Showing posts with label people power. Show all posts
Showing posts with label people power. Show all posts

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Eight Byron Bay businesses closing shop for 20 September 2019 global climate strike

Echo NetDaily, 13 September 2019:

There are few better ways to prove you’re serious about taking action on climate change than putting your money where your mouth is.
And a handful of Byron business owners are doing just that, electing to forego their profits so their staff can take part in next Friday’s global climate strike.

The March School strike for climate change Byron. Photo Aslan Shand.
Bella Rosa, Endless Summer, Baskin Robbins, Tasa Jara, Retrospect Gallery, Etnix, Beyond Oil electric transport, and Sustainable Futures Australia will all shut up shop between 10am and midday on September 20 for the global day of action.
One of the local organisers of the strike, Emma Briggs, said volunteers would be speaking to other local businesses in the coming days to encourage them to get on board.
‘I understand this is a significant sacrifice for business owners in a busy period, but the sacrifices we’ll all have to make if we fail to turn around the climate crisis will be far greater,’ Ms Briggs said.
‘It is the young people who will have the most to lose if we continue with business as usual.’
‘We would like to thank all our supporters very much, and hope that consumers will consider patronising the participating businesses who have shown they care about more than just short-term profit.’
Following the success of previous school climate strikes in Byron Bay, students are organising buses to bring in hundreds of strikers from around the shire to rally at the Rec Grounds at 10am and march to Main Beach.
There will also be a screening of the film Inferno at the Beach Hotel at 8.30am, with the march to kick off at 10am.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Over 110 brands walked away from advertising on 2GB radio due to Alan Jones' misogynistic and violent language

The Guardian, 13 September 2019:

Faced with an advertiser exodus of more than 110 brands, Macquarie Media has written to advertisers promising a review of Alan Jones’ program, which it says failed to meet community standards.
Jones apologised last month to the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, for his comments that Scott Morrison should shove a sock down her throat, but this failed to stem the flow of advertisers, and 2GB and 4BC have continued to haemorrhage revenue.
The chairman of Macquarie Media, Russell Tate, wrote to advertisers on Friday to apologise for the comments about Ardern and “any disruption caused to your company as a result of remarks made by him”.
Alan and I are happy to talk and meet with as many of our advertisers as possible over the next two months to hear your views on how we can best serve your business, but in the meantime, I would be very interested to hear any comments or thoughts which can help us do that.
Jones is already on a final warning after Tate took the unprecedented step of scolding him publicly last month.“This incident has brought into sharp focus the need for all Macquarie Media broadcasters to ensure that the debate they bring to the microphone and the words they use are, at all times, respectful and reflect the standards expected today by our listeners, our clients, and the wider community,” he said......

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Remembering Terania......

ABC News, 17 August 2019:

It has been 40 years since the first images emerged of protesters blocking the path of bulldozers to stop the logging of rainforest at Terania Creek on the New South Wales north coast.

The protest is regarded as a watershed moment in Australia's environmental movement and cited as the first time people physically defended a natural resource.

While the fight to save the rainforest reached its climax in August 1979, the story began several years earlier when a young couple from Melbourne moved to a single-room cabin bordering the rainforest in Terania Creek.

PHOTO: Protesters Falls in Nightcap National Park are named after the demonstrations. (ABC North Coast: Leah White)

Hugh and Nan Nicholson said they were drawn to the incredible beauty of the area and were shocked to learn the following year that the Forestry Commission planed to clear-fell the forest.

"Our involvement was very sudden, very abrupt," Mrs Nicholson said.

"We had no experience, we were very young, but we felt we couldn't let this go, we had to try to do something."

Over the next four years, the Nicholsons said their efforts to halt the logging escalated from writing letters and submissions and lobbying politicians to hosting hundreds of protesters and being at the coalface of the fight.

"We found there were many other young people who had just moved to the area and they also were appalled at the idea of this beautiful forest being flattened," Mrs Nicholson said.

"So we quite quickly got into a group that was going to fight it, and that was the start of years and years of battle."

'Not so peaceful' protest say loggers

While the demonstrators' intentions were "non-violent, peaceful protest", not everybody held to that ideal.

Death threats were made and received by each side.

Even though Hurfords Hardwood had nothing to do with the Terania logging operation, the family's South Lismore mill was burnt to the ground.

The company who held the licence for the coupe at Terania Creek was the Standard Sawmilling Company from Murwillumbah.

John Macgregor-Skinner, the production manager at the time, said the toll from protests put an "astronomical" strain on his workers and family.

"We had tractors sabotaged, people threatened [with] chainsaws, trees spiked, bridges sabotaged and the like," he said.

"From a personal perspective, we received telephone calls to say that my wife was going to get raped, they knew where the kids were going to school and they weren't going to come home tomorrow.

PHOTO: Loggers say protesters sabotaged equipment during the Terania Creek protest. (Supplied: David Kemp)

"That happened on several occasions to the point that we had police protection and I had a direct line to the police inspector.

"Nothing did eventuate, but by gee you don't know."

Mr Macgregor-Skinner said the protest also had a detrimental impact on jobs on the NSW north coast.

"Terania Creek was only a very, very small part of our operations," he said.

"But what eventuated out of Terania Creek closed down the mill."

Mr Macgregor-Skinner estimates 600 jobs were lost in the region when Neville Wran, then New South Wales premier, made the historic 'rainforest decision' in October 1982, removing about 100,000 hectares of forest from timber production.

Legacy of saving the 'big scrub'

Bundjalung woman Rhoda Roberts was only young when the Terania Creek protests took place, but she can remember her late father, Pastor Frank Roberts, talking about the new arrivals who were eager to save the environment.

She said at the time traditional owners were living under the Protection Act.

"We didn't really have a voice. You've got to remember there were curfews, they were taking kids.

PHOTO: Rhoda Roberts remembers her father talking about the significance of the Terania Creek protest. (Supplied)

"People were very frightened, so to have a group of people who arrived on country and were determined to love that environment, from our perspective, was incredibly new."

Ms Roberts said the big scrub, which includes Terania Creek, is a 'storybook' place where knowledge is exchanged among generations.

"I'm indebted now because my children and the coming children … when we travel our territories, we still have a sample of land that we know has been there since time immemorial," she said.

"I pay my greatest respects to everyone who was involved in Terania Creek because you saved country for us, and we are all benefiting from that.".....

Read the full article with more images here.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

North Coast Voices going dark on 20 September 2019 as part of GLOBAL #CLIMATE STRIKE

In solidarity with the youth of the world and in consideration of their future and their children's future in a world wracked by the impacts of climate change, North Coast Voices is going dark on 20 September 2019 as part of GLOBAL #CLIMATE STRIKE.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

One of the reasons regional living is so good is the size and strength of community spirit

The Clarence Independent, 25 July 2019:

Iluka Bowls Club’s president, Ray Flaherty (4th form right, front), Ann and John McLean (centre with white t-shirts), pictured with bowls club directors and members. Image: Contributed

Iluka Bowls Club has offered to provide land for the proposed ambulance station in Iluka. 

Estimated to come with a $10million price tag, the NSW Government is currently working on “detailed service planning” and “site acquisitions studies” for the proposed station, Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said after the NSW budget was released in June. 

The bowls club’s general manager, Nicola Donsworth, said the land is located next to the netball court on the corner of Denne and Spenser streets. 

“It would be a perfect central location, with two street accesses, next to the helicopter landing area on the sports oval and next to the skate park and, and as we know, the majority of our town’s population is ageing. 

“It may be necessary to rezone the land but it might be an offer that the council and state government might find difficult to refuse. 

“We are hoping that if this offer is viable it may speed up the process and get this ambulance station established.” Ms Donsworth said the club’s board is in favour of the idea, subject to the club members’ approval. 

Ambulance Action Group spearheads, Ann and John McLean, welcomed the offer.

“The need for an ambulance station in Iluka has become more important than ever,” Ms McLean said. “Response times are getting longer. 

“There have been many incidents where paramedics have been sent from Grafton and Evans Head, due to there not being an ambulance available in Yamba or Maclean.  
“This is often caused because the paramedics are being utilised to transport patients from Maclean to Lismore or the Gold Coast.....

The budget papers list the ambulance station as commencing “prior to March 2023”.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

US Court Blocks Trump's Border Wall As Court Case Proceeds

It would appear that two years and four months after Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States of America a healthy resistance against his heavy-handed autocratic tendencies is still alive and well........

“The position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds “without Congress” does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic."  [Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, US District Court Northern District of California, Sierra Club et al v Donald J. Trump et al, 24 May2019]

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 25 May 2019:

From the beginning of his campaign for president, Donald Trump claimed that he was going to build a wall along the southern border. He said “nobody builds walls better than me.” He said the wall would be “big” and “beautiful.” He said someone elsewould pay for it. And he said it would be built so fast that “your head would spin.”

Last night, for the first time, a federal judge made clear to President Trump he couldn’t get his wall by illegally diverting taxpayer money.

The judge’s ruling comes in an ACLU lawsuit on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC). Together, the Sierra Club and SBCC represent the communities who live in, protect, and treasure the lands and communities along our southern border. For years, these communities have engaged in the democratic process and successfully persuaded their congressional representatives to deny President Trump funding to build his wall.

Our lawsuit centers on the question of whether the president abused his power to divert funds for a border wall Congress denied him. Unfortunately for President Trump, the Constitution is clear on the matter: only Congress has the power to decide how taxpayer funds are spent. And Congress, like border communities, said no to the President’s wall.

Congress didn’t bow to Trump’s pressure even after he caused the longest government shutdown in U.S. history over his demands for billions of dollars for his wall. Congress allocated only a fraction of the money that Trump demanded, and imposed restrictions on where and how quickly any border barriers could be built.

In a blatant abuse of power meant to circumvent Congress, President Trump declared a national emergency on February 15, 2019, and announced he would illegally divert $6.7 billion from military construction and other accounts for the border wall project.

From the beginning, the emergency was obviously a sham. Trump said as much himself when he declared the emergency, saying he “didn’t need to do this” but he’d prefer to build the wall “much faster.” He added that he declared a national emergency because he was “not happy” that Congress “skimped” on the wall by denying him the billions he demanded.

Despite this, the Trump administration tried to argue in court last Friday that Congress never actually “denied” President Trump the billions of dollars he is now trying to take from the military. The court rejected the administration’s argument, reminding the administration that “the reality is that Congress was presented with—and declined to grant—a $5.7 billion request for border barrier construction.”

The court’s ruling blocks the sections of wall that the Trump administration announced would be built with military pay and pension funds. It also invites us to ask the court to block additional projects as they are announced in the future. The judge emphasized the government’s commitment to inform the court immediately about future decisions to build.

It may be easy to ridicule President Trump’s desperation for a border wall — an absurd and xenophobic campaign promise for which he has only himself to blame. But as pointless and wasteful as it may be, Trump’s campaign promise now threatens to cause irreparable and real damage to our constitutional checks and balances, the rule of law, border communities, and the environment.

The wall is part of an exclusionary agenda that President Trump has targeted, over and over, at people of color. From his notorious Muslim Ban, to his efforts to eliminate protections for immigrants from Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, courts have found“evidence that President Trump harbors an animus against non-white, non-European” immigrants. Trump has repeatedly justified his wall by lying about border communities, falsely claiming that America needs a wall.

Border communities know firsthand that walls are dangerous and wasteful. They divide neighborhoods, worsen dangerous flooding, destroy lands and wildlife, and waste resources. As our clients explained to the court, “we are a community that is safe, that supports migrants, that works well together and supports one another, that is worthy of existence.”  What border communities truly need is infrastructure and investment, not militarization and isolation.

The court’s order is a vindication of border communities’ advocacy for themselves, and of our Constitution’s separation of powers. As the court wrote, “Congress’s ‘absolute’ control over federal expenditures—even when that control may frustrate the desires of the Executive Branch regarding initiatives it views as important—is not a bug in our constitutional system. It is a feature of that system, and an essential one.”

Friday, 26 April 2019

"Stop Adani" convoy gets good reception as it passes through the NSW Northern Rivers region

Supporters at Ferry Park, Maclean, on Pacific Highway heading north
Photo: The Daily Examiner online

The Daily Examiner
, 22 April 2019, p.4:

Protesters came out in support of the anti-Adani convoy as it made its way through the Clarence Valley yesterday.

Up to 180 cars, many of them electric, decorated in “Stop Adani” paraphernalia made their way along the Pacific Highway as part of a two-week campaign, organised by conservationist Bob Brown, to stop the proposed Carmichael coal mine.

Karen von Ahlefeldt said many in the convoy stopped for a chat and were “boosted” by the show of support.

“A lot of people standing there wished they could be on the convoy, this was a good chance for them to be part of it,” Ms von Ahlefeldt said.

Clarence Valley Councillor and Greens party member Greg Clancy stood at South Grafton waving on the cars as they made their way north.

“Politicians are not listening, and some of the public don’t understand,” Cr Clancy said.

“They think it is jobs, we need coal, but we don’t, we are phasing it out. Coal is not the future, it is the past.”

He said it was unthinkable to “dig up more of the Galilee Basin” and the proposed coal mine would be “contributing to climate change”.

Cr Clancy said movements such as the convoy were important steps to making change.

“Bob Brown has said this is going to be another Franklin River issue,” he said.
“People are not going to stand by. There will be protests, there will be arrests, it will be big.”

“You just have to look at how many vehicles have gone past today to know it’s going to be big.”

Mr Clancy called on politicians to commit to oppose the Queensland mine ahead of the federal election next month.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Is NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian intending "to make it a priority to finish off effective protection of the natural environment – something started years ago under the Coalition State Government"?

On Thursday 4 April 2019 the local Knitting Nannas held a protest knit-in outside the electoral office of NSW Nationals MP for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis.

Below is the text of their letter to Mr. Gulaptis dated the same day.


 Knitting Nannas Against Gas
Grafton Loop

c/- PO Box 763
Grafton 2460

4th April 2019
                                                                        C O P Y

Mr C Gulaptis MP
Member for Clarence
11 Prince Street

Dear Mr Gulaptis

Dissolving of Office of Environment and Heritage

The Grafton Nannas are very concerned about your Government’s recently announced intention of doing away with the Office of Environment and Heritage as an independent entity.

We have long been worried about the Government’s lack of concern about protecting the natural environment for current and future generations of humans as well as for other life forms.

Government policies over recent years have been seen by many in our community and elsewhere as being a de facto war on the natural environment.

For example:
  • Changes to vegetation laws which have led to a large increase in clearing of habitat which is important to the survival of native flora and fauna.  This weakening of the former laws is also likely to lead to increased topsoil loss and general land degradation.
  • Changes to logging regulations which threaten the sustainability of native forests which belong to the people of NSW – and not to logging interests. These changes include limiting pre-logging fauna surveys, an inevitable increase in clear-felling, and reduction in the width of buffer zones along streams.  
  • Failure to protect the health of rivers, particularly those in the Murray-Darling Basin.  For years the NSW Government, as well as the Federal Government, has been pandering to the irrigation industry while ignoring the need to protect river health by ensuring that flows are adequate for river health.  The drought is not an excuse for this folly.
  • Other examples include the cutting of funding to the National Parks & Wildlife Service and penny-pinching changes to its structure as well as the failure to ensure that the existing weak environment laws are enforced and appropriate penalties imposed on those who breach them.
We are aware that the Premier recently stated that her Government would make the environment a priority. 

Since hearing that OEH was to lose any of the limited independence it currently has and is to be pushed into a mega-Planning Department, we are left wondering about what the premier actually meant about “priority”.  Did she mean that she intended to make it a priority to finish off effective protection of the natural environment – something started years ago under the Coalition State Government?  It looks very much like that to the Nannas.

Yours sincerely

Leonie Blain
On behalf of the Grafton Nannas


Thursday, 11 April 2019

When local people power has a win

The rejection of a $25 million development at Byron Bay’s Ewingsdale Rd for a 282-lot subdivision was met with thunderous applause.
Villa World’s plan for a controversial development was unanimously rejected by members of the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel at a meeting on Monday.
It was the second DA for the West Byron site to be refused by the panel, as a $40 million development put forward by West Byron Landowners Group was rejected earlier this year.
Numerous speakers pleaded with the NRPP on many grounds, including that they “did not want a Gold Coast” in Byron Bay.
The proposal was refused on 10 grounds including: adverse impacts to surrounding properties; a significant visual impact and undesirable impact on the street scape inconsistent with the northern entrance to Byron Bay; the development was likely to have had adverse impacts on threatened species and ecosystems; no adequate discharge of storm water and was not considered in the public’s interest.
Echo NetDaily, 9 April 2019:

No social or environmental license

Newly reelected MP Tamara Smith said this another great win for our community and people power. ‘The thousands of community submissions and actions highlighting the fundamental flaws in developing this land have successfully culminated in the NRPP rejecting both subdivision plans – against the odds,’ she said.

‘With the rejection of both the West Byron subdivision applications by the NRPP the developers should immediately approach the State government and request that they buy the land and restore it to the Cumbebin Swamp Reserve.

Ms Smith said there is no social or environmental license for a subdivision of the swamp land known as West Byron. ‘So why waste more money on legal battles when the community is utterly opposed.

‘Restitution is on offer for the landowners and they should jump at the chance to be made whole and walk away. They need only look to Condon Hill at Lennox to see decades of iconic land ownership that has never passed muster to see development on it. Get out now is my advice.

‘I strongly advise Byron Shire Council to shelve any idea of a reduced sub-division and instead respectfully ask them to help me actually deliver what the community wants – No West Byron Mega-development.”

Justifiable opposition

Former Byron Shire Mayor Jan Barham also spoke to the panel. She said she wanted to acknowledge the amazing efforts of the community in their justifiable opposition to the inappropriate proposals for the West Byron lands.

‘This development fails on every point,’ she said. ‘From the destruction of biodiversity and the threat to the local koala population and wallum froglet, the filling of a flood prone area, likely negative impact on the Belongil Creek and the Cape Byron Marine Park and further traffic chaos on Ewingsdale Road, that will not be alleviated by the bypass.

‘I’m confident these points have been raised in sufficient detail in the submissions to inform a refusal.’

Ms Barham summed up the general feeling on the day. ‘The refusal of Villa World by the Planning Panel alongside the previous West Byron refusal, justifies years of commitment by our community to protect and preserve our special place, with evidence, passion and genuine concern for the future,’ she said after the decision was announced.

‘It makes me feel so proud to be a member of an activist community who knows the value of standing up for what we believe in and thankfully, this time, the independence of the process delivered the right outcome.

‘Well done to everyone who took the time to be involved, no doubt there will be more challenges to come but the refusals vindicates us and our role as protectors.’

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Estimated 100,000 attended School Strike For Climate rallies across Australia on 15 March 2019


Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Knitting Nannas from across NSW took their protest to Sydney on International Women's Day

United to Protect Our Water

101 Knitting Nannas from around NSW converged on Parliament House in Sydney on International Women’s Day (March 8) to protest about water mismanagement and the lack of effective government action to protect river and groundwater health. The theme of the protest was “No Water no Life”.

The Nannas came from Loops (local Nanna groups) in the Northern Rivers, Grafton, Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Midcoast, New England-North West, Central Coast, Gloucester, Hunter Valley, Illawarra, and Sydney.

The Nannas have long been very concerned about unwanted water impacts around NSW – issues which have been raised with elected representatives over a number of years.

· These include impacts on urban water catchments from coal mines - the Wallarah 2 mine on the Central Coast and the Hume mine in the Southern Highlands as well as the long-wall mining in the Illawarra which leads to massive water loss into mines.

· The North West of the state is also impacted by coal mines which use vast amounts of water – Whitehaven’s Maules Creek mine and the proposed Vickery mine.

· Then there’s the threat to groundwater from Santos’ gasfield in the Pilliga State Forest. This project is slated to extract 35 billion litres of groundwater – most of it in the first five years.

· But the most dramatic impact is the most recent – the Darling fish kills - the result of years of mismanagement and favouring of irrigators over the health of the river system.

The Nannas assembled in Martin Place where they donned their specially made t-shirts bearing a picture of a Nanna declaring “The Water Needs You” (in the spirit of the Lord Kitchener First World War recruiting poster) and their yellow, red and black suffragette-style sashes emblazoned with “No Water No Life”. 

After a group photo under the big banner (“United to Protect Our Water”), the Nannas walked to Parliament House and ranged themselves along the fenceline.  There they used their sashes to tie on to the iron railing of the fence in the manner of the suffragettes.

The brightly-dressed Nannas with their banners and their singing and chanting attracted a great deal of attention from pedestrians and those driving along busy Macquarie Street. A highlight of the street performance was the powerful rendition by Nanna Purl Stockinstitch of her poem about the death of farmer George Bender who was hounded by a CSG company in Queensland.  The Nannas hoped that the pollies in our parliament heard and took note of the effect the unconventional gas industry has had - and continues to have - on the lives of communities in gasfields.

Various politicians met with the Nannas on the footpath and were presented with their “knagging list” - the Nannas’ demands for action.

While the theme of the protest focused on the major problems with rivers and water, the Nannas demands were much broader. They included a call for immediate climate action, transition to 100% renewables, a state-wide ban on gas extraction (including in the Pilliga), proper protection of Aboriginal sacred sites and revocation of the draconian anti-protest laws brought in by the current NSW Government. 

The Knitting Nannas Against Gas and Greed are hopeful that all of the state political parties will accept their calls for effective action on these important matters. It should be noted that the Nannas, who are very concerned about the protection of the land and water for future generations, are non-party political and have a policy of annoying all politicians equally – something we aim to continue doing!

            - Leonie Blain
               Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas & Greed