Showing posts with label Lismore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lismore. Show all posts

Monday, 23 March 2020

The risk of aggressive behaviour in supermarket aisles continues despite attempts to address shelf shortages

On 17 and 18 March 2020 first Woolworths and then Coles implemented a 7am to 8am shopping hour for the elderly and vulnerable.

Later in the day on Tuesday 17 March 2020 this happened at a Coles supermarket.......

Echo NetDaily, 19 March 2020:

About 3.30pm (Tuesday, 17 March, 2020), police received reports a man assaulted multiple people at a supermarket in a shopping centre on Uralba Street, Lismore. 

It is alleged, after becoming agitated when he was unable to find items he wanted to buy, the man pushed his trolley into two women, believed to be aged in their 70s, knocking one to the ground. 

He then allegedly pinned a 45-year-old female store attendant against the shelving and punched her in the face and chest. 

The store manager and a security guard approached the man and were also allegedly assaulted, before the man was removed from the premises. 

The 45-year-old woman sustained bruising and swelling to her left jaw, bruising and swelling to her left forearm, a small laceration to her left forearm, stiffness to her neck, bruising to her chest but declined medical assistance. 

The two older women left the store without leaving their details and it’s unknown if they were injured. 

Following a public appeal, a 63-year-old man was arrested by officers from Richmond Police District on Nimbin Road, North Lismore and taken to Lismore Police Station. 

 He was charged with affray, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault. 

The man was refused bail and will appear at Lismore Local Court today (Thursday, 19 March, 2020).

Friday, 13 March 2020

Lismore City Council withdraws plan to increase rates due to community backlash and concern over potential COVID-19 economic impact

The discovery that Southern Cross University campus at Lismore had been exposed to the COVID-19 virus in early March 2020 and news that weeks before that a number of workers on the Pacific Highway upgrade had also been exposed, indicates that this virus is now in the Northern Rivers region. 

LIsmore City Council took that into consideration, along with the impacts of recent drought and bushfires, at its ordinary monthly meeting on 10 March 2020.

The Northern Star, 12 March 2020: 

Lismore City Council will be withdrawing its controversial plan to increase rates by 24 per cent over four years, partly due to growing concern over the impact of coronavirus. 

The council last year decided to apply to IPART to implement a staggered increase of 7.5, 9.4, 3.9 and 3.2 per cent over four years to fund an infrastructure and roads backlog. 

But after community backlash and further lengthy discussions within council, councillors voted in favour Tuesday night to withdraw its application to IPART. 

The fear of coronavirus, mentioned by community members and councillors, was added to the list of reasons why many people considered imposing the rate rise was the wrong decision for the region. 

Councillors also discussed at length the usual concern about the financial burden on ratepayers, the ongoing recovery from natural disasters and the low-socio-economic demographic of the region. 

Councillor Nancy Casson, who put forward the motion to withdraw the IPART application, said unless the council acted smarter, a significant rate rise would hike up the amount of homelessness and create further financial hardships on ratepayers......

According to the NSW Dept. of Health there have been 78 cases of COVID-19 in the state as of 1pm on 12 March 2020.

Out of these cases, 3 people died and at least 4 have fully recovered, leaving est. 71 people still infected.

A further 11,040 people have been tested for COVID-19 and been excluded, while another 1,181 people are under investigation in the state.

Media reports state that Australia-wide there have been 140 cases since the start of the virus outbreak.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Lismore Diocese in the NSW Northern Rivers region once again focus of historical child sexual abuse allegations

Former Catholic priest Clarence David Anderson died in retirement at Toowoombah Qld in April 1996 and peacefully rests in a Goonellabah NSW cemetery, but his alleged victims are still seeking justice....

Newcastle Herald, 23 January 2020: 

A PARISH priest is suing a NSW Catholic diocese and an order of nuns [believed to be the Presentation Sisters] in what is believed to be the first Australian case of a serving Catholic priest seeking compensation for alleged child sexual abuse by a priest. 

 The Diocese of Lismore has denied liability for alleged crimes by the late charismatic "surfer priest" Clarence "David" Anderson against the then 12-year-old altar boy in the 1960s, and has given notice it will seek a permanent stay against the priest's case in the NSW Supreme Court. 

The move, initiated by the diocese last week, means survivors are "back to square one" in some dioceses despite legal reforms following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the priest's lawyer Mark Barrow said. 

The permanent stay application is despite the diocese offering compensation to two families in 2004 who alleged Anderson sexually abused two brothers aged 9 and 14 in the Macksville area between 1966 and 1968, and two other brothers, aged 9 and 15, in Tweed Heads parish in 1969.

Melbourne-based Broken Rites put the two families in touch with each other after both were told they were the first to complain about Anderson, and that the diocese had no knowledge of allegations about him. Anderson was a priest for just seven years. One of his alleged victims was advised by the Diocese of Lismore in 2002 that Anderson resigned in 1970. He died in 1996......

The Guardian, 25 January 2020:

The abuse is said to have occurred at a church on the north coast of New South Wales, which sat on the grounds of a boarding school....

It is the second time in recent months that the diocese has attempted to have an abuse case thrown out due to delay.
In December, the Lismore diocese successfully applied to permanently stay a case brought by a woman who alleged she was abused in the 1940s by a priest named John Curran, who has since died.
The church’s approach to delay conflicts with findings of the child abuse royal commission.
According to Broken Rites; In 2020, a legal firm is acting for eleven of Father David Anderson's victims, suing the Lismore Catholic Diocese for compensation.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

NSW Norther Rivers "cult' back in the news again

The Daily Examiner, 3 October 2019, p.8:

Almost $600,000 was clawed back from the charity founded by a Northern Rivers “cult” leader after the Australia Taxation Office found it was not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts.
Universal Medicine founder Serge Benhayon, who a Supreme Court jury found was “the leader of a socially harmful cult”, founded the College of Universal Medicine (CoUM) in August 2011.
Mr Benhayon started his “esoteric healing” business in 1999 after what he claims was an “energetic impress”.
Mr Benhayon sued blogger Esther Rockett for defamation but the jury ruled against him, finding most imputations made against him to be “substantially true”.....
ABC News, 13 September 2019:

A Brisbane multi-millionaire who donated $300,000 to a charity associated with a group later found in court to be a "exploitative cult" has said he gave the money freely as a reward for treating his chronic pain.

But software business owner Stephen Ninnes got his cash back, after an Australian Tax Office (ATO) crackdown forced the College of Universal Medicine (COUM) to relinquish almost $600,000 in donations.

The COUM promotes the teachings of Universal Medicine's (UM) multi-millionaire founder Serge Benhayon — a former bankrupt tennis coach who claims to be Leonardo Da Vinci reincarnated.

Mr Ninnes said in hindsight, after damning findings by a New South Wales Supreme Court jury last year in a defamation case brought by Mr Benhayon, "without any shadow of a doubt, I would have nothing to do with it".

The COUM remains a registered charity, despite being stripped of tax-deductable gift registration by the ATO, which found it was not operating a "college" for tax purposes…..

In his failed Supreme Court defamation claim against anti-cult activist Esther Rockett, Mr Benhayon gave evidence that UM followers had given $269,525 towards paying the mortgage.

The court heard UM was a $2 million-a-year business for Mr Benhayon, who had accumulated other multi-million-dollar properties and paid wages to his entire extended family.

It heard Mr Benhayon flies business class for annual retreats in Vietnam and twice-yearly vacations on a British country estate…..

The jury found Mr Benhayon was a "charlatan" who "swindles cancer patients", was "engaged in a healing fraud that harms people" and was "sexually manipulative of his cult followers".

It also found Mr Benhayon had "an indecent interest in girls as young as 10 whom he causes to stay at his house unaccompanied"…..

Documents filed in the defamation case detail the tax office action against COUM, which took $581,775 in donations for its "school building fund" between 2011 and 2015.

But then an ATO investigation found COUM was "not operating a school" because the courses it offered, such as "Being a woman in the world today", did not qualify as "knowledge-based teaching" for tax purposes.

It noted that COUM was fundraising to renovate a building to the "potential capital benefit" of its owner, Mr Benhayon, who would also earn $80,000 a year in rent.

Although there was no indication money was misspent, the ATO found most of the donations to the building fund were not maintained separately to COUM's money, meaning it could potentially use the cash "for other purposes" and "the safeguard of public money is threatened".

In February 2015, the ATO retrospectively stripped COUM's deductible gift recipient (DGR) status and COUM returned $563,282 to donors in October 2015…..

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) continues to endorse COUM as a registered charity.

An ACNC spokesman said it could not comment on individual charities but "all registered charities must remain not-for-profit [and] have solely charitable purposes".

"The ACNC takes all concerns seriously and will investigate where there is evidence that a charity has failed to comply with its obligations," he said.

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin denounced UM in NSW Parliament last month and called for a judicial inquiry into its "infiltration" of government departments.

"It is a cult that has caused the separation of families, is a wealthy commercial enterprise … and has targeted those who speak out," Ms Saffin said.

"Those who have escaped its clutches, or had their loved ones snared in its web of commerce and bizarre beliefs, have told me of its practices and harm."

UM devotees include medical practitioners, academics, child protection workers, and a police officer.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Tweed, Ballina, Lismore & Clarence candidates standing in the NSW State Election on Saturday, 23 March 2019

These are the Far North Coast sitting members in the NSW Legislative Assembly (Lower House):

Geoffrey Keith PROVEST, NSW Nationals MP for Tweed 

Tamara Francine SMITH, NSW Greens MP for Ballina

Thomas GEORGE, NSW Nationals for Lismore - not standing for re-election 

Christopher GULAPTIS, NSW Nationals MP for Clarence

These are all the candidates standing in the four state electorates and the positions they drew on ballot papers for the 23 March 2019 NSW State Election:

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Pre-European contact stone walls discovered on North Lismore Plateau

Echo NetDaily, 23 September 2016:

Bundjalung elder Mickey Ryan in the area of the plateau where rockwalls are located. (Darren Coyne)

Archaeologists investigating ancient stonewalls and other sites on the North Lismore Plateau believe the area could be as culturally significant as Uluru.

Led by Bundjalung elder Mickey Ryan, the archaeologists from Tocomwall Pty Ltd visited the plateau yesterday as part of a survey of the area’s cultural landscape.

Mr Ryan has been leading the fight to stop a 1500 dwelling development proposed by the Lismore City Council and local landowners.

The council has rezoned the plateau for residential development and has said that development applications would be lodged before the end of the year.

A section of the rockwalls which archaeologists believe pre-date European contact. (Darren Coyne)

But Scott Franks, managing director of Tocomwall, an Aboriginal cultural heritage consultancy firm that provides archaeological, ecological and cultural heritage services across Australia, yesterday told Echonetdaily that such a development would be desecration.

‘I believe it’s as significant as Uluru. I’ve never seen anything like this and I grew up with my old people walking the country. I’ve been in the army and all over Australia and I’ve never seen anything like it … especially not in New South Wales,’ Mr Franks said.

‘I believe it’s highly significant and the council should be turning their minds to ways to protect this. If this area is cleaned up and managed properly, and the right protocols are put in place with the right knowledge holders, I think it could be an unbelievable teaching area for archaeology, and also for tourism.’

‘The council needs to get with it and understand what they’ve got here but it seems they haven’t got a clue.’

Tocomwall’s senior archaeologist Jakub Czastka, who trained at the Institute of Archaeology in London, said the site should be properly surveyed and protected.
‘What I’ve seen up there in terms of the wall alignments and the features most certainly do not conform to European or post-contact practice,’ he said…..

Mr Ryan has vowed to fight any plans to develop housing on the plateau, and has the support of the Bundjalung Council of Elders.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

An open letter to NSW Nationals MP for Lismore, Thomas George

Letter to the editor in The Northern Star on 11 July 2014:

Represent us, please
Open letter to Lismore MP Thomas George:
For over two years now the Knitting Nannas Against Gas have been protesting outside your office every Thursday afternoon.
Initially, members of the nannas wrote to you and had meetings with you. We asked you to take our message to the NSW Parliament - that we had done our research and believed coal seam gas (and later, other forms of unconventional gas mining) were not suitable to our area. On these occasions we found you to be dismissive, and even rude. Even after the local government poll returned an 87% vote against CSG in our region, you refused to represent our concerns to Parliament.
You were elected by the voters of the seat of Lismore to represent us. Your wages are paid by our taxes. You are our employee, and frankly, you have not fulfilled the position's requirements.
Now that your government has suspended Metgasco's licence, will you take the opportunity to rethink your position? A brave person is one who can change their mind when circumstances change, and own it. Will you tell Parliament that your electorate will not countenance unconventional gasfields under any circumstances?
Will you ask them to extend the favours given to the viticulture and racing industries (drinking and gambling - great revenue raisers) to the beef, cattle and fresh food farmers of the Northern Rivers?
Have you informed Parliament that your son has been employed by Metgasco continuously for several years now, and checked whether that may be a conflict of interest?
Unless you change your position, your legacy will be one of shame. Your good works will be forgotten.
Knitting Nannas Against Gas

Friday, 21 February 2014

Defending their Jenny

Letter to the editor in The Northern Star, 15 February 2014:

Poor treatment
For nearly 5.5 years Lismore local government area has had the enormous benefit of Jenny Dowell as our mayor. I have had the privilege of working with Jenny as both Deputy Mayor and Councillor and I would estimate that Jenny spends at least 60 hours a week on her Mayoral duties. Jenny is scrupulous in not taking advantage of her role for political ends and supports decisions of Council even when she personally disagrees with them.
This does not mean that I or everybody agrees with Jenny on every issue.
However I strongly believe she is deserving of our respect.
Frankly I have been appalled by the way our Mayor has been treated over the issue of fluoridation of our water supply. In recent months our Mayor has received death threats, been abused repeatedly in social media, had people shout and scream at her in all manner of public places, had her integrity called into question and had people turn their backs on her. All because she supports, as do five other Councillors the artificial fluoridation of our water supply. Can I suggest that for all of us who oppose fluoride that taking out our anger and frustration on our mayor is not only totally disrespectful of someone deserving of our greatest respect, but also completely counter- productive to the campaign to keep fluoride out of our water supply.
Cr Simon Clough
Lismore City Council

Monday, 3 February 2014

Screenshot from Metgasco Limited proposed unconventional gas drill site at Bentley, NSW

Screen shot from Prime 7 News on 23 January 2014:

You are now on video just to both let you know, and I would like it if you would reverse off my leg [Unknown female at a Metgasco proposed drill site at Bentley on the NSW North Coast]

One of the men this woman was addressing:

Local people at Bentley, around 19 kms from Lismore, started their blockading of gas industry infrastructure on 23 January 2014 in what local and national media have dubbed The Battle Of (For) Bentley.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson calls Lismore coal seam gas plebiscite "a fraudulent poll"

A region in northern NSW has overwhelmingly voted against coal seam gas mining.
[ABC Rural 10 September 2012]
Prior to the poll, the actual level of opposition to CSG could only be estimated.
It is now clear that the community is highly engaged in the discussion about CGS activity
and does not want it in our LGA.
[Lismore City Council Mayoral Minute 9 October 2012]

In the 8 September 2012 Lismore Local Government Area Election 30,197 people were eligible to vote, with 25,641 voting in the mayoral poll and 25,660 voting in the councillor poll, according to the NSW Electoral Commission.

At the same time Lismore voted in its mayor and councillors for the next term it also voted in a formal plebiscite on coal seam gas.

This was the plebiscite question presented at the ballot:

Question No. 1
Do you support coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and production in the Lismore City Council area?
This was the result of that vote recorded by the NSW Electoral Commission:

Question No. 1 was NOT PASSED on 15/09/2012

Voter Turnout: 84.38%
Informal Rate: 2.80%
Of those 25,595 voters who participated in this non-compulsory plebiscite 86.86% voted No.

Now if one looks at the number of voters who participated in these three polls, it is apparent that the polls all have a fairly similar participation level and one which is obviously accepted as legitimate by the state electoral commission.

However, this is not good enough for Metgasco Limited’s director, shareholder and CEO Peter Henderson who chose in an NBN News interview on 6 December 2012 to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the plebiscite, calling it:

A fraudulent poll.. in which.. a lot of people chose not to vote.

Such contempt for the democratic process is mind boggling.


In his own misleading words.....

"a fraudulent poll" comment at 3min 58 secs


The Northern Star 10 December 2012:

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said Mr Henderson's comments were "quite odd."

"To claim the poll is fraudulent seems quite odd and casts a judgment on the voters of Lismore LGA who have clearly expressed their view.

"My question would be that if the poll produced a better result for CSG proponents, would Mr Henderson claim it was fraudulent?" said the Mayor.

Cr Dowell said that the positive and negative cases were prepared by the proponents and opponents to CSG mining, and that both sides believed their opposite side's case was questionable and unproven, but "the council did not modify or provide any input into the cases."

Monday, 8 October 2012

Saffin, George and Dowell see Lismore Jobs Market as offering a lifeline to soon to be sacked Telstra staff

Jobs Market offers a lifeline to Telstra staff
LISMORE’S political representatives are calling on all district employers to showcase job vacancies at a Jobs Market on Friday October 19, aimed at keeping Telstra Goonellabah Call Centre’s 116 staff working locally.
Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin, State Member for Lismore Thomas George and Lismore Mayor Cr Jenny Dowell hope the Telstra Lismore Jobs Market at the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre may offer a lifeline to affected staff.
The event will be sponsored by Telstra in association with the Australian Government’s Building Australia’s Future Workforce Program, NSW Trade & Investment and Lismore City Council.
Telstra Area General Manager North Coast NSW Sue Passmore said: “We are supporting the jobs market in Lismore and will be doing what we can to make it a successful and productive day for our people, as well as other local residents and businesses.”
In a joint statement, Ms Saffin, Mr George and Cr Dowell said: “We are still reeling from the impending loss of the Call Centre jobs, but it’s important for our community to rally around and help these workers so they don’t have to leave our area. We need to show we care for these workers and do all we can for them and their families.”
“This is a highly skilled workforce, and we believed they needed to meet face-to-face with potential employers about real job opportunities close to home, before the Call Centre is due to close its doors on Tuesday October 23,” they said.
“The Jobs Market allows employers to hand out information about their businesses, collect resumes, and potentially even shortlist candidates to interview. Employers who cannot attend the Jobs Market can still post details of vacancies on the Telstra Lismore Jobs Board.”
To register as an exhibitor at the Telstra Lismore Jobs Market, employers should phone the event hotline on 0266 863 972 or visit  Participation is free for exhibitors and attendees. Telstra employees will attend the Jobs Market in the morning and the afternoon session will be open to all local job seekers.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Planning should be based on need and not greed, says Nimbin candidate in 2012 Lismore LGA Election

Letter to the Editor in Echonet Daily on 4 September 2012:

Planning for need, not greed
As we move toward the local government elections next weekend you will be asked to consider the claims of a range of contenders for local government office, but the system our newly elected councillors will administer on our behalf seems to barely rate a mention.
‘Individuals and markets are best placed to deliver diverse choices in all development outcomes including housing and local centres,’ is the claim made by the NSW coalition government in their recent discussion paper ‘A new planning system for NSW’ (p 69).
It’s a curious claim given that individuals and markets have a well-known tendency to look after themselves thank you very much and not the local community. Surely it is our democratic local government that should mediate planning matters in our local community toward the common or community interest away from self-interest?
If the Liberal/National Party coalition do bring in legislation in line with their discussion paper, the role of elected councillors in determining development applications is recommended to be removed. The real decisions will be left to a collection of private certifiers for so-called exempt and complying development, and decision-making panels appointed by the state government of the day for larger developments. You will have no say in what is built or mined, near you or next to you.
The Greens see this as a terribly unbalanced and developer-friendly set of planning laws that remove all community involvement in almost every development decision across NSW. Powers to local councils to certify development need to be strengthened, not removed, giving the community an equal say to developers in the assessment process.
The government’s plan also removes Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) as one of the key objectives of the NSW planning system.
In his address to city mayors at Rio+20, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, declared that by ‘building sustainable towns and cities, you will build global sustainability’.
Ecosystems are the planet’s life support. Human health and survival are dependent on them. Cities must be planned, designed to protect both the health of the ecosystems and the health of people, not the interests of developers.
The kind of suburbs and rural areas we live in are about to be transformed, and we won’t have a say in it. The best we can hope for is a local council who will fight the state government tooth and nail to defend what little say we have over planning what happens in our neighbourhood.
Wouldn’t it be good if we had a real say and planning was based on community needs rather than greed? The Greens are committed to doing this.
Susan Stock
Lismore Greens candidate, Nimbin

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Telstra CEO gets a no nonsense letter from Saffin, George and Dowell over Lismore job losses


Friday, August 24, 2012.

REF: PE.24.08.12.

Mr David Thodey
Chief Executive Officer
Telstra Corporation Limited
Level 40, 242 Exhibition Street

Dear Mr Thodey,

We write as the Federal, State and local representatives for the Lismore district to formally request that you intervene and reverse Telstra’s ‘business decision’ to close its Goonellabah Call Centre on October 23 this year.

We maintain that the loss of an estimated 116 local jobs from such a closure is not only unnecessary but unacceptable, particularly when Telstra’s digital business streams are reported to be enjoying strong growth.

We seek a full explanation from you; the real reasons which led Telstra’s management team to arrive at such a cruel decision despite earlier public assurances that this particular call centre was safe.

This morning, we stood united on Lismore’s main street – Molesworth Street – to launch a community petition calling on you to intervene immediately to halt any plan to axe your highly skilled and loyal workforce in Goonellabah.

The petition further objects to Telstra abandoning its workforce in country Australia and moving jobs offshore, while recording massive profits ($3.4 billion) and awarding generous salary increases for executives.

Surely, there is a better and more respectful way to treat your Lismore staff, most of whom have to service mortgages or other financial commitments and whose families have strong ties to this community.

During this three-week consultation period regarding the closure decision, we stand ready to negotiate with yourself or your appointed executives on alternative proposals for keeping the call centre operational and profitable for Telstra.

We ask that due to the doubt and uncertainty which employees are feeling about their futures, that Telstra executives travelling to Lismore not intimidate or dissuade staff from seeking advice from CPSU officials.

We seek Telstra’s full co-operation in providing a Rapid Response Team of Federal and State agencies with immediate and unfettered access to the call centre to advise staff on various levels of support available to them.

We provide two points of contact for the Rapid Response Team being put in place:
Mr Terry Watson, Local Employment Coordinator, Richmond-Tweed & Clarence Valley Priority Area, Building Australia’s Future Workforce – 0412 320 077; email

Mr Craig Jenkins, Business Development Manager, NSW Trade & Investment – 0411 248 482 or 0266 226 145; email

Mr Watson and Mr Jenkins are experienced public servants who liaised with Telstra during the Grafton Call Centre closure in late 2010.

We are also of the firm belief that two or three weeks is not enough time for staff, who are grieving the potential loss of their livelihoods through redundancy or the upheaval of transfers, to cope with such transition.

Consequently, we ask that the consultation period be extended, in good faith, to several months to allow for a proper, more transparent analysis of all options for keeping these jobs in the Lismore district.

We understand that you have a business to run, but we are appealing to your corporate conscience to do the right thing by your staff and customers here on the Northern Rivers and avoid the kind of public relations disaster which accompanied your withdrawal from Grafton.

Yours sincerely,
Janelle Saffin MP
Federal Member for Page.
Thomas George MP
State Member for Lismore.

Cr Jenny Dowell
Mayor of Lismore City Council.