Showing posts sorted by date for query euen. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query euen. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Monday, 13 November 2017

Is the NSW Berejiklian Government cruising for a bruising on the Clarence River?

It would appear that the Clarence Valley may be less than whole-heartedly enthusiastic about the NSW Berejiklian Coaltion Government's plans for the Port of Yamba.

Editor Bill North at The Daily Examiner, 25 October 2017, p.9:

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’

ONCE again dollar-sign gazes are cast in the direction of the pristine Clarence River estuary.

The Future Transport 2056 strategy announced by the NSW Government yesterday is considering Coffs and Yamba as potential ports for international cruise ships.

But I think the suggestion of a cruise ship terminal at Yamba could turn into a shipwreck before the idea ever sets sail.

It harks back to the ‘Eastgate Port’ proposal being pushed by developers which has ruffled feathers of residents, activist groups and politicians alike.

There are plenty of obstructions standing in the way of such a large scale development in the Clarence River.

Heavy dredging will be required to navigate the Yamba Bar, which happened to be the subject of a landmark native title claim for the Yaegl people in August.

Then where to build? The mind boggles when looking at aerial photographs of the Yamba estuary. To upgrade the current marina it’s difficult to imagine Hickey Island and Dart Island escaping impact.

Creating a gimmick stopover for lavish spenders would undoubtedly provide a significant economic boost for the region, but would also redefine Yamba as a tourist destination. And something tells me we like Yamba just the way it is, thank you very much.

Editor Bill North at The Daily Examiner, 26 October 2017, p.7:

WHILE massive industrial harbours dominate major river mouths throughout the developed world, forever and a day the Clarence River has managed to resist such a human-induced transformation and maintain its pristine beauty.

The river delta provided many a natural barrier for early explorers of the coastline, and no doubt helps explain the low population of the region compared to other, more accessible major river systems.

Just take a look down the coast at Newcastle to see coal loaders, ships and warehouses flood the landscape of its vast river delta system.

We’ve grown used to shunning large-scale port developments. We’ve come to expect environmental priorities will win the day. Some cling onto this inertia with hope, others find it a frustrating impediment to progress.

This week the NSW Government broached the idea of an international terminal at Yamba.

Many confidently declare that such a project will never get off the ground. Such statements are either naive or a prophetic summation of the strong will of the people of the Clarence because you can bet your bottom dollar developers from across the seas are admiring the untapped potential of such a destination – for industry, tourism or whatever makes a quick buck.

25 October 2017 David Whitby Getting a boat of that size in the Clarence would be a HUGE problem due to the lack of water depth at several places leading to the Goodwood wharf. Then there would be a traffic problem through to the Highway, not to mention the lack of facilities ....or NO facilities at the Goodwood wharf. Just another pipe dream.

29 October 2017 Bill Robb The blokes dreaming, there's not a chance as the reef at the entrance to the clarence is too high. If you dont mind dredging or blowing the reef down to size, then it could happen! Good luck with that environmental impact statement. Coffs would be the only engineering option available. The Jetty harbour would need some major work at the entrance and dredging of the harbour, not to mention fixing up the rest of the place. Plus I live in Coffs, so of course I am going to be biased.

31 October 2017 Michelle Argent I'm deeply sceptical about the whole thing particularly in light of Chris Gulaptis' media comment that Goodwood Island (Yamba Port) could not be used because it was used for live cattle exports. It is not but that is part of Euen's megaport insane proposal. Makes me think this is a softly softly approach to step 1 - get dredging done and navigate negotiations with our local aboriginal elders regarding the reef

2 November 2017 Karen von Ahlefeldt Fully agree

1 November 2017 Lloyd Palmer They would have to discharge ballast before the bar crossing, that will include anything tropical exotic and nasty

1 November 2017 Peter Lowry What Berejiklian as well ?

1 November 2017 Lloyd Palmer Whatever that is it sounds nasty

1 November 2017 Billy Walker And to mention the most significant site, the Dirrangan Reef which is sacred to the Yaegl Traditional Owners and the wider Aboriginal communities on the North Coast of NSW

2 November Billy Walker The Yaegl Traditional Owners have protection orders for the protection of the reef, known to the Yaegl people as Durrarngan reef, regardless of any proposals we must be notified under the Native Title Act, this also applies to any further dredging in and around the mouth of the river

3 November 2017 Matty Carlin Maybe I'm way out of the loop, but WHY would you think there would be such a push for a cruise ship terminal?
There's no transport options.
Nothing overly touristy to see or stay at.
Next to no infrastructure.
Yamba cannot be expanded on due to swamp, river & National Park.
So many things.
A terminal is a place of passenger exchange, or somewhere to get off to do touristy things.
I honestly can't envision it becoming a feasible and logical process.
If anything I think it would be great for the area to expand on the Slipway to encourage some vessels to use it for repairs, etc. Would bring in jobs and external income to the area which is what is lacking.

4 November 2017 Michelle Argent Another excellent commentary on this issue on in 3/11 blog. We are going to have to be very alert. Write to the Minister as recommended in this blog.

4 November 2017 Colin Beeby When you look at the mouth of the Clarence and then a shot of a cruise ship, you have to laugh. Then look at the mayor and Govt.members talking about a conjunction and fall over laughing.

4 November 2017 Peter Appleton Matthew I could be wrong but I believe ships of similar draught have worked the Clarence over the years without impacting on the reef or the need for extra dredging etc.

5 November 2017 Sebastian Rooks I am of the same opinion, however we need to be certain that this is not an opening salvo to get shipping in.
The way they have gone about this is alarming.

5 November 2017 Colin Ogilvie Could you supply dates and details of such visits ?

5 November 2017 Peter Appleton No Colin but someone mentioned it on another forum. The ships mentioned were The Island Trader (Yamba Trader), The Avondale, The Vili and The Kuri Pearl. I don't really know any more than that or if there were any issues with them.

5 November 2017 Matty Carlin The Island Trader is half that size.

5 November 2017 Kate Maclaren Nooo! That would be tragic!

5 November 2017 Michelle Argent What the bureaucrats don 't or won't understand is that people flock here precisely because the clarence coast is natural and not too touristy. Crass cruise ships of this type are the very thing that are not wanted. Write to your local member and the Minister for Infrastructure and be heard otherwise the punters and lobbyists will win out!

6 November 2017 Matthew Smith Liz Mercy-Bushell the whole community needs to stand up on this it could be the thin edge of the wedge

Clarence Valley IndependentLetter to the Editor, 7 November 2017:

Valley Watch is alarmed to read the joint media release from Ministers Melinda Pavey (Roads, Maritime and Freight) and Andrew Constance (Transport and Infrastructure) and Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser which states unequivocally “In October 2018, the Cruise Ship Caledonian Sky plans to stop off at Yamba as part of the Australian Coastal Odyssey”.

Talk about being treated like mushrooms! They claim it is part of the Future Transport 2056 strategy, but this “strategy” hasn’t yet been presented to the community of Yamba, and when the Future Transport team does come in late November, its mobile van will visit Grafton and Coffs Harbour. But will it come to Yamba, the area most affected? Apparently not.

There are just too many unanswered questions. Cruise ships like these use their auxiliary diesel  motors non-stop when they are moored to provide lighting, air conditioning and heating.

That means diesel fumes wafting over Yamba and Iluka all day and night. In May last year P&O was reportedly fined $15,000 by the NSW Environment Protection Authority for exceeding its diesel emissions limits.

They generate dangerous wastes and produce sewage, grey water and solid waste which are stored on board. Just one accidental discharge could do irreparable damage to our estuary, our fishing industry and our reputation. And accidents do happen.

There needs to be careful, painstaking consideration of all aspects of this proposal before our parliamentarians and councillors agree. Instead we seem to have a reckless, off-the-cuff endorsement of a potentially dangerous project.

Ros Woodward
November 2, 2017

The Daily Examiner, 9 November 2017, p9:

Cruisin’ for an eco bruisin’

BY NOW most Daily Examiner readers will have heard about the Berejiklian Government announcement that the Port of Yamba is being considered as a “small cruise ship” destination and possible site for a cruise terminal.

Such ships currently operating in Australian waters can be as big as 5000 tons with a carrying capacity of more than 800 passengers.

What some people may not realise, that even before any completed investigation or genuine community consultation, the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey has announced that the first small cruise ship will arrive in October next year.

Her office reportedly identified that ship as the Caledonian Sky, which is a 26-year-old, 90.6m long vessel with 4200 gross tonnage, a beam width of 15.2m, maximum draft of 4m and a carrying capacity of up to 114 passengers.

This is the same cruise ship which caused irreversible damage to a candidate UNESCO World Heritage Site pristine reef system off Indonesian Papua in March this year, and the London-based cruise operator has reportedly been fined £350 million by the Indonesian Government.

Such accidents are relatively common among small cruise ships as official maritime incident reports between 2008-2017 mention repeated groundings, collisions with wharfs and breakwaters, in port onboard fires and accidental contaminated water/fuel discharges. Norovirus-infected passengers have also been reported on small cruise ships and excessive air emissions found on inspection by authorities.

This is not the only information Minister Pavey was not broadcasting to the Lower Clarence.

What the Berejiklian Government is also not telling Clarence Valley residents is that along with Eden and Coffs Harbour, the Port of Yamba is to be designated a “multipurpose port” which will ideally include “commercial shipping, cruise shipping and Defence facilities”.

Apparently this generic vision for NSW regional ports will likely translate in the environmentally sensitive Clarence River estuary into an estimated 20km of capital and development river dredging, a possible multi-storied cruise ship terminal with parking for 400 cars, 20 coaches, eight trucks and 20 taxis as well as a new commercial shipping wharf capable of berthing freighters up to 300m long carrying “liquids, timber, coal, iron ore...”.

Locals might remember that this is the same ship length as one class of super freighters mentioned in that private proposal to turn Yamba into an industrialised mega port.

When considering this State Government preferred style of coastal development, the words loss of environmental and cultural values, increased traffic generation, industrial level noise, congestion and waste management immediately spring to mind.

One wonders if Clarence Valley Council and the Yamba Chamber of Commerce will be as enthusiastic about those cruise ship plans once they realise that these ships are merely the thin end of the wedge that NSW Nationals and Sydney-centric Liberals hope to drive into a Lower Clarence community resolved to keep the estuary clean, green and seafood productive.

Judith M Melville, Yamba

Monday, 2 October 2017

Yamba Mega Port Proposal: "This clown just won't take no for an answer"

"This clown just won't take no for an answer" would be a fairly accurate assessment of most Lower Clarence River residents’ opinion of Desmond Euen’s (pictured left) latest attempt to promote his proposal to industrialise the Clarence River estuary by re-creating the Port of Yamba as a mega port.

Having been told repeatedly by local communities that his proposal was unwelcome and, by local government and the NSW Baird Government that the proposal would not be supported/endorsed, he still persists.

In August this year Mr. Euen participated in the following inquiry via the submission process.

On 24 November 2016, the Australian Government announced it will develop a national freight and supply chain strategy (the strategy) to increase the productivity and efficiency of Australia's freight supply chain. The strategy is in response to Infrastructure Australia's Australian Infrastructure Plan.

On 9 March 2017, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, released Terms of Reference PDF: 219 KB  for an inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities (the inquiry).

The Inquiry will inform the development of the strategy and determine how to best lift the productivity and efficiency of Australia's freight supply chain. The inquiry is being led by the Department assisted by Infrastructure Australia and a four member Expert Panel appointed by Minister Chester. On 26 May 2017, the Department released the Discussion Paper for the inquiry, marking the commencement of the public consultation period. Submissions closed on 28 July 2017 and the Department is now analysing the responses, together with comments received from meetings with key stakeholders.

A draft report will be made available for industry and government for comment by December, and the final report provided to the Government by March 2018.

A series of frequently asked questions about the inquiry and the strategy have been prepared to assist you.

The Discussion Paper, working papers prepared for the Inquiry and the submissions (except for those marked ‘in-confidence’) can be accessed below.

Discussion paper PDF: 558 KB 

As Inter-Port Global Pty Ltd he submitted two documents (Submission 27 in above link) – one of which was for Gladstone Strategic Development Area in Queensland and the other for the Port of Yamba on the NSW North Coast.
The 42-page Yamba document was originally created by Euen on 27 July 2017 according to its “Properties” page. It asserts to be a submission originally made to Infrastructure Australia at an earlier date.

Desmond Euen of Unit 1103, 2865 Gold Coast Highway, SURFERS PARADISE QLD 4217 registered Inter-Port Global Pty Ltd on 24 August 2016. To date he is the sole director and shareholder as well as the company secretary.

There were a number of confidential submissions to the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities and it is possible that one of these may be from the group of corporate lawyers, investment companies and property developers behind United Land Councils Ltd and United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd who made a joint submission to the NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No. 6 Inquiry Into Crown Land in August 2016 which included the Yamba mega port proposal .

The Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities is due to hand its report to the COAG Transport and Infrastructure Council sometime before end March 2018.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Yamba Port & Rail Scheme: was the NSW Upper House Inquiry into Crown Land misled?

“We service the property developers and property investors by unlocking access to the best available lands at the best available price.” [United Land Councils Ltd, website page retrieved 20 August 2016]

On 15 August 2016 four representatives of United Land Councils Ltd & United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd gave evidence before the NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No. 6 INQUIRY INTO CROWN LAND.

These are excerpts of evidence given by MICHAEL ANDERSON, Deputy Chair, United Land Councils and United First Peoples Syndications:

We advocate the idea of forming a working party with key government stakeholders through which we will secure the support of Aboriginal New South Wales. We are confident that, if we cannot achieve greater unity of Aboriginal people, we will certainly be able to deliver a large number of the most important strategic areas of New South Wales, particularly the coast and some regional locations west of the Blue Mountains. We have brought to the Committee a sample of works we are doing. We present to the Committee our introductory brochure with which we introduce ourselves to Aboriginal organisations across Australia. The brochure sets out our objectives and the benefits we bring to them as members uniting with us. In that brochure, we identify major projects such as damming the Great Katherine dam and building pipelines inland to irrigate the arid central Australia, converting it to Australia's food bowl to the world. We also discuss the project of a super port in Yamba to cater for the international trade for the next two centuries and, through that port, opening up the vast network of disused rail networks to provide a safe and efficient transportation mode. We attach a separate summary of the Yamba super port proposal because that is directly relevant to this Committee and how, working with Indigenous communities, major infrastructure can be created combining port and rail to become the leading means for distribution throughout Australia. We also attach a profile of our leading joint venture partners such Grossman, which a leading German solar, civil engineering and construction company, and the MHR Group, which is a leading Dubai pipeline and infrastructure group. One thing Arabs know is deserts and how to irrigate them. We provide a Lever arch folder that contains some of the template agreements used to effect an amicable settlement on the current Aboriginal land claims that are outstanding. We have drafted a master settlement agreement and we provide for every conceivable use of the land. We provide draft agreements for parks and conservation management, licences for Aboriginal farming and fishing use and access, Indigenous social housing models, trust funds for the provision of the next generations of Aboriginal peoples, and a series of land use agreements to promote business and industry….

Large high-tech warehousing is ideally suited to land under claim. The promise of employment and lasting careers for the younger generation on their own land is meaningful to the Aboriginal community. This same thinking applies to the Yamba super port and rail development. New regional hubs will be created around train intersections. Almost all of these potential growth areas involve Aboriginal lands or land claims.…..

As we hope to present to you, we have the backers, both in international investors and venture partners. We have the capacity and funds to change our destiny. All we ask is that we get on with it. We need no charity. We need no patronising. We ask that we plan for the future together and get the red tape out of our way…..

I sit on another national committee on water planning. New South Wales is yet to put its water plans in to the Commonwealth Government under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. I sit on those committees and I am one of the assessors on whether New South Wales is doing the right thing with their water resources plan. So we are looking at those rivers and factors that are important to us in terms of looking after them. When you talk about planning, Aboriginal people already know what can be used and what cannot be used. I can tell you that a lot of that land will not be used……

The Hon. SCOTT FARLOW: Could you come back to us on notice as to which land councils in New South Wales are part of your organisation?


Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: I would ask on notice what is your relationship like with the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council? Is it a positive relationship, have you sat down and spoken with them about this particular proposal, are you on the same page? Secondly, what do you mean by "progressive" land councils, if you could provide that on notice?

Mr PETERSON: Those that have been keen to show interest in development.

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: Development-focused land councils?

Mr PETERSON: Yes, taking it from bush to something.

Mr ANDERSON: I know a lot of the land councils really want to progress and develop economic strategies, housing estates and start doing that, but unfortunately they are really tied down with a noose around their neck.

Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: If you could answer Mr Farlow's question and mine about the land council on notice that would good.

The CHAIR: We are also looking for the cemetery and the ports attachments, if you can table them.

Mr PETERSON: Yes. [my red bolding]

This development group was thought to have been in discussion with Des Euen and Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd (A.I.D.) for some time and, although it is possible that United Land Councils & United First Peoples Syndications may have adopted this infrastructure scheme as its own when the original Yamba Port & Rail (Y.P.R Australia Ltdunsolicited proposal was rejected by the NSW Government in April 2014, all may not be as it first appears.

A.I.D. and United First Peoples Syndications are sharing the same graphics and presenting the port proposal in the same terms.

Clarence Valley residents who attended the 2 June 2016  A.I.D.'summit' in Casino will probably recall this graphic prepared by David C Jones, Inverell, for Yamba Port and Rail aka Y.P.R Australia Ltd sister company to Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd (A.I.D.):

This is a similar graphic also prepared by David C Jones, Inverell, for Yamba Port and Rail, being used by United First Peoples Syndications:

[See:, &, Sydney, 17 May 2016]

If any sort of business relationship exists between A.I.D. and either or both of the two companies which gave evidence, then a reasonable person might expect that this would have been disclosed to the Inquiry - given formal rejection of the Yamba Port & Rail development proposal by the Baird Government.

Just as this inconvenient fact was sidestepped, so too the companies avoided telling these same committee members that both United Land Councils Limited (registered in New Zealand in July 2016) and United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd (registered in Australia in April 2016) share Richard John Green as sole director of both companies and, when one delves into the official corporate history, he is the only reliably identified shareholder as well.

Nor did any of those representatives who appeared before the Inquiry explain why United Land Councils appears to believe that it has a right to use Clarence Valley estuary land to; service the property developers and property investors by unlocking access to the best available lands at the best available price. Outright sales are available, but often it will be the interests of the developers or investors to enter into collaborative arrangements…..

When it came to the actual Yamba ‘mega port’ it was more than misleading to avoid mentioning to this parliamentary standing committee the fact that the Yaegl people (holding native title on Clarence River waters from just above Brushgrove right down to the river mouth at the breakwater walls) are concerned about this scheme to industrialise 27.2 per cent of the total estuary area and had refused to meet with A.I.D. in August.

That some measure of local indigenous concerns would have been known to the United Land Councils and United First Peoples Syndications can be inferred by the following statement in the Clarence Valley Independent on 24 August 2016:

Chair of the Yaegl Traditional Owners Corporation (YTOAC), Billy Walker, told the Independent that his board has not yet discussed the matters raised at the inquiry; however, he said it had met with Messrs Green and Anderson earlier this year. Mr Walker said: “From my point of view, I’d have to see what they have to say to the board before making any comment.” He said that a future meeting had not been organised.

When questioned on the subject of the peak state land council the companies avoided disclosing the obvious antipathy towards the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, evidenced by the director's opening remarks at a company event:

“We’ve got the state land council which is not helping our people in any way. You know we’ve got all the councilors sitting up in there in those big offices earning all this money and what have we got for over the last forty years….”

There was also a marked failure to mention that, along with the existing port infrastructure ie. “Goodwood Island wharf, a large shed that can accommodate vessels up to 120 metres in length, a small tug wharf and pontoon” [Port Authority of New South Wales Annual Report 2014/15], the estimated land area required to build the proposed "super port" terminals is land on which native title has been officially extinguished

Additionally, the vast majority of this land is privately-held regionally significant farmland. In other words, not Crown land (including land under claim) which is the focus of the inquiry.

Full details of the extent of the legitimate Native Title proudly and responsibly held by the Yaegl people can be found here.

When United Land Councils Ltd & United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd spoke of having backers who were international investors and venture partners, like A.I.D.,  they weren't telling untruths. One only has to look at what correspondence is publicly available and, the photos and videos turning up on social media of various "super port" proponents with individuals representing foreign capital, multinationals, professional company directors, corporate strategists and legal shills.

It is hard to escape the suspicion that Chinese investors and foreign/domestic infrastructure and development companies have been using both these companies (just as they use Australian Infrastructure Developments) as a way of bypassing the values of Clarence Valley communities and other vulnerable communities across Australia in order to sate their own financial avarice.

One has to wonder what the Committee Chair The Hon. Paul Green (CDP, LC Member), Deputy Chair The Hon. Lou Amato (Lib, LC Member) and members The Hon. Catherine Cusack (Lib, LC Member), The Hon. Scott Farlow (Lib, LC Member), The Hon. Daniel Mookhey (ALP, LC Member), Mr David Shoebridge (The Greens, LC Member) and The Hon. Ernest Wong (ALP, LC Member) would think of being given less than the full picture when it came to the proposed Port of Yamba overdevelopment.

The Inquiry into Crown Land reports to the NSW Parliament on 13 October 2016 and, as there is no way for local communities to correct the record, Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No. 6  will make recommendations regarding Crown lands on the NSW North Coast with an imperfect understanding of the situation in the Clarence Valley.

Brief background

A full list of registered New Zealand companies in which Richard Green was/is a director and/or shareholder can be found here.

Further information on a number of these companies can be found here.

Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC), United First Peoples Syndications Pty Ltd organisation details:

It is noted that no company named First Peoples Advancement Charitable Trust of 89 Kiteroa Street, Rd 2, Cambridge appears on the New Zealand online company register as of 20 August 2016. However, on 22 April 2016 First Peoples Advancement Charity Pty Ltd was registered in NSW, with Richard John Green as sole director & company secretary and all shareholdings held by First Peoples Advancement Charitable Trust (NZ) on behalf of unidentified individuals and/or corporations.

Google Earth image of the New Zealand address of the First Peoples Advancement Charitable Trust:

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Memo to potential investors in the Yamba Mega Port scheme

Dear Potential Investors,

You may have seen promotional material created by Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd or Y.P.R. Australia Pty Ltd for the unsolicited proposal often called the Port Yamba Development (Eastgate) or the Yamba Port Rail Project.

The material probably looks rather intriguing to many of you.

However, there are some matters that this promotional material either does not address or merely skates over.

Today is Wednesday, 10 August 2016.

This is the Port of Yamba Development project timeline still up on Australian Infrastructure Developments’ official company website:

Even if one allowed for the possibility that the NSW Baird Government is politically suicidal enough to give consent for a mega port in the Clarence River estuary and that the first terminals would not be operational until 31 December 2018, that only leaves Des Euen, Thomas Chiu and Lee Purves a mere 873 days to push this project to Stage 1 bulk terminals completion.

Before any part of the extensive port expansion scheme can be progressed there is the sensitive matter of Dirrangun reef, the breakwater walls and possibly the internal training walls, to be addressed. 

Once the potential impact of the removal or significant alteration of breakwater walls sinks in with the communities of Iluka and Yamba I suspect that the friction between community and Yamba Port Rail proponents will increase dramatically.

If any activity required to open up the river entrance for those mega ships looks like placing Dirrangun at risk I’m sure that the Yaegl people, who have now spent twenty years fighting to legally protect their river and dream time reef, will not be happy with the port expansion proceeding and they will have a right to be concerned. A right that is now legally recognized as existing since before written history began in Australia.

As neither Des, Thomas or Lee has held a public information night for Lower Clarence communities to date, that particular failure is going to place a drag on the company’s project timetable from the start.

The hypothetical clock is now ticking.

The dredging of an est. 20km of navigation channel inside the river, at the very least is going to require:

*negotiations with NSW government departments/agencies;

* a least two advertised tender invitations if investors are not planning to just throw their money away;

*sediment sampling at the proposed dredging site and particle size distribution and acid sulphate soils testing to assess sediment properties over the full depth to be dredged;

*assessment of potential impacts on threatened species including wading birds along the est 20 km length of the dredging site;

*assessment of potential noise impacts including what day or night hours of dredging/placement are acceptable; 

* the creation of a dredge spoil management plan;and

*consultation with Birrigan Gargle Local Aboriginal Land Council, Yaegl Traditional Owners Corporation as native title trustees, the general public, local residents and commercial operators, commercial and recreational fishermen, waterway users and environmental groups.

Staying with this hypothetical scenario. Once these lengthy negotiations, assessments and consultations are finalised I suspect the actual dredge and spoil disposal would take up to three years to complete. After all this dredge has to remove at least est.13 metres of river bed in every square metre of a continuous 20 km long line an est 60m wide.

Add to this the time needed to purchase privately held regionally important farm land which the company hasn’t even commenced yet – land held by a number of individual owners some of who are adamant they will not sell - and then allow time for the rezoning process which is bound to be resisted by local residents and affected Lower Clarence communities.  Now those 873 days are beginning to look very inadequate.

At this moment you may be thinking that if all the individual planning procedures were undertaken at the same time the port expansion might move forward faster. However, any large project is only as fast as its slowest strand of required assessment/modelling/
testing and this particular project is being undertaken by a company which admits it has never handled any sort of development project before.

By the time one factors in the many studies required to create a viable development application to commence construction of the built environment then 2023 would not be seen as a long enough time frame to finish Stage 1 bulk terminals.

Some of these studies would be obliged to include the sourcing, transport and stabilzation of enough fill to raise 36 of terminals and berths above projected flood levels and modelling of existing & changed flooding conditions - because all the proposed terminal & berth areas will be submerged in a 1 in 100 flood to est. depths of 0.05 to 2.8m unless the land is raised. 

At this point in the development process state and local government may become alarmed at the amount of flood water in even a 1 in 20 year flood that will be displaced by a mega port at the end of this ancient floodplain. 

Displaced water (that has likely in some flood events to come at some speed down both the Clarence River and out of the Esk River) which will almost inevitably inundate the proposed remaining undeveloped half of Palmers Island, along with low lying sections of  Woombah, Iluka, Yamba and Wooloweyah, as well as exacerbate upriver flooding as far as MacleanQuite rightly both tiers of government would quail at the thought of this occurring in conjunction with a king tide entering the mouth of the Clarence River and the clock might be permanently stopped on the mega port scheme then and there.

If not and planning madness prevails, the fact that a freight road bridge and new road/s would need to be built so that bulk product can actually reach the bulk terminals - because Stage 1 will not see a completed Pacific West Rail Link stretching from the coast to north-west NSW - and 2023 turns into a rather sad phantasy because the number of planning hoops the company has to jump through just grew in number.

Australian Infrastructure Developments and its shadowy backers would be foolish to believe that Stage 1 would be remotely achievable by 2028.

It is hard to imagine that Australian Infrastructure Developments will ever be able to establish the social contract with the Clarence Valley it needs to proceed, when its grand plan will diminish or destroy so many existing aesthetic, environmental, cultural, social and economic values within the estuary.

Twelve years is a long time to have investment money tied up in a mega port scheme that in all probability will be successfully scuppered by Northern Rivers people power.

Twelve years in which your company reputations and that of your principal shareholders will be held up for global scrutiny. 

Given the power of almost instant communication that the Internet will give to over 50,000 people and the ability of anyone of those with a personal computer to identify and research your company or superannuation fund, are you sure that the hope of future financial returns is worth the public relations risk?

If you think I exaggerate, ask Metgasco Limited what community resistance across the Northern Rivers did to its plans to develop gas fields.

So, potential investors – you might like to consider taking your money and committing it to an infrastructure project in a locality that actually wants what you believe you have to offer.

This is entirely friendly advice, because I like many others would prefer quietly enjoying the Clarence River estuary and the easy, relaxed lifestyle its healthy environment allows me, rather than spending the next twelve years as part of a peaceful but relentlessly effective grassroots protest movement making your corporate lives a misery.



Mouth of the Clarence River

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd still insulting people on social media

In reference to the fact that commercial and recreational fishing form part of the economic underpinning of local town/village economies within the Clarence River estuary, the Facebook page No Yamba Mega Port produced this banner:

Apparently this did not impress the proponents of the Yamba Mega Port scheme, presumably including the public 'face' of this proposal Des Euen.

A reader sent me this last Friday, 29 July 2016:

Which made me wonder what else this company was saying on Facebook that week and, oh dear, Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd aka AID Australia was back to its old ways - tossing insults.

Which by AID Australia standards is almost polite when you compare it to this use of bad language on 1 July 2016:

Friday, 22 July 2016

There's no excuse for unprofessional venting on Facebook - someone should tell A.I.D. Australia Pty Ltd.'s Des Euen

There’s no excuse for unprofessional venting on Facebook writes Eve Ash in Smart Company on 18 July 2016.

Something the CEO of Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd should perhaps bear in mind when he comments on the company’s Facebook page and elsewhere.

In response to one of the company’s shareholders, bagging the very political party and federal MP he needs on his side…..

In response to the community whose goodwill he needs to progress his grand plan……

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Yamba Mega Port: nothing to see here, move along

This is the ‘back of the envelope’ mapping done by Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd for its proposed plan to construct an industrial port on 27.2 per cent of the entire Clarence River Estuary. Neat, tidy and full of unnaturally straight lines.

When asked about impacts on the environment the proposed industrialisation of the Port of Yamba would cause, the spokespeople for Australian Infrastructure Developments usually only have two things to say.

Firstly they point out that the initial environmental advice (which no-one outside the company appears to have sighted) gives the all clear – especially with regard to seagrass beds which supposedly do not exist in the channels to be dredged under this plan.

Secondly they say the Environmental Impact Statement which will have to be produced before they can move forward will be the company’s guideline for development.

In recent weeks there has been a third claim and that is that the company will cut another “entrance” on the north side of the river mouth so that Dirragun reef can lie undisturbed.

We are told there’s nothing for Lower Clarence communities to worry about at all.

But what do people actually living in the Clarence Estuary know about their river?

Well, firstly locals know that there are sea grass beds along the route the large cargo vessels will take back and forth from the four proposed terminals and, that the seagrass beds from the western end of Goodwood Island down the channel leading to the container terminal will in all likelihood be destroyed by the company’s deep channel dredging. 

They are also aware of the degree of mangrove loss likely to occur and, the saltmarsh that will be eliminated during construction along with roosting & feeding habitat of migratory birds protected under the internationally recognised Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA), Australia-China Migratory Bird Agreement (CAMBA) and Republic of Korea–Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (ROKAMBA).

These three agreements oblige the governments concerned; to take appropriate measures to preserve and enhance the environment of listed migratory species, including the establishment of sanctuaries.

Living as they do in a richly biodiverse region, locals are well aware that the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act also provides for protection of migratory species as a matter of National Environmental Significance.

[Clarence River County Council, Clarence Estuary Management Plan, 2006]
Click on images to enlarge

In fact locals know full well that Des Euen and his backers would have to play merry hell with estuarine and intertidal areas of a wetlands system that eight years ago the NSW Department of Environment was recommending should be placed on the National Reserve System [Clarence Lowlands Wetland Conservation Assessment, December 2008].

Secondly, locals are aware that any genuine Environmental Impact Statement would point to all these risks and more.

Thirdly, there is the puzzling matter of the proposed new harbour entrance which has surfaced.

As anyone can see on the snapshot of part of the NSW Roads and Maritime Services coastal boating map (below), the north side of the harbour mouth is already listed as the safe route for shipping to enter the estuary – the approach leads are clearly marked.
Click on image to enlarge
So where is this new entrance to be cut? Some or all of the 1,280m north breakwater wall built between 1952-1968 under the Clarence Harbour Works Act would have to be removed – and therein lies the rub.

Prior to construction of the entrance works floods caused significant changes to the shape of the river entrance and the location of navigable channels (Soros Longworth & McKenzie 1978) and the partial or complete removal of one or both of these walls is likely to see sand build up in the river between Iluka and Hickey Island as it did in the mid-1800s and/or further inside the smooth water limit of the main channel. Maintenance dredging may have to be an annual event, rather than a probable bi-annual event to keep the proposed new port navigable.

I won’t even go near the loss of a measure of protection in heavy seas and storms for all boats seeking harbour – the evidence of our own eyes during this year’s east coast lows are enough to give most of the population of Yamba and Iluka a fair idea of what to expect.