Showing posts with label New South Wales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New South Wales. Show all posts

Friday, 21 February 2020

A NSW Government independent expert inquiry into the 2019-20 bushfire season providing input to NSW ahead of the next bushfire season is underway - how to make a submission

NSW Government, 3-10 February 2020: 

Dave Owens APM, former Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police, and Professor Mary O’Kane AC, Independent Planning Commission Chair and former NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, are leading the six-month inquiry, which is reviewing the causes of, preparation for and response to the 2019-20 bushfires. 

Submissions for the NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry are now open. 

Your response and feedback will help to inform the Inquiry's report...  

Use the online form below to make a submission. You can also provide your feedback by:
The deadline for submissions is 27 March 2020, but this can be extended for those directly impacted by the fires.
Terms of Reference 

The Inquiry is to consider, and report to the Premier on, the following matters. 

1. The causes of, and factors contributing to, the frequency, intensity, timing and location of, bushfires in NSW in the 2019-20 bushfire season, including consideration of any role of weather, drought, climate change, fuel loads and human activity. 

2. The preparation and planning by agencies, government, other entities and the community for bushfires in NSW, including current laws, practices and strategies, and building standards and their application and effect. 

3. Responses to bushfires, particularly measures to control the spread of the fires and to protect life, property and the environment, including: 
  • immediate management, including the issuing ofpublicwarnings 
  • resourcing, coordination and deployment 
  • equipment and communication systems. 

4. Any other matters that the inquiry deems appropriate in relation to bushfires. 

And to make recommendations arising from the Inquiry as considered appropriate, including on: 

5. Preparation and planning for future bushfire threats and risks. 

6. Land use planning and management and building standards, including appropriate clearing and other hazard reduction, zoning, and any appropriate use of indigenous practices. 

7. Appropriate action to adapt to future bushfire risks to communities and ecosystems. 

8. Emergency responses to bushfires, including overall human and capital resourcing. 

9. Coordination and collaboration by the NSW Government with the Australian Government, other state and territory governments and local governments. 

10. Safety of first responders. 

11. Public communication and advice systems and strategies.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Tropical Cyclone Uesi predicted to cause damaging seas along Australia's east coast as it weakens

Tropical Cyclone Uesi at Category Two level, Monday 10 February 2020

The Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre Port Vila, Vanuatu, has this particular cyclone tracking south west towards south-east Qld and the NSW North Coast as it weakens.

Weatherzone reported on 10 February 2020 that:

At this stage, there is a fair bit of uncertainty around the movement of this system from Thursday onwards, with a range of plausible scenarios. 
Some forecast models suggest that Uesi will move towards the southwest on Thursday and Friday, which would allow it to move closer to Australia's east coast towards the end of the week. If this happens, the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Uesi, most likely in the form of an extra-tropical cyclone, could cause direct impacts in eastern NSW or southeast Queensland. These impacts could include large and dangerous surf, strong winds and heavy rain. It's worth pointing out that dangerous wind and rain would only occur if the system gets close enough to the coast, while powerful surf can reach Australia even if the system stays well offshore.

The Weekly Times, 11 February 2020

According to the Fiji Meteorological Service, which is tracking Uesi, its current route should take it in a south-westerly direction towards the coasts of both New South Wales and Queensland. It could enter Australian waters as early as Thursday.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology also says there is a moderate chance the cyclone could turn southwest towards Australia on Thursday — giving odds of between 20%-50% the storm will enter the Coral Sea’s eastern region.

Issued at 2:37 am AEDT Thursday 13 February 2020. 
Refer to Tropical Cyclone Advice Number 7.

ABC News, 12 February 2020:

Tropical Cyclone Uesi could cause more havoc across the NSW coastline later this week, bringing swells of up to 5 metres. 

The news comes as the clean-up continues after the weekend's wild weather. 

The category three cyclone, which is passing north-east of New Caledonia, will track south-west towards the Tasman Sea and could cause increased swells, wind and rainfall as early as Thursday. 

ABC News weather journalist Graham Creed said the cyclone was expected to come closest to the coast on Friday and Saturday. 

"This may produce large swells, which combined with king tides may cause issues for beach erosion, as well as prolong the potential for locally heavy rainfall in showers and thunderstorms," he said....

The forecast at this stage is for swells of about 2 to 3 metres starting on the north NSW coast on Thursday and increasing to 3 to 5 metres on Friday....

By 8pm this evening, Thursday 13 February Cyclone Uesi will have dropped to a tropical low (while possibly maintaining an intensity equivilant to a Category 2 tropical cyclone) and is expected to sit less than 600km to the east of Tweed Heads as the crow flies.

At 2am Friday 14 February 2020 the tropical low is expected to be sitting further south less than 600km to the east of Moonee Beach.

Late Friday night the low will continue to track south before veering further away from the NSW coastline on Saturday.


*Image from Weatherzone, tracking map from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology & animated satellite image from NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory

Friday, 31 January 2020

Clarence Valley, Lismore & Richmond Valley get $1 million each from Drought Communities Programme after discovery of yet another alleged Morrison Government 2019 election campaign funding rort caused grant criteria to be revised & broadened

The Daily Examiner, 29 January 2020:

Yes, the Clarence Valley has been 100% drought affected with most of the land officially in either the Drought or Severe Drought categories.

This along with the bushfires has makes 2019-20 a horror year for farmers and graziers.

So this federal government grant is most welcome.

However, Clarence Valley local government area - like Lismore and Richmond Valley - only became eligible when criteria for assistance was changed after it was discovered that, just an in the 'sports rorts affair', there had been an apparent manipulation of a grant programme's funding allocations just prior to the May 2019 federal election - when of the 14 councils announced eligible as a Coalition election commitment 13 were in Coalition-held electorates and just one was not as it was held by an Independent.

The plus for Nationals MP for Page, Kevin Hogan, is that now instead of one council in his electorate being given a Drought Communities Programme grant, there are now three four.

Richmond Valley, another Northern Rivers local government area, also receives a grant of $1 million. However it is in a federal electorate which has been held by the Australian Labor Party since 2004. 

Somewhat ironic that a move by Morrison & Co to assist Coalition electorates has ended up giving this particular Labor electorate a windfall.

Monday, 20 January 2020

As the black crows of the NSW logging industry begin to gather for an assault on remaining forests, this from Australian Labor Party Leader.......


The Morrison Government should convene a meeting of state and territory environment ministers and commence an Australian Natural Asset Audit, amid estimates that up to one billion animals have perished in the nation’s bushfire disaster.
The Government must also guarantee continued funding for the nation’s Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, which will cease to exist from July next year because it does not conform to the Government’s rewritten guidelines for CRCs, which favour commercial research.
Australians love the bush. Many of us live in the bush and our precious wildlife is deeply ingrained in Australian sense of identity.
With more than eight million hectares burned so far this bushfire season, we must turn to land management specialists and scientists to assess the scale of this ecological disaster and advise governments on a national approach to recovery efforts.
The Melbourne-based Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre is building disaster resilient communities across the country by bringing together all of Australia and New Zealand’s fire and emergency services authorities with leading experts across a range of scientific fields.
In 2013 the Labor Government provided $48 million to fund the centre for eight years through to June 2021 based on warnings by scientists that climate change would increase the severity and frequency of extreme weather events.
Despite its strong record of success and ongoing need for national collaboration over natural disasters, the centre is ineligible for further funding under the Morrison Government’s current CRC Guidelines.
This bushfire season, up to 26 lives have been lost and at least 1800 homes have been destroyed.
Our key focus must be to support affected communities, victims and families of those who have lost their lives.
But Australians have also been shocked by graphic and heart-rending images of dead and injured wildlife as well as farm stock.
It is critical that as part of the recovery we understand the impact of the tragedy on the National Estate, including our wildlife, and that we better understand how to reduce bushfires and protect our precious natural habitat.
As part of whole-of-government approach to rebuilding our communities, the Federal Government must act now to better protect Australia’s unique natural assets.
The bushfire emergency is a national crisis that requires a national response.
Labor is proposing:

1. An Australian Natural Asset Audit
  • The Morrison Government should immediately commence Australian Natural Asset Audit to understand the true impact that these devastating bushfires on our national icons and natural assets. The audit would assess the loss of our native animal and plants species that have been wiped out an unprecedented rate during the bushfire crisis engulfing Australia, and would assess habitat loss and impacts on environmental assets.
  • The Commonwealth should mobilise Australian scientists and land management professionals to immediately begin the mammoth task of assessing the ecological and biodiversity damage to Australia’s natural assets. The audit would enable the government to bring together Australia’s best ecologists and on the ground practitioners, including rangers from our national parks, local and state government environmental management staff, farmers and indigenous leaders from impacted areas.
  • The audit should be used to inform short, medium and long-term recovery efforts, including urgently supporting the Threatened Species Scientific Committee on immediate actions to increase the recovery, management and protection of Australia’s threatened species, including any new listings required, and to recommend proactive measures for the next bushfire crisis.
2. Start national recovery planning now: The Commonwealth should urgently convene a meeting of the environment ministerial council to commence recovery planning now
  • Immediately start recovery planning through the joint environment ministerial council with the states, to assess animal hospital services, demand and funding and short to medium-term recovery measures in key habitats for existing critically endangered species.
  • The Government should also take steps to activate a coordinated national group of Landcare volunteers in an Australia-wide effort to recover and regenerate our key natural assets and to protect the economic benefits and jobs that flow from our international reputation as a natural wonderland.
3. Immediately guarantee funding for the Cooperative Research Centre
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison must provide funding certainty to the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.
  • The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC has less than 18 months of funding left and is currently ineligible for renewed funding under the Morrison Government’s amended CRC Guidelines.
  • The Centre predicts a return on Commonwealth investment of 7:1 through reduced loss of life and injury, reducing government costs and reducing insurance costs.
For example, the town of Gracemere in Queensland was saved in 2018 as a result of science-based predictive capacity developed by the Centre.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Bushfire ash & debris as well as drought now killing fish in NSW coastal and inland rivers

"Fish kills are defined as a sudden mass mortality of wild fish. In NSW we are likely to see further severe fish kills across coastal and inland catchments during the summer of 2019/20....Fish can be directly impacted during fires through extreme high temperatures, loss of habitat, or be threatened from rapid declines in water quality if rainfall occurs in recently burnt areas. Run-off from rainfall events can wash large amounts of ash and sediment into rivers following fires, causing rapid drops in oxygen levels and threatening the survival of fish populations." [NSW Dept of Primary Industries]

The upper reaches of the Clarence River have been badly stressed by low water flows since 2018, so when bushfires began to eat their way through the severely drought affected Clarence Valley in mid-2019 it was obvious that the rolling impacts wouldn't stop when the fires diminished or when rain fell.

There has been a fish kill at Big Fish Flat, an area known for the protected eastern freshwater cod now only found in parts of this river system and commonly known as Clarence River Cod.

The most likely cause of this kill is bushfire ash entering a river which has all but ceased to flow - turning what water there is into a toxic brew.

At Baryulgil on the Clarence est. 1,000 fish died due to low dissolved oxygen within an isolated pool receiving minimal inflows due to drought conditions.

There was also a fish kill on the Mann River, a major tributary of the Clarence which reportedly coincided with ash in the water.

Two fish kills were experienced to the north at Emigrant Creek at Tintenbar in the Ballina Shire and the Brunswick River near Byron Bay - possibly due to low dissolved oxygen within an isolated pool and minimal freshwater inflows. 

Another fish kill occurred to the south on an 8km stretch of the Macleay River where locals describe the bushfire ash and burned debris turning that river's water into a thick sludge killing hundreds of thousands including Australian Bass, Bull TroutFreshwater MulletEel-tailed Catfish and Eels.

The Guardian, 17 January 2020: Results of a fish kill in the Macleay River in northern New South Wales, which locals said was like ‘cake mix’. Photograph: Larry Newberry

Similarly bushfire affected water ways in the NSW-Qld Border Rivers system appear to have been similarly affected by run-off from the fire grounds and reported fish kills there are being investigated.

All in all a total of 23 coastal and 17 inland NSW waterways have experienced small to large fish kills to date during the 2019-20 bushfire season.

Friday, 17 January 2020

And the drought continues across New South Wales....

There is no land in NSW which is not affected by drought.
CDI = Combined Drought Indicator. RI = Rainfall Index. SWI = Soil Water Index. PGI = Pasture Growth Index. DDI = Drought Direction Index
Data current to 11/1/2020 (AEDT)

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Rain predicted across NSW from today but it's not all good news - may be landslips, fallen trees & flash flooding on land burnt by bushfire since August 2019

NSW Bushfire Emergency Declaration covering the Clarence Valley has been revoked as fires begin to diminsh

Bushfires in the Clarence Valley are diminishing.

So the Section 44 Bushfire Emergency declation declared in August 2019 when the NSW Rural Fire Service was battling around twenty fires a day - many caused by hazard reduction burns on private land which ran out of control - was revoked last week.

Although the fire grounds have contracted significantly, the Myall Creek Road and Washpool National Park fires are still burning and peat in the Shark Creek area is also still alight.

However, these fires have been listed as under control for some weeks.

Valley residents should still keep an eye open for new fire activity, because forewarned is forearmed for our scattered communities.

Since June 2019 an est. 548,698 hectares have burned in a local government area comprising a total of 1,044,996 hectares. That is almost 53 per cent of the Clarence Valley land mass affected by fire to date.

The fires kicked off in a big way in September when the Shark Creek fire entered Yuraygir National Park and spread to threaten Angourie and Wooloweyah with one spot fire burning as far north as the vicinity of the Yamba community pool before being controlled.

Then in October-November the Nymboida region began to blaze, quickly followed by the spread of the Myall Creek Road fire into the Valley, then Washpool National Park began to burn and Woombah through to the New Italy area as well as Bunjalung National Park lit up - creating even larger fire grounds.

Now on Wednesday 15 January 2020 the smoke has gone, the air is clean, in the Lower Clarence River the water remains clear and, popular beaches along the Clarence Coast are much as they were before the bushfire emergency began.

During the Christmas holidays the tourists came back, so there are small children in rashies, young women in sarongs & sandals and proud local grandparents showing off their visiting grandkids once more peopling our streets.

But all is not well. 

We can easily count how many homes, sheds and how much community infrastructure we've lost in the Valley and, eventually money will rebuild much of what is gone.

Trying to gauge the degree of loss of natural landscapes, wildlife biodiversity and cultural sites - and what that means to us as regional communities - will be much harder.

The Clarence Valley may find itself changed forever. 

Monday, 6 January 2020

Think how many Australian lives, homes and forests could have been saved if Scotty From Marketing had done this in September-October 2019

Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison literally spent months denying the widespread mega fires were something that as a nation and as a people we had never experienced before.

He stubbornly and callously ignored the mounting death toll, the loss of so many homes and businesses, the environmental devastation, the crushing fatigue of volunteer firefighters, because he wanted to stay on message - coal is king and climate change is something 'greenies' use to scare the kids.

It wasn't until bushfire victims and firefighters began to get right in his face, when he realised that he might lose that lucrative prime ministerial paypacket, that he finally began to provide a decent level of federal assistance.

It's just a pity that this below is over four months too late for most of New South Wales from the Great Dividing Range to the Pacific Ocean.

Friday, 3 January 2020

Weather conditions expected to worsen on Saturday 4 January 2020 as south-eastern Australia once again gears for widespread severe fire danger

A total of 18 people have died so far in Australia's 2019-20 bushfire season and, sadly this number may yet rise.

Tomorrow, Saturday 4 January 2020 is expected to see the same fire conditions as those experienced on 31 December 2019, when parts of the NSW South Coast and East Gippsland in Victoria burned to the sea and at least 8 lives were lost.

IMAGE:, 1 January 2020

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons stated on Wednesday:

“We’re expecting widespread severe fire dangers dominated by very hot conditions, up into the 40s, dry air coming out of the centre of Australia and westerly winds that will dominate.”

Fortunately for the NSW Northern Rivers region it is not expected that Saturday's heatwave conditions will affect us.

With the Australian Bureau of Meteorology predicting daytime temperatures from 29°C at Yamba to 33°C at Lismore.

In other news:

The Australian Defence Force scaled up its assistance on New Year’s Day with a Black Hawk helicopter rescuing three people from the New South Wales town of Moruya while another Black Hawk evacuated at least one person from Mallacoota in Victoria. 

But a decision is yet to be taken on whether the military will be needed for large-scale evacuations from Mallacoota and other towns ringed by fire, amid forecasts that conditions will worsen on Saturday.


Naval evacuation of civilians going ahead with reports up to 1,000 Victorian bushfire refugees expected to board HMAS Choules and MV Sycamore by early morning on 3 January 2020.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

What a backburn looked like in one section of a northern NSW mega fire, 8 December 2019:

2:26 pm December 8, 2019 

Photo perfectly captures firefighters' bravery 

Ally Foster 

A photo of three firefighters battling a blaze in NSW's north has earned praise from hundreds of social media users.
The picture shows National Parks and Wildlife Service fire fighters Matt McClelland, Ray Dayman and George Barrott-Brown working to backburn a fire in Washpool, near Grafton.

The men appear to be surrounded by flames as they face the blaze in front of them.

"Back burns are conducted as part of fire containment strategies, at the direction of the incident controller," the National Parks and Wildlife Service wrote on Facebook.
Picture: Kyle Gibson 
"While the photo gives the impression they are surrounded by fire, they are highly trained staff, working within safer burnt ground, with a clear path of retreat."
The incredible photo gained hundreds of comments, with many people thanking the men for their bravery.
"Just looks so overwhelming. You all do an amazing job, putting your own lives on the line to keep everyone else safe," one person said.
"You are all incredible and brave. Thanks for all your efforts," another wrote.
One added: "This photo taken by Kyle Gibson of a fire near Grafton NSW gets me choked up. The bravery of firefighters is unmeasurable."

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Terania Creek Rainforest needs saving again - this time from climate change

In November 2019 wildfire burnt into the World Heritage Listed rainforests of Terania Creek. The community stood up to protect these rainforests from logging 40 years ago, now they need to stand up to protect them from global heating.

Gondawana Land formed around 250 million years ago and began the slow process of breaking up to form South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, Antarctica, and the Australian mainland an est. 165 million ago.

Australia split off est. 65-75 million years after the land mass break up began with Tasmania the last piece to break way from the continental remnant which became Antartica and that occurred around 45 million years ago. 

Inside the remnants of ancient Godwana rainforests in Australia can be found plant species that are direct decendants of plants that existed before Gondwana Land ceased to be.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

North Coast, Mid-North Coast and Northern Tablelands to have access to over $48 million for bushfire recovery, including grants of up to $15,000 each for eligible farmers

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Joint media release with the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP, Hon John Barilaro MP, and Hon David Elliott MP – Community recovery package for farmers, small businesses and non-profit organisations in NSW communities hit by bushfires

  • $48.25 million North Coast, Mid North Coast and Northern Tableland recovery package
  • This includes $18.25 million for Community Recovery Fund for community projects and mental health
  • Recovery grants of up to $15,000 for farmers and small businesses
Farmers and small businesses on the North Coast, Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands that were hit by the recent NSW bushfires can now access recovery grants of up to $15,000.

Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the $15,000 grants would help bushfire affected communities get back to doing what they do best.
“Getting back to business is one of the best ways to bounce back,” Minister Littleproud said.
“This will make sure businesses can open and people are back to work sooner.
“When money flows around a community it can help to speed up the whole recovery.
“An $18.25 million Community Recovery Fund has also been set up for targeted community project grants and mental health support.
“The mental toll on the community, volunteers and emergency service staff can linger long after the fires and they will need ongoing support.
“In addition the targeted grants will be available for projects that help with the recovery and improve disaster resilience.”
Premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian said that the assistance package is a commitment from both governments to not only assist the long term recovery effort of bushfire affected communities, but also the farming and business sectors by making available recovery grants of up to $15,000 to eligible primary producers and small businesses.
“The impact to communities has been evident over the last few weeks, however the extent of the impact to our farming and business sectors has not been fully quantified as these bushfires continue to burn.
“We also know the emotional impact a disaster like this can have on communities which is why we are committing $4.05 million to mental health services,” Premier Berejiklian said.

New South Wales Deputy Premier, John Barilaro said regional New South Wales is going through a difficult time with the drought biting hard and ferocious bushfires across the state.

“This funding is an important step towards helping communities recover and we will do everything we can to help regional families rebuild for the long run,” Mr Barilaro said.
New South Wales Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott said the State and Federal Governments are working together to help communities impacted by the recent bushfires get back on their feet as soon as possible.
“The Community Recovery Fund and the recovery grants will be targeted across three regions that have been identified as the worst affected,” Minister Elliott said.
Assistance is being provided through the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

To apply for a recovery grant, primary producers and small businesses should contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit [my yellow highlighting]

Recovery grants are available in these local government areas: 
Armidale, Ballina, Bellingen, Byron, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, Kempsey, Kyogle, Lismore, Mid-Coast, Nambucca, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield, Tweed and Walcha.

Eligibility to apply for grants can be checked here.

Farmers are obviously not happy with these disaster recovery funding arrangements.....

ABCNews, 25 November 2019:

Farmers say a joint New South Wales and Federal government bushfire recovery package is a fraction of what will be needed to recover from what they say resembles a war zone....

The NSW Farmers Association CEO Peter Arkle said the bushfires have destroyed about 26,000 kilometres of fencing and that repair bill alone was estimated at about $300 million.

"The scale of this recovery task is immense and so we'll be looking to all levels of government to continue to support farmers and regional businesses to take on what will be a mammoth recovery task."

Beef and soybean producers David and Carolyn Duff had 30 year's worth of infrastructure destroyed at their "Toorooka" property west of Kempsey on the Mid North Coast.

"I suppose we're grateful for any assistance that we get initially and the sooner we can access the money the better off for us personally," Mr Duff said.

"But really in the scheme of things I mean the $15,000 to our business is going to be only a drop in the big bucket.

"We're faced with a boundary fence, replacement cost of up $220,000 — that's a rough guess.

"Fifteen thousand dollars will only replace 1 kilometre of 17 kilometres that we've estimated that we've lost, and there's probably 80 per cent of it totally wiped out.

"There may be 20 per cent of it that we can resurrect, patch up but that's not counting infrastructure, fences, yards, sheds and all that sort of thing."

The couple estimated their business has suffered an overall loss of up to $1.2 million on the property.

"I mean we lost 60 head of cattle which had to be euthanased by the LLS [Local Land Services]," Mr Duff said.

"It was very sad and it was very traumatic, our cattle are our livelihood and as any beef producer knows he hates to lose one let alone that many all at once.

"I don't think that Canberra really gets the enormity of the devastation and the effect that it has had on people like us — grassroots mum and dad and the kids — cattle people."....