Showing posts with label rural affairs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rural affairs. Show all posts

Friday, 29 September 2017

"As our land subsides and cracks open and our permanent creek is sucked dry, I can feel our patience towards the miners doing the same"


The Land, 24 September 2017:


Environmental hypocrisy
FOR the past 20 years, my husband and I have experienced first-hand the mining industry’s attitude to impacted farmers and to rehabilitation. 
Now, their recent attacks on environmental charities makes my blood boil. As the unsuspecting neighbours of the Wambo underground coal mine near Singleton, our beef cattle business’ productivity has been cut almost in half.
As our land subsides and cracks open and our permanent creek is sucked dry, I can feel our patience towards the miners doing the same. 
Despite decades of word-fests, reports and promises, we have seen no real action at all from the mining company to rehabilitate our land, or our creek water.        
It turns out our experience is not isolated; only nine per cent of all mining land across Australia has been successfully rehabilitated. Across Australia there are massive voids filling with toxic water, poisoned or destroyed creeks and land subsiding. And the mining industry’s solution to their gaping mess: get environmental charities to clean it up!
Currently there are reforms being proposed to the Tax Deductibility Status of all sectors of charities by Federal Treasury.  
The miners see this as their chance to not only duck their own responsibilities, but to also pass the buck to environmental charities. The changes promoted by the mining sector, single out environmental charities only, for them to spend half their time on physical works to clean up the toxic messes created by the mining industry.
The hypocrisy is astounding. When I saw that one organisation close to my heart, the Lock The Gate Alliance, was under attack by these reforms, I was sickened. Without them, our fight to rehabilitate our farm would have been a lot harder.  
Their help with connecting us with politicians and government officials, getting our story into the media and sharing experiences of other mine-impacted people has been priceless. 
Most importantly they help to keep us sane, giving us hope that one day we will break the impasse of inaction by the miners.
We earn our money, we pay taxes and we can choose to support charities that we believe are helping to create a better world. 
They should be left alone to do their work without these extra burdens, designed to feather the nest of multinational mining companies.
Wambo mine, and hundreds like it across Australia, must factor the cost of properly rehabilitating land and water into their cost of doing business.  
Otherwise it is a sham business model that the community is subsidising.
The proposed changes could mean Lock the Gate would have less time to help advocate for the rights of farmers to produce clean food for Australia. 
Instead, they’d be forced out into our paddocks with shovels, filling in the sink holes made by the mines.
We need groups like Lock the Gate holding the mining companies to account. 
I appreciate the help in getting my voice heard as a food grower. We need this to be a public debate in our cities.
If these changes go through, our support of Lock the Gate would be wasted on endless clean up jobs, while the miners continue to make profits and mighty mess, skirting any legal responsibilities for rehabilitation. And I for one find that an abomination.
Miners, clean up your own mess and leave farmers and Lock the Gate alone.
Janet Fenwick,
Bulga.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Regional health divide stroke treatment a cruel lottery says Stroke Foundation


“Regional Australians are 19 percent more likely to suffer a stroke than those in metropolitan areas.”  
Australia’s stroke hotspot North Coast, NSW” 
[No postcode untouched: Stroke in Australia 2017Key Insights]
[https://strokefoundation.org.au/-/media/78B6CE278AB247F3A7C7B27FF459845B.ashx]

The Richmond, and Page federal electorates which cover most of the Northern Rivers region are expected to have a combined total of 18,312 stroke survivors in 2050.

Combined with Cowper and Lyne federal electorates, this brings the total number on the NSW Coast in 2050 to an est. 36,605 people living with the effects of stroke.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stroke Foundation media release, 21 June 2017:

Regional and rural communities are bearing the brunt of Australia’s stroke burden, according to an updated Stroke Foundation report released today.
No Postcode Untouched: Stroke in Australia 2017”, found 12 of the country’s top 20 hotspots for stroke incidence were located in regional Australia and people living in country areas were 19 percent more likely to suffer a stroke than those living in metropolitan areas.
Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said due to limited access to best practice treatment, regional Australians were also more likely to die or be left with a significant disability as a result a stroke.
“In 2017, Australians will suffer more than 56,000 strokes and many of these will be experienced by people living in regional Australia,’’ Ms McGowan said.
“Advancements in stroke treatment and care mean stroke is no longer a death sentence for many, however patient outcomes vary widely across the country depending on where people live.
“Stroke can be treated and it can be beaten. It is a tragedy that only a small percentage of Australian stroke patients are getting access to the latest treatments and ongoing specialist care that we know saves lives.”
Stroke Foundation Clinical Council Chair Associate Processor Bruce Campbell said Australian clinicians were leading the way internationally in advancements in acute stroke treatment, such as endovascular clot retrieval. However, the health system was not designed to support and deliver these innovations in treatment and care nationally.
“It is not fair that our health system forces patients into this cruel lottery,’’ A/Professor Campbell said.
“There are pockets of the country where targeted investment and coordination of services is resulting in improved outcomes for stroke patients.
“Consistent lack of stroke-specific funding and poor resourcing is costing us lives and money. For the most part, doctors and nurses are doing what they can in a system that is fragmented, under-resourced and overwhelmed.”
No Postcode Untouched: Stroke in Australia 2017 report and website uses data compiled and analysed by Deloitte Access Economics to reveal how big the stroke challenge is in each Australian federal electorate. This data includes estimates of the number of strokes, survivors and the death rate, as well as those living with key stroke risk factors. It is an update of a Stroke Foundation report released in 2014.
The report shows the cities and towns where stroke is having its biggest impact and pinpoints future hotspots where there is an increased need for support. 
Ms McGowan said stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in Australia, having a huge impact on the community and the economy.
“Currently, there is one stroke in Australia every nine minutes, by 2050 - without action - this number is set to increase to one stroke every four minutes,’’ she said.
“Stroke doesn’t discriminate, it impacts people of all ages and while more people are surviving stroke, its impact on survivors and their families is far reaching. “It doesn’t have to be this way. Federal and state governments have the opportunity to invest in proven measures to change the state of stroke in this country.”
In the wake of the report Stroke Foundation is calling for a funded national action plan to address the prevention and treatment of stroke, and support for stroke survivors living in the community. Key elements include:
A national action campaign to ensure every Australian household has someone who knows FAST - the signs of stroke and to call 000. Stroke is a time critical medical condition. Time saved in getting people to hospital and treatments = brain saved.
Nationally coordinated telemedicine network – breaking down the barriers to acute stroke treatment.
Ensuring all stroke patients have access to stroke unit care, and spend enough time on the stroke unit accessing the services and supports they need to live well after stroke.
Further information
The No Postcode Untouched: Stroke in Australia 2017 report was funded by an unrestricted educational grant from Boehringer Ingelheim.

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Friday, 5 May 2017

National Rural Health Alliance welcomes Labor commitment to National Rural Health Strategy and implementation


Medianet Logo
AAP Logo
 Medianet Release




26 Apr 2017 7:24 PM AEST - Welcome commitment to National Rural Health Strategy and implementation





The National Rural Health Alliance today welcomed the commitment of the Federal Opposition to the development of a dedicated National Rural Heath Strategy and Implementation Plan.

The commitment was made by Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King in the opening session of the 14th National Rural Health Conference, which started in Cairns today.

Alliance Chair, Geri Malone, said today that the commitment by Ms King represented an important breakthrough for the seven million people who live in rural and remote Australia.

"The Alliance has been encouraging broad, non-partisan support for a national strategy for rural and remote health and wellbeing," Ms Malone said.
"For too long, Australia has been without an overarching strategy and implementation plan which is dedicated to bridging the health divide between the city and the bush.

"There is overwhelming evidence which shows that where you live impacts on your health and wellbeing – that the further you are away from a capital city, the worse your health, and your access to services, tends to become.

"But we are now in a rare period in decades of rural health planning and reform where we do not have a current National Rural Health Strategy, and that needs to change."

Ms Malone said the first National Rural Health Strategy was released in 1994.
 
"There were various updates and revisions of the strategy over the ensuing years, with the last being the National Strategic Framework for Rural and Remote Health, endorsed by Health Ministers in November 2011. 
 
"At the time, the Alliance called for a National Rural and Remote Health Plan to be developed to operationalise the goals set out in the Framework, but it never eventuated.

"So the Framework has not been actioned in a consistent, comprehensive way, there are no national reports on progress against the Framework, and no action has been taken to update it."

Ms Malone said the Alliance recognised the effort being put into health workforce programs, including for rural and remote Australia.

"We also know workforce is only one part of a more complex equation about what's different and what needs to be done to fix the divide in health outcomes for rural Australia," she said.

"We constantly seem to have to remind the non-believers in our cause, be that politicians and funders, metro centric decision makers and influencers, that firstly as 30 percent of the Australian population, we are entitled to equity in health service provision. 

"This does not mean doing the same. One size does not fit all. We know there are many ways of achieving the same end result, but that requires adaptation and contextualization to make it work – contextualized to place, place-based and individualised care.

"It is not an easy task and it can become somewhat disheartening to have to plead our case repeatedly. 

"We therefore see a national rural health strategy and plan not as ends in themselves but rather they provide the framework within which policies should be developed, planned, implemented and measured.


Distributed by AAP Medianet
JN#:877826



© Australian Associated Press, 2017  

Friday, 23 December 2016

ABC management continues to disappoint


The Turnbull Government decision to continue the former Abbott Government's white anting of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is alienating ABC listeners in remote Australia.

What the ABC is stating…..

6 December 2016 Press Release regarding ABC Shortwave Radio Services:

The ABC will end its shortwave transmission service in the Northern Territory and to international audiences from 31 January 2017.

The move is in line with the national broadcaster’s commitment to dispense with outdated technology and to expand its digital content offerings including DAB+ digital radio, online and mobile services, together with FM services for international audiences.

The majority of ABC audiences in the Northern Territory currently access ABC services via AM and FM and all ABC radio and digital radio services are available on the VAST satellite service.

ABC International’s shortwave services currently broadcast to PNG and the Pacific. Savings realised through decommissioning this service will be reinvested in a more robust FM transmitter network and an expanded content offering for the region that will include English and in-language audio content.

Michael Mason, ABC’s Director of Radio said, “While shortwave technology has served audiences well for many decades, it is now nearly a century old and serves a very limited audience. The ABC is seeking efficiencies and will instead service this audience through modern technology”.

The ABC, working alongside SBS, is planning to extend its digital radio services in Darwin and Hobart, and to make permanent its current digital radio trial in Canberra. Extending DAB+ into the nation’s eight capital cities will ensure ABC digital radio services can reach an additional 700,000 people, increasing the overall reach of ABC digital radio to 60% of the Australian population.

ABC Radio is also investigating transmission improvements to address reception gaps in the existing five DAB+ markets. It aims to ensure a resilient DAB+ service in every capital city, with enhanced bitrates and infill where necessary.

“Extending our DAB+ offer will allow audiences in every capital city in Australia equal access to our digital radio offering, as well as representing an ongoing broadcast cost saving owing to lower transmission costs,” added Michael Mason.

ABC International’s Chief Executive Officer Lynley Marshall said the reinvestment from closing international shortwave services would maximise the ABC’s broadcast capabilities in the region.

“In considering how best to serve our Pacific regional audiences into the future we will move away from the legacy of shortwave radio distribution,” Ms Marshall said. “An ever-growing number of people in the region now have access to mobile phones with FM receivers and the ABC will redirect funds towards an extended content offering and a robust FM distribution network to better serve audiences into the future.”

Once international shortwave ceases transmission, international listeners can continue to access ABC International services via:

 ·         a web stream at: http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/listen
 ·         in-country FM transmitters, see Radio Australia’s ‘Ways to Listen’ at: 
        http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/waystolisten/fiji
 ·         the Australia Plus expats app (available in both iOS and Android)
 ·         partner websites and apps such as www.tunein.com and www.vtuner.com.

Audiences can access further information via the reception advice line 1300 139  994 or via ABC Local Radio (Darwin & Alice Springs).

For more information
Louise Alley
P: +61 2 8333 2621
alley.louise@abc.net.au
(ABC Radio queries)
Nick Leys
p: +61 3 9626 1417
leys.nick@abc.net.au
(ABC International queries)

Domestic Shortwave Radio Service available until 31 January 2017:

ABC's Domestic Shortwave Service provides Local Radio (not Radio Australia).
The frequencies are:
Site
Day Frequency
Night Frequency
Roe Creek
4835kHz
4835kHz
Katherine
5025kHz
2485kHz
Tennant Creek
4910kHz
2325kHz
Roe Creek site is Alice Springs.
To receive this service you will need a shortwave radio. All three services would be received in parts of the Kimberley Region.


 What the people are saying.....

Click on image to enlarge
ABC News, 8 December 2016:

An Indigenous ranger group in the Northern Territory says the ABC's decision to end its shortwave radio service could be life threatening.

The ABC announced this week its three HF shortwave radio transmitters at Katherine, Tennant Creek and Roe Creek (Alice Springs), would be switched off on January 31, 2017.

ABC Radio will continue to broadcast on FM and AM bands, via the viewer access satellite television (VAST) service, streaming online and via the mobile phone application.

Mark Crocombe from the Thamarrurr Rangers, in the remote community of Wadeye, said the rangers spent days and sometimes weeks at a time away in the bush and out on sea patrols.

He said the group relied on the ABC's shortwave radio for weather reports and emergency information.

"Otherwise you have to call back to the base on the HF radio to ask people [there], but then you can't listen to the report yourself, you are relying on someone else's second-hand report," Mr Crocombe said.

Mr Crocombe said on previous bush trips he had received warnings of cyclones via the ABC's shortwave service, without which he would not have had any notice.

"Sure, it is expensive to keep the shortwave radio service going, but during cyclones, for the bush camps and people on boats, that is their only way of getting the weather reports," he said.

"It could be life threatening, if you are out and you don't know a cyclone is coming."

Mr Crocombe said the VAST service did not work during cloudy weather, especially during monsoons and cyclones.

"The VAST satellite dish is fixed to your house, we are working in the field, and when we are on the boats we are not in mobile phone range, so applications and VAST do not work in the bush," he said……

The national broadcaster said in a statement on Tuesday the move was in line with its "commitment to dispense with outdated technology and to expand its digital content offerings."
But the announcement was met with anger by the Northern Territory Cattleman's Association.

President Tom Stockwell, who lives on Sunday Creek Station with no access to AM or FM radio or mobile phone coverage, said the ABC's decision to focus on digital transmission ignored people in the bush.

"It affects a big area of Australia and it affects those people that are remote from other forms of communication that rely on radio network," he said.

"The ABC argument that it's a 100-year-old technology doesn't stack up. Electricity is 100-years-old — is the ABC going to get rid of electricity as well?

"Anybody who's remote and away from a satellite dish won't get local radio, won't get emergency radio, won't get emergency messages and they're going to use the money to put in another digital platform for crying out loud.

"It's just the most selfish, ridiculous decision I've ever heard," Mr Stockwell said......

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Great NSW Crown Roads Scam


Suppose that by some historical mishap a section of your neighbours' land been included into your block. In farming communities this can happen due to a bad sense of direction while fencing.

It is up to the owner of the land to have the land surveyed and the cost of fencing the area properly are shared 50-50 between the neighbours. 

Once this land is returned to the legal owner it is up to the owner to control weeds and feral pest.

Not so if the land in question are crown roads belonging to the state government. 

The state government has decided that you the land holder have to pay for the land surveyed then pay for all the fencing and once this is done you are still responsible for weeds and feral pest.

Talk about a bad neighbour, you cannot even take them to court to achieve a fairer settlement.  

I suppose I should explain what crown roads are, they are in reality lines that were drawn on maps to accommodate for population expansion, or access to plots of land.

No investigation was done to find out the need or suitability of these roads. The result is that there are roads going through wetlands, floodplains, through steep gullies and even up cliff faces.

For years the rent was very low, then the state government had a problem with the crown roads around the Sydney harbour area. Millionaires renting foreshore crown roads for $5 per year so KPMG the financing firm were brought in to investigate and report on the crown road systems.

The result was the rent for these crown roads went through the roof, it all depended how many blocks of land you own and how many crown roads are within the blocks. Increases in rent from $50 per year to $800 per year are common.

If this was residential land you could go to the rental board and protest the large rental increase. but since the state government is the landlord you do not have any options for redress.

I agreed to buy the crown roads on my land 7 years ago when I received their offer of purchase, but because of the inactivity of the Department of Trade & Investment Crown Lands it has taken them 7 years to present me with their final offer.

All this time I was forced to pay them rent on the roads. Since it was no fault of mine that the process took so long I thought that at least some of that rent money should be credited towards the sale.

Not so the state governments reply.

Then we come to the purchase price of the crown roads, this process has followed the same reasoning that caused the roads to be created.

Neverland thinking has decided that the valuer generals estimation of property value should be used regardless of the market value of the land or its production potential.

This means that cliff faces can cost $7,000 per hectare, and is included if you wish to fence the area out.

Wetlands are another source of problems, these areas come under the state government Wetland policy SEPP 14, with all the restrictions to land use that are under this act, but when the price of crown roads is concerned it makes no difference.

An example of this is a lower Clarence farmer who owns land that is a wetland. He has been told that the crown roads on his property will cost him $7,243 hectare. 

When he pointed out that his neighbour who has flood free prime cropping land has had his place on the market for 3 years for $3,000 per hectare and has still not been able to sell his land, he was told that it was not relevant and the price of the crown roads in his farm would remain at the price the department demanded.

Back to my gripes with this process - it has taken the state government 7 years to come to the party and give me a price for the crown roads on my property yet they give me a deadline of 30 days to accept or decline the offer.

It seems that I have no right to negotiate a more realistic price for this land based on market value or production potential or restriction imposed by the state government. If I refuse to buy the roads I have two options:
  •     Pay for surveying the land and fencing it out of my property, and then still be responsible for weeds and feral pests on this land. Not to mention that the road would cut the property into two portions which would make the farm management very hard.
  •      Pay the rent that the state government demands, which has no basis in land use or land value. Currently the state government rent on 2 hectare on a 97 hectare property is more than a third of my council rates. I am sure that this rent will increase exponentially.
So what can you do when the state government, who makes the rules and enforces them, extorts farmers to pay for a historical stuff-up of the government's making. 

Then the state government demands fees and charges of over $1,700 which are not negotiable on each transaction.

Who do you go to get some justice? Who has the money to take this to the courts? Not me.

This process is a classic standover practice commonly used by criminal gangs but because it is the state government using this process it is deemed legal, with no thought given to fairness or justice.

I wonder if they’ll accept that interesting bottle of Grange I found on my doorstep this morning in lieu of those dollars........

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Guardian discovers the Battle for Bentley


The Guardian 10 April 2014:



Bentley farmers who support the movement against mining, from left, Robert Lowrey, Peter Neilson, Colin Thomas and Charles Wilkinson. Photograph: David Lowe

There is a strange political alliance building in this country, one that governments and major parties will do well to consider.

It is the alliance between farmers and the environmental movement on land use issues around coal seam gas and mining.
It has the capacity to change the political landscape in rural Australia and leave a scar as gaping as an open-cut mine on the (predominant) Coalition support.
In rural towns, farmers are joining fellow community members, environmentalists and, yes, the hippy fringe to stop developments of coal and unconventional gas extraction in their neighbourhood. The hot spots are around Bentley, the Pilliga, Gloucester in New South Wales and the Coonawarra in South Australia.

It has become clear the opposition is not coming just from a tie-dyed fringe but also includes very conservative people who do not join the political fray easily. Farmers are now chaining themselves to mining equipment to make their point, a tactic associated by farmers in the past with the “feral” end of the green movement....

Consider the story of one farmer, one of many, who has decided to speak out. Robert Lowrey lives at Bentley in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, upstream of Metgasco’s gas exploration on a farm belonging to a near neighbour Peter Graham, a former Lismore councillor and National party member.

Lowrey’s father, the elegantly-named Dunbar Lowrey, was chairman of the Bentley National party branch. Robert Lowrey and his wife, Nanette, have the family farm that transitioned from dairy to cattle during deregulation. He describes the farming community around the town as extreme conservatives, “old school” farmers who are reluctant to take a stand.
Yet he has joined up with a friend and fellow farmer Tony Davis to write a letter to the local paper. Davis initially agreed to have a test well on his place, based on Metgasco’s claim the gas would be used for a power plant for Casino. However, once he discovered larger plans, including plans for export, he backed out…..
“When we first heard about the gas, it was about a few wells, a power station for Casino and long-term jobs,” the letter says. “Some of us accepted, even welcomed, test wells on our properties.

“Now we hear about hundreds of wells, pipelines over the ranges, fracking, suspicious chemicals ruined farms, polluted waters and valleys destroyed. Could our valley end up looking like an industrial wasteland? This makes us worry about a lot of things.

“We are worried about the Graham family. They have been our fellow farmers, workmates and friends for decades. Their farm may be the centre of the dispute, but it could easily be one of ours. They need our support, they do not deserve abuse.

“The drilling must stop, the risks are too great. We only have one chance and, if it goes wrong, it is our children, not the mining company, who will bear the consequences.”
Lowrey’s argument is there is no need for gas in the region, given the area’s “good fortune” that provides an environment for clean food production and tourism. Gas extraction development will be such a shame, he says, especially given the Northern Co-operative Meat Company has just started certifying grass-fed beef and the company is “just 10 miles away from the dirty thing”. The closest large town to Bentley is Casino, which markets itself as the beef capital of Australia…..
In some ways the anti-mining campaign has the hallmarks of any big power battle. Governments and large companies came into small communities offering jobs and riches. Football teams were sponsored. Social compacts were made. Then when resistance was met, they tried shouting, which only made things worse. Lowrey says former New South Wales Liberal minister Chris Hartcher came to town for a public meeting.
“Chris Hartcher told us we were anarchists trying to wreck the state’s economy,” Lowrey says. “Nanette was angry. I would just say this household’s personal response is we have been contributing to the economy for 150 years.
“We don’t consider ourselves an elite group. We are just here doing what we set out to do over 100 years ago.”
Just this week, another New South Wales government representative came to town to test farmers’ knowledge, to check they were not reading silly fear mongering on social media.
“I don’t even know how to turn a computer on,” Lowrey says. “I can read Joseph Conrad but not a computer manual. I assured them I was not swayed by social media.”….
The kicker in the story is what this episode has done to political support. Of the farmers and smaller block owners I’ve spoken to, all were National party voters. All say they will be looking to shift their vote elsewhere. They feel like they have been betrayed after many years of support. Lowrey’s response is typical. His father was proud to have a visit from National party leader Sir Earle Page in his little Bentley branch. Now the son has forsaken the party. All parties.
“The political process is being broken down by nepotism and other interests able to bring to bear power through lobbyists, large amounts of money and very persuasive argument,” he says. “As our system becomes more dependent on money, it becomes vulnerable.
“I am sick of parliamentarians taking material they had access to as ministers and peddling it, taking up positions in industry.”
He names former Labor federal resources minister Martin Ferguson, now a director of British Gas, and former National party leaders John Anderson, a former chairman of Eastern Star Gas, and Mark Vaile, who is on the board of Whitehaven Coal.
“It’s moving people away from conservative ordinary politics and interest in National party [here] is waning,” said Lowrey. “People are weighing up alternative parties. Some, quite a few, are going to the Greens.”
They may not move their vote. As a National party MP said to farmers in the Pilliga: “Who else are you going to vote for?” But what is clear from this debate is it will not get easier for governments or mining companies.
For there is nothing so stubborn as a farmer.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Is Kevin Hogan playing coy with the media over his position on coal seam gas mining?


The Nationals Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, went to the 7 September 2013 federal election declaring his opposition to coal seam gas exploration and mining on the NSW North Coast until it could be proved there were no negative impacts.

As late as November 2013 he was attending the Kyogle Gas Free Celebration stating that he had “great reservations”, “real questions marks” about the industry, and was willing to “cross the floor” on any vote concerning CSG.

Although a month earlier in the print media he had begun to state that he could see where pro-mining Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane was coming from in his support for the NSW gas industry.

Since that 2013 rally Mr. Hogan has been rather quiet on the subject of coal seam gas mining and the opposition of Northern Rivers communities to establishment of this industry in the region.

There is no current mention of coal seam gas on his official website that I can find, he lists no advocacy on behalf of the electorate concerning coal seam gas in his own review of his first 100 days as an elected representative.

Similarly his Facebook timeline has been silent on the subject since he became a member of parliament, whilst his Twitter account makes no mention of his position at all except in one tweet praising Metgasco’s temporary suspension of exploration activity way back in March 2013.

Behind the scenes in 2014 there are journalists, working for state-wide and national newspapers, who are beginning to wonder why he is now "ducking and diving" any coal seam gas questions posed to him.

Safely ensconced in his seat with a healthy boost to his income, part of the Canberra political scene; has Kevin already begun to forget the little he knew of his electorate and quietly joined the coal seam gas club?

Friday, 3 January 2014

Will NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione risk another heavy handed political move against Northern Rivers anti-coal seam gas protestors in 2014?


Local landowners & others prepare for the arrival of Metasco at its Rosella-1 well site in early 2014

In 2013 Magistrate David Heilpern publicly took NSW Police to task over charges laid against coal seam gas protestors at Metgasco Limited’s Glenugie site.

Does NSW Police Commissioner Scipione want the world to see more media coverage similar to this because he was persuaded to do the bidding of a coal seam gas exploration company which to date has produced not a cent in profit for its investors or the State of New South Wales and is never likely to?


The Northern Star 6 November 2013

"In this case I find myself asking what could possibly be the reason for continuing on with such an innocuous charge in these circumstances? Why else would police risk cost orders against them, drive a prosecutor up from Sydney to run the matters, arrange police witnesses to travel from Sydney, all for an innocuous minor traffic matter. "It is in that context that the realistic suspicion of political interference arises," he said.....
Metgasco Limited is a mining exploration company which after fourteen years still has no social contract with local communities on the NSW North Coast, a spotty safety record and an unhappy shareholder base.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Hospital mortality rates - not always good news for those living in rural and regional NSW


Bureau of Health Information (December 2013), 30-day mortality following hospitalisation, five clinical conditions, NSW, July 2009 – June 2012: Acute myocardial infarction, ischaemic stroke, haemorrhagic stroke, pneumonia and hip fracture surgery:

Acute myocardial infarction - There were 91 hospitals (90%) with mortality no different to expected. Three hospitals (Royal Prince Alfred, Royal North Shore, Prince of Wales), had lower than expected mortality and seven hospitals (Milton and Ulladulla, Cessnock, Bowral, Tamworth, Hornsby, St George, and one not reportable*) had higher than expected mortality.

For ischaemic stroke - There were 57 hospitals (80%) with mortality no different from expected. Four hospitals (Concord, Prince of Wales, Belmont, and Manly) had lower than expected mortality and ten hospitals (Moruya, Tamworth, Dubbo, Lismore, Nepean, Coffs Harbour, Westmead, Royal Prince Alfred, John Hunter, and one not reportable*) had higher than expected mortality.

Haemorrhagic stroke - There were 82 hospitals (94%) within the expected range of results. Two hospitals (Fairfield, and one not reportable*) had lower than expected mortality and three hospitals (Port Macquarie, John Hunter, and one not reportable*) had higher than expected mortality.

Pneumonia - There were 126 hospitals (89%) within the expected range. Seven hospitals (Canterbury, John Hunter, Bankstown, St Vincent’s, Maitland, Shellharbour, one not reportable) had lower than expected mortality and nine hospitals (Inverell, Manning, Tamworth, Blacktown, Wyong and four not reportable*) had higher than expected mortality.

Hip fracture surgery - Results for 33 hospitals (87%) were within the expected range of mortality. One hospital (St Vincent’s) had lower than expected mortality and four hospitals (Tamworth, Orange, Gosford, and Coffs Harbour) had higher than expected mortality.

Click on images to enlarge