Friday 30 September 2011

Terra Burning September 2011

From the Rapid Response system, now part of NASA’s Land Atmosphere Near Real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE). Rapid Response provides daily MODIS images in near real time presented by geographic regions (“subsets”) or orbit overpass time  (“realtime”).

Some regions in Africa have been experiencing widespread fires since April 2011.

Detail of Australian grass fire in the Northern Territory
as seen from outer space

Mining at what price? asks The Daily Examiner Editor

A Clarence Valley Protest on 28  September 2011:

Mining at what price?

The Daily Examiner Editor, David Bancroft, on 28 September 2011:

IT'S going to take a lot more than the 60 jobs the Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker tips would come to the region from mining in the headwaters of the Nymboida River to convince people it is a risk worth taking.
While states like Western Australia and Queensland are riding high on the economic benefits mining has brought there, it is tempting for other governments - at all levels and of all persuasions - to want to cash in on the act.
But before we open our doors to the miners we need to be fully aware of what we are potentially letting ourselves in for.
The 60 jobs are unlikely to be based in the Clarence. They are more likely where the mining is occurring in the Dorrigo area and will probably be serviced from Coffs Harbour or the metropolitan areas.
So the economic and employment benefits to the Clarence are likely to be incidental at best.
And they are not likely to last long.
These positions are finite and might last only a couple of years - perhaps less.
Then there are the risks.
Gold and antimony mining both have serious environmental risks and, if there was to be a spill it would be the industries of the Clarence that would be hit the hardest.
In short, the scenario seems to be there are likely to be few benefits but plenty of risks for the Clarence.
By all means we should explore anything that will provide employment, but we should not do that with our eyes closed to the possible dangers that might present.

Now before everyone grows all shouty about Eastock v Andrew Bolt & The Herald and Weekly Times Pty Ltd

It wasn’t because of the subject Teh Bolta broached that he fell afoul of the law – it was the inaccurate, misleading, sarcastic, mocking, insulting, offensive, provocative, inflammatory and bad faith way he wrote about it:

30. Finally, in dealing with the formulation of the orders to be made by the Court, I have observed that it is important that nothing in the orders I make should suggest that it is unlawful for a publication to deal with racial identification, including by challenging the genuineness of the identification of a group of people. I have not found Mr Bolt and the Herald & Weekly Times to have contravened section 18C, simply because the newspaper articles dealt with subject matter of that kind. I have found a contravention of the Racial Discrimination Act because of the manner in which that subject matter was dealt with.

Thursday 29 September 2011

Cansdellgate - Nats' 'king maker' on the carpet

A correspondent to The Daily Examiner has asked questions of the chairman of the Grafton branch of The National Party.

Bring 'king-maker'to confession
Peter James was a close confidante and advisor to the recently resigned MP Steve Cansdell.
I believe that Mr James should inform the public as to when he became aware of the falsification of the infamous statutory declaration and what role he played in advising Mr Cansdell or otherwise in relation to the matter, either before or after the event.
The public has a right to know these things because as the local National Party's "king-maker" Mr James exercises considerable influence in selecting the party's candidate for whom he will ask us to vote at the imminent by-election.
Mr James himself must be beyond reproach.

Arthur (John) Kelemec, Halfway Creek

Source: Letters, The Daily Examiner, 29/9/11

Clarence By-election 2011: Susie2 luvs Chris07

It’s not hard to believe that Susie2 from Maclean on the NSW North Coast likes to write online comments favouring conservative politicians, Coalition policies and rampant coastal development.

What was somewhat of a surprise was to find that she obviously loves the thought of a resurgent Chris07. Even marked hair loss doesn’t dim her somewhat error-ridden enthusiasm.

This is Susie2 in The Daily Examiner on 23 September 2011:

By Susie2 from Maclean on 23/9/2011 at 5:38PM
This is the most fanatastic news. Tell the rest to give up now.

By Susie2 from Maclean on 23/9/2011 at 9:43PM
There were a lot of people who missed out in the Kevin 07 phenomenon and look where that got us.
Mr Galaptis is a very respected former Mayor of Maclean Shire, Past President of the P and C, and businessman, with a very respected family. He is a resident of Maclean and has always been, but has had to travel interstate to work in his field.
Lets stick to the facts people.

By Susie2 from Maclean on 24/9/2011 at 9:54AM
….No. He left for work purposes and he has maintained his affiliation with the Nationals all that time.
Dont berate him because he does take the opportunity to finally work from home after all these years.
If he did what you say he did (leaving with his tail between his legs) he would have sold his house and moved years ago.
Mr Gulaptis was voted in as a Maclean Shire Councillor with one of the biggest first prefence selections ever done. Somebody must think he is respected.

By Susie2 from Maclean on 24/9/2011 at 7:20PM
….Totally agree LynF3997. Chris did not leave town as suggested, but has maintained his links with Maclean as the family home is there: he just left for work. As Councillor of Maclean Shire he won by"a country mile" when taking out the biggest first preference vote which had been secured for many years.
Mr Guaptis is a person of integrity and by far the best candidate. I wish him well.

By Susie2 from Maclean on 25/9/2011 at 4:45PM
….Oh please be wasn't his fault the Electoral Commision redrew the boundaries excluding Maclean when the town had always been part of Page.
And as he had a high profile in the area every party chased him, not the other way around.
Beating Hearts

Best quotes of the month

“share traders behave more recklessly and are more manipulative than psychopaths”
{Spiegel Online International on 27th September 2011}

Free speech is the cornerstone of genuine democracy, but when writers publish disinformation dressed up as fact, lies as truth, slander as objective evaluation and call it free speech, they are devaluing its very essence and betraying all those who've fought for it.’
{Dr Rosie Scott quoted by Dr. Anita Heiss in her statement on STATEMENT ON EATOCK VS HWT 27th September 2011}

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Who is Nats' Mr Bashful, a candidate in its preselection ballot in Clarence?

Okay, so who is Jason Cleary?

Cleary nominated for National Party preselection for the by-election in Clarence, which has resulted from scandal-ridden Steve Cansdell's resignation. However, Cleary quite clearly is not an every day name in River Street Maclean.
The Daily Examiner, which is usually in the picture, described Cleary as"a Maclean businessman, who resides on Woodford Island", but it's been unable to provide its readers with any further details about the mystery man.
When NCV asked a couple of Maclean locals about Cleary they shrugged their shoulders and remarked, "Never heard of him ...  suspect he's a johnny-come-lately... reckon he's another bl**dy blow-in."

Nationals preselection candidates hoping to stand in Clarence by-election need to answer questions

The Daily Examiner, Letters to the Editor, 28 September 2011:

I read with interest the names of those individuals who are standing for NSW National Party pre-selection for the forthcoming Clarence by-election to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Steve Cansdell.

Given that there is such a large field of contenders and, the importance of a sustainable and secure Clarence River catchment and Coffs Harbour-Clarence Valley urban water supply, it is not unreasonable to expect these individuals to answer a few questions in order to satisfy both their fellow Nationals and the wider electorate as to their good faith and future intentions.

Question One: If elected will you oppose any move by local, state or federal governments to further dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment, including the granting of water extraction rights for mining operations or other large volume water users?

Question Two: If you undertake to oppose such water diversion/extraction will you publicly oppose any Coalition policy which supports it, even to the point of crossing the floor to vote against your party?

Question Three: Have you ever in a public or private capacity had contact with any representatives of a mining corporation or energy company operating within or intending to operate within Australia and/or, have you ever had contact with any representatives or agents for a mining corporation or energy company holding exploration licenses in Northern NSW?

Question Four: Have you ever given a general or specific undertaking to any representative or agent of a mining corporation or energy company that you will look favourably on their proposal or will further their consultation or negotiations with any tier of government, other businesses or communities in Northern NSW?

Public silence on any or all these questions over the next week will be taken to indicate that pre-selection candidates have something they wish to conceal from both North Coast Nationals and Clarence voters.

Yamba NSW 2464

A JP's view on THAT Cansdell stat dec: Imprison him!

A South Grafton JP says it's loud and clear that there doesn't seem to be any choice offered to the courts but to imprison Cansdell.
The JP expressed his view of the scandal in a letter to the editor published in today's Daily Examiner.

Statutory declarations
Too many column inches have already been devoted to the Cansdell affair.
However, as a JP it is perhaps timely to remind everybody of these two statements that appear in a statutory declaration:
"I understand that a person who intentionally makes a false statement in a statutory declaration is guilty of an offence under Section 11 of the Statutory Declarations Act 1959, and I believe that the statements in this declaration are true in every particular way.
"A person who intentionally makes a false statement in a statutory declaration is guilty of an offence, the punishment for which is imprisonment for a term of four years."
There doesn't seem to be any choice offered to the courts but to imprison him.
Finally, seeing that he stood for the most-recent election knowing that he had broken the law, wouldn't it be reasonable for him to contribute some, or all of his parliamentary pension to pay for the by-election.
Ray Meakin, South Grafton

Source: Letters, The Daily Examiner, 28/9/11

Deputy Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives & MP for Cowper betrays the Clarence

From A Clarence Valley Protest on 26 September 2011:

Federal Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker betrays the Clarence as he aligns himself with the China Shandong Jinshunda mining group

The Federal Nationals Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, well-known for his lukewarm support of the social, cultural, environmental and economic aspirations of local communities in his electorate, is now aligning himself with the Chinese multinational mining corporation China Shandong Jinshunda Group and its plans to create an antimony mine in an environmentally sensitive section of the Nymboida River catchment (part of the wider Clarence River catchment) which supplies drinking water to people living in the Coffs Harbour City Council and Clarence Valley Shire Council local government areas.

The Australian 21 September 2011:

PLANS by a Chinese company to start exploration drilling for rare earths and gold on the pristine Dorrigo Plateau in NSW has triggered community fears of contamination of the water catchment for Coffs Harbour and nearby Grafton.
Anchor Resources, 96 per cent-owned by the Shandong Jin Shunda Group, wants to start a $2.6 million drilling program around an old antimony mine at Wild Cattle Creek and a gold prospect at nearby Blicks River.
But many local residents fear the drilling is a precursor to the start of large-scale mining that would threaten the crucial Macleay catchment.
More than 100 concerned residents from Dorrigo and nearby Bellinger Valley attended a community meeting at the weekend to vent their concerns and learn more about the mining proposal.
Dorrigo Environment Watch spokeswoman Gwen Hanna said any full-scale mining operation posed unacceptable pollution risks in an area that lies close to the World Heritage listed Dorrigo National Park, a major tourist attraction.
The habitat of three endangered frogs – the Giant Barred, Stuttering and Pouched – lies within the proposed exploration area, Ms Hanna said.
"This area is in a unique environment and we're really concerned that if they do open cut, which they're proposing in addition to open shaft – it's going to be a really serious blot on the landscape," she said.
In addition to pollution fears, she said residents were worried about the prospect of ore-laden lorries travelling through Dorrigo to what would be the most likely processing facility at Hill Grove, near Armidale.
But local National Party member Luke Hartsuyker, the federal MP for Cowper, said any plans to resume mining on the plateau would create up to 60 jobs in a hard-pressed rural economy.
"This not an Olympic Dam," Mr Hartsuyker said referring to the South Australian mine site containing the world's largest known single deposit of uranium.
Antimony is used in the manufacture of fire retardants, plastics, medical applications and next generation computer memory drives. Demand for the metal is so strong, its price has rocketed from $4000 a tonne in 2006 to $16,000.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke told The Australian he was closely monitoring developments.
"If the company was to propose to mine following exploration, it is more likely federal powers would be triggered at that point," he said.

The Coffs Coast Advocate Letters to the Editor 24 September 2011:

Mining catastrophe
It is immensely concerning that the member for Cowper, Mr Luke Hartsuyker, has publicly stated that the 60 jobs that will potentially be created through the establishment of an antimony mine at Wild Cattle Creek by Anchor Resources and its owner, China Shandong Jinshunda, will be a good thing for our regional economy.
This is because the tourism industry down the Clarence River (rafting, fishing and swimming), the southern-most cane growing lands in Australia and the nationally renowned and highly valuable prawn fishery at the mouth of the Clarence River will all be heavily impacted should this mine proceed.
These major industries underpin the economy of our region.
Furthermore, our three-year-old regional water supply, in which Coffs Harbour and Clarence Valley Councils have invested approximately $200 million, faces a great risk because of the toxic antimony, arsenic and mercury known to exist within the ore body that China Shandong Jinshunda seeks to mine.
On March 31, 2009, approximately 900mm of rainfall fell on the mine site.
There is nothing that can be done to capture all run-off in such extreme rainfall events.
It is inevitable that the Clarence River will be polluted should this mine proceed.
At a meeting yesterday at Coffs Harbour City Council chambers, the managing director of Anchor Resources, Mr Ian Price, stated that the lifespan of the mine will be measured in years, not decades.
Please explain your reasoning for supporting this mine on economic grounds, Mr Hartsuyker?
Councillor Mark Graham

What is galling about Mr. Hartsuyker's support for this mining venture is the admitted short life of this mine and the small number of jobs it will create in the Coffs Harbour-Dorrigo area (a possible sixty jobs of less than ten years duration) when set beside the enduring environmental and health dangers it will leave behind for a significant portion of the Clarence River catchment area.

Especially since ongoing antimony contamination of water bodies and land protected by Environmental Planning Instruments is not unknown from previous mining ventures in northern NSW.

The Macleay Argus 2 September 2011:

HIGHER than average levels of heavy metals have been recorded in the Macleay River at Bellbrook after a dam overflowed at a gold and antimony mine near Armidale.
NSW Health and Kempsey Shire Council said higher than normal levels of metals including arsenic, zinc and copper had been detected in the waters of the Macleay River.
But both organisations said the concentration of the heavy metals was not high enough to warrant concern to people.
As a precaution NSW Health has contacted residents in the upper Macleay to inform them not to drink water from the river unless it has been processed through the Bellbrook water treatment plant.
Council has undertaken further testing to determine whether the contamination has spread beyond Bellbrook….
The Office of Heritage and Environment (OHE) reported the breach occurred on Tuesday when there was a release of material from a sediment erosion control dam at the Hillgrove antimony and gold mine.
"The mine is currently not operating but is in 'care and maintenance' mode," a spokeswoman said.
"The spill occurred after continued wet weather produced excess stormwater which exceeded the amount of water that could be stored in the dam resulting in the spill - when the mine is operating the stormwater would normally have been used for mineral processing."

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Media Release 5 July 2010:

Straits (Hillgrove) Gold Pty Limited has been fined $50,000 and ordered to pay costs of $24,000 in the NSW Land and Environment Court today after being found guilty of polluting waters.
Straits pleaded guilty to the charge; pollution of water under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act.
The company 'Straits' conducts gold and antimony mining activities at the Hillgrove Mine, near Armidale in NSW.
In sentencing today, Justice Biscoe convicted and fined Straits $50,000 and ordered it to pay the prosecutor's legal costs of $24,000.
The court heard that in April 2009 a protective bund at the premises had been lowered to allow access for an electrical contractor. When a screening device used in the mine became blocked and 'slimes' discharged and spilled into the bunded area, it then overflowed the bund and discharged into the local environment.
The spill, of up to 3000 litres of 'slimes,' contained antimony, arsenic and lead and is toxic to some aquatic life.
Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), Director General, Lisa Corbyn said the penalty provided a timely reminder to companies that they must ensure measures are in place to contain pollution.
"This case highlights the potential for serious damage to occur and highlights the importance of companies having safeguards and operating procedures in place to control pollution at all times. Carelessness meant that simple containment structures which could have prevented the spill from leaving the mine site were not in place. Fortunately the environmental harm from this particular spill was low.
"Importantly, the company did report the spill to the DECCW Environment Line and cooperated with the DECCW officers throughout the investigation."
Anyone who sees pollution is urged to contact the Environment line on 131 555.

Urunga antimony processing site
A seriously contaminated site has been identified at Urunga, Portions 138 & 169 Parish of Newry. Contamination also affects adjacent Crown Land and a SEPP 14 wetland. The site was previously used for antimony ore processing, since abandoned without rehabilitation of the site. DECCW have undertaken an investigation of the site and researched remediation options.
Council maintains records of properties known to be affected by contamination. Council must consider the requirements of the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 and State Environmental Planning Policy 55 – Remediation of Land in assessing proposed changes to the use of land.

A baseline geochemical study of stream sediments and waters of the Macleay River catchment in northeastern New South Wales indicates that although most of the catchment is unaffected by anthropogenic or natural inputs of heavy metals and metalloids, the Bakers Creek - trunk Macleay-floodplain system has been strongly affected by mining-derived Sb and As. The dispersion train from the Hillgrove Sb - Au mining area to the Pacific Ocean is over 300 km in length. Ore and mineralised altered rock from Hillgrove contains vein, breccia-hosted and disseminated stibnite, arsenopyrite, pyrite and traces of gold. Historic (pre-1970) mine-waste disposal practices have resulted in high to extreme contamination of stream sediments and waters by Sb and As for 50 km downstream, with high Au values in the sediments…..
Estimates of sediment migration rates and amounts of Sb and As transported in suspension and solution imply that the catchment contamination will be long-term (centuries to millennia) such that environmental effects need to be ascertained and management strategies implemented…
[Ashley, P. M.; Graham, B. P.; Tighe, M. K.; Wolfenden, B. J  in Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, Volume 54, Number 1, February 2007 , pp. 83-103(21)]

Dorrigo Environment Watch has online links for further information concerning antimony and the NSW North Coast.

Is this Poor Orphan Tony's real father?

Does this answer those nagging questions about Tony No, No, No, No Abbott's parentage?

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Clarence By-election 2011: so does Richie Williamson know something we don't?

The NSW Nationals closed nominations for Clarence By-election preselection at close of business yesterday, but one of the Nats nominees, Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson, has this up on his Facebook page this morning.......

He lists himself as the "Independent Candidate for the seat of Clarence in the NSW state election".
Does Richie know which way the 300 Nats eligible to vote in the pre-selection ballot are going to jump?
Has he already accepted that the only way he can stand will be as an Independent?
Or is he so lazy that he hasn't changed his Facebook details since his last tilt at the seat earlier this year?

Something In The Water by Debrah Novak

Outline of a forthcoming documentary on stories from the Clarence River by the talented North Coast photographer, Debrah Novak.

Something in the Water

The Port Paper parent company dissolved by Loughlin, Nardella, Atkins and 'friends'

From Crikey via Your Democracy on 25 September 2011:

The holding company of a purportedly "independent newspaper" set up by National Party staffers to secretly attack Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott under the cover of journalistic impartiality has collapsed.
An administration notice for the notorious Port Paper's parent company, Australian News & Media, was published in The Australian's company notices section this morning, however its significance appears to have eluded the national broadsheet's news editors.
The Port Paper's homepage is now blank, with the paper's individual stories attacking Oakeshott stating instead that the site "is currently undergoing redevelopment".
One notorious yarn penned by the paper's editor Sharon Davidson -- a very recent staffer of the Nationals' Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker -- that claimed Oakeshott was unpopular based on flawed polling has vanished. As Crikey explained last month, the polling was picked up by The Daily Telegraph and run as a straight news item under the headline 'Poll shocker for MP Rob Oakeshott as support plunges'.
Davidson was recently in the news after it was revealed she was hired to work as a spin doctor for disgraced north coast state MP Steve Cansdell shortly before the state election.
Oakeshott has filed two complaints to the Australian Press Council over the paper's coverage and has also made a submission to the feared NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. A separate investigation is being conducted by the NSW Electoral Commission.
Crikey understands that after The Australian ran a story last month reporting that Oakeshott has referred the paper to the authorities, most of its advertisers headed for the hills.
Administrator Domenic Calabretta from Hall Chadwick confirmed late this morning that had the paper had folded and wouldn't be resurrected. He said he was attempting to flog off the masthead but that "it doesn't seem that there's much interest in the paper."
Calabretta, who blamed soft retail demand for the closure, said he was also trying to offload a monthly lifestyle magazine also owned by Australian News & Media. The company's sole director is former police officer Paul Loughlin, a close family friend of founding Port Paper editor and sole shareholder Rob Nardella -- a former Port Macquarie councillor who now works for NSW Nationals deputy premier Andrew Stoner.
A meeting of creditors will be held next Friday at Hall Chadwick's Sydney offices.
As Crikey reported in August, The Port Paper was established by former Mark Vaille staffer Nardella in March. Nardella, a member of Mr Stoner's campaign team in the lead-up to the March state election, registered the domain name on February 9, 2011 and actively sought advertisements for his publication.
Records show that AN&M was originally registered on December 14 last year by the National Party's Lyne Electorate Council chairman, Noel Atkins.
Mark Vaile was Oakeshott's predecessor in Lyne before his resignation in July 2008. Following Oakeshott's victory at the resulting byelection, a cabal of National Party figures have battled to reclaim control of the electorate that they argue is rightfully theirs.

Mr. No-No-No-Noooooooooooooo needs to change his image

Tony I never met a Labor or Green policy I didn’t hate Abbott is still having perception problems and is fast becoming the butt of a running gag at my local watering hole.
It seems me an' me mates are not alone.

The Essential Report 26th September 2011:

Q. Which of the following statements is closest to your view about the performance of Tony Abbott as Opposition leader?
Click on table to enlarge

The proportion of respondents that believe that Tony Abbott is performing the role of Opposition Leader well is 38%, down four points from when the question was last asked on 6 June 2011. Coalition voters are far more likely to regard Abbott as performing the role well (77%).
Forty five per cent (45%) of respondents believe that Abbott is just opposing everything and is obstructing the work of Government (45%), a result that is fairly consistent with the previous occasions on which the question has been polled. Labor voters are the most likely to agree with this position (82%), as are Greens voters (77%).
Respondents aged 65+ are much more likely to regard Abbott as performing well (56%).
Respondents from Queensland were also somewhat more likely to regard Abbott as doing well (44%).

Pic from Andy Dolphin at My Week in Art

Monday 26 September 2011

Nationals' 'Magnificent Seven' to contest pre-selection battle for Clarence

When nominations for the National Party's candidate to contest the by-election in the seat of Clarence closed today there were two additions to the five names previously confirmed.

There was no real surprise when Clarence Valley mayor Richie Williamson, a one-time independent, decided to hitch his carriage to the Nats' gravy train but a nomination by relative newcomer to the valley, Maclean businessman Jason Cleary from Woodford Island, seems to be a bit of a shock to the system.

The other candidates are Karen Toms, Paul O'Connor, Fiona Leviny, Chris Gulaptis and Stuart George.

George is the sole nomination from the Nat' northern camp.

Jeremy Challacombe, a spokesperson for the Nationals, told The Daily Examiner it was originally intended that the ballot for preselection would be held this weekend, but rank and file members had convinced the party's head office to allow enough time for candidates to address branch meetings before a ballot on October 16. 

He said it would be a secret ballot and votes would be tallied using the same preferential voting system as was used in federal elections. 

Candidates would each be given about 10 minutes to speak at the preselection meeting before the ballot was held. 

About 300 financial members in the Clarence electorate are eligible to vote.

Read The Daily Examiner's report here.

My old gran used to say you're known by the company you keep

Before he left for Queensland where he hoped (but apparently failed) to further his political career, one of the candiates for Nationals pre-selection to contest the NSW Clarence by-election, Chris Gulaptis, rarely missed a photo opportunity. These are with the now former and disgraced Nats Clarence MP, Steve Cansdell, pictured below. Pics from Google Images

Teh Climate Crazies are out again - who forgot to lock the gate?

When you see this sort of event description you know that Abbott’s Barmy Army of climate change deniers is on the loose again:
They will be outside the Bureau of Meteorology at 8am on the 30th September 2011 in La Trobe Street, Melbourne for a ‘Revolt Against The Carbon Tax’ demo.
As this mob appears to include quite a few galahs from the Just Grounds online community who seem to firmly believe that a government minister wants to gas them all, I look forward to hearing that a lot of nonsense was spouted.

Sunday 25 September 2011

Coffs councillor continues to cane Cowper MP, Luke Hartsuyker

In a letter to the editor of The Coffs Coast Advocate, Coffs Harbour City councillor, Mark Graham, continues on his mission to protect the environment and asks the federal local MP to account for his support for an antimony mine in the local area.
Mining catastrophe
It is immensely concerning that the member for Cowper, Mr Luke Hartsuyker, has publicly stated that the 60 jobs that will potentially be created through the establishment of an antimony mine at Wild Cattle Creek by Anchor Resources and its owner, China Shandong Jinshunda, will be a good thing for our regional economy.
This is because the tourism industry down the Clarence River (rafting, fishing and swimming), the southern-most cane growing lands in Australia and the nationally renowned and highly valuable prawn fishery at the mouth of the Clarence River will all be heavily impacted should this mine proceed.
These major industries underpin the economy of our region.
Furthermore, our three-year-old regional water supply, in which Coffs Harbour and Clarence Valley Councils have invested approximately $200 million, faces a great risk because of the toxic antimony, arsenic and mercury known to exist within the ore body that China Shandong Jinshunda seeks to mine.
On March 31, 2009, approximately 900mm of rainfall fell on the mine site.
There is nothing that can be done to capture all run-off in such extreme rainfall events.
It is inevitable that the Clarence River will be polluted should this mine proceed.
At a meeting yesterday at Coffs Harbour City Council chambers, the managing director of Anchor Resources, Mr Ian Price, stated that the lifespan of the mine will be measured in years, not decades.
Please explain your reasoning for supporting this mine on economic grounds, Mr Hartsuyker?
Councillor Mark Graham

Source: Letters, The Coffs Coast Advocate, 24/9/11

Beating up on bats has become the favourite pastime of the environmentally ignorant

"The stink is so bad it wakes us at night and we can't open the windows of a day.”
“…I'm always cleaning bat poo off the patio..”
“…. they have to be eradicated,"
"In the summertime, kids swim in there. Quite frankly, their health is at risk,"

These are selected quotes given by the pair pictured above (and a handful of unidentified neighbours) when interviewed in The Mainbrace, Yamba by The Daily Examiner on 19 September 2011.

Sounds like a terrible state of affairs having what is probably a seasonal flying fox camp in a very large reserve on the opposite side of the road, doesn’t it?

The reality is somewhat different. No street thick with guano, no terrible smell, flying foxes roosting to the middle of the wide reserve and not in the trees and shrubs adjoining the footpath and, even at high tide no area suitable for swimming as the reserve is predominately mudflats and marsh with a heavily silted up creek running through its centre.

The clean street

The flying foxes (zoom lens)

Some of the trees at the reserve edge with no flying foxes

A section of marsh

Faark, she's back!

La Niña conditions have returned and will continue into 2012 according to NOAA. Will there be widespread flooding for Christmas this year? Has anyone warned Santa that he might need a flood boat for Northern NSW and Queensland deliveries?

NOAA La Nina Advisory

Saturday 24 September 2011

Breaking news

It's official! According to The Northern Star's website yesterday beer drinking (along with horse racing and surfing) is a sport.

Warning: All sports activities, including beer consumption, should be undertaken in moderation. If in doubt, consult your friendly medical practitioner. Perhaps a second opinion should also be sought

Cansdellgate: one-handed applause for Scandell


I applaud Steve Cansdell for resigning due to his indiscretion with the statutory declaration.
I look forward to applauding him further when he pays for the by-election he has caused with some of the cash he will receive from his parliamentary super and his lifetime pension.
John Williams, Clarenza. 

Source: Letters, The Daily Examiner, 24/9/11

Commentary on the Nats' derby in Clarence

This comment piece appears in today's Daily Examiner.

Walk-up start to a seat

There is a distinct appearance of opportunism in the clamour of candidates seeking National Party pre-selection for the seat of the Clarence.
Things can change between now and when the election is held but, as it stands, it is almost inevitable that whoever gets the nod for the Nationals will be elected to fill the position vacated through Steve Cansdell's forced resignation.
Unless the government steps right out of line, it is difficult to see voter choosing a Labor candidate into opposition or an independent, so National Party endorsement would appear to be a walk-up start to a seat in parliament.
Not that the Nationals are saying that. Predictably, they are saying it will be a hard-fought contest where every vote will count. They don't want people thinking their candidate will be a shoo-in as that can encourage a protest vote.
As of yesterday there were six prospective candidates for the Nationals. We included Richie Williamson in that number despite his equivocation yesterday, because the Nationals listed him as a starter.
Of those, it would be hard to see them go past Mr Williamson, former Maclean mayor Chris Gulaptis or Casino's Stuart George. Although Mr Williamson has the higher profile, Mr George, the son of popular Lismore Nationals MP Thomas George, has the better credentials with the Nationals. Mr Gulaptis is a former candidate, and that will count highly.
But the three other contenders cannot be discounted entirely. Karen Toms is developing a reputation as a hard worker through her position on the Clarence Valley Council, Fiona Leviny has some powerful backers and impresses with her passion and Paul O'Connor, with his legal background, has some influential friends and will be able to argue his case well. It is a healthy position for the Nationals to be in.
We have heard little from prospective Labor candidates to date but it is unlikely they will have the same field from which to choose.

Early nominations in Clarence by-election

Inspired by those locals who are in various stages of sheer disbelief or rolling hysteria at the thought of two state elections in one year in the Clarence electorate........

Jules notes the Nationals conga line beginning to develop in Clarence by-election 2011

Jules Faber in The Daily Examiner on 21 September 2011

I'm drunk, angry and I can tweet!

This is the Twitter account of one Mark Davidson @markdavidson Orange County, CA at 7.30pm AEST on 23rd September 2011.

According to Mark he is an Internet sales & marketing professional. I write a lot of things to amuse myself and others. On occasion, I even have deep thoughts. p://
The posts he woke to that morning show that he doesn’t know zip about IT security…………………..

markdavidsonMark Davidson
Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, the previously scheduled blog post, "How To Tweet Like a Boss" will not be posted today.

markdavidsonMark Davidson
WANTED: Social Media Account Ghost Writer. We've recently had an opening at!/markdavidson. (Serious inquiries only.)

markdavidsonMark Davidson
Oh. I am so not dealing with this **** today. My only responsibility on this account is to respond to *all* @replies and @mentions. I quit.

markdavidsonMark Davidson
Good morning, Twitter! What's happening?
5 hours ago

markdavidsonMark Davidson
And change your freakin' password!

markdavidsonMark Davidson
And yes, as @markdavidson's former Twitter ghostwriter of 4 years; I am drunk. Drunk and angry. (You should have changed your password!)

markdavidsonMark Davidson
So let me mow tell you the truth about @markdavidson. He can barely type social media much less know what it is.

markdavidsonMark Davidson
And all the funny stuff that @markdavidson wrote, that was all me. The other 2 ghostwriters are really boring. Good luck, bro...

markdavidsonMark Davidson
Foxconn pays its employees better than @markdavidson paid his ghostwriters on Twitter for the past 4 years.

markdavidsonMark Davidson
Right now @markdavidson is probably asleep... He isn't that nice and he is cheap. I regret not quitting. So now he has 2 ghostwriters.

markdavidsonMark Davidson
Well yesterday, @markdavidson fired 1 of his 3 ghostwriters of the last 4 years and forgot to change his Twitter password.

markdavidsonMark Davidson
Hi. I'm one of three people who have been ghostwriting @markdavidson's tweets for the last 4 years while he is out playing golf.