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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 5 April 2007
Greens shove aside ALP patronage machine infecting the green ngo sector
Mood:  party time!
Topic: election nsw 2007

SAM shook the proverbial sandles of the craven peak environment group in NSW pandering to the corrupt Carr ALP government patronage machine in 2000 or so when we resigned from the executive committee of the NSW Nature Conservation Council having been elected twice to that 'august' body. They had pre emptively buckled to 20 year logging resource security for woodchipping while taking the govt's shill.

As this devastating report in the Herald pre election makes clear, via one conservative rival group WWF to the ALP hegemony in NSW, most green non government groups (ngos) were failing their duty on biodiversity conservation in spades, and I knew it in 2000 and expressed my disgust at the time. 7 years later the feeling still burns deep:

Revealed: legal land clearing's savage toll - Environment - Specials

This report of late Feb 2007 refers to half a million hectares cleared legally with a hundred million native critters dispatched let alone native flora 1998-2005 under the Carr government. Not even considering very significant illegal clearing.

The green ngo establishment didn't even have the guts to admit to themselves let alone the public how badly they were losing, which might possibly have galvanised a public backlash. As it was the Carr ALP were elected with an increased majority in 1999 and 2003 for my green movement failure to really bare witness. They just kept taking the hush and access money from the ALP ministers and their manipulators.

And there is a federal election dimension to this because then ACF president Peter Garrett was part of that hush machine in NSW. As was John Connor then executive officer of the NSW NCC now with the Climate Institute (patron Bob Carr) actively soliciting grant money from the same NSW Government.

As was Jeff Angel director of the Total Environment Centre because he had primary responsibility on the NSW Native Vegetation Committee reporting to the Resource & Conservation Assessment Council reporting direct to Cabinet Mnisters, from about 1997 onwards. Angel's duty was to blow the whistle on the government and their effective green light to panic clearing for the next 10 tragic years but it never really came. They strung him along for years and never delivered real enforcement of clearing controls.

Picture: Ian Cohen MLC (Greens) at an evocative Sculpture by the sea, Tamarama Beach

I rang Ian Cohen MLC (Greens) on the record today and asked him what role he thought Jeff Angel had played in the most recent election, in other words did he agree with our impression Angel had disappeared from sight?

Cohen qualified his answer saying he was not up for re election and did most of his electioneering in the country areas but yes was sympathetic to our suggestion the Greens had held most of the space in the electioneering on environmental policy matters in the general media. 

Cohen added the electoral laws contributed to that in that green ngos were prevented this time handing out at the polling booth so the Greens were expected to carry the responsibility and burden.

We at this news blog say thank God for that. And we have little doubt that our backgrounding about Angel had an effect over the last 2 years. As did that knockout WWF report late February 2007. Unlike 2003 we never saw a green brand on the ALP from Big Jeff in 2007. The ALP were reduced to tv adverts singing their own greenwash praise.

Indeed in late 2006  the NSW Govt were pretty cock sure Angel was under their thumb, as he was, even when he didn't have the wit to know it, as per this extraordinary exchange back in November last in NSW Parliament regarding good old door mat Jeff:



Page: 4347

Mr IAN COHEN: My question is directed to the Minister for Natural Resources, Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Mineral Resources. Does the Minister agree that the changes the Government forced through Parliament in relation to the invasive native species module of the Native Vegetation Regulations did not have the backing of Jeff Angel or his ministerial review committee? Why did the Minister claim, in answer to a question asked by me on 26 October, that he had that support? The report fails to set out adequately how the changes will improve or maintain environmental outcomes, which is the object of the Act, and three prominent environment organisations—Total Environment Centre, the Wilderness Society and World Wildlife Fund—have condemned the changes. Can the Minister explain how the broad-scale clearing of native vegetation followed by the planting of exotic species will benefit biodiversity? Is the Minister able to name a single species in New South Wales that will benefit from the changes, which essentially facilitate native habitat destruction?

The Hon. IAN MACDONALD: That was rhetoric of a ferocious kind! I say straight out to Mr Ian Cohen that the changes that the Government has put into effect will produce a very workable system that will benefit both producers and the environment. As to the other point in his question, during question time on 26 October there was considerable discussion about the Government's latest groundbreaking reforms to invasive native scrub [INS] management. These changes were based on the recommendations made by the INS review group, chaired by Dr Denis Saunders, which were subsequently endorsed by the independent Natural Resources Commission. I stated that Jeff Angel, in his capacity as a member of the native vegetation ministerial review group, made recommendations in relation to this matter. That is entirely correct. In its consolidated report of October 2006 the ministerial review committee recommended that the Government "consider the proposed amendments of the INS tool as advised by the relevant agencies and the NRC". That is entirely consistent with my statement. In fact, there was a unanimous recommendation by the ministerial review committee that the relevant committee consider the INS report. That is exactly what the New South Wales Government has done—in fact, we have endorsed the report.

The INS changes protect the environment while giving farmers a practical and flexible system within which to work and get on with the job of farming. The consolidated report is on the Department of Natural Resources web site. Mr Ian Cohen might try reading it to get a bit more information on the matter than he revealed in his rather limited question. The report endorses the New South Wales Government's native vegetation reforms and notes that the system is working. That is why Mr Ian Cohen is feeling so aggrieved. Despite all his scaremongering, stakeholders have come forward to note that the system is working. Instead of knocking the system, Mr Ian Cohen might try getting behind the reforms, reading the science and contributing to the debate.

Mr IAN COHEN: I ask a supplementary question. In a letter to Adam Badenoch, Mr Jeff Angel wrote:



"I would like a correction (below) from the Minister about his statement in Parliament yesterday that I and the MRC supported the Saunders INS recommendations.

What the hell did the Minister thinking he was doing?"



Surely the Minister for Natural Resources owes the man an apology.

The Hon. Don Harwin: Point of order: The question is clearly out of order. It is clearly not a supplementary question. It did not ask for the elucidation of any part of the Minister's answer. It just put extra information onto the record, plus it contained argument.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The question was not a supplementary question and is, therefore, out of order.


And then in 2003 ex Minister Craig Knowles refers to good guy Jeff as

 "Jeff Angel, who can only be regarded as a solid warrior for the environment, recognises that as a partnership we have had substantial success [on landclearing regulation]."

Remember this is all the while 1998 to 2006 panic clearing is going on, and still going on in NSW in 2007.

In fact we rang Wendy Frew to congratulate her for her article in the Herald referenced above pre 2007 election vote, with a sting in the tail to the effect of

'keep in mind Wendy the gist of your report was known and understood as it was happening and the guy entrusted with the whistle from 1997 on the peak govt committee was Jeff Angel, and he never did blow that whistle. You have to ask yourself why not?'

Now Ian Cohen MLC has reported this first ray of sunlight today for the thrashed regional bushland of NSW with this media release today. No wonder the Total Environment Centre listed the Green Party at the end of it's election grid. The better the Green Party do, the less duchessing and leverage for his ngo at the expense of the environment he was honour bound to protect. If Angel is not corrupt he is certainly guilty of something just as bad in this business - a dupe for Big Govt and Big Agri business land clearers:

Media Release   -   5 April 2007

Environment the winner in departmental restructure

Greens MLC and environment spokesperson Ian Cohen has applauded the NSW
government’s restructure of environmental, land use and water

“The establishment of a new Department of Environment and Climate
Change, along with the abolition of the Department of Natural Resources,
is to be commended. I am optimistic that the transfer of native
vegetation legislation to the environment portfolio is more likely to
see advances in ending illegal land clearing and the regulation of
private native forestry.” Mr Cohen said.

“I welcome the appointment of Phil Koperberg to the new environment
ministry and hope to have as productive a relationship with him as I did
with Bob Debus to ensure important advances in environmental protection.
The inclusion of Climate Change in the portfolio is an overdue but
welcome recognition that this is an overarching issue which affects all
facets of the environment.

“The relocation of marine reserve management and aquatic threatened
species from the Department of Primary Industries to the environment
portfolio is an important step and will hopefully bring about better
results in the conservation of marine habitats.

“Likewise, the transfer of environmental water management, coastal
and floodplain management from the Department of Natural Resources
should lift the standard of protection in those areas of environmental

“The departmental restructure is an excellent start, but Minister
Koperberg will have a huge job ahead of him to end illegal land clearing
and improve the management of water and vegetation in NSW. I look
forward to working co-operatively with him to achieve real progress in
these areas.” Mr Cohen said.

Further Information: Ian Cohen: 0409 989 466


Now that the election is over we see Angel back in the green policy market place on the issue de jour [PDF link on greenhouse targets] but really he has no business being there and should be run out of the policy business if it were legal to do so.

There are plenty of other examples of how the ALP corrupted the NSW green movement over the last 10 years, such as supporting the Lake Cowal Environmental Trust to greenwash a water guzzling cyanide gold mine, to the great alarm of people like ...Ian Cohen MLC (Greens) and other actually independent green ngo voices.


Picture: Idealist grassroots activists on schools roadshow Jan-Feb 2005, highlighting for instance the mine at Lake Cowal will be as deep as Centrepoint Tower is high. Were they betrayed back in Sydney?

This scandal was again brokered by ... that 'solid environmental warrior' Jeff Angel:

Nov 06 - Alarm of independent greens over miner 'Environment Foundation' pay off to badly compromised 'peak' greens


3rd Nov 06 - Lake Cowal cyanide gold mine chewing up farmers drought water, 20m water table drops to 50 m depth!


15/3/04...The dirty Lake Cowal cyanide gold mine trust terms discussed here in 'Lake Cowal and real politik of mining decisions under Carr govt' 

Indeed there are historicly sound reasons why such groups as North East Forest Alliance and Greenpeace have stayed out of membership of the Sydney based peak green groups, in particular the TEC/NCC/NPA complex of ALP lap puppies. The suspicion surely is that it involves selling one's soul like Peter Garrett is famously accused of doing now.

Postscript #1: Arrests made after mine protest turns ugly Sydney Morning Herald 9th April 2007

"Eighteen anti-gold mine activists have been charged following a protest in central NSW, which concluded with a man allegedly ransacking the protesters' campsite while armed with a knife.

The activists, who included members of the Wiradjuri people, Friends of the Earth and the Australian Student Environment Network [ASEN], were arrested about 1.30pm yesterday after allegedly breaching the perimeter of the Lake Cowal gold mine, which is run by the world's largest gold producer, Barrick.

They claim the mine's operations are environmentally damaging.

"Barrick ... is stripping NSW of its precious water resources, internationally significant wetlands and destroying Wiradjuri history and culture," ASEN's national convenor, Nicola Ison, said in a statement released by Friends of the Earth yesterday.

"Barrick is transporting over 6000 tonnes of cyanide annually from Gladstone, Queensland, to Lake Cowal, New South Wales, creating risk of spill and lethal contamination of waterways along the 1600 km transport route," Ms Ison said.

The activists were each charged with entering enclosed lands. They were granted conditional bail and are due to appear in West Wyalong Local Court on April 26.

Police said a 32-year-old man was arrested yesterday evening after allegedly driving into the protesters' campsite and damaging vehicles and tents.

He was charged with malicious damage, failing to undergo a breath analysis, stalking/intimidation, carry a knife in a public place, as well as driving offences.

He is expected to appear in Griffith Local Court this morning."

Posted by editor at 3:51 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 9 April 2007 10:45 AM NZT

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