!

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Climate Change: the power of one, the power of many

By 2012 over half the world's population was estimated to be under thirty years of age, with around 16 per cent being under 15 years old.

All around the world those who govern are considerably older on average.

Yet it is thee yound people who willl be forced to endure the worst impacts - the life changing, life threatening impacts - of climate change.

The young have begun to speak up in defence of their future.

This is Greta, she is fifteen years old...........

TRANSCRIPT: Greta Thunberg’s Speech to COP24 UN Climate Summit, Katowice, Poland, December 2018

GRETA THUNBERG: My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old, and I’m from Sweden. I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now!

Many people say that Sweden is just a small country, and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I’ve learned that you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.

But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be.

You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. 

You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children.

But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. 

Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.

The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. 

You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.

Until you start focusing on what needs to be done, rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then maybe we should change the system itself.

We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again. 

We have run out of excuses, and we are running out of time. 

We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people. 

Thank you. 

Monday, 3 December 2018

The Dept.of Youth sends a clear message to all those climate change deniers in the Morrison Coalition Government & those elsewhere in state governments and Australian industries

“activism  is  like  the  immune  system  it rises  in  response  to  the  threat”  [Aidan Ricketts by way of Jane Caro, Twitter, 1 December 2018]

And on the NSW North Coast……..
Memo to all Australian politicians: these students have parents, older siblings, grandparents and aunts & uncles who vote. Ignore them in May 2019 at your peril. 

Friday, 23 November 2018

Water Wars 2018: water mining of the Alstonville aquifer suspended pending government review

BLOCKADE: Around 100 people were there for the 'Stop water mining rally in Uki' on Saturday 27 October, where residents stopped water trucks in the main street. Dave Norris/The Northern Star

Echo NetDaily, 20 November 2018:

Regional water minister Niall Blair has requested an independent review into the impacts of the bottled water industry on groundwater sources in the Northern Rivers.

And local councils have been advised to suspend approving any new applications for water mining until the report is complete in mid 2019.

The NSW chief scientist & engineer will provide advice on the sustainable groundwater extraction limits in the region, as well as advice on whether the current or proposed groundwater monitoring bores are sufficient.

Minister Blair said the NSW Government ‘recognises the pivotal role that water plays in regional prosperity and long-term growth of communities’.

‘Local community members and community leaders have made representations to me on behalf of their constituents and we are taking action,’ he said.

‘I have asked the chief scientist & engineer to investigate the sustainability of groundwater extraction in the Northern Rivers for bottling purposes.

‘Water is a finite resource and we are completing this review to make sure that water remains available into the future in the Northern Rivers catchment for all purposes including stock and domestic users and for groundwater dependent ecosystems,’ Mr Blair said.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Ulmarra community puts a win on the board concerning Pacific Highway blackspot

The Daily Examiner, January 2018: "Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command duty officer Acting Inspector Darren Williams said the collision was between two Queensland registered B Double trucks at 10.15pm Tuesday night when the northbound heavy vehicle collided with the other heavy vehicle heading south while attempting a left-hand bend near the beginning of the 50kmh speed zone."

Ulmarra is a picturesque Clarence Valley village which was established in 1857 and which served as a river port in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of its buildings are heritage-listed.

Unfortunately for the folk who live there the busy Pacific Highway runs through one section of this village and the lives of residents in that section are dominated by the movement of heavy road transport vehicles – and will continue to be so since it was revealed that the Ulmarra Bypass (due for completion in 2020) will not remove B-Double trucks and 'semis' from what will then be the old Pacific Highway.

This year the village successfully campaigned for an extension of the lowest speed limit and a speed camera to slow these big trucks down….

The Daily Examiner, 17 November 2018, p.4:

January 3
Two trucks collide on the southern end of Ulmarra the night before. From a visit to where one of the trucks has come to rest within metres of a home, it’s clear how lucky a young family are to be alive. That afternoon, The Daily Examiner team decides to launch the Let’s Not Wait campaign.

January 5
Ulmarra residents meet with The Daily Examiner at the latest crash site to share years of horror stories from living beside the Pacific Highway. The Daily Examiner Let’s Not Wait campaign is officially launched.

January 10
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis comes out in support of Ulmarra residents and begins discussions with the Minister for Roads and Maritime Services Melinda Pavey.

January 23
A front-page photo of Ulmarra resident Ryan Brown holding up a speed radar gun gets the attention of national media and the campaign is thrust into the national spotlight when Channel Nine’s Today show visits the village.

January 26
Following increased media attention, Mr Gulaptis and Roads and Maritime Services representatives meet with Ulmarra residents to discuss long and short-term solutions.

January 30
A tirade of threats and vulgarity is directed at Ulmarra residents through both online bullying and rogue truck drivers intentionally sounding their horns while passing through the village at night.

February 21
Coffs/Clarence Highway Patrol increase their patrols in and around the township to keep driver behaviour in check.

May 14
Clarence MP Chris Gulatpis announces the extension of the 50km/h speed limit zones following a review conducted by Roads and Maritime Services.

June 18
Another truck crashes at the notorious black spot. This time the accident comes within metres of the Brown family home and causes a power outage from Brushgrove, to Tucabia and South Grafton.

June 19
Clarence candidate Steve Cansdell calls on the NSW Government to do more to protect residents and motorists at the notorious black spot.

June 22
More members of the Clarence Valley community rally behind Ulmarra, including former ambulance officer Wade Walker who calls out RMS for failing in their duty of care to the Brown family.

July 23
Ulmarra resident John Leask accuses RMS of gross negligence in its handling of the Ulmarra black spot in a scathing email sent to various government officials.
Another collision occurs the same day, with two cars and a truck involved, near the southern end. No one is injured.

July 25
Coffs/Clarence Highway Patrol stop another potential crash when they find a fatigued driver after pulling over a southbound truck reported as swerving along the road.

August 17
Residents capture CCTV footage of a truck driver deliberately sounding their horn while travelling from one end of the village to the other and this reignites online debate over who is to blame for the behaviour.

September 5
Two truck drivers are caught by Highway Patrol, one for speeding, and the other for sounding their horn for a sustained period of time.

October 5
The truck driver captured on CCTV footage in August deliberately sounding the truck’s horn while travelling from one end of the village to the other is identified and charged by police.

November 16
The speed camera is switched on by residents of the Ulmarra community.