Showing posts with label pollution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pollution. Show all posts

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Climate change, what’s climate change?



Because the majority of rightwing members of the Australian Parliament refuse to accept the realities of climate change the nation ended up with legislation like this on 3 April 2019.


Medium.com, 3 April 2019:

In the final sitting day before the election Senators passed a bill to greatly increase the powers and funding of the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic).

Under the guise of Australia’s ‘step-up’ in the Pacific, the Senate has turned this obscure agency into a larger ‘development bank’ for infrastructure oversea.

The changes were strongly criticised by Australia’s development community, and as Australia Institute research has warned, risk fast-tracking taxpayer funding towards fossil fuel projects in the region, undermining the climate action on which the safety of the Pacific depends.

What the Efic?

Efic is a lending agency whose core job is lending to support Australian exporters, ostensibly small and medium sized enterprises.

In recent years the government has used Efic to administer the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) — the agency that wanted to lend Adani $1 billion dollars for its railway line — and the government’s multi-billion dollar Defence Exports Facility.

By passing the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Amendment (Support for Infrastructure Financing) Bill 2019, the Senate gives Efic nearly unfettered scope to fund any sort of infrastructure, and access to an extra billion dollars, increasing six-fold its ‘callable capital’ to draw on to back up even larger loans.

Despite the stated purpose of supporting development, under the changes Efic is required only to maximise ‘Australian benefits’. There is no mention at all of the development needs and challenges of countries where Efic would invest.

Instead, Efic can now lend simply to benefit “a person carrying on business or other activities in Australia”, which the government states will empower Efic to promote fossil fuel “energy” exports from Australia.

Taxpayers Funding Fossil Fuels

Efic has a long and sorry history of funding fossil fuel projects, both overseas and in Australia. Half of its current portfolio is in the fossil fuel and mining sectors.

Despite being a Commonwealth agency, Efic explicitly states it is no constrained by the goals of the Paris Agreement and it has refused to disclose how it considers climate risk.

The biggest thing Efic has ever done was backing the PNG LNG project, a massive gas project in Papua New Guinea. Efic was warned in advance it would likely lead to civil conflict and economic disruption. And it did, sparking conflict verging on civil war.

Right now, under current rules, Efic is thinking about lending money to Woodside to develop an oil and gas field in Senegal in Africa. Efic has previously been in talks with Adani about its coal mine……..

Monday, 25 February 2019

Is the Great Barrier Reef not dying quickly enough for the Morrison Government and Australian Environment Minister Melissa Price? Are they trying to hasten its death?


Australia's Great Barrier Reef has been under threat from increased human activity for generations.

Sediment runoff due to land clearing and agrigultual activity, pollutants from commercial shipping, unlawful discharge of waste water from mining operations and coral bleaching due to climate change.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation is a port authority responsible for facilities at Weipa, Abbot Point, Mackay and Hay Point trading ports, and the non-trading port of Maryborough.

Three of these ports are in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. One of these, Hay Point is reportedly among the largest coal export points in the world.

This is what the Morrison Government's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has given this corporation permission to do.............

The Guardian, 20 February 2019:

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has approved the dumping of more than 1m tonnes of dredge spoil near the reef, using a loophole in federal laws that were supposed to protect the marine park.

The Greens senator Larissa Waters has called for the permit – which allows maintenance dredging to be carried out over 10 years at Mackay’s Hay Point port and the sludge to be dumped within the marine park’s boundaries – to be revoked.

“The last thing the reef needs is more sludge dumped on it, after being slammed by the floods recently,” Waters said. “One million tonnes of dumping dredged sludge into world heritage waters treats our reef like a rubbish tip.”

Acting on concerns from environmentalists, the federal government banned the disposal of dredge spoil near the reef in 2015. But the ban applied only to capital dredging. Maintenance work at ports – designed to remove sediment from shipping lanes as it accumulates – is not subject to it.

On 29 January the marine park authority granted conditional approval for North Queensland Bulk Ports to continue to dump maintenance dredge spoil within the park’s boundaries. The permit was issued just days before extensive flooding hit north and central Queensland, spilling large amounts of sediment into the marine environment.

Waters said the distinction between capital and maintenance dredging made little difference to the reef…..

North Queensland Bulk Ports, in a statement posted online shortly after the permit was issued, said it had to meet conditions to protect the marine environment. The ports authority said its dumping plan was peer-reviewed and considered best practice.

“Just like roads, shipping channels require maintenance to keep ports operating effectively,” the ports authority said. “Maintenance dredging involves relocating sediment which travels along the coast and accumulates over the years where our shipping operation occurs.

“Importantly, our assessment reports have found the risks to protected areas including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and sensitive habitats are predominantly low with some temporary, short-term impacts to (bottom-dwelling) habitat possible.

“The permits allow for the long-term, sustainable management of maintenance dredging at the Port and will safeguard the efficient operations of one of Australia’s most critical trading ports.”

Maintenance dredging will begin in late March. Initial dredging will take about 40 days.

BBC, 22 February 2019:

Australia plans to dump one million tonnes of sludge in the Great Barrier Reef.

Despite strict laws on dumping waste, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) gave the go-ahead.

A loophole was found - the laws don't apply to materials generated from port maintenance work.

It comes one week after flood water from Queensland spread into the reef, which scientists say will "smother" the coral.

The industrial residue is dredged from the bottom of the sea floor near Hay Point Port - one of the world's largest coal exports and a substantial economic source for the country....

It's just "another nail in the coffin" for the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, which is already under stress due to climate change, according to Dr Simon Boxall from the National Oceanography Centre Southampton.

"If they are dumping it over the coral reef itself, it will have quite a devastating effect. The sludge is basically blanketing over the coral.

"The coral relies on the algae, that's what give them their colour and what helps them feed - without this partnership the coral will suffer dramatically."

Dr Boxall says his worries about sludge-dumping are short-term - with the current Australian summer a time for "rapid algae growth".....

Dr Boxall says the impact will be lessened if the sludge is taken far enough offshore, but that it will still contain high amounts of harmful materials such as trace metals.

"If it's put into shallow water it will smother sea life," he says.

"It's important they get it right.

"It'll cost more money but that's not the environment's problem - that's the port authorities' problem."

Last year, Australia pledged A$500 million (£275m) to protect the Great Barrier Reef - which has lost 30% of its coral due to bleaching linked to rising sea temperatures and damage from crown-of-thorns starfish.

One of the threats listed at the time was "large amounts of sediment".

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Offensive odour leads to EPA inspection & pollution fine for Clarrich Farms piggery in northern NSW



Clarrich Farms Pty Ltd, a company registered in Queensland since April 2015, also operates a 2 site (Breeder-Grower), 1000 sow operation in Northern NSW region of Australia.

One of those piggery sites is on Jacksons Flat Road, Jacksons Flat near Tabulam in the Clarence Valley.

NSW EPA, media release, 23 January 2019:

EPA fines Clarrich Farms $15,000 for failure to manage waste

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Clarrich Farms Pty Ltd $15,000 for allegedly mismanaging piggery waste at its Tabulam property.

EPA Regional Director North Adam Gilligan said Clarrich Farms piggery had failed to properly manage piggery effluent and other waste materials at the premises, posing a risk of pollution to the nearby Clarence River and breaching their Environment Protection Licence.

“The EPA carried out an inspection of Clarrich Farms in July 2018 in response to a complaint about offensive odours from the piggery. The inspection identified a large area on the premises that had been smothered by a thick blanket of effluent sludge,” Mr Gilligan said.

“Our investigations found that the previous day the licensee had pumped sludge and liquid effluent from a treatment dam onto the ground to manage odours emitted from the piggery.

“Analysis of sludge samples returned highly elevated nutrient and faecal contamination levels. Phosphorus levels were particularly high.

“During the inspection EPA officers found the sludge and effluent flowing towards the Clarence River, ultimately covering approximately 7.25 hectares of ground.”

The EPA required Clarrich Farms to immediately clean up the sludge, and implement ongoing measures to contain and reduce the elevated phosphorus levels of the impacted area of land.

The EPA is also liaising with Clarrich Farms on the broader environmental management of the facility including increased environmental monitoring requirements.

The EPA investigates all reports of suspected pollution and encourages anyone with a concern, or knowledge of environmental harm to contact the 24-hour EPA Environment Line on 131 555.

Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Quotes of the Week


“I fear that the danger of plastic bags is much exaggerated”  [Former sacked prime minister & Liberal MP for Warringah Tony Abbott quoted in The Guardian on the subject of plastics polluting the environment, 6 October 2018]

 “A key architect of the landmark Paris climate deal has lambasted the Coalition government’s inaction on greenhouse gas emissions, saying it “goes against the science”, squanders economic opportunity and risks Australia’s international standing. Laurence Tubiana, a respected French diplomat and economist, also says Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s claim that Australia will meet its Paris targets “at a canter” is contradicted by international scientific opinion.”  [Journalist Nicole Hasham in The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 October 2018]


“To me this particular event seems to show the Liberal party has been taken over frankly by extremists on the hard right who aren’t particularly motivated to win elections and aren’t particularly motivated to serve the public. They’re just motivated by a crazy agenda.”  [Alexander Turnbull, son of deposed Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in The Guardian, 11 October 2018]

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Yet another opportunistic mining exploration company has the Clarence Valley in its sights: Public Meeting 2.30pm on 13 September 2018 at Grafton Regional Library


Having received approval from the NSW mining regulator in June 2018 Castillo Copper Limited (CCZ) has proceeded with its exploratory drilling program with a view to establishing an open cut mine at Cangai in the Clarence Valley.

Castillo Copper Limited image
This small West Australian base metal exploration company may be operating on a shoestring budget and currently trade at only $0.039 per ordinary share, however an open cut mine so close to the Mann River means that the greed of Messrs. Peter Meagher, Peter Smith And Alan Armstrong has the potential to severely damage the Clarence River system.

There is to be a community meeting and Clarence Valley residents are urged to attend:

2 hrs · 
Goodbye Mann and Clarence Rivers if this gets approval. The plan is to open cut mine and that involves removing a large hill and metal extraction usually involves highly polluting chemicals. This is no win for the Valley. It is a disaster. A meeting is being held at the Clarence Regional Library in Grafton at 2.30 PM on Thursday September 13 to discuss this threat to the Rivers. All welcome.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Supermarket giant Coles’ “bagflip’’ did not go down well and the company was stopped in its tracks


This was typical of the response to the Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd end of July 2018 announcement that is was indefinitely suspending a full ban on the use of free plastic shopping bags in its stores.

The Daily Examiner, 2 August 2018, p.13:

Supermarket giant Coles’ “bagflip’’ in continuing to hand out free reusable plastic bags is a perplexing move.

After spending the past month getting its customers used to the idea there would be no more single-use bags, Coles management has caved in to the tantrums of some customers unable to get their head around the notion of doing something to help the environment or pay up.

Not surprisingly the environmentalists are outraged.

For a start the so-called reusable plastic bags are just a step up from the tissue-thin, single-use bags clogging landfill and choking marine wildlife.

The smart thing about the proposed bag ban was that the supermarket was using a price signal to reinforce the change, a language its bargain-hunting customers were sure to understand.

No longer.

The customer has come first, ahead of the environment, good planning and common sense.

Without a price tag, customers are going to treat the reusable bags just like the old ones, which will add a splash of colour to the litter.

It has the same logic as trying to improve a child’s behaviour by giving in to its demand.

The “child” in this case does spend millions of dollars in your store, but with Woolworths continuing to charge the 15 cents for resuable bags, shoppers didn‘t have many options.

Twitter 1-2 August 2018:




By midday on 2 August 2018 Coles reversed its backflip and set a new deadline for stores - 29 August 2018 is now the deadline for handouts of free reusable plastic shopping bags.

Hopefully by the beginning of 2019 even reuseable plastic bags will no longer be available for purchase.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Five to face Brisbane court over serious breaches of environmental law


It is thought that up to 320 square kilometres of agricultural land around Chinchilla may be at risk from contamination by chemicals and gases, due to alleged mismanagement of underground burning by Linc Energy Limited.

In November  2016 former Linc Energy chief executive Peter Bond along with four former staff members – Donald Schofield (managing director), Stephen Dumble (chief operations officer), Jacobus Terblanche (chief operations manager) and Darryl Rattai (former general manager) – were summonsed for breaching environmental law.

However their matters were adjoined until after The Queen v. Linc Energy Ltd was concluded and are all five are now due to face a committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court this month.

BRIEF BACKGROUND

ABC News, 11 May 2018:

A gas company has been fined a record $4.5 million for causing serious environmental harm at its underground coal gasification plant on Queensland's western Darling Downs.

Linc Energy was found guilty by a District Court jury in Brisbane last month after a 10-week trial.

The company was charged with five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm between 2007 and 2013 at Hopeland near Chinchilla.

Linc Energy mismanaged the underground burning of coal seams, which caused rock to fracture and allowed the escape of toxic gases which contaminated the air, soil and water on site.

The court heard the highest fine imposed upon a company so far in Queensland for similar offending was $500,000.

Linc Energy did not defend itself during the trial because it is now in liquidation.
Five executive directors have been charged with failing to ensure compliance of the company and are due to face a committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court in July.

Prosecutor Ralph Devlin told the court the company knew it was causing damage but pressed ahead with operations, and described its offending as "serious".

"The defendant acted in devious and cavalier way … its motivation was commercial gain," he said.

"It pursued commercial interests over environmental safeguards."

The court heard there would be monitoring and remediation of the site for decades to come, and it will take potentially between 10 to 20 years for groundwater to recover.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April 2018:

“It was an undefended case, the liquidators chose not to defend it, so, of course, there is going to be a guilty verdict,’’ he [Peter Bond] told The Australian of Monday's court ruling.

“It means nothing; there was no one in court to call bullshit and there was a lot of bullshit to that case."

Excerpt from THE QUEEN v. LINC ENERGY LTD (IN LIQUIDATION), 11 May 2018, Sentence:

HIS HONOUR: On the 9th of April 2018, Linc Energy Limited in liquidation was found guilty by a jury of five counts of wilfully and unlawfully causing serious environmental harm. That followed a 10-week trial, and the offence is contained in the Environmental Protection Act. There was no appearance by the defendant in in  liquidation pursuant to an order of the Supreme Court under the Corporations Law. The liquidators did not have to appear. That caused particular difficulties during the trial and also has an impact on sentence proceedings as I have not been assisted by any submissions on behalf of the defendant in relation to penalty.

As the defendant is a corporation, the only penalties that are open are financial: either a fine or compensation. The provision in relation to the imposition of fines is covered by sections 45 to 48 of the Penalties and Sentences Act. The first aspect of that is that, pursuant to section 48(1)(a) and (b) and subsection (2) of that Penalties and Sentences Act, the Court must take into account:

 …so far as is practicable, the financial circumstances of the offender and the nature of the burden the imposition of the fine would have on the offender.

Section 48, subsection (2) provides the Court may fine if it is unable to find out the  matters referred to in subsection (1). There is no information before me as to the circumstances of the liquidation of the corporation. I am unaware of any of its assets or liabilities, or whether it will have the capacity to pay fines. As to the utility of imposing a financial penalty on a corporation in liquidation, there are no restrictions in law as to that. Indeed, the cases referred to me demonstrate it is appropriate, 25 whether as a need for denunciation or general deterrence of specific criminal conduct…..

In relation to counts 1 to 3, a combination of section 437 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and 45 section 181B of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 provides a maximum penalty of five times the 4165 penalty units, that is, a total of 1,561,875 thousand dollars for each of the offences covered in counts 1 to 3……

In my view, the defendant put its commercial interests well above its duty to conduct its processes in a way that safeguarded the environment. This is shown by its continued efforts to be seen as a successful Gas to Liquid producer on a commercial scale, where it operated gasifiers clearly above hydrostatic pressure to produce suitable gas for the GTL process, well knowing that contaminants were escaping widely and that damage to the land structure was occurring. As I have noted during the course of argument, there are varying degrees of wilfulness, which is an element of each offence.

The Prosecution have submitted that the appropriate way to approach the quantum is 45 by assessing the maximum and then reaching an appropriate proportion to address each offence. In terms of the section I earlier quoted in relation to the quantum of  fines, it seems to me the damage occasioned by each of these offences is significant and needs to be taken into account in the calculation of a quantum. In relation to each of counts 1 to 3, I accept the Prosecution’s submission that it is appropriate to impose 50 per cent of the maximum in relation to those.

In relation to each of counts 4 and 5, as I have noted, there are aggravating features. The defendant was well aware of the problems with the site and proceeded in disregard of its own experts. They had clearly advised the site was unsuitable because of the earlier gasifier operations; however, the defendant persisted simply 10 on a commercial basis.

In relation to the final count, the defendant purposely hid the issue of groundwater contamination from the regulator. I accept the Prosecution’s submission that fines in relation to each of those later offences should be at 75 per cent of the maximum.
I intend to reduce each of those fines to recognise the totality issues that I have spoken about, including the interplay between each offence and the damage that has actually been occasioned. On each of counts 1, 2 and 3, I fine the defendant the sum of $700,000. On each of counts 4 and 5, I fine the defendant the sum of $1,200,000. Convictions are recorded. The Prosecution does not seek its costs in relation to this Prosecution.

Friday, 6 July 2018

A CERTAIN RMS ASPHALT BATCHING PLANT: Open Letter to NSW Premier & Liberal MP for Willoughby, Gladys Berejiklian, as well as Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight & Nationals MP for Oxley, Melinda Pavey


Dear Premier Berejiklian and Minister Pavey,

Communities in the Clarence River estuary are concerned about an aspect of the NSW Government's current Pacific Highway construction planning.

Below are some of those concerns expressed to local newspaper The Daily Examiner with regard to a Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) plan to install a temporary asphalt batching plant at Woombah on the Clarence River flood plain.

The build is scheduled to start this month and the plant will operate for the next two and a half years.

Please note the attitude – local residents are not amused at the high-handed way in which the NSW Government and RMS went about a cursory declaration of intent.

“What they’re not happy about is an asphalt batching plant being built right near their houses, using their only connecting road to the villages”

“We want the highway, and we want the asphalt plant to be somewhere, but we want it to be away from our communities where it won’t impact on our health and safety”

“The plant will add a reported 500 truck moments and 100 car movements per day at peak, or one every minute, and residents are concerned the additional traffic will create safety problems, and a bottleneck at their intersection, which they already describe as “tight” after it was temporarily re-routed. They also cite concerns over possible health affects the dust may cause for nearby residents.”

We have a resident as close as 450 metres from the plant who is suffering from lung cancer….Although Pacific Complete have been made aware of this, since they were first told they have failed to take action to acknowledge her.”

“We live within one kilometre of the plant and we found out two weeks ago by letterbox drop”

“We found out last Wednesday they didn’t tell anyone else. We’ve been around to other residents who are just outside the area and they had no idea the plant was coming at all.”

I also draw your attention to the content of emails coming out of Iluka:

Woombah is surrounded by World Heritage National Park. Within the waterways affected by run off from the proposed asphalt plant is the organic Solum Farm. Woombah Coffee will also be affected. Not to mention the multiple organic gardners who sell at the Yamba Markets and those who grow their own food.

The small community of Woombah and its neighbour Iluka are places that welcome tourists for the natural and clean beauty of the environment. An asphalt plant WILL threaten that. 

In addition, the Esk River at Woombah is fed by many of the creeks and waterways in the bushland where the asphalt plant is proposed. They will be adversely affected, which will flow into the Esk which will flow into the Clarence which will affect the fishing, oyster and prawn industries, on which many make their living. Not to mention the tourist industry that survives because our area offers a clean environment with unpolluted air and water.

This proposal is an outrage. Teven said NO. Woombah says NO as well.​”

“What about our kids on school buses with no seatbelts and the increase in traffic particularly trucks”

“Iluka Naturally, turn off at the asphalt plant, how ironic.”

For my own part I would add to these expressions of concern the fact that the 80ha, NPWS-managed Mororo Creek Nature Reserve is only est. 98 metres from the western end of the southern boundary of the proposed asphalt batching site. 

This protected land parcel is one of the reserves which form part of a forested corridor linking Bundjalung National Park to the east and the protected areas of the Richmond Range to the west. It lies within the boundaries of the Yaegl Local Aboriginal Land Council area, the Clarence Valley Local Government Area and the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority.

The Mororo Creek Reserve conserves areas of endangered swamp sclerophyll forest, coastal saltmarsh, subtropical coastal floodplain forest and swamp oak floodplain forest.

Most importantly, Mororo Creek and several of its tributaries which run through this reserve empty into the Clarence River Estuary less than est. 2km from the proposed asphalt batching site.

Now I have no idea why the NSW Government decided that a brief three-page information sheet and invitation to comment published online at http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/documents/projects/northern-nsw/woolgoolga-to-ballina/w2b-woombah-batch-plant-notification-2018-06.pdf was to be the limit of its community consultation effort or why a similar document was sent at short notice to such a small number of Woombah residents.

I don’t pretend to understand why the information sheet contained just one small image of a section of a Pillar Valley temporary asphalt batching plant with no description of typical batching plant infrastructure and no Woombah site layout plan at all, much less one to scale.

There was not a hint in the information sheet of the range of known issues which can arise during site construction, plant operation and site rehabilitation.

Those residents who were originally invited to comment were supplied with less than rudimentary information on which to assess the desirability of a batching plant on the designated site.

Given that the proposed Woombah asphalt batching plant site is est. 2 to 2.5kms as the crow flies from Clarence River estuary waters which:

(1) are covered by Yaegl Native Title;

(2) at certain points are covered by international treaties, including JAMBA, CAMBA, ROKAMBA;

(3) contain the second largest area of seagrass (83 ha), the largest area of mangroves (765 ha) and the third largest area of saltmarsh (290ha) in the northern rivers region [Williams et al 2006 in Northern Rivers Regional Biodiversity Management Plan 2010];

(4) are part of the largest combined river-ocean fishery in NSW containing high fisheries value marine species; and

(5) are a vital component of regional tourism, 

perhaps Premier Berejiklian and Minister Pavey can answer two vital questions.

1. Is the Woombah asphalt batching plant site above the 100 year flood level for the lower Clarence Valley flood plain?

Because if it is not, then the NSW Government’s cavalier attitude to flood risk management would potentially see toxic waste from asphalt batching flow into the Clarence River estuary during a flood event – including solid waste and any organic solvents/hydrocarbons captured in holding ponds for the life of the plant – along with any nearby excavated plant/road construction materials. After all, extreme flood event height predictions for that general area are 3.5 to 4.5 mAHD.

2. Why on earth was a decision made to site the asphalt batching plant and access road at a point along the Pacific Highway where it would cause the maximum damage to Iluka’s clean, green destination image and vital tourism trade?

When the NSW Government first mooted the Pacific Highway upgrade on the North Coast one of the advantages it canvassed was an increase in tourism numbers due to better road conditions.


Most of these visitors holidayed along the Clarence Coast and Iluka is a strong component of that coastal tourism.

If the NSW Government seriously believes that leaving Woombah-Iluka with only one safe, unimpeded access point for day, weekend and long-stay visitors, the Yamba to Iluka foot passenger only ferry, will not significantly affect tourism numbers over the course of two and a half years, one has to wonder if it bothered to investigate the issue at all before signing off on the proposed plant site.

The effect of siting the asphalt batching plant and access road on the designated site will in all likelihood have the effect of diminishing not growing tourism traffic to Iluka for a period beyond the years it actually takes to complete the Maclean to Devil’s Pulpit section of the highway upgrade, as visitor perception of a holiday area can change when industrial level activity becomes visually prominent.

When it comes to commitment to the community consultation process, the NSW Government obviously hasn’t insisted that Roads and Maritime Services live up to its undertaking to engage with communities to understand their needs and consider these when making decisions.

In fact, looking at satellite images of the site one cannot escape the suspicion that pre-construction ground preparation had already commenced before any information was sent out to selected Woombah residents.

Since news of the asphalt batching plan site reached the Lower Clarence and residents began to approach their local state member, there appears to have been a promise made to hold a "drop-in information session" at an unspecified date.

Having experienced NSW departmental drop-in information sessions, I am well aware that they are of limited value as purveyors of anything other that the meagre degree of information found in the aforementioned three page RMS document and, ineffectual as vehicles for genuine community consultation.

The people of Woombah and Iluka deserve better.  They deserve a formal information night which canvasses all the issues, with representatives from RMS and the Pacific Highway project team prepared to address concerns and answer questions, as well as representatives of both the Premier and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight in attendance as observers.

I’m sure that all residents and business owners in both Woombah and Iluka would appreciate both Premier and Minster taking the time to consider these questions and ensure government genuinely consults with both village communities before considering proceeding with any Roads and Maritime Servces site proposal.

Sincerely,


Clarence  Girl