Wednesday, 17 February 2021

The Tweed Valley may be extensively explored for gold and minerals if NSW Deputy-Premier and Nationals Leader John Barilaro has his way


Tweed Valley IMAGE:

On 30 September 2020 Gold Belt Pty Ltd (registered August 2020) announced that in late August it had applied for an exploration licence covering a 118 square kilometre corridor, approximately 33kms in length as the crow flies, from Bilambil Heights in the north to Dunbible in the south of the Tweed local government area. 

This corridor also includes Cobaki, Bilambil, Terranora, Bungalora, Duguigan, Tumbulgum, Duroby, Tumbulgum, Condong, Kielvale, Fernvale, Stokers Siding, Dum Dum, Uki and the outskirts of Muwillumbah

Exploration is for metallic minerals including gold, silver and copper and the Tweed is not the only NSW region Gold Belt and, a small cluster of other mining companies registered in Narellan NSW, are seeking to explore.!/title/ELA%206115/1992

Google Earth snapshot showing terrain, 15 February 2021

On 15 October 2020 the Echo NetDaily reported that; ‘These areas include densely populated and rural areas and include the town drinking water catchments of the Clarrie Hall Dam and the Bray Park Weir, the Tweed River, the State Significant Coastal Lake of Terranora Broadwater, and important sugar cane growing areas that are highly vulnerable to any impacts on land availability due to production viability of the sugar mill,’ explains Cr Milne in the notes.

Tweed Shire recognised as one of Australia’s 8 National Iconic Landscapes and an internationally significant environment with the highest biodiversity in NSW but the highest number of threatened species in Australia.

Tourism is an important economy for the Tweed and any impact of these values through such mining activities would be highly detrimental to its tourism reputation.

There has been vehement opposition from the Tweed Community to mining activities in the past in regards to Coal seam Gas Mining and Commercial Water Extraction with these activities now prohibited in the Tweed Shire.

This mining application is highly inappropriate for such a sensitive and significant location as the Tweed Shire.’…..

Echo NetDaily, 15 February 2021:

The application for a mining exploration licence that covers a large swathe of the Tweed Shire continues to raise concerns for Tweed Shire Councillors and residents.

The application, that was lodged in early October 2020, covers 118 square kilometre corridor from Bilambil Heights in the north to Dunbible in the south. It relates to the exploration of metallic minerals including gold, silver and copper.

At the previous Tweed Shire Council meeting (4 February) Councillors noted that the Minister for Regional NSW had responded to their letter in mid-October that objected ‘in the strongest terms to the Exploration (Minerals) Licence Application ELA 6115 in the Tweed Shire’.

While there is no exploration on private land without the written consent of the landholder and no exploration in National Parks or nature reserves Mayor Chris Cherry (Independent) said mining consent on council land needed clarification.

Mayor Cherry told the meeting that she had ‘heard very strongly that people don’t want the mining to happen’.

The majority of councillors, with Cr Pryce Allsop (Conservative) against, voted to write back to the minister ‘to reiterate our deep concerns with regards to gold exploration/mining in the Tweed Shire due to the international significance of the environment and scenic landscape of this Shire, and…’ that the Council does ‘Not support gold exploration or mining activities on Council owned land and any requests for such, including for owners consent to lodge an application, or request for access must be brought to a Council meeting for determination.’

Courts can rule for mining

Councillor Katie Milne (Greens) clarified that while access arrangements are required for the mining exploration to take place on private land a landholder cannot always refuse consent.

It is shocking for a lot of people to find out that while they get compensated they don’t have the right to say no. If the negotiation between the landholder and mining company is not successful then it can be taken to court for approval,’ said Cr Milne.

It could be a very big and concerning issue for what is actually an internationally environmentally significant area. The Gondwana rainforest (UNESCO world heritage) is the best example (of the most extensive area of subtropical rainforest) in the world. I think sometimes the state government does not remember that we are an internationally significant environment. We have a very big duty to protect this area. Any mining – including water, sand, and gas – all has a very large impact on our landscape.

The land area covered (by the mining exploration licence) is absolutely vast – if it gets approved we may be in the shock of our lives.’


NSW Deputy Premier & Nationals MP for Monaro John Barilaro proves once again that he doesn't understand that mining & overdevelopment has marked downsides for communities in north-east NSW  16 February 2021

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

NSW Deputy Premier & Nationals MP for Monaro John Barilaro proves once again that he doesn't understand that mining & overdevelopment has marked downsides for communities in north-east NSW

On 3 February 2021 NSW Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional New South Wales, Nationals MP for Monaro and apologist for unrestrained land clearing, logging of our remaining native forests, barely regulated urban development and mining in sensitive water catchments, John Barilaro, relaunched the government’s three-year-old 20-Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW at Sanctus Brewing Company, in Townsend in the Lower Clarence Valley.

Now that so-called economic vision for the North Coast originally relied heavily on expansion & diversification of tourism and agriculture – but with Barilaro’s ‘vision refresh’ of this 20-year plan he is now pushing the barrow for his mineral ore mining, coal seam gas drilling, native timber logging and land developing mates.

Under the guise of a state government response to the CVOVID-19 pandemic the push to overturn the moratorium on coal seam gas mining in the Northern Rivers region from the Clarence Valley up to the NSW-Qld border no longer talks of “gasfields” but hides the intent behind the terms “resources for regions” and the stealthy push to divert Clarence River catchment water is secreted behind the term “water security” and a Mole River dam.

Last year north-east NSW discovered one of the legislative mechanisms Barilaro plans to use to lay waste to this region and it wasn't pretty - involving as it does the possible extinction of a unique Australian species, the Koala.

His speech of 3 February 2021 confirms he still intends to lay waste.

Clarence Valley Independent, 10 February 2021:

Deputy Premier John Barilaro kindly allowed the Independent to ask two questions before he adjourned to the media wall, where the press corps awaited.

GH: In November 2020, Clarence Valley Council resolved to, and I quote, “oppose mining in the Clarence River catchment [and] … seek the support of both state and federal governments, to impose a moratorium on further mining exploration licences and to cancel existing licences”, largely due to the threat it poses to the Clarence River (the lifeblood of the valley’s key industries, tourism, agricultural and fishing): how will the NSW Government protect the valley’s tourism, fishing and agricultural sectors from any potential mining disaster if the government continues encouraging miners to explore for minerals that will be in demand as we transfer towards renewable energy?

JB: If you were listening to what I said earlier, that is going to happen naturally. We’ve always had coexistence with mining, agriculture [and] our coastal and environmental habitats – we’ve always done this, protect the environment and find ways to do it. The whole mining world is going to change in time; we’ll go with that. We’ve identified where coal mining will continue in this state; other areas have been ruled out. It was our party that ruled out coal seam gas.

GH: The minerals of interest in the Clarence Valley are those you spoke about regarding renewables.

JB: And it’s very possible, but you talk about mining in a way that it is bad, that it can’t be done in a safe way. So my answer is we’ll continue to do what we’ve always done: work with the communities, work with the mining sector and make sure that we only mine in areas we are comfortable with.

GH: But I said it was Clarence Valley Council that made the [no mining decision] decision.

JB: Sorry, I missed that.

GH: And soon there will be a 10,000-plus signature petition tabled in parliament on the issue, from local people.

NOTE: Mr Barilaro made no comment regarding the petition.

GH: You also talked about keeping kids in the community. Your ‘Economic Vision for Regional NSW’ emphasises moving more people into the regions, however, yesterday’s ABS figures show there has been a record amount of city to region migration. This, in turn, has exponentially increased property prices (as MC Mat Moran alluded to in his speech), which, in turn, increases the cost of rental properties. Given that people in the regions earn substantially less than their city counterparts, how will the government address the property market imbalance as cashed-up city dwellers purchase properties and make it harder to find affordable accommodation or purchase property in certain regions?

JB: With property comes jobs, with industry comes jobs. You want to attract more people into the regions; councils have got to unlock more Greenfield sites, more supply, to put downward pressure on prices. What we’ll do and have always done…. And I’ve been speaking with the planning minister about his work with local government, about the supply side of the development arm of residential property. The reality here is we want to see the future of the regions grow; to do that you have to attract the people to the regions. Otherwise, government services are cut, or government services are not invested in – this is the fine balance. I’m not going to limit the opportunities for the regions because we have an issue around the price of property, when we know we can resolve that through more Greenfield sites. Again, good planning gives better outcomes.

GH: So it’s a long-term strategy?

JB: Yes, long-term, thank you.

Ode to prime Minister StuntMo


How do I exploit thee? Let me count the ways.

I exploit thee to the depth and breadth and height

My PR machine can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the focus groups and Newspoll.

I exploit thee to the level of every day’s

Most seen image, by News Corp and Sky News.

I exploit thee freely, as politicians strive for profile.

I exploit thee purely, as it’s all for the news cycle.

I exploit thee with the passion put to use

In my pre-selection, and with my #ScottyfromMarketing base.

Penned by Michael Pascoe with apologies to Elizabeth Barrat Browning, The New Daily, 14 February 2021

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Climate change impacts begin to affect regional land values in NSW Northern Rivers region


As of 28 January 2020 the climate change-induced 2019-20 bushfires in New South Wales had burnt 5.3 million hectares (6.7% of the State), including over 52 per cent of the land area in the Clarence Valley and close to 49% of the land area in the Richmond Valley.

Now we find out how this affected land values in those two local government areas.

Decreases were evident in some areas impacted by bushfire events, with the largest land value decreases in Rappville and Whiporie in Richmond Valley (-21%) and unspecified moderate to strong decreases in localities south of Grafton, Coutts Crossing and the Clarence River.


Daily Telegraph, 10 February 2021:

THE 2019 bushfires have had a lasting impact on the Clarence Valley, with the NSW Valuer General revealing areas hit hard by the disaster have seen a decrease in land values.

The total land value for the North Coast NSW region increased by 2.5 per cent between July 1, 2019 and July 1, 2020 from $87.1 billion to $89.3 billion.

However, moderate to strong decreases in rural land values occurred in other localities including south of Grafton, Coutts Crossing and the Clarence River because of the 2019 bushfires,” NSW Valuer General Dr David Parker said.

Decreases in land value were evident in some areas impacted by the 2019 bushfires such as Rappville and Whiporie.” According to the NSW Valuer General’s report, rural land values in the region remained steady at 1.5 per cent and Kempsey (6 per cent) experienced moderate increases due to continuing demand for good-quality agricultural land with reliable water combined with strong commodity and stock prices.

Dr Parker said property sales were the most important factor valuers considered when determining land values.

Last year was a difficult year for determining land values in the aftermath of last summer’s horrific bushfires, followed by the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.

My office has undertaken separate studies of the impact of both bushfires and COVID-19 on the property market. Our valuers have applied the findings of these studies to affected areas and property types where there are insufficient sales available to determine the land values.” Valuer General NSW has established a dedicated assistance line for landholders impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires, or who believe their land value has been impacted by COVID-19. Affected landholders are encouraged to call 1800 458 884….

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Cartoons of the Week


Cathy Wilcox

Matt Golding

Quotes of the Week


 Since the start of the 46th Parliament, there have been about 538 divisions in the lower house. Just 18 of those divisions have occurred to pass legislation. A staggering 233 have occurred to prevent Opposition MPs giving speeches. That means government MPs have voted more times to silence their political opponents than they have to make laws – by a factor of 13.”  [Labor MP for Watson Tony Burke, writing in The New Daily, 28 January 2021]

 For those concerned about the cumulative impact of Fox News in America on the radicalisation of US politics, the same template is being followed with Sky News in Australia. We will see its full impact in a decade’s time…..At its core, it has delegitimised the twin pillars of the enlightenment: empirical fact and rational argument. The assault by Fox News on both as “fake news”, the culture that validates the world of “alternative facts” and the adulation of far-right “opinion” as somehow co-equal with (or superior to) scientifically established truths, all undermine the foundations of an informed citizenry in a functioning democracy. It also creates a political environment that is increasingly receptive to the world of fantasy, conspiracy, identity politics and extremist religious views no longer anchored in any common foundation of evidence and reason. The result is not just the creation of two warring political tribes based on different concepts of economic interests and social values, but two different conceptual worlds that can no longer communicate with each other because they no longer speak a common language. Murdoch’s Fox News has been central to this process of dividing the way in which Americans talk with each other for nearly 30 years. Most importantly, its net effect has been to delegitimise the democracy itself in the eyes of many Americans. It has created a radically divided country where the possibility of rational compromise has become progressively impossible between the warring tribes that Murdoch has sought successfully to create. This weakening of the American democracy, and the fracturing of the republic on which it rests, has dealt more damage to the global standing, influence and power of the United States than the combined efforts of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. Murdoch’s template for America, culminating in the political crisis of 6 January 2021. It’s a template which Murdoch has believed would maximise his personal, business and ideological interests – by demonising the agency of government; undermining essential government regulation; and most importantly by minimising corporate and personal tax. Trump achieved all three. It’s also Murdoch’s vision for Australia.”  [Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, excerpt from written submission to Australian Parliament, Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications, Inquiry into Media Diversity in Australia]