Thursday, 26 May 2022

Communities in the seven local government areas of the NSW Northern Rivers region know where they have been in 2022 and now they know where they are heading - into more rain

ENSO Outlook
An alert system for the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, 24 May 2022

Australian Bureau of Meteorology:

Special Climate Statement 76 - Extreme rainfall and flooding in south-east Queensland and eastern New South Wales, February-March 2022

25/05/2022 - National

Issued at 10:30am, Wednesday 25 May 2022

The Bureau of Meteorology has released a formal record of the extreme rainfall and flooding that occurred in south-east Queensland and eastern New South Wales in February and March this year.

Special Climate Statement 76 outlines that several rainfall records were broken between 22 February and 9 March 2022, with more than 50 sites recording more than one metre of rainfall in one week.

In the last week of February, parts of south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales had rainfall 2.5 times their monthly average with some regions recording more than five times their monthly average.

After two years of La Niña conditions, the rain fell on saturated catchments leading to flash and riverine flooding extending from Maryborough in Queensland to Grafton in New South Wales.

For many areas, this was the wettest week since at least 1900. Some areas of south-eastern Queensland had their highest flood peaks since 1893, though the lower Brisbane and Bremer rivers and Lockyer Creek peaked below the levels of both January 1974 and January 2011 floods.

In parts of northern New South Wales, flood levels broke previous records. Wilsons River in Lismore peaked at a record high level, estimated to be 14.4 m on 28 February. The previous record was 12.27 m in February 1954.

The rainfall was the result of a combination of weather systems over eastern Australia and the Tasman Sea, where a large volume of humid tropical air moving onshore over eastern Australia was lifted in the atmosphere to produce heavy rain and thunderstorms.

In recent decades, there has been a trend towards a greater proportion of high-intensity, short-duration rainfall events, especially across northern Australia.

The Bureau's special climate statements provide detailed summaries of significant weather and climate events that impact Australians. This Special Climate Statement has been added to an archive of Special Climate Statements dating back more than 15 years, providing easy access to data and information.

Special Climate Statement 76 can be found here:

The Guardian, 25 May 2022:

The breakdown of the La Niña weather pattern in the Pacific has stalled while a key Indian Ocean climate driver is tilting towards its wetter phase, making it more likely that eastern Australia will face more heavy rain and floods.

Just as the Bureau of Meteorology released a special climate report on the extreme rainfall and flooding that hit parts of south-eastern Queensland, northern New South Wales and the region around Sydney in February and March, its fortnightly report on climate influences pointed to the big wet extending for months to come.

The La Niña event, already in its second year, could yet persist into a third. The expected dissipation of the pattern has not progressed in the past two weeks, and two of the seven models used by the bureau project that the La Niña will last through winter.

Out west, the Indian Ocean dipole is forecast by all climate models to enter its negative phase in coming months.

That phase of the dipole – which gauges the relative differences of sea-surface temperatures across the ocean – increases the chances of above-average winter-spring rainfall for much of Australia. It also lifts the odds of warmer days and nights for northern Australia, according to the bureau.

The prospect of wetter than normal conditions for the east coast in particular will prompt fears of further floods. Catchments remain damp and dams are full, so it won’t require significant bursts of rain to cause more flash flooding and damage.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

The NSW Upper House Floods Committee is coming to the Northern Rivers on 30 May (Ballina), 31 May (Lismore) & 1 June 2022 (Murwillumbah). This Committee is looking into the NSW Government's response to the 2022 February-March floods and it wants to hear from local residents

23 May 2022





A NSW Upper House parliamentary committee is set to examine the Perrottet Government’s response to major flooding across the State, beginning with a multi-day tour of the North Coast from Sunday 29 May through Wednesday 1 June.

These visits will include regional hearings and public forums – and the public is urged to come and tell their story in person, if at all possible.

The Upper House Floods Committee is distinct from the government-initiated inquiry.

The Upper House Floods Committee will give all stakeholders, especially members of the public, the opportunity to communicate their questions and concerns about a number of issues including:

  • the government’s response to the flooding and its overall effectiveness;

  • how prepared and coordinated the government was in its response;

  • how well-resourced government agencies were during the response;

  • how the government and its agencies communicated with the public during and after the emergency;

  • how well-coordinated were the various stakeholders including the state and federal governments, local governments, private sector organisations, and the community; and

  • implementation of recommendations from inquiries into previous natural disasters.

Committee Chair and Shadow Minister for the North Coast Walt Secord said:

Members of the community will be able to give in-person evidence directly to the committee.

I urge members of the public to come to the nearest public forum – if they are unable to provide a formal submission as we recognise this is very difficult for many in the community.”

Mr Secord has urged individuals and organisations to continue making submissions if they wish to.

Written submissions do not need to be long, they can be as simple as writing your personal story or a few lines about what could be done to improve the government's response to the recent flooding. To make a written submission, email

The committee will also visit the following locations to conduct site visits, regional hearings and public forums:

  • Ballina RSL – on the afternoon of Monday 30 May 2022

  • Lismore Workers Sports Club – on the afternoon of Tuesday 31 May 2022

  • Murwillumbah Services Club – on the afternoon of Wednesday 1 June 2022

  • Windsor RSL Club (Western Sydney) – on the afternoon of Friday 3 June 2022.

To register to speak at one of these public forums, email

[my yellow highlighting]


Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Australian Federal Election 2022: the House of Representatives provisional national seat count as at 8:57:46 PM AEST, Monday 23 May 2022

House of Representatives Party Representation - provisional/predictive tally as of  8:57:46 PM AEST, Monday 23 May 2022 

Australian Labor Party - 75 seats. A gain of 7 seats.

Liberal/National Coalition* - 59 seats. A loss of 18 seats.

*Coalition comprises the Liberal Party of Australia, Liberal National Party of Queensland, Country Liberal Party (NT) and the National Party of Australia. It was the Liberal Party of Australia whose seat count was decimated with a predicted 17 seat loss.

Independents - 10 seats. An increase of 7 seats.

The Greens - 2 seats. An increase of 1 seat.

Centre Alliance - 1 seat. No change.

Katter's Australian Party - 1 seat. No change.

3 seats, Macnamara (Vic), Maranoa (Qld) & Richmond (NSW) not yet officially assigned predicted party representation.

TOTAL 151 seats Page

NOTE: Polling place counts had not been completed in est. 40 electorates/seats as at 8:57:46 PM AEST, Monday 23 May 2022.

Of the two Northern Rivers electorates, Page has been retained by the National Party and it appears likely Richmond has been retained by the Labor Party.

Anthony Norman Albanese (Labor Party Leader) having secured guarantees of supply from crossbenchers Rebekha Sharkie, Helen Haines, Zali Steggall, Andrew Wilkie and Bob Katter in the event his party falls short of gaining a majority of 76 seats, was sworn in as the 31st Australian Prime Minister on Monday 23 May 2022, along with his interim ministry being:

Minister for Employment and Deputy Prime Minister - Richard Marles MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs - Senator Penny Wong

Treasurer - Dr Jim Chalmers MP

Minister for Finance, Minister for Women and Attorney-General - Senator Katy Gallagher

The interim ministry administers all departments until such time as a full ministry is sworn in.

NSW Liberal Premier Dominic Perrottet & Nationals Deputy Premier Paul Toole continue the Coalition's obsession with that fossil fuel without any form of social licence, Coal Seam Gas


Northern Daily Leader, 21 May 2022:

Gas companies will be permitted to explore for the mineral on 90,000 hectares of farmland surrounding the village of Bellata, after the state government resurrected the last "zombie" PEL in the North West on Friday.

Opponents of gas expansion accused the government of trying to bury a decision to bring back PEL 427 from the dead, in the hours before the federal election.

It is the last of 12 decades-old petroleum exploration licences (PELs), covering 55,000 square kilometres of farmland, which had long expired but, like zombies, could be reanimated at any time. All but three other PELS have been destroyed for good in recent weeks…..

The Bellata PEL has been shrunk down to just 90,000 hectares, covering an area near Moree. It includes land in the Northern Tablelands electorate of Adam Marshall and the Barwon electorate of Roy Butler, both of whom oppose gas development in their electorates.

A spokesperson for the Department of Regional NSW said that the PEL "has been renewed in line with the NSW Government's Future of Gas Statement, which was released last year, reducing the total area covered by the PELs in NSW by 77 per-cent."

"The PEL remained in place while it was under assessment by the Department. The renewed area is significantly smaller than it was previously," he said.

"All PELs that were under assessment have now been resolved, with parts of them reduced, others renewed, and several refused."

Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Georgina Woods said the timing of the renewal showed disdain for farmers and a desperate attempt to avoid scrutiny.

"It's shocking to see the Perrottet Government continuing to permit coal seam gas exploration on some of the state's best farmland," she said.

"In less than a month, the Perrottet Government has put more than one million hectares of NSW land and the groundwater beneath it at the mercy of the polluting coal seam gas industry.

"Coal seam gas is incompatible with a thriving agriculture industry and resilient rural communities.

"The Perrottet Government has given gas companies the green light to pockmark farmland with gas wells and further fuel dangerous climate change, which is in turn making it harder for farmers to grow food and fibre.

"As recent community meetings have shown, locals will not passively accept the renewal of these licences. The Perrottet Government now has one hell of a fight on its hands."

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers member for Barwon Roy Butler said the government risked serious backlash from its strongest supporters, who had what he said was "white hot" anger about the issue.

"The strange thing for me is that you've got groups like NSW Farmers and CWA who strongly oppose this, they strongly oppose Narrabri, they oppose these zombie PELs. Those groups are bread and butter for the Nats," he said.

"Yet they just stick their middle finger up at them essentially and say we'll we're going to go do it anyway. You sort of sit there and think what the hell's going on? Why would you do that to your base?"

He said almost no landholder near Narrabri was in favour of a plan to turn the region into a coal-seam-gas development zone, and the industry continued to pose major risks to groundwater……

In April the government resurrected PELs near Narrabri, Boggabri, Quirindi and Gunnedah.

It approved the Santos-owned Narrabri Gas Project in 2020.

Bellarta NSW 


According to Visit NSW website:

Bellata lies 48 kilometres North of Narrabri and 54 kilometres South of Moree on the Newell Highway in North West New South Wales. A rich agricultural region, it is also known for its minerals such as petrified and opalised wood and agate.

The Bellata area is responsible for the production of some of the best Australian Prime Hard wheat in Australia and has large grain storage complex and silos. The countryside has beautiful rich soils and undulating land.

Bellata has a primary school, a nine hole golf course with sand greens and free camping is also available at the Bellata Golf Club, 24 hour BP Roadhouse and the Bellata Memorial Hall.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Once again local government tries to paper over the real flood plan for Yamba & environs, which has always been 'let them climb on their roofs or float out to sea - their choice'

Clarence Valley Independent, 18 April 2022:

Environmental watchdog, Valley Watch, first began predicting flooding of Yamba, as a result of developing West Yamba, in about 1995; on Sunday May 21, the group will present a more than 1,000-signature petition to the mayor, Ian Tiley (or his proxy), calling for a moratorium on further filling and development approvals on the Yamba floodplain.

Basically, the petition is demanding a well-designed master plan for West Yamba,” Valley Watch spokesperson Helen Tyas Tunggal said.

During the record rain that fell during February and March, many homes and properties were flooded for the first time, some of which were built within the past 20 years, theoretically above any threat of flooding.

Ms Tyas Tunggal couldn’t have been more succinct speaking with the Sydney Morning Herald in March 2007, when she expressed a view now apparent to many Yamba residents.

When you raise the ground level, the displaced water has to go somewhere,” she said, when referring to the estimated 270,000 truckloads of fill needed to accommodate future West Yamba development.

Other more established areas of town will flood as a result.”

As it happens, Cr Tiley, who was the mayor at the time, agreed.

It may be that people who are flood-proof at the moment will be put at risk,” he said at a Clarence Valley Council (CVC) committee meeting, according to the SMH, when answering a question about filling the area.

A great deal has happened since the council [first] decided to increase [the area’s] yield.

From the middle of last year, a great awareness of climate change issues [has surfaced].

It is a whole different ball game.”

According to the SMH, former CVC environment and planning director Rob Donges “acknowledged [there were] problems there”.

It is flood-prone, low-lying land with a high water-table … we have never hidden the fact that if we were to start the process of West Yamba today there would be doubts as to whether council would proceed,” he told the SMH.

Come 2008/09, CVC adopted the Yamba Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan, which warns that “it is imperative that any additional development does not exacerbate the existing flood problem”.

The plan recommended, for example, that a master plan “must address water-related cumulative issues”, including “possible floodplain management measures … (if the development is to proceed) [including]: a) a floodway, b) a comprehensive flood evacuation strategy, and, c) [various] updated flood-related development controls.”

Meanwhile, there appears to be confusion among CVC staff about whether or not the Yamba Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan is relevant.

In a response to a detailed enquiry by Valley Watch, following the public meeting held at Treelands Drive Community Centre on April 29, 2021, staff wrote that the Yamba flood study and plan had “been superseded by the 2013 Grafton and Lower Clarence Flood Model and updated Grafton and Lower Clarence FRMP hence, the queries in relation to this study are no longer relevant”.

However, the Grafton and Lower Clarence document excludes Yamba and Iluka stating, “Flood-prone areas of the Lower Clarence River formerly administered by Maclean shire council from Brushgrove to Palmers Island including Maclean, and excluding Iluka and Yamba, which are the subject of separate studies.”

Valley Watch’s insistence that CVC develop a master plan for West Yamba, because “there are many unanswered questions” about how development is or should proceed, was partially addressed in a Notice of Motion by Cr Stephen Pickering at the April 26 CVC meeting.

The community is heartened that the new council is taking an interest in the concerns of residents regarding development in West Yamba,” Ms Tyas Tunggal said.

However, she doubted that part 1 of the CVC resolution, to “support the creation of a West Yamba Masterplan document”, would be fulfilled and said part 2, to publish an “information brochure … to educate the community, does not go far enough and does little to address the current and growing problems”.

Meanwhile the mayor, Ian Tiley, told the Independent that a master plan would “absolutely” be prepared once the brochure is completed.

Part 1 demonstrated a clear intent to create a West Yamba Master Plan, to guide sustainable development and infrastructure integrated with the greater Yamba township,” he said.


North Coast Voices

  • THURSDAY, 1 APRIL 2021

The story of a little town in the Clarence Valley and a growing problem



  • MONDAY, 5 APRIL 2021

The story of a little town in the Clarence Valley and a growing problem” - Part Two



Anonymous said...

Dear Clarencegirl, you should send your blog on Yamba to all our non concerned councillors, and to Clarence Valley Council. Most people in this area live in denial, that is until the sh... hits the fan, then they whinge. Apathy seems to reign high in Clarence Valley Shire, and Yamba, and this council is sitting on it's hands. Your blogs are good and real. But how do you wake this council up, and make them represent and think! Cheers Yamba resident for 16 years,

5 APRIL 2021 AT 13:45

  • TUESDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2012

West Yamba subdivision questioned



  • TUESDAY, 21 APRIL 2009

How serious is local government about protecting against climate change impacts? Not very it seems, if it is Clarence Valley Council


  • SUNDAY, 31 MAY 2009

The question of West Yamba



The folly of allowing developments in flood-prone land

Persons associated with proposals to develop West Yamba would be well advised to take special note of a decision of the NSW Land and Environment Court.

In an article headed Court agrees climate-change risk rules out housing plan The Sydney Morning Herald (January 8, 2008) reports:

"Many may be pleased to know the Land and Environment Court can overturn not just a council decision but a ministerial one.

The court recently ruled invalid a concept plan approved by the Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, for a controversial residential subdivision and retirement complex at Sandon Point, on the coast near Wollongong. The action was brought by a resident, Jill Walker.

The court agreed the department should have considered the flooding risk from climate change as it was an aspect of the public interest that potentially had a bearing on the justice of the decision.

The decision is a win for residents who have been protesting for years against the development of the flood-prone 25-hectare site by Stockland Development and Anglican Retirement Villages.

Deacons Lawyers said councils would have to ensure risks from climate change in flood-constrained coastal areas had been addressed by developers and that they considered such risks in their decisions."


The land at West Yamba is flood-prone. Allowing further development in the area will require fill being obtained from elsewhere in order to raise the area above designated ASL requirements. That may solve current problem associated with the West Yamba site but one doesn't have to be Einstein to understand that water which would normally find its way to this naturally occurring flood storage area in times of heavy rainfall will be diverted elsewhere. And just where is elsewhere? Think about it. Land that is currently occupied and considered flood free will not necessarily carry such a tag in the future.

Yes, further development at West Yamba will create a new set of winners (just think 'developers and their associates'), but there'll also be a crew of losers who'll be up the creek without paddles in times of high local rainfall and/or flooding that results from waters flowing downstream from the catchment area.

Clarence Valley Council should have this matter uppermost in its collective mind. So too, should Minister Frank Sartor and all others who will be called upon to give consideration to any hair-brained proposals to develop West Yamba.

Remember, the law attaches great significance to the concept of precedence. Hence, this decision of the Land and Environment Court has implications for West Yamba.



Sunday, 22 May 2022

Scott Morrison & his government soundly booted from office at the May 2022 Australian federal election


Voting closed in the Australia federal general election at 6pm on 21 May 2022. 

It didn't take long to realise that Independent candidates were having an impact on first preference votes and that there was a swing against the Coalition Government developing in Liberal-held electorates.

It was all over bar the shouting by 10pm when it became increasingly evident that the Coalition was never going to gain enough seats to form government in its own right or as a minority government.

It was the Liberal Party itself which suffered the most electoral losses on the night - what looks like 23 seats predominately in New South Wales and Victoria. With the Liberal National Party of Queensland down another 3 seats.

Scott Morrison officially conceded defeat about an hour later.

The Labor MP for Grayndler for the last 28 years, Anthony Norman Albanese, is now the 31st Prime Minister of Australia.

The official Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) seat count at 2:11am on Sunday 22 May 2022 stood at:

Labor - 75 seats

Liberal-Nationals Coalition - 51 seats

Independents - 10 seats

it is not yet certain if Labor will gain enough seats to govern in its own right or will need to form a minority government with the assistance of the Greens and Independents.

This will perhaps become a little clearer as the vote count progresses today and during the coming week.

Interested readers can go to the AEC Tally Room to follow the count at:

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Last Newspoll of the 2022 federal election campaign

The Australian, Newspoll, published evening of 20 May2022
Click on image to enlarge

Primary Vote Percentages

Labor - 36 (down 2)

Coalition - 35 (no change)

Greens - 12 ( up 1) 

One Nation - 5 (down 1)

United Australia Party - 3 (no change)

Others - 8 (no change)

Two Party Preferred Percentages 

Labor - 53 (down 1)

Coalition - 47 (up 1) 

If the election had been held on 20 May 2022 then it is likely Labor would have won government with est. 80 seats to the Coalition's est. 65 seats.

However, this prediction is based on 2019 preference flows and the list of independent & minor party candidates was not as long in that federal general election nor the public appetite seemingly so strong for unaligned candidates.