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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 4 December 2009
Red's last pitch in praise of Redgum Forests
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: nsw govt



There we were sitting in the public gallery of NSW Parliament yesterday in our orange casual shirt. The Sergeant of Arms was chummy and several times said "You've got the best seats in the House." Five reserve seats were never filled for most of this last Question Time for Premier Nathan Rees, the red head MP for Toongabbie.

Earlier as we entered the building environmentalists like Mal Fisher and friends from The Wilderness Society were wearing their Redgum korflute sandwich boards front and back.

Still as Premier, Mr Rees mentioned various things on the land use front. Green MP Ian Cohen responded yesterday:

Sent: Thursday, December 03, 2009 6:10 PM
Subject: [Greens-Media] Rees for red gums – goal scored

Ian Cohen MLC
The Greens
Legislative Council
Parliament House

Rees for red gums – goal scored

Today the Premier made a commitment to conservation in NSW, announcing
that the Millewa Riverina Red Gum Forest will added to the National Park
estate. The Barmah-Millewa is Australia’s largest River Red Gum forest
and the biggest ecosystem of its type in the world. The Barmah portion
of the forest, on the Victorian side of the river, was made a national
park last year.


“I congratulate Premier Nathan Rees in announcing that
he will create a new National Park and protecting for posterity 660 km²
of iconic River Red Gum forest and Ramsar-listed wetland,” says Ian
Cohen, Greens MLC.  “Many people have worked hard for many years to
convince the Government that the protection of these forests needs
urgent attention. Premier Rees has listened to the experts – the
Natural Resources Commission, the recent group of 57 scientists and many
other scientists – who have confirmed that the Red River Gum forests
of south-western NSW are heavily stressed.


“I hope the release of the
report from the Natural Resources Commission on 21 December will provoke
the Premier to preserve the remainder of the High Conservation Value
River Red Gum forests.


“The exit assistance package of $48 million
should be used for setting up sustainable industries and job creation
and is not just a one-off hand-out. The rainforest decisions of the Wran
Government in the 1980s and those of the Old Growth forests of the1990s
show how a well-targeted assistance package can lead to sustainable and
adaptive long-term employment.  


“The traditional owners, the Yorta
Yorta people, are calling for a handback/leaseback arrangement for the
Millewa country. I hope any future plans for the area take this into
consideration. “Saving this eco-system, the ‘green lungs’ of the
Murray, is a great contribution to the Labor Government’s
environmental credentials.  Nathan Rees joins his predecessors in
expanding the national parks system – and for that I commend him.”

We assume still as Premier Rees was referring to cabinet decisions yesterday morning not attended by Keneally or Right colleague Michael Daly MP. We saw this via labrinthyne email networks:

Premier acts to protect River Red Gums

Date: Thu, 3 Dec 2009 14:37:21 +1100
From: Lauren Solomon


Dear All
Please find attached speech and media release from the Premier today on the Government’s commitment to the protection of the River Red Gums.
We would welcome any comments your organisation may have on today’s announcement.
Feel free to give me a call if you need more info.
Kind Regards,
Lauren Solomon
Office of the NSW Premier
Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY 2000

 Is the Redgum decision locked in?

This may well be the Cabinet decision early yesterday as grand Rees legacy.
But Andrew Stoner MP as leader of the Nationals impromptu response to SAM's question outside the chamber was that:
'it would have to pass with legislation through the Assembly and Upper house Council. It might get through there [Assembly), but not the Upper House'
In Question time Rees in particular also said they ruled out shooting in national parks - again a Cabinet decision?
In Rees's strong performance in Q time yesterday, last time as Premier, he sledged the Opposition on social services and education and especially the National Party over protection of natural heritage. He sounded proud of 'doubling conservation areas in the last 15 years of the ALP Government' for instance. He did have us smiling too.
At one point he said if elected the Nationals would 'mine, log and burn the national parks'.
Is this a reference to a past or future biomass power generator proposal on the NSW tourism south coast? Or simply the Nat's interest in excessive ideological hazard reduction burning irrelevant to bush/town interface areas of critical risk?
Certainly it was election bait. Rees also was adamant in his speechifying there would be no shooters in national parks as if another Cabinet decision was locked in. 
He said 'the ALP had gone too far compromising it's environmental beliefs to deal with the situation in the Upper House' meaning Shooters Party MPs there, no doubt responding to this kind of coverage:


Rees didn't speak at great length so the words he did choose were deliberate. SAM here kept eyes on Joe Tripodi by leaning forward to see the back bench place nearly as distant from Premier Rees as possible. Tripodi hardly spoke to anyone or anyone to him while seated, or leaving, compared with Sartor who chatted with female colleague. (Sartor apparently missed the Premier job by 3 votes after losing 25 to 22 in the Centre Unity faction meeting.)
Keneally looked physically small but obvious in blue power suit. Personally, blonde and blue jars here. Suggests depression to us.
This morning Keneally has said on radio she wants Rees on her front bench - that is in the Cabinet again. Our bet he will take that offer, in fact we would take bets on it.
The trouble with these cabinet decisions sticking on redgums, no shooting in parks, is that Keneally and her Right colleague Michael Daly did not attend the Cabinet meeting yesterday morning according to media reports.

Already The Greens are reacting to Keneally based on her record with developer donations:

Sent: Thursday, December 03, 2009 7:45 PM
Subject: [Greens-Media] Kenneally's donations and planning decisions makeher a poor choice

3 December 2009

Kenneally's donations and planning decisions make her a poor choice

Commenting on the Labor Caucus election of Kristina Kenneally to become
the NSW Premier Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said that her links with the
discredited planning system and acceptance of developer donations made
her a poor choice for the top job.

"No new Labor Premier can save the NSW government" Ms Rhiannon said.

"Ms Kenneally is damaged as a public figure before she even starts in
her new job because of her role as Planning Minister.

"The Greens Democracy4sale Project shows that in the six years Ms
Kenneally has been in the NSW parliament she has received more than
$170,000 in donations.

"The new Premier's first big test is if she will follow through on the
former Premier Rees' promise to ban developer donations. The debate on
the legislation to put this ban in place has been held up because of the
late night Labor Caucus meeting.

"During a recent Budget Estimate Hearing Ms Kenneally defended the
system that allows property developers to make donations to political
parties while their development applications are being assessed at the
state or local government level.

"Ms Kenneally's elevation to the Premier could well mean that Labor
will struggle in the political wilderness for an even longer period when
they are defeated in 2011.

"The new Premier has so much baggage associated with over development
it is hard to see that she will be able to achieve the bounce in the
polls Labor power brokers so desperately crave.

"At the recent Badgerys Creek Inquiry Ms Kenneally effectively said
that there is no problem with lobbyists meeting with Planning Department
staff. And she washed her hands of having any responsibility or any need
to know about these meetings.

"Clearly Labor MPs just don*t get it. The public doesn't care who is
premier, they just want to see Labor gone," Ms Rhiannon said.

Who doubts Keneally will backslide on environmental protection Cabinet decisions despite her smooth yankee rhetoric about trust? The history on vandalism of Botany Bay within her own Port side electorate of Heffron is not encouraging.

Posted by editor at 9:40 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 4 December 2009 10:12 AM EADT

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