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

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.


Sunday, 4 November 2018

Scott Morrison just can't get his political spin to stick up here on the NSW Northern Rivers


Interim Australian Prime Minister and Liberal Member for Cook Scott Morrison just doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut.

He tweeted what looked like one of his own staff's media releases which had been taken up by the Murdoch media, only to have Byron Shire Council issue a denial of his claim that it had backed down. 


SBS News, 29 October 2018:

Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson has dismissed the Morrison government’s claim the council has backed down from plans to change the date of its Australia Day festivities.

Immigration minister David Coleman stripped the council of its right to hold citizenship ceremonies in late September as a punishment for “politicising” the day, only to reinstate the right on Monday.

The government claimed Mr Richardson’s council had “reversed” its plan to change Australia Day ceremonies.

But the mayor said the bitter argument with the government was triggered by a “misunderstanding”. Byron Shire will proceed with its plans to move Australia Day speeches and awards to January 25, he said.

“Nothing has changed, from our perspective,” Mr Richardson told SBS News on Monday…..

The council plans to hold a citizenship ceremony in the coming weeks. The events are held semi-regularly throughout the year.


BACKGROUND

North Coast Voices, 26 September 2018:

An est. 5 per cent of the total population of the Northern Rivers are Aboriginal people principally from the BundjalungYaeglGumbaynggirr and Githabul Nations.

They are an integral part of townships and villages spread across seven local government areas and, able to clearly demonstrate cultural connection to country, hold Native Title over land and water in parts of this region.

These families and tribal groupings contribute to the richness of community life in the Northern Rivers.

So Byron Shire Council's media release of 20 September 2018 comes as no surprise.

However, Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison's reaction and the manner in which it was delivered did surprise me. 

SBS News, 24 September 2018:

A NSW mayor says his council's decision to change the date of an Australia Day ceremony is to reflect history after Prime Minister Scott Morrison weighed in.

A NSW mayor whose council won't hold its Australia Day ceremony on January 26 has hit back at Scott Morrison after the prime minister tweeted about the issue.

Byron Shire Council will hold some council events on the national holiday but has announced its official ceremony will move to January 25.....

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Community unhappy about Tweed Shire Council water mining consent at Rowland Creek


Image: Onthehouse

Echo NetDaily
, 6 October 2018:

Around 100 protestors made their point before council ignored them by voting 4–3, to reject Mayor Katie Milne’s rescission motion in regards to the September vote, where the majority of Tweed Shire councillors gave the thumbs up to a water mining operation at Rowlands Creek.

Councillor Katie Milne moved that a DA for a bulk loading/delivery of extracted water and roadworks at Rowlands Creek Road be deferred for several reasons including that NSW Water’s response to the pumping study was a brief email, not a formal review.

She asked that council seek additional consideration and hydrological testing from the applicant as outlined in a report by Professor Peter Cook (Potential Impact of Groundwater Pumping on Rowlands Creek) and that a suitably qualified university review the applicant’s report and subsequent response as well as NSW Water’s response and Professor Cook’s reports.

The motion also argued that the costings of road damage (referred to in the report but not provided) be publicly released; that the Rowlands Creek / Kyogle Roads intersection problem (which has been acknowledged and considered by the applicant’s traffic engineers but remains unresolved) should be referred to an independent expert for an opinion on the best practice approach; that council refer the problem of the Rowlands Creek Road / Mitchell Street intersection to the same independent expert for opinion on a best practice solution; and, that Council staff report whether they have investigated previously claimed discrepancies in the road width on the straight close to Uki – if not, to do so and if the Bitzios report is incorrect propose appropriate corrective measures.

The motion also asked that council seek independent legal advice on whether its public interest assessment meets Council and other legal obligations.

The 4–3 vote went Crs Cherry, Cooper and Milne for the rescission, and Cs Byrne, Polglase, Allsop and Owen against.

Cr Milne told Echonetdaily that this is not the end of the issue as far as she and council are concerned. ‘The developer has to gain final sign-off from councillors that the roadworks required are properly completed before he can commence operations,’ said Ms Milne.

‘There is another application in the system for Dungay, the court judgement for the Urliup expansion, and numerous applications for amendments required to rectify non-compliances of other existing operators as well as whatever else comes in.’
The mayor added that some of her greatest concerns include the safety of local residents, the impact on Rowlands Creek, the viability of the State Significant Farmlands adjacent, and the viability of locals’ stock and domestic water bores as well as the enormous costs expected for residents for these ongoing road repairs.
The Tweed Water Alliance submitted a hydrology report which suggested the water mining should not go ahead yet council still voted to go ahead. Ms Milne says the report was unequivocal and absolutely convincing. ‘It was done by one of the world’s leading groundwater scientists. There are always councillors who put development before the community. Unfortunately the Labor councillor joined them this time.
‘This is an issue that affects the whole community across the Shire. Apart from the water security issues, I’m sure our residents and pensioners would not be keen on subsidising ongoing road damage from these heavy trucks.’

Tweed Water Alliance’s Facebook page suggests that direct community action is now being contemplated.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Yamba community successfully lobbied for the installation of a roundabout instead of traffic lights at intersection of Treelands Drive and Yamba Road


One of a number of signs along Yamba Road protesting the traffic lights

After a protracted debate on 21 August 2018 Clarence Valley Council voted to install traffic lights at an intersection in Yamba by five votes to four, with councillors Richie Williamson, Jason Kingsley, Andrew Baker, Arthur Lysaught and Mayor Jim Simmons voting in favour and Debrah Novak, Peter Ellem, Greg Clancy and Karen Toms against.

It was noticeable that all three Yamba councillors were against the motion, reflecting the sentiments of many local residents.

A formal rescission motion was lodged by Clrs. Toms, Ellem and Clancy which read:

That Council:
1. Rescind Part 2 and 3 of resolution 15.134/18 on Yamba Road/Treelands Drive Intersection Upgrade
And replace with the following points:
2. Adopt Option 4 - Mini Roundabout as the control measure for the Treelands Drive/Yamba Road
Intersection.
3. Complete the detailed design for the Mini Roundabout intersection of Treelands Drive and Yamba Road.

On 4 September this was considered at an extraordinary council meeting.

At this meeting the vote ratio reversed itself and Option 4 – Mini Roundabout was adopted by five votes to four.

Much to the relief of a crowded visitors’ gallery.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

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


Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Is Sky News Autralia fast becoming national propaganda central for extreme world views?


This is an excerpt from the book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988) by  Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky.


That these observations have a basis in fact can sadly be borne out by mainstream and social media in 2018.

Take this most recent example....



The United Patriots Front (UPF) is a far-right Australian white supremacists group.

In September 2017 admirer of Adolf Hitler, UPF founder & sometime leader Blair Cottrell and two supporters were each convicted under Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 and fined $2,000 plus $79.50 in statutory costs for religious vilification/inciting serious contempt.

This is not the first time Cottrell has been before the courts. In 2013 he was gaoled for a string of offences including stalking, arson, burglary and damaging property.

Despite this dubious history Sky News decided to invite him on as a guest of former Northern Territory Chief Minister & former Country Liberal Party Leader Adam Giles for a one-on-one studio interview on The Adam Giles Show on 5 August 2017.






To describe Cottrell as "an activist" is deliberately misleading as his history is well-known, as are some of his more extreme pronouncements such as this:


The reaction to Sky News was swift and this is just four examples:


Sky News issued an apology:



Then announced a ban on Blair Cottrell and a suspension of the Adam Giles Show, along with an internal  management shakeup, as the general public pushed to the limits continued to fight back against the 'normalising' of violence and racism.

However, as Sky News often employs markedly right-wing personalities and regularly hosts guests with extreme, intolerant and sometimes racist world views, it is not always easy to accept assertions that extremist views are not the news channel's own views. Or at the very least, that these divisive opinions are seen by Sky News management as driving an agenda desired by News Corp and powerful right-wing groups.

In fact Sky News appears to be fast developing into a version of that US right-wing propaganda vehicle, Fox News, in that it seeks to legitimise and monetise for its own corporate profit the most dangerous elements on the far-right political and social spectrum.1


Notes


1. Sky News' liking for yellow press journalism hasn't past unnoticed. 
Junkee, 6 August 2018: Sky News…. was deeply sorry for slut-shaming a (female) federal senator a few weeks ago. In the past, Sky News has been deeply sorry for linking a (female) former state Premier to corruption, deeply sorry for poking fun at a (female) journalist’s disability, and deeply sorry for suggesting a school boy was gay because he’d appeared in a video about feminism.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Pacific Highway Upgrade has hit a noticeable bump in the road and the fault lies firmly with NSW Roads and Maritime Services, Pacific Complete, the Minister for Roads and the National Party


In July 2018 the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) was called to account by the communities of Woombah and Iluka for a lack of transparency and only paying lip service to community consultation with regard to the Iluka to Devil's Pulpit Section 6 stage of the Pacific Highway upgrade and, the plan to site a temporary asphalt batching plant and a foamed bitumen plant on a rural lot adjoining the Pacific Highway-Iluka Road T-intersection.

Iluka Road is the only road in and out of both of these small villages whose local economies are heavily reliant on a clean, green, family friendly image and nature-based tourism.

This is the official response of the Pacific Highway upgrade consortium to date:

Nationals MP For Clarence Chris Gulaptis in another media release characterised the RMS-Pacific Complete response as Back to the drawing board for Clarence Pacific Highway upgrade asphalt plant temporary asphalt batch plant.

It is unfortunate that he did so, as Woombah residents can clearly see that site preparation on the lot is still proceeding for the temporary asphalt plant and foamed bitumen plant.

Which leaves some residents concerned that Chris Gulaptis is primarily focused on commercial needs of the Pacific Complete consortium and, that NSW Roads and Maritime Services having been caught out are now merely going through the motions so that there is a suitable paper trail should the issue become even more contentious and so come to the notice of Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey.

Residents point out that Jackybulbin and the Rest Area approximately five kilometres away are ideal sites. That the Woombah lot is probably the construction consortium's preferred ancillary site simply because they have an existing lease there.

In response to Gulaptis' spin for the consumption of local media, Woombah and Iluka residents opposing the preferred site have stated in an email:

1. Woombah and Iluka stand united in expressing 'no confidence' in the Laing O'Rourke/Brinkerhoff unincorporated consortium known as "Pacific Complete". Laing O'Orurke is the correct identity for publishing as it is the INSURED PARTY (see attached). Laing O'Rourke Australian arm is for sale and Brinkerhoff is the named party in several issues with previous works such as Lane Cove Tunnel.

2. "Pacific Complete" has been negligent in [failing to notify] the affected members of the communities (all road users of these communities including children on buses and visitors and assessing the proposed shared access roads) and the lack of experience by the "Pacific Complete" Project Team has caused serious distress to the residents of Woombah and Iluka due to two failed communications engagements.

3. "Pacific Complete" and the Roads & Maritime Service NSW has pursued it's objectives and shown complete disregard toward the genuine safety and security issues that will be faced by residents using Iluka Rd to the Iluka Road Pacific Highway turn-off.

4. "Pacific Complete" failed in its duty to correctly identify and assess all viable sites for the asphalt plant.

5. At this time "Pacific Complete" and RMS have offered no traffic solution in the event that no other suitable location of the plant can be identified.

6. Should "Pacific Complete" and the RMS pursue the Woombah site for the Asphalt Batch Plant with no dedicated route for construction/plant vehicles, residents of Woombah & Iluka will consider forming a class action lawsuit against the parties for wilful endangerment.

7. Objectives now are to monitor Pacific Complete to take the preferred site as one of other now five options that do not affect traffic, local residents and the environment.

8. January is Pacific Complete peak movement of trucks month for the Asphalt Plant. They did not consider this ….would affect our peak Holiday period?

Research by local residents also suggests that RMS and Pacific Complete may not be fully compliant with guidelines for the establishment of ancillary facilities when it comes to the Woombah site.

Of particular concern is; (i) the south west flow of surface water on the lot and, whether during any high rainfall event over the next two and a half years, contaminated water might escape and flow from the batching plant infrastructure into the 80ha Mororo Creek Nature Reserve and then along the final est. 2.5km length of the creek which empties into the Clarence River estuary and (ii) the proposed shared access road for heavy trucks and residents' cars and school buses now intersects with the proposed ancillary site at a point which is a known koala crossing.


Image contributed

The next NSW state election will be held on 23 March 2019 in just eight months time.

If the Woobah site remains the preferred site, by then the asphalt batching plant (and possibly the foamed bitumen plant) will have been operational for at least five months and up to 500 heavy truck movements a day will have been occurring over that time with peak activity coinciding with the Woombah-Iluka annual summer tourism period 

One wonders what the Berejiklian Government down in Sydney and the NSW National Party were thinking.

Do they really believe the dust, noise, odour and disruptive traffic will endear Chris Gulaptis to voters in these towns on polling day?

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Liberals, Nationals and Labor all agree they would rather chill political activism to the point of hypothermia


At both state and federal level Australian citizens are finding their right o speak truth to power is being seriously eroded.

This is just the lastest move.....


Bills passed by the Australian Parliament 28 June 2018:




The Guardian, 26 June 2018:

The espionage bill could criminalise protests and communication of opinions harmful to the Australian government, representing a threat to the limited protections on freedom of speech, according to legal advice produced for the activist group GetUp.

The advice comes after deals between the Coalition and Labor on the espionage bill and the foreign transparency register…..

Although the shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, has rejected GetUp’s claims that peaceful protests could be criminalised, his view has been contradicted by both the founder of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Kate Eastman SC, and the advice for GetUp by Wentworth Selborne chambers.

The advice to GetUp said that sabotage offences could cover “a wide range of protest activity” because the “damage to public infrastructure” element includes merely limiting or preventing access to it.

“For example, a person who intentionally blockaded the entry to a coalmine ... with the ultimate intention of ending the sale of coal by Australia to another country ... could be charged with an offence of this kind,” it said.

The advice suggested the significant penalties of up to 20 years prison “is likely to have a chilling effect on protest activity” such as blockading a farm to stop the sale of live animals to another country.

The advice to GetUp suggests that espionage offences in the Coalition bill may breach the implied freedom of political communication because of broad definitions in offences that criminalise dealing with information that may harm national security.
It warned that the definition of harm to national security did not distinguish between harm to Australia and to its government, meaning “espionage offences [appear] broad enough to capture reputational damage and loss of confidence in an Australian government.”

The bill could criminalise publication of information, including opinions or reports of conversations, to international organisations “which may pose little or no threat to Australia’s national security or sovereignty,” it said.

That could include information and opinions about food security, energy security, climate security, economic conditions, migration and refugee policies because these may affect Australia’s “political, military or economic relations with another country”.
Eastman told Guardian Australia those concepts “could cover almost anything” that embarrasses Australia in the eyes of another country.

Eastman cited examples of reporting that Australia spied on the Indonesian president and his wifespied on Timor L’Este, criticism of Australia’s human rights record connected to its role on the United Nations Human Rights Council, or its treatment of foreign investment and major projects such as the Adani Carmichael coalmine.
Even dealing with the “substance, effect or description” of certain information is banned, a further bar to reporting.