Showing posts with label Crown land. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crown land. Show all posts

Friday, 29 June 2018

Apparently NSW Minister for Lands and Forestry Paul Toole thinks voters are gullible fools


When approached by ABC journalists sometime before publication of this online article concerning recent changes to regulations under the NSW Crown Lands Management Act 2016, a spokesperson for NSW Minister for Lands and Forestry, Minister for Racing and Nationals MP for Bathurst Paul Toole stated the new provisions were:

"substantially the same as the provisions in the existing Crown Lands By-law 2006."

Adding words to the effect that the suggestion that new regulations were designed to ban protests was wrong.

It appears that the minister and his staff think that voters across the entire state (and particularly those living in the Northern Rivers region) never learnt to read, write or comprehend simple sentences.

What other reason could there be for such a bald-faced political lie?

This is the by-law referred to in the spokesperson's statement supplied to ABC News.


Current version for 25 June 2018 to date (accessed 28 June 2018 at 00:26)
Part 3  Division 1  Clause 22

22   Conduct prohibited in reserve

(1)  A person must not, without reasonable excuse:

(a)  damage, deface or interfere with any structure, sign, public notice, descriptive plate, label, machinery or equipment in a reserve, or

(b)  obstruct any authorised person or employee of, or contractor to, the reserve trust of a reserve in the performance of the authorised person’s duty or the employee’s or contractor’s work in the reserve, or

(c)  pollute any fresh water, tank, reservoir, pool or stream in a reserve, or

(d)  bring onto a reserve any diseased animal or any noxious animal, or

(e)  walk over, mark, scratch or otherwise mutilate, deface, injure, interfere with, remove or destroy any Aboriginal rock carving, its surrounds or any other Aboriginal object in a reserve, or

(f)    (Repealed)

(g)  remain in a reserve or any part of a reserve or any building, structure or enclosure in the reserve when reasonably requested to leave by an authorised person, or

(h)  bring into or leave in a reserve any refuse, waste material, scrap metal (including any vehicle or vehicle part), rock, soil, sand, stone or other such substance.
Maximum penalty: 5 penalty units.

(2)  A person must not in a reserve for a cemetery:

(a)  interfere with any grave or monument, or

(b)  open any coffin, or

(c)  disturb or interrupt any service, procession, cortege, gathering, meeting or assembly, or

(d)  bury any human remains (whether cremated or not).

Maximum penalty: 5 penalty units.

Now spot the very significant differences in the new regulation.

Excerpts from Crown Land Management Regulation 2018 under the Crown Land Management Act 2016:

9 Conduct prohibited in dedicated or reserved Crown land

(1) A person must not do any of the following on dedicated or reserved Crown land:

(a) damage, deface or interfere with any structure, sign, public notice, descriptive plate, label, machinery or equipment on the land, or

(b) obstruct any authorised person or employee of, or contractor to, a responsible manager of the land in the performance of the authorised person’s duty or the employee’s or contractor’s work on the land, or (c) bring in or on to the land any animal that is diseased or a pest, or

(d) walk over, mark, scratch or otherwise mutilate, deface, injure, interfere with, remove or destroy any Aboriginal object in or on the land, or

(e) remain in or on the land or any part of the land or any structure or enclosure in or on the land when reasonably requested to leave by an authorised person, or

(f) bring into or leave on the land any refuse, waste material, scrap metal (including any vehicle or vehicle part), rock, soil, sand, stone or other similar substance.

Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.

The list under the heading Activities that can be prohibited on Crown land by direction or notice under Part 9 of Act (1) contains 36 banned activities, including sitting on a picnic table.

However four in particular are activities often associated with community meetings, gatherings expressing local concerns and public information events.

Each of the activities specified in the following Table is prescribed for the purposes of sections 9.4 (1) (b), 9.5 (1) (b) and 9.5 (2) of the Act:

3 Holding a meeting or performance or conducting entertainment for money or consideration of any kind, or in a manner likely to cause a nuisance to any person

4 Taking part in any gathering, meeting or assembly (except, in the case of a cemetery, for the purpose of a religious or other ceremony of burial or commemoration)

6 Displaying or causing any sign or notice to be displayed

7 Distributing any circular, advertisement, paper or other printed, drawn, written or photographic matter


 Note.
Clause 6 of Schedule 7 provides for certain land under Acts repealed by Schedule 8 to become Crown land under this Act. Section 1.10 then provides for this land to be vested in the Crown.
Land that will become Crown land under this Act includes land vested in the Crown that is dedicated for a public purpose. This land was previously excluded from the definition of Crown land in the Crown Lands Act 1989. See also section 1.8 (2).

So there you have it - very clearly set out.  

An extension of government power and, a wide delegation of that power given the extended definition of Crown land, which will see community gatherings challenged, shut down and people moved on if local police, council officers or representatives of government departments/reserve trusts decide either the message or the visuals are considered politically unpalatable by government.

Oh, and I hope North Coast Voices readers have noticed that the maximum fine which can be imposed on an individual has been increased from 5 penalty points ($550) to 50 penalty points ($5,500).

ABC News - ABC North Coast, 26 June 2018:

The new regulations will apply to all crown-owned land, which amounts to about half of all land in New South Wales.

The 35,000 crown reserve sites include parks, heritage sites, community halls, nature reserves, coastal lands, sporting grounds, government infrastructure and showgrounds.

Mr Ricketts said the new regulations were bigger and broader than those imposed under the Bjelke-Petersen era in Queensland in the 1970s.

In September 1977, then Queensland Premier Johannes Bjelke-Petersen proclaimed the day of the political street march was over.

"Anybody who holds a street march, spontaneous or otherwise, will know they're acting illegally," he said.

The statement was echoed by the acting police commissioner and was police policy until April 1978.

During the two-year ban, 1,972 people were arrested.

Mr Ricketts said he expected a similar reaction in New South Wales, if the new regulations were enforced.

"They banned street marches for the right to march — which led to violent policing," he said.

The Knitting Nannas protest group joined the chorus of concern.

Spokeswoman Judi Summers said she was shocked to learn about the new rules.

She said the group's strategy of holding weekly knit-ins outside the offices of local politicians might not be possible under the new regulations.

"Well it would have shut us down basically," Ms Summers said.

"We've been knitting outside of Thomas George and Kevin Hogan's [parliamentary] offices for the last sort of six years.

"Every Thursday without a miss, and if these laws had been introduced way back then, we would have been moved on right from the start."

Lawyer and NSW Greens candidate for Lismore, Sue Higginson, said over the years, she had represented hundreds of protestors in court, through her work with the Environmental Defenders Office.

"I see time and time again, the courts — generally speaking — have a real concern about having to penalise people who have found that they are in a position of having to break laws to stand up for an issue or to protect the environment or to protect a civil right," she said.

"So where we are criminalising really benign behaviour, and behaviour that people have a right to do, it becomes a real problem for the courts."

Ms Higginson said a good example was the role of town halls played during the coal seam gas protests on the Northern Rivers.

"If you look back to how the community in the Northern Rivers mobilised to protect the land and water here from coal seam gas, a lot of that organisation and the information and the those meetings — they were held in those town halls."

Ms Higginson said under the new regulations, meetings could be banned or dispersed from town halls.

"People should definitely be alarmed and the biggest problem about this kind of thing is it's difficult to understand the application these laws will have until you're impacted," she said.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Council for Civil Liberties condemns regulations allowing for bans on public gatherings on public land



Excerpt from New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties post, 20 June 2018:

NSW Civil Liberties Council (CCL) is appalled to learn that in 12 days, the NSW State Government will have incredibly wide powers to disperse or ban protests, rallies, and virtually any public gathering across about half of all land across the state.

On 16 March this year, the NSW State Government published the Crown Land Management Regulation 2018(NSW). Included was a provision which provided that public officials would have broad power to “direct a person” to stop “Taking part in any gathering, meeting or assembly”. The only exception provided for is “in the case of a cemetery, for the purpose of a religious or other ceremony of burial or commemoration”. Alternatively, public officials have broad discretion to affix a conspicuous sign prohibiting any gathering, meeting or assembly – again, unless the public gathering was a funeral.

Police, Local Council officials, and even so-far unspecified categories of people or government employees could soon have the power to ban people from holding public gatherings on public land. The territory where these incredibly broad powers would apply are called Crown Land - land owned by the State Government. This includes town squares, parks, roads, beaches, community halls and more.

These powers will come into effect from 1 July. If these regulations are allowed to stand, the effect will not just be that protests, rallies and demonstrations can only occur at the sufferance of police and other officials. It will be that virtually all public events will only occur with the tolerance of public officials. Our right to assemble on public land will become something less than a license. That right may temporarily be granted by public officials, but it may just as easily be withdrawn, at any time, for any reason. The penalty for defying such a ban or order to stop meeting in public could be up to $11 000……

The time to speak out against these regulations is now. CCL objects to these regulations in the strongest possible terms, and urges their immediate and unconditional repeal……

Excerpts from Crown Land Management Regulation 2018 under the Crown Land Management Act 2016:

9 Conduct prohibited in dedicated or reserved Crown land

(1) A person must not do any of the following on dedicated or reserved Crown land:

(e) remain in or on the land or any part of the land or any structure or enclosure in or on the land when reasonably requested to leave by an authorised person,  

Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.

13 Activities that can be prohibited on Crown land by direction or notice under Part 9 of Act (1) Each of the activities specified in the following Table is prescribed for the purposes of sections 9.4 (1) (b), 9.5 (1) (b) and 9.5 (2) of the Act:

3 Holding a meeting or performance or conducting entertainment for money or consideration of any kind, or in a manner likely to cause a nuisance to any person

4 Taking part in any gathering, meeting or assembly (except, in the case of a cemetery, for the purpose of a religious or other ceremony of burial or commemoration)

6 Displaying or causing any sign or notice to be displayed

7 Distributing any circular,


1.7   Definition of “Crown land”

Subject to this Division, each of the following is Crown land for the purposes of this Act:

(a)  land that was Crown land as defined in the Crown Lands Act 1989 immediately before the Act’s repeal,

(b)  land that becomes Crown land because of the operation of a provision of this Act or a declaration made under section 4.4,

(c)  land vested, on and from the repeal of the Crown Lands Act 1989, in the Crown (including when it is vested in the name of the State).

Note.
 Clause 6 of Schedule 7 provides for certain land under Acts repealed by Schedule 8 to become Crown land under this Act. Section 1.10 then provides for this land to be vested in the Crown.
Land that will become Crown land under this Act includes land vested in the Crown that is dedicated for a public purpose. This land was previously excluded from the definition of Crown land in the Crown Lands Act 1989. See also section 1.8 (2).

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

One of the reasons why local government, traditional owners and communities in the Clarence Valley should be very wary of home-grown and foreign lobbyists, investment consortiums and land developers


On 15 August 2016 four representatives of United Land Councils Ltd & United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd gave evidence before the NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No. 6 INQUIRY INTO CROWN LAND.

One of the projects put forward to the Inquiry by those representatives was the industrialisation of the Clarence River estuary by way of construction of a mega freight port.

The following tale involves a number of persons or firms associated with the aforementioned  companies and this mega port & rail project, including Nick Petroulias aka Michael Felson aka Nick Peterson.

The Newcastle Herald, 21 October 2017:

HE WAS brash and brilliant. A young lawyer from Melbourne who became a rising star of the public service, hand-picked to serve as assistant tax commissioner by the age of 30.

That was until a spectacular fall from grace left Nick Petroulias jailed for using his plum position to do the very thing he was tasked with stamping out: defrauding the tax office.

Since his release from prison in 2010, Mr Petroulias has kept a low profile, going by a number of aliases including Michael Felson and Nick Petersen.

He described himself as a “disabled pensioner” on bankruptcy forms in 2015, with his debts estimated at an eye-watering $104 million.

But Fairfax Media can reveal that he has been accused of working behind the scenes to dupe a wealthy Chinese property developer into the illegal purchase of $12.6 million of Aboriginal land across Newcastle.

The matter is the subject of a Supreme Court legal battle that veteran lawyers have described as one of the most extraordinary cases they have seen in their careers.

Labelled by a lawyer familiar with the case as a real-life version of “Alice in Wonderland”, its cast of characters includes an international fugitive known as Robbie Rocket, a convicted drug dealer and a dead company director who somehow continued signing agreements a year after he was cremated in a Sydney cemetery.

The existence of an international money laundering syndicate and a karaoke junket intended as a bribery attempt are among the other sensational allegations contained within thousands of pages of evidence that have been tendered to the court.

Collectively, the lands were valued at $12.6 million.

Two Awabakal board members met with Mr Zong. At the negotiating table, they introduced him to Mr Petroulias – an agent for the parties involved – and Knightsbridge North Lawyers, a firm enlisted to broker the deal.

The only catch, Mr Zong was informed, was that the portfolio of land had already been sold to another buyer a year beforehand.

But he was assured that in return for a payment, that purchaser would remove themself from the picture.

By the end of the year, things appeared to be proceeding smoothly. 

Mr Zong had signed sales contracts, begun pursuing the land’s rezoning and outlaid nearly a million dollars – money he believed was a combination of a deposit and a payout for the former buyer.

But then came a shock announcement that threatened to derail the transaction: the state government had launched an investigation into the land council.

The investigation followed complaints about the land council’s governance and finances.

But Mr Zong alleges he was reassured the deal was still on a steady footing. He claims to have been told by Mr Petroulias that “there was no reason arising from the investigation that would compromise the validity of the transaction documents”. 

However, damning findings from the government’s investigator resulted in the land council being placed into administration. Then, the confirmation came: the sale was off.

Mr Zong ordered the immediate repayment of his $1 million, but his demands were refused. His property development companies – Sunshine Property Investment Group and Sunshine Warners Bay –  launched a civil claim for damages and to recoup the losses.

Caught in the legal crossfire was the land council, its law firm Knightsbridge, and the land’s original buyer, a mysterious company registered under the name Gows Heat.

Since it was placed into administration last year, the Awabakal land council has been under the control of Terry Lawler, a prominent Newcastle financier and philanthropist awarded an OAM in January.

Mr Lawler has recruited a high-powered legal team – including top silk Jeremy Kirk SC – to defend the land council and launch a cross-claim.

They have argued that the sales contracts Mr Zong signed were bogus and none of the proceeds found their way into the land council’s coffers.

Read the full article here.

The Newcastle Herald, 15 December 2017:

A wealthy Chinese developer appears set to withdraw a lawsuit against the Awabakal Aboriginal Local Land Council. 

Tony Zong and his Sunshine Property Investment Group had alleged they were conned into a deal to purchase $12.6 million of Aboriginal land across the city.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court heard the matter – involving disgraced former assistant tax commissioner Nick Petroulias – was “painfully close” to being resolved. 

It’s understood Awabakal lawyers want the land council’s costs covered as part of the settlement. 

“There doesn’t seem to be terribly much at issue in the Sunshine matter now except for the terms of discontinuance,” Justice Darke said. 

A separate action against Awabakal is also making its way through the courts. 

Knightsbridge North Lawyers has placed a caveat over the old Newcastle Post Office while it pursues the land council for $26,743 in alleged unpaid fees. 

Justice Darke indicated mediation could occur if the matter remained unresolved when the case returns to court in February.