Friday 31 August 2012

Clarence Valley Council Election 2012 Candidate Scorecard: Week Four

Candidates standing for the nine councillor positions at the 8 September 2012 Clarence Valley Local Government Election are being rated on their individual campaigns to win over voters.

The score range is -10 to 10. Every candidate starts at zero (0)

Scoring began in the week ending 10 August 2012.

This week its all about honesty and ideas - somewhat truncated by the fact that this post in going online in the middle of a thunderstorm.

Name              Designation   Running Score

Rod Morrison Independent 2 + -1 = 1 This candidate loses ground this week, because he quite frankly puzzles. Action man photographs don’t replace good policy and the idea of more billboards visually littering  roadsides is daft - as is a transport hub on flood-prone land outside Maclean (-1).

Margot Scott Independent 2.5 Margot’s score remains the same as she adds little to the election debate this week.

Paul Parkinson -10 this candidate remains static. After apparently spending years away from Australia between 2004-2011 (according to a brief bio in the Macleay Community FM Radio May 2011 monthly newsletter), he settles in the Clarence Valley in time to enter his name on the rolls and as a candidate immediately starts telling everyone how to suck eggs. While the 360 degree turn Paul did on coal seam gas mining in order to discover it was a bad, bad thing did not appear sincere.

Craig Howe Independent 1.6 + - 0.6 = 1 Craig’s score goes into reverse, as the bottom line of his economic development plan for the Valley appears to be the release of more rateable land (-0.6). This has never been a successful solution in the past to low population growth, population decline or stagnant central business districts.

Andrew Baker Independent -10 This candidate cannot possibly score any lower and continues to outdo himself when it comes to denying the fact that not one but four of the companies in which he is a shareholder/director were listed this month by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission as under external administration.
Here is just one company snapshot of Lanai Pty Ltd from
 Click on image to enlarge

Ursula Tunks Independent 3 + 0.5 = 3.5 This candidate inches forward on general performance but remains a bit of a wild card.

Joy de Roos 2 Unfortunately Joy stands still this week for her extraordinary belief that development applicants are not kept informed of the progress of their DAs.

Jim Simmons Independent 2 Doesn’t move an inch, because I’m still trying to think of something positive to say about Jim who as a councillor went to sleep after amalgamation and is yet to wake up.

Greg Clancy Independent 6.5 + 2 + 1= 8.5 This candidate increased his score again this week for producing one of the better campaign flyers and letterboxing it in the Lower Clarence (2). He also scores for continuing to lobby regarding residents’ concerns outside of his election campaign (1).

Jane Beeby Independent -4 Jane marks time as she has had nothing to say that hasn’t been said by candidates in past elections.

Sue Hughes Independent 5.5 + 1 + 1 = 7.5 Her score grows by two because Sue has a proven track record of standing up for community - her vote against McDonald’s DA and successful coal seam gas moratorium motion spring to mind (1) -  and because she keeps plugging away on local issues concerning residents (1).

Karen Toms 6.5 + 1 + 1 = 8.5 Increased her positive running score by producing one of the better campaign flyers this week (1) and because she keeps plugging away on local issues concerning residents (1).

Michael McIvor Independent 2 + -1 = 1 This candidate loses a point for commenting in one local paper as flashmanmicky and, unfortunately that sums him up accurately in the role of election candidate.

Jeremy Challacombe Independent -3 + -2 = -5 Another candidate who appears to believe local government should take a laissez-faire attitude to business (-1) and toss any legislative or by-law restrictions out the door if owners feel irked.

Richie Williamson 2.5 + 1 = 3.5 Richie’s score inches up on the basis that the incompetence and ignorance displayed by three other male candidates makes him appear an increasingly attractive option by comparison (1).

Margaret McKenna Independent -3 + -7 = -10 It took some doing but Margaret managed to hit rock bottom this week by attempting to save money and combine an CVTV magazine cover business advertisement with a plea to “Vote 1” for her on polling day (-7) – thereby probably breaking a number of NSWEC rules as the ad contained no authorization or contact address.

Jason Kingsley Independent 2 + -1 = 1 This candidate falls behind as he did not impress by joining the pack demanding local government reduce business rates, fees and charges yet be ready to perform miracles with reduced income (-1).

Clarence Valley Local Government Election 2012: Sue Hughes

Waving a red flag at an ol' meeja dugga boy

Teh Kouk had this to say about Teh Ego:
“The executive director of The Sydney Institute, Gerard Henderson, ventures into economics in today’s column in the SMH. Here is the link.
In writing about budget, Mr Henderson makes some howlers – he gets deficits and surpluses mixed up and percentage changes are wrong. And have a guess which direction those errors are? Do you think they make a Labor government look worse or better?
Yep – you got it! All of the errors make Labor look worse, not the other way around….”

Thursday 30 August 2012

Gulaptis not flavour of the month with these letter writers

Motor vehicle accident on Iluka Road, Iluka in 2010
Photograph from The Northern Star

The Daily Examiner  Letters to the Editor 22 and 28 August 2012:

Good reason for speed reduction

IT'S A pity the regional ABC radio reporter didn't spend time doing more research into the Iluka Rd speed limit issue before putting a comment to air (Monday 6.30am).
The speed limit was reduced in the first place from 100 to 80kmh by the then roads minister Eric Roozendaal following the death of young girl who swerved to avoid a crossing animal.
At the suggestion of the limit being reduced, Steve Cansdell gathered signatures from god knows where suggesting the limit stay as it was. That petition was ignored and the limit was reduced, with decided benefit to the local wildlife, a gradual return of the previously believed extinct koala population, and with no fuss or protest ever since, until Mr Gulaptis comes rocking along looking for a cause.
This petition is the one Mr Gulaptis claims to have in his possession, not one urging a renewal of the 100kmh limit by Iluka community residents, as he infers. And which, incidentally, when the Clarence Environment Centre asked for a copy, could not be traced - most likely because it had been binned years ago.
If Gulaptis and the now-RMS had paid attention to the letters and submissions pleading for the 80kmh limit to stay in place, they might have googled Iluka and learned that even today, several years down the track, the Iluka population is hardly more than 2000 permanent residents (the number of petition signatures claimed).
The Environment Centre became involved in response to the Association of Iluka Residents' concern at the proposal to re-instate the 100kmh limit. Most certainly the vast majority are definitely not in favour of the limit being increased, and unless Mr Cansdell went knocking on 2000 doors around Iluka and did some very swift talking, the ridiculousness of the petition would have been clear.
Of course Mr Gulaptis might now suddenly fall over onto the other side of the fence, as he did with the Grafton jail issue.
But the very least he should do is instantly apologise for his entirely inappropriate comment - that the 80kmh limit, installed following the death of a young girl on Iluka Rd, is "just rubbish really".

Patricia Edwards
South Grafton

What community consultation?

MINISTER, how you have been misled on this one.
There was no community consultation by the local member Chris Gulaptis. He found some old file in the bottom drawer of Steve Cansdell's filing cabinet from 2006, dusted it off and ran with it.
Any signatures on that petition were from mostly out-of-towners passing through on holidays and people from Iluka.
No wildlife on this road - only because they were all killed by speeding motorists - a whole generation of emu chicks deliberately killed.
How dare you allow many other communities to have their 50kmh and all we want is an 80kmh between Woombah and Iluka.
My family cycles from Woombah to Iluka along Iluka Road and we are lucky to not get hit by vehicles that these days are travelling in the main at 80kmh (amazing how people adapt over a couple of years to speed signs and a visit or two a year from the police patrol cars).
Now we are back to the 100kmh along the narrowest part of this road and heaven help us coping with the speeding vehicles.
What bright spark from the RMS came up with the brilliant idea to leave the 80kmh where the cycleway begins and continues all the way into Iluka.
Iluka residents have the luxury of living in an area totally covered by a 50kmh -what a hide they have to complain abut the entrance road into Woombah being 80kmh.
You should be very careful about what you accept from Chris Gulaptis - community consultation - he does not know the meaning of it.

Pamela Smith



Yet another letter to the editor, this time from the Clarence Valley Review on 29 August 2012:

Back to the future reprised

Reference to article, the new Iluka Rd speed limit (CVR August22): whenever was there consultation either way? ‘Against change yes’ petitions were conducted to keep the 100kph limit alive back then, however, this was stacked with caravan park visitors or anybody who was asked to sign, including non residents.
The sad thing is that the 80kph limit has now settled in beautifully, so much so that even the ‘Good ‘ol’ Boys’ down in Iluka don’t even remember what it was all about. If there was to be consultation, maybe there could have been a compromise.
The reasons justifying a reduced speed limit have all been said in past letters and representations? That is what brought about a reduction to 80kph, regardless of the current spin. The only possible contribution Mr Gulaptis would have made is, “he must have had a beer with Dunc” for this favour to be bestowed on him from the Minister.
I suppose he may think this is a pressure release to the dropping the ball in the ‘Ball and Chain’ debacle.

Gareth Smith

A reminder that the Australian battle against HIV/AIDS is not over yet

Although the level of Australian HIV/AIDS infection has fallen over the years, the battle to eradicate this disease continues.

The Australian August 27, 2012:

THE Grim Reaper of the 1980s AIDS awareness campaign has been resurrected in new Queensland government advertising to combat the rise of HIV infections in the state over the past decade.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

I'm Kevin and I'm here to show you how stupid I am

Showing us all that there are nothing but weeds in his top paddock, Nats second time around hopeful Kevin Hogan called on his political opponent at the next federal election Janelle Saffin MP to “stand over” that the multinational telco Telstra until it reverses its decision to close its Goonellabah Call Centre in the Lismore district.
Yeah, right – the federal government can bully a private company about its commercial decisions at the drop of the hat.
Even NSW Nats MP for Lismore Thomas George can do little more than offer sympathy to the 116 Lismore-based employees who have been made redundant”.

Pic from The Daily Examiner

Trapwire bunkers down now those being watched are turning the tables on its spying activities

Going to surveillance agency Trapwire Inc (after its outing as a global super spy also allegedly operating in Australia under government contracts with its parent company, Abraxas Applications) and looking for its management structure at and one was likely to find this displayed:

Which is an incredibly unwise move on this digitally savvy company’s part as Google Cache clearly demonstrated, allowing Imugr gallery to post management personnel profiles on 14 August 2012.

While The Pirate Bay created mirror sites for Trapwire documents removed from US government websites.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Clarence Valley Council Election 2012: Mr. Baker acts coy on financial situation

It will come as no surprise to find out that one of the candidates in September’s Clarence Valley local government election, land and property developer Andrew Baker, was a trifle economical with the truth when he announced that two companies in which he was a director and major shareholder had been placed in receivership by the National Australia Bank.

Yes, despite protestations to the contrary, it now appears that the Maclean Hotel Holdings Pty Ltd business had been placed in the hands of the receiver still owing money to businesses other than the bank.

The second ‘Baker’ company originally mentioned is allegedly involved to the extent that it holds assets which have been cross-securitised. The name and eventual fate of this company has not been made public to date.

Although Creditor Watch Express lists Maclean Hotel Holdings Pty Ltd, Holder Baker Pty Ltd, Gulmarrad Developments Pty Ltd and Lanai Pty Ltd as being Under External Administration And/Or Controller Appointed - effective on all four companies as of 20 August 2012.

Which makes one wonder about Mr. Baker's statement in the second newpaper article; While I have stated that two companies are in receivership, Maclean Hotel Holdings Pty Ltd is the only one.

However, what is also fascinating about The Daily Examiner interviews with Mr. Baker is the lengths he is prepared to go to in order that a fuller picture of his business interests are not published:

Can you please name the companies you remain involved with (to save me an ASIC search)? This really should be a matter of public record in any case so people can be assured that you register your pecuniary interest when these companies come before council.
I am aware of the need to register pecuniary interests and will do so if elected. The ASIC search approach will give you accurate, independent verification of the information you seek.

A somewhat inane response to the journalist in question, as the fact of the matter is that in the Lower Clarence many of the companies Mr. Baker is associated with are well-known:

Lanai PtyLtd
ABN 11 067 844 259

Narandbak Investments Pty Ltd
ABN 97 003 700 669

Yamba Maclean Landscaping Services Pty Ltd
ABN 63 103 591 742

Maclean Hotel Property Trust
ABN 19 122 431 577

Maclean Hotel Holdings Pty Ltd
ABN 67 132 925 985

Holder Baker Enterprises
Business Name

Holder Baker Pty Ltd
ABN 20 122 621 694

Holder Baker Property Trust
ABN 23 496 031 552 28

Holder Baker Partnership
ABN 79 748 42 977

Gulmarrad Developments Pty Ltd
ABN 60 131 904 026

Gulmarrad Village Pty Ltd
ABN 33 131 903 985

ABN 16 114 678 578


Holder Baker Pty Ltd was also served with a notification of the appointment of a receiver and manager as trustee for the Maclean Hotel Property Trust.

The Daily Examiner: You voted. Reader: No I didn't!

On 23 August 2012 The Daily Examiner
published an article in which it stated it was running an online poll asking this question: Which of the candidates for Clarence Valley Council would you vote for?

One Lower Clarence resident and regular reader of the newspaper contacted me with this concern.

He stated that not only did he not find the poll displayed online at the time, but when he finally discovered where it had been hiding on 28 August this statement was attached; You have already voted.

In his opinion this was a somewhat bizarre assertion as he assures me that he never had the opportunity to participate.

I can only suspect that this reader may not be the only phantom voter recorded and a software glitch is at the bottom of the Vote That Never Was, because it is unthinkable that someone at the newspaper was massaging the vote.

Which means this published poll is not worth the kilobytes it consumes:

Yamba residents have until 14 September 2012 to tell Clarence Valley Council that it needs to find somewhere other than Main Beach to dump its additional stormwater

Clarence Valley Council is considering routing surface run-off and storm water from at least ten private properties on Pilot Hill at Yamba onto one of the town’s principal tourist attractions, Main Beach.

Concerned residents have until 14 September 2012 to tell Clarence Valley Council what they think of this idea.

I’m sure no-one wishes the owners of these properties to continue living with the existing level of land slippage risk, but many would not see polluting the beach below as being an acceptable solution to the problem.

Attachment 13.081/12 outlining the stormwater options.

According to Clarence Valley Council:

The draft Plan recommends Option 4. (Refer Item 13.081/12 from Civil & Corporate June meeting.)
The consultant and Council staff recently met with eight residents to present the draft Plan. It is recommended that the document now be placed on public exhibition for two months and submissions called for during that period. All affected landowners will be individually advised and discussions will be held with representative of the Crown Land Division as owners of the crown reserve.
Following the exhibition the draft Plan will be brought back to Council to determine the preferred course of action and timetable/costing aspects of that option.
The plan is now on public exhibition until 4.00pm, Friday 14 September 2012
To view plan visit Council's offices at 2 Prince Street, Grafton or 50 River Street, Maclean or download a copy below.
Make a submission in writing addressed to:

The General Manager
Clarence Valley Council
Locked Bag 23
Grafton NSW 2460

Clearly marked: Submission - Yamba Coastline Management Plan.
Further details can be obtained from Cassandra Hewat on 6645 0205 or via email

Will the Australian media finally admit that Tony Abbott is campaigning buck naked? or The Emperor's New Clothes {revised edition}

“OPPOSITION leader Tony Abbott has conceded the introduction of the carbon tax has not been "absolutely catastrophic" but warned Australians they will be $5000 worse off by 2050 unless it is abolished” reported News Ltd on the 26th August 2012.
UH? How’s that again? I need to back Tones the Terrible’s race for The Lodge because the carbon tax will take $2.53 a week out of my pocket for the next 38 years?
Now how much is that cup of coffee I see before me?

Monday 27 August 2012

Northern Rivers Social Development Council launches survey on the impact of Tesltra closure

Northern Rivers Social Development Council invitation to residents and businesses:

Please complete the Northern Rivers Social Development Council telecommunications survey.

This survey has been prompted by Telstra’s decision to close the Goonellabah call centre. This closure comes on the back of the recent closure of Telstra’s Grafton call centre.

Information gathered from the survey will be used to help inform the debate around the future of Telstra in the Northern Rivers; and to help our community to lobby for the jobs to stay in the region; and to come up with other solutions.

We need as many people, businesses and organisations to fill this survey out as possible. Please complete the survey and forward the survey link to other people and organisations within the region.

Participation in the survey will take no more than 5 minutes and is confidential.
The survey can be accessed via the following link:

We want to find out how much income Telstra earns from business and individuals in our region; whether these customers are concerned by Telstra’s decision to close the Goonellabah call centre; if so, are they considering a shift to another provider; and whether there are issues, concerns or barriers that prevent people from changing providers. We are also interested in seeing whether there is a critical mass of people and organisations that are willing to back a local provider.

There is a strong link between economic opportunity, jobs and community wellbeing across our region. NRSDC has become increasingly concerned about the impact on our region of the withdrawal of major employers, both in government and the private sector, from our towns and cities. We believe that it is important for organisations that earn significant income from our region contribute back to the community. We also need to ensure that proper support is provided to manage the long term social impact of these job cuts.

Those misogynist nut jobs on the Internet are found within the Liberal Party as well. WARNING: Offensive Image

When the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard referred to those spreading rumours about her on the Internet as misogynist and nut jobs, she could easily have included the Liberal Party’s Federal Member for Bowman Andrew Laming in that group.

This is an Andrew Laming post on his Facebook page:

Slanted commentary on Gillard, but within the limits.

However, this is one of a number of crudely photo shopped images of the Australian Prime Minister also found on his Facebook page tagged Photos of Andrew Laming MP

 Fair and balanced political comment? I think not.

To make matters worse Laming has a history of supporting the type of sexist comment of which his party is obviously proud.

Challacombe doing and saying anything to get elected?

Sometimes a candidate, desperate to get a foot on the first rung of that political ladder which they are convinced will inevitably lead to a golden future as an Aussie overlord, will spout the most arrant nonsense.
This is NSW National Party senior vice chair Jeremy Challacombe who is a long-time supporter of disgraced Nationals MP Steve Yes I falsified a Stat Dec Cansdell, and in September last year was a local by-election campaign campaign director for that classic waste of space, Clarence MP Hapless Gulaptis:
Anyone less likely to hold Labor values in high regard it's hard to imagine - with his long history as a Nats party member. Along with his Federal Nationals candidature (Wakefield 1998) and his support of the Nationals agenda to turn east coast rivers inland when he last unsuccessfully ran for Clarence Valley Council in 2008, as well as his willingness to support nuclear options, runs counter to NSW Country Labor’s position but suppports both the NSW O'Farrell Government and the Nationals agenda.
So committed is Challacombe to the National Party, that it was only last month that he tried to blame the public service for the NSW Lib-Nats Government’s recent round of job cuts which rocked Grafton.

Sunday 26 August 2012

Clarence Valley Local Government Election 2012: Karen Toms

Clarence Valley Local Government Elections 2012: Only Grafton would come up with this idea

The Clarence Business Enterprise Advice Service and the Grafton Chamber of Commerce and Industry are holding a breakfast for business people on Wednesday 5 September 2012 - between 7 am and 8.30 am at the Grafton TAFE restaurant, Grafton. 

Choosing what is probably one of the most difficult times of the day for most candidates and many Lower Clarence business people to attend a forum – presumably to create a venue favourable to those Grafton business owner/operators who just happen to be candidates at the 8 September Clarence Valley local government election.

This excerpt from the 24 August invitation more or less indicates this:

 All candidates will be invited and asked to speak for 2 minutes on the topic - what I will do to promote and grow business and opportunities if elected to the Clarence Valley Council.  After all candidates have spoken, the floor will be open to question on Business and Economic Development.   People attending the "meet the candidates" will be business owner/operators only. Questions from the floor will be limited to business related questions.

The format is basically arrival 7 - 7.30 am open presentation at 7.30 and subsequent 
questions from the floor until 8.30 am.  [my bolding] You are welcome to mix and mingle prior to and after the presentation and question session.  The cost to candidates for breakfast is $15 (cost price).   The event is to be moderated by CBEAS president Trevor Hageman.   At this stage, order of speaking will be names drawn from a hat.

We are aware some candidates may not be able to attend, [my bolding] so you are invited to prepare a written presentation that will last one (1) minute, which will be read to the meeting on your behalf.  Please use the time carefully, Introduce your name, and present on the topic - attendees will be directed to the Daily Examiner profile for more background and general information.  We feel this is fair because those attending will be available for further scrutiny from the floor.

We hope you are available to attend, please RSVP asap to allow us to promote the candidates attending and catering.  Any further questions should be directed to myself, either email or mobile number below. 

Best Wishes
James Patterson
Executive Officer
Grafton Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Recreational fishers praised by Saffin and Ludwig

Janelle sees a strong future for recreational fishing

FEDERAL Member for Page Janelle Saffin has welcomed the Australian Government’s comment of their continued commitment to work with the recreational fishing sector to ensure its sustainability and economic benefits into the future.

Ms Saffin said the National Recreational Fishing Conference on the Gold Coast at the weekend underlined the important role played by recreational fishing in strengthening the local economy, particularly in towns like Ballina, Evans Head, Iluka and Yamba.

“Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig opened the conference and applauded rec fishers from across Australia who came to discuss issues such as keeping our fishing culture strong and protecting our marine environment,” she said.

“Minister Ludwig told delegates that the Australian Government’s network of marine reserves will have little or no impact on recreational fishing.

“His message was clear; these new reserves will not stop rec fishers from doing what they love doing -- fishing.

“These reserves are about protecting the sustainability and health of our oceans so that rec fishers and their families can continue to enjoy them for generations.”

Ms Saffin welcomed Minister Ludwig’s announcement that 10 recreational fishing projects had received a total of $1.74 million in Federal funding to support the National Recreational Fishing Industry Development Strategy.

“These projects will aim to support the sustainability of the sector by providing national education, identifying climate change issues and solutions, and monitoring fish stock,” she said.

Ms Saffin also praised the work of former Page MP, The Honourable Harry Woods, who chairs the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

The FRDC has just released its latest report which shows that three eastern Australian game-fishing regions contributed more than $28 million to their local communities.

For more information visit the DAFF website

Monday, August 20, 2012

Saturday 25 August 2012

The Daily Examiner exposes weaknesses in Clarence Valley LGA election candidates

Beeby wouldn’t know a council budget if she fell over one, Baker’s only after the main chance, McKenna trod water rather than offering solutions, McIvor and Parkinson obviously didn’t realise that Clarence Valley councils have had 'buy local' policies in the past which were of limited bugetary value and Challacombe remains mum on protecting the Clarence River from a bloody great dam to water northwest NSW.
Read more here.
Anyone else beginning to feel an urge to run screaming into the night rather than face the polling booth?

Sales skewers Abbott - the interview video and the cartoon

refines the art of interview transcript

Click on cartoon to enlarge

BirdLife Northern NSW invites you to a meeting about the fate of the Coastal Emu, Grafton 31 August 2012

Media release

BirdLife Northern NSW, has been joined by local residents, ecologists and local environment groups to call a meeting with the RMS (formerly RTA) to discuss the proposed Pacific Highway Grafton Bypass route.

A Public meeting has been arranged for 6pm on 31st August at the Community Centre 59 Duke Street, Grafton.

This route will travel from Glenugie to Tyndale via the Pillar Valley and Tubacia wetlands and then beside the Coldstream River east of Tyndale to the Harwood bridge.

Birdlife Australia,  Northern NSW spokesperson Dr. Greg  Clancy said “The only suitable route that will reduce the impact on the ecosystem is the ‘Orange’ route, which approximates the existing highway.  It was rejected by the RMS on social and economic grounds.”

“The preferred route of the bypass intersects the home range of the last significant population of the threatened Coastal Emu. There are only about 100 emus left in this isolated population.  As well it transects the habitat of over 80 threatened flora and fauna species. Ecologically the RMS could not have chosen a worse route.  Will this drive our local icon to extinction?”

If you have concerns on this route you are encouraged to attend this meeting.

Contact:Dr Greg Clancy 66493153 0429601960