Thursday 31 March 2022

That Lismore City has flooded a second time in 31 days is a surprise to no-one except perhaps the Perrottet and Morrison governments


Lismore Levee
IMAGE: ABC News 30 March 2022

The Wilsons River at Lismore began flooding again at 4.43am on Tuesday 29 March 2022. This is the second flood in thirty-one days - the first setting a flood record on 28 February 2022 when it peaked at 14.4m causing widespread devastation from which Lismore City Local Government Area is yet to recover. 

This should have come as no surprise to federal and state government cabinet ministers ensconced in Canberra and Sydney, as Lismore has a history of two floods in a year dating back almost as far as records have been kept.

However, the unfolding official response to this second flood event is almost as fractured and leaderless as the first. Once more communities are coping with just the assistance of local emergency services already stretched thin by the first flood's aftermath.

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology at 2:10 am EDT on Thursday, 31 March 2022:

River level peaks were observed along the Wilsons River at Woodlawn around 3pm Wednesday and along Leycester Creek at Tuncester around 8pm Wednesday. 

A major flood peak of 11.40 metres was observed at Lismore around 5pm Wednesday. 

River levels along the Wilsons River at Lismore are likely to remain above the height of the levee during Thursday morning with major flooding, before easing further during the afternoon. 

Flood waters along the Richmond River combined with inflows from the Wilsons River have resulted in major flooding along the Richmond River at Coraki and Bungawalbin. Moderate flooding is occurring at Woodburn with major flooding possible. The main flood peak at 13.81m passed through Kyogle Wednesday night and is now approaching Casino where minor flooding is possible. 

 At 2:11am on Thursday 31 March 2022 the Wilsons River water level was recorded at 11.12m and rising and at 3am the Richmond River at 13.27m (Kyogle) and 11.70m (Casino). 

This could not be happening at a worse time in the history of Lismore City with a manifestly incompetent mayor at the helm of a new council and, state and federal governments more focussed on politics surrounding the forthcoming federal general election than they are on climate change-induced adverse weather events causing widespread regional flooding or the plight of the thousands of flood victims. 

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Coverage of 2022-23 Federal Budget Night commences at 7.30pm tonight Tuesday, 29 March 2022 . Following of this a cash splash announcement....

David Rowe, 28 March 2022

The Australian Treasurer & Liberal MP for the Kooyong electorate in Victoria Josh Frydenberg will deliver the 2022-23 Federal Budget at approximately 7.30 pm (AEDT) on Tuesday 29 March 2022. 

Budget Papers will be posted on on the night. 

The Treasurer's Speech will be shown on ABC TV Live at 7.30pm and a Budget Night 2022 News Special, Analysis & Reaction will be aired from 8 to 10pm.

Budget Night lockup of select journalists will begin at 1.30pm on Tuesday afternoon. Access to embargoed Budget Papers will be further restricted again this year using the pandemic as an excuse. This in turn will limit the degree to which initial analysis of this election year national budget can escape the ideological control of the Murdoch-Costello-Stokes media triumvirate

To ensure that most journalists would use Morrison Government budget talking points over the next news cycle rather than in-depth analysis, the following promises contained in tonight's budget papers were released yesterday in a joint media release (with suitable quotes) by the Treasurer, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts:

Infrastructure promises made in that media release with no timeframe context

  • $3.1 billion in new commitments to deliver the $3.6 billion Melbourne Intermodal Terminal Package (VIC), including:
    • $1.2 billion for the Beveridge Interstate Freight Terminal in Beveridge, taking the total investment to $1.62 billion;
    • $280 million for Road Connections, including Camerons Lane Interchange, to the Beveridge Interstate Freight Terminal;
    • $740 million for the Western Interstate Freight Terminal in Truganina;
    • $920 million for the Outer Metropolitan Ring - South Rail connection to the Western Interstate Freight Terminal.
  • $1.6 billion for the Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast (Beerwah-Maroochydore) rail extension (QLD)
  • $1.121 billion for the Brisbane to the Gold Coast (Kuraby – Beenleigh) faster rail upgrade (QLD)
  • $1 billion for the Sydney to Newcastle – (Tuggerah to Wyong) faster rail upgrade (NSW)
  • $678 million for Outback Way (NT, WA, QLD)
  • $336 million for the Pacific Highway - Wyong Town Centre (NSW)
  • $336 million for the Tasmanian Roads Package – Northern Roads Package – Stage 2 (TAS)
  • $200 million for the Marion Road – Anzac Highway to Cross Road (SA)
  • $145 million for the Thomas Road – Dual Carriageway – South Western Highway to Tonkin Highway and interchange at Tonkin Highway (WA)
  • $140 million for Regional Road Safety upgrades (WA)
  • $132 million for Central Australian Tourism Roads (NT)
  • $120 million for the Adelaide Hills Productivity and Road Safety Package (SA)
  • $46.7 million towards the Athllon Drive Duplication (ACT)

Additional promises for existing projects

  • $2.264 billion for the North South Corridor - Torrens to Darlington (SA)
  • $352 million for the Milton Ulladulla Bypass (NSW)
  • $320 million for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road (Stages 2 and 3) (WA)
  • $200 million for the Tonkin Highway Stage 3 Extension (WA)
  • $45 million for the Ballarat to Ouyen – Future Priorities (VIC)
  • $68.5 million for the Cooktown to Weipa Corridor Upgrade


Monday 28 March 2022

First rule for any 2022 federal election candidate - don't mislead voters before the election campaign has even begun

This was how National Party candidate for the federal seat of Richmond, Kimberly Hone, presented herself to the media and electorate on 24 March 2022 in Echo online:

Nationals Party

Nationals candidate, Kimberly Hone.

On the Nationals Party ticket is Kingscliff resident Kimberly Hone, who has no online presence, apart from Facebook.

Her earliest video post is from November 2, 2021.

She says on a video that, with her husband, she has been running a fitness coaching practice for 12 years.

I stand for families and small businesses’, she says in another video. Ms Hone replaces Tweed Heads’ Hungry Jacks owner, Matthew Fraser, who previously ran multiple times on the Nationals Party ticket.

Intrigued by the very specific claim presumably made by Ms. Hone or the National Party on her behalf - that she only had one social media presence, a Facebook account, with her earliest video post being from November 2021 - I decided to look.

First thing I noticed is that she has an active Instagram account with videos dating back to at least 2019. On this account in October 2021 she announced her official candidature at the next federal election.

Retrieved 27 March 2022

A second look showed she still had one, possibly two, accessible Twitter accounts.

Retrieved 27 March 2022

Retrieved 27 March 2022

Both Twitter accounts contain political comment.

In addition to these social media accounts, the Nationals candidate for Richmond also has an old YouTube video account in her name with one video going back to 2019.

Retrieved 27 March 2022

Then I looked for news reports about the candidate and this article immediately popped up, which might go some way to explaining her reluctance to admit the range of her social media accounts.

Gold Coast Bulletin online, 25 March 2021:

Richmond resident Kimberly Hone is the fresh face on the Nationals ticket in the race to beat Labor MP Justine Elliot who has held the seat since 2004.

Her political rivals have also labelled her a “risk to the community” over her support for radical alternatives to fight Covid including Ivermectin.

The deworming medicine for horses has been touted as a Covid “wonder drug” by ex-US President Donald Trump and billionaire Clive Palmer.

Ms Hone wrote, “China treats their citizens with intravenous Vitamin C” in a thread in which she also endorsed Ivermectin.

In a series of tweets, since deleted, Ms Hone tweeted with links:

* “One way to avoid domestic violence is to marry well. Abusers are exceptional at manipulating …”

* “Imagine if your child’s school secretly started feeding your child transgender hormone tablets.”

* “Ten religious reasons against climate change.”

* “Global thackery: Earth has not warmed for the past 19 years – new study.”

* “Debunked: Hurricanes harvey and Irma were NOT (sic) caused by climate change.”

Video of Ms Hone speaking at a community church in October 2021 also shows her encouraging supporters’ anti-vaccination views.

At one point she states she is “so glad” audience members “no longer trust medical science”.

Richmond MP Justine Elliot has since slammed Ms Hone for her comments, labelling them “repulsive”, “dangerous” and “deeply offensive”.

Concerned locals alerted me about these extreme views,” she said.

It’s about transparency. (Her comments) are all extreme and quite disturbing, particularly about domestic violence.

Victims are never to blame for domestic violence. I was personally offended when those were brought to my attention.

This is appalling.”

Voters deserve to know who she is.”

Ms Hone said making her past statements public was “bullying behaviour” and she refused to be “dragged down to a schoolyard cat fight”……

Ms. Hone made a rookie’s mistake when she apparently attempted to direct people towards just one social media source of information about her, without first sometime earlier either closing those Twitter accounts or removing them from public view.

As for that innocuous Instagram account, she would be better off making that a locked account for family & friends until the federal election is over and she has returned to private life once more.

It is hard to see how it could be otherwise for this novice candidate. Because she failed to take the very first fence in the political steeple chase – she was not open and transparent.

As for that risible "bullying" claim.......



In October 2021 Ms. Hone clearly stated that the ultimate goal for me, just like my husband and I have done with business, I want to bring God’s kingdom to the political arena and I want God’s kingdom to penetrate the political mountain”. It appears that in this video (commencing at 29:48) she is asserting that all legislation must reflect a Christian worldview and values. 

Ms. Hone has a "business slash ministry" with her husband, Kingdom Business. This appears to be a business networking vehicle for Christian business owners.

Sunday 27 March 2022

Ahead of the week's Budget 2022-23 announcements, a brief look at how the federal government remains afloat

Budget Papers 2022-23 are expected to be presented to the Australian Parliament this sitting week.

This budget - like all other Morrison budgets since 2016 - comes with a background of increasing public debt. This fourth Morrison-Frydenberg budget can be no different, whatever clever accounting tricks are employed.

Financial Review, excerpt, 9 February 2022:

Commonwealth budgets and mid-year reviews have been ramping up spending, right up to the last mid-year review in December. As a result, spending in 2023/24 is estimated to be $41 billion higher than when it was first estimated in 2020. This increase has little to do with the pandemic.

The fiscal outlook is further clouded by the approach of a federal election. In recent weeks, the Prime Minister has been out and about sprinkling more fiscal largesse, which sits uneasily with his Treasurer’s “lines in the sand”.

Australian Office of Financial Management, Annual Report 2020-21 Financial Statements excerpt, 25 October 2021:

The cost and risk of the debt portfolio is managed through debt issuance and (where appropriate) investment activities. Since early 2009, budget deficits have required debt issuance volumes that have exceeded those necessary to maintain liquidity in Treasury Bond and Treasury Bond futures markets, affording the AOFM with a greater level of flexibility in setting its issuance program. In recent years the AOFM has lengthened the duration of its Treasury Bond portfolio through longer term issuance as a means of reducing refinancing risk and the variability of debt servicing costs over time.

Australian Office of Financial Management, 2021-22 Issuance Program, 7 January 2022:

This notice provides updated details of planned issuance of Australian Government Securities by the Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM) for the remainder of 2021-22.

At MYEFO the AOFM indicated planned Treasury Bond issuance of around $105 billion (of which $44.3 billion has been completed). Two tenders will be conducted most weeks. A new November 2033 Treasury Bond will be issued by syndication in the final quarter of 2021-22 (subject to market conditions).

Planned issuance of Treasury Indexed Bonds is $5-5.5 billion (of which $4.1 billion has been completed). Two tenders will be held most months.

Regular issuance of Treasury Notes will continue. Weekly issuance volumes will depend on the timing and size of government receipts and outlays and the AOFM’s assessment of its cash portfolio requirements.

Details of weekly transactions will be announced at midday on the preceding Friday.

As at 28 February 2022 the total of Commonwealth borrowings liability was $859,702,529,974 (calculated in Australian dollars). That is an eyewatering amount of billions in anyone's language.

Two Treasury Bond tenders and a Treasury Note tender with a combined value of $2.8 billion were announced on Friday, 25 March 2022.

The next tender for the issue of Treasury Indexed Bonds is planned to be held on Tuesday, 12 April 2022.

Commonwealth gross debt has been rising since the Global Financial Crisis, but in the last three and a half years as the country lurched though mega bushfires, pandemic, catastrophic flooding and a significant loss of export market share in China, the Morrison Government budget papers have been exercises in hopeful fiction. Next Tuesday night's budget papers might possibly be accompanied by glittering unicorns.

Friday 25 March 2022

There is political madness in the air as barely hidden agendas make a mockery of the ongoing trauma in communities hit by NSW Floods February-March 2022


Desperate to eliminate all discussion of climate change from the public debate ahead of the federal election campaign, the Morrison Government has given the nod for the CSIRO to be granted est. $10 million dollars via the federal National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA) to study how to manage floodwater within the Wilson and Richmond river catchments with definitely no mention of funding for national, state or regional mitigation measures to tackle for the root cause of extreme flooding events - climate change. 

The Coordinator General of the NRRA, Shane Stone, is reported as stating that flood management study is expected to take up to two years.

According to one National Party member of the Morrison Government, Page MP Kevin Hogan (middle with Steven Krieg on his left), the results of this study are a done deal: "For too long, previous councils have debated the merits of flood mitigation. Today that debate is done. For everyone who is against engineering solutions to flood mitigation, the debate is over."   

Predictably, National Party-supported Lismore Mayor Steven Krieg blindly echoes this pre-empting of the CSIRO's study report while on the same breath assuring the region that is not what he is doing.

This bold pre-emptive statement hides a multitude of misconceptions about the function of a dam, because the primary function of a dam can be water sustainability/storage or flood mitigation.

Water sustainability/storage requires a dam to be constantly around 90 per cent capacity to fully meet its primary function and to justify the many millions spent on its construction and ongoing maintenance.

Flood mitigation requires a dam to always be almost empty and every time its water level rises significantly that water needs to be released back into the river system that feeds it in order to maintain flood mitigation capacity.

Trying to combine both functions in the same dam on a floodplain would require an enormous, over-designed dam built at prohibitive financial and environmental cost. A constant looming presence in the landscape likely to give downstream farmers and homeowners more than a few troubled nights.

And let's face it, there is actual income to be made out of water storage dams not empty dams, so the temptation for a gradual shift in purpose from flood mitigation to water sustainability/storage would be there from the very beginning - with the potential for lethal consequences during mega floods or a multiple flood year in the catchment when there is insufficient capacity remaining to retain all the floodwater reaching such a repurposed dam.

There is already renewed talk of damming and diverting water from NSW coastal rivers inland or across the NSW-Qld border and it appears that nothing would please the Perrottet Government more than finding an excuse for inter-catchment water transfer to satisfy the needs of rapacious councils, property developers and irrigators outside of the Northern Rivers region, as well as the wants of that unhealthy coterie of political donors/dodgy water traders. 

This motley collection of National Party ideologues and mindless political agitators need to stop acting as a wrecking ball and build on local knowledge and expertise in order to genuinely assess all the solutions being offered up Lismore and the Northern Rivers region.


There are thirty-six signatories to this document sponsored by the Climate Council of Australia. 

MARCH 2022 Statement From A... by clarencegirl

Council Magazine, 7 March 2022:

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has called for a targeted $200 million per year disaster mitigation fund, for local governments to address the impacts of climate change and help increase Australia’s resiliency.

ALGA President, Linda Scott, said the Association is seeking the disaster mitigation fund as well as an extra $200 million over four years for a Local Government Climate Response Partnership Fund.

In 2014, the Productivity Commission recommended increased investment in disaster mitigation, but currently less than five per cent of disaster funding in Australia goes towards mitigation and community resilience measures,” Cr Scott said.

We appreciate the support that has quickly been provided by states and the Commonwealth to households and communities impacted by these devastating floods in Queensland and New South Wales.

However, we need greater investment in disaster mitigation and climate change adaptation to reduce the severity and impact of future natural disasters.

The current legislation allows for $200 million per year to be spent from the Federal Government’s $4.8 billion Emergency Management Fund.

However, since 2019 the Government has only committed $150 million in total from this fund.

This month’s Federal Budget is an opportunity for the Commonwealth to provide additional assistance that will help protect our communities from increasing disaster events.

Investing in mitigation makes economic sense, and significantly reduces the costs governments incur during recovery.”

Cr Scott said ALGA is also advocating for a Local Government Climate Response Partnership Fund of $200 million over four years to help councils address the impacts of climate change in their communities.

Across our nation, we are seeing floods and fires that are more severe, and more destructive,” Cr Scott said.

Providing our councils with funding to address the impacts of climate change in our communities will help us increase our resilience to future natural disasters.”

The Guardian, 23 March 2022:

Lismore council has been gripped by in-fighting over whether it should make references to “climate change” following the flood disaster and a decision to pause its work on flood mitigation despite warnings the “optics” of doing so were “not good”.

The disaster-ravaged town is still in the early stages of recovering from an unprecedented 14.4-metre flood, which wiped out thousands of homes and businesses and brought Lismore to its knees.

On Tuesday, in a late-night sitting, Lismore council proposed a message of thanks to volunteers and the community for their efforts in the immediate response and clean-up effort.

It included a line saying the council “acknowledges we are likely to experience further disasters of this nature as climate change continues to escalate”.

The words “climate change” prompted a reaction from four councillors, led by independent councillor Big Rob, who attempted to have the reference removed and replaced with a line saying “we are definitely going to experience further disasters of this nature”.

Rob – who says he does not deny climate change but likes to “stir up lefties” – said he did not think a message of community support was the right place to make “political” statements about climate change.

That motion was about thanking people, not being political about climate change,” he said…….

The effort to delete the reference to climate change failed. But it rankled other councillors, including Greens councillor Adam Guise, who first proposed the climate change reference be added.

They tried to couch it as not politicising it,” Guise said . “But this is the whole thing about climate change, it’s not political, it’s science.”

The dispute came amid further divisions within council over a decision to halt the work of a key committee working to improve flood mitigation measures in Lismore.

That occurred despite councillors acknowledging the “optics” of pausing the flood mitigation committee so soon after a disaster were “not good”.

The council has also sacked members of the Lismore community who were on a community reference group advising council on flood mitigation.

On Tuesday, at 11pm, the council decided to pause the work of the floodplain committee to wait for more information from CSIRO, which has been given $10m to explore flood mitigation measures in the region.

Lismore council decided it should hold off doing any further work on flood mitigation of its own until it understood what CSIRO was doing.

But councillor Vanessa Ekins, who chairs the committee, warned that could take months. She said pausing the committee was “very dangerous ground” and would not look good to Lismore residents.

We have just been through a big flood, we are still experiencing that and for us to send a message out there that we are pausing work that we have been working really hard on for years until we hear what the CSIRO are doing … they might take six months to tell us what they’re doing,” she said.

This could take a really, really long time and meanwhile our community has no guidance from us, we’re not doing anything, we’ve paused the consultation we’re currently engaged in until someone else tells us what they’re doing.”

She said the decision was “absolutely outrageous”.

It’s really important that our flood plain committee continues the work that it’s been doing for the last five years on mitigating the impacts of flooding on the CBD and residences,” she said. “We were in the middle of a consultation process with members of the community about various options.”

Others were furious that community members had been sacked from the committee so soon after the floods.

We had community members on that committee with five years’ experience and expertise in understanding the mitigation options that were before us,” councillor Elly Bird said. “To throw all of that experience away, I don’t support it.”