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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
Coca Cola in Environment Court on 6 June over Mangrove Mtn bottled water extraction
Mood:  sharp
Topic: ecology

               Coca-Cola Amatil Home Page 


We were instructed as a public interest lawyer last week by Jane Azzopardi, a local land holder at Mangrove Mountain, regarding what she regards as irregularities in decision making over Coca Cola bottling plant.

By a genuine coincidence Ian Cohen MP (Green Party) has issued this today, and notwithstanding the technical glitch by way of correction, Coca Cola have some big questions to answer (see further below):


Media Release from Ian Cohen MLC                                      
                                        21st May 2008
NSW Government joins in Coca Cola greenwash
Please note the corrections in paragraph 2 of this release. Coca Cola
Amatil are drawing on the aquifer at Mangrove Mountain, however the
company state that the percentage of the resource they are directly
responsible for extracting is 1 – 2% of the total water allocation.
Please note also that Coca Cola’s bottling ratio for water production
is 1.3 litres of water to make 1 finished litre of bottled water. Our
initial release claimed incorrectly that Coca Cola use 2.4 litres in the
bottling process to produce 1 litre of water. The 2.4 litre figure cited
in our original release refers to an analysis of the consumption of
bottled water over the product’s life, conducted by National Campaign
Coordinator for the Boomerang Alliance, Dave West. This figure refers to
water consumed in the packaging, production and disposal of the
The Minister for Emergency Services and Water - Nathan Rees – has
taken time out of his schedule to visit Coca Cola - a major donor - and
present them with a 5-star rating for water management.
“It’s quite ironic that Coca Cola have been given recognition for
water efficiency at one of their plants in Sydney yesterday. An analysis
of the consumption of bottled water over the product’s life, reveals
that at least 2.4 litres of water is used for every litre of bottled
water consumed,” said Upper House Greens MP Ian Cohen. 

 “The Department of Environment and Climate Change – of which Nathan
Rees was temporarily the Minister for – banned bottled water use
within their department at the end of last year citing the environmental
costs of production, transportation, refrigeration and disposal.
“DECC calculated that about 200ml of oil is used to produce each
litre bottle of water, including in the plastic, transportation and
refrigeration. More than 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions enter
the atmosphere each year from the consumption of 250 million litres of
bottled water in Australia – equivalent to the emissions from 13,000
“Clean Up Australia claim that 2.7 million tonnes of plastic are used
to bottle water around the world annually and that Australians buy
118,000 tonnes of plastic drink bottles a year but only recycle 35 per
cent of them. Thanks in part to Coca Cola’s ongoing opposition to
Container Deposit Legislation, the remaining 76,700 tonnes either goes
to landfill or ends up as litter.
“Dave West from the Boomerang Alliance says that drinking tap water
instead of bottled for just one year, will produce 75% less waste,
consume 85% less energy and will reduce water consumption by 58%.
Ian Cohen recently called for a moratorium on all political donations
from beverage companies, particularly whilst a national review of the
viability of a container deposit scheme is underway. Coca Cola have
donated over $900,000 to the ALP over the last nine years.
“Voluntary waste management schemes have consistently failed to
achieve targets for recycling and resource recovery. It’s time for
container deposit legislation,” said Mr Cohen.
Further Information: Ian Cohen: 0409 989 466 or Nic Clyde on 0417 742 754

The Hon. Nathan REES,  MP

Minister Nathan Rees, NSW Government


Our instructions are that Gosford Council are contesting giant corporation Coca Cola's right to permanent approval of 66 Megalitres of water a year on the basis that the company has not undertaken a court ordered 2 year trial by Commissioner Tim Moore, at that level of extraction intensity. CC have instead only extracted 37 Megalitres (on average) which sort of defeats the purpose of the trial base line data and monitoring plan of the Land & Environment Court.

As we understand it CC and Gosford Council have already drafted development consent conditions for the full 66 Megalitre water extraction without having really done the trial set out by the court.

That's a bit sly to our ear. It's suggestive CC don't want a real trial at full extraction rates because they know they will never get full approval at that rate with true baseline data for that intensity. Indeed we are told by a local that after 2 months of pumping at a rate of some 66 Megalitres the water table plummeted below the 7 metre cap to 10 metres hence the company backed off, but now it's game on.

We have learned that Peter Campbell a semi retired local business man and critic of Coca Cola and the process in Gosford Council planning section side stepping the Court regime has spoken on 2GB Sydney radio yesterday for about 15 minutes about this state of affairs as a member of Mangrove Mountain District Community Group. 

Especially the perceived inconsistency of Minister Rees's green friendly endorsement of CC in light of the concerns over an insufficient trial potentially impacting the livelihood of other agricultural business people in the Mangrove Mountain area.

What on earth is actually going on here Sally? Exploiting the temporary upswing in coastal rainfall before La Nino drought conditions bites again to avoid strict conditions from the Land & Environment Court? Say it isn't so Sally.

Loane ... Coke's new spin doctor in chief.

Loane ... Coke's new spin doctor in chief.
Photo: Fiona-Lee Quimby

Recent media on related topics here:

7.30 Report - 19/09/2005: Stoush brewing over spring water

23-24.2.08 Message on a bottle labelled as greenwash - Environment - smh.com.au

23.2.08 Return to sender, or many unhappy returns? Sydney Morning Herald

24.4.07 Disaster in a bottle - Environment - smh.com.au

18.4.08 www.smh.com.au - Bottle refund inquiry but no plastic bag deal

23.4.08 Everest of containers must stop, Cr Ingrid Strewe Mayor of Waverley in Wentworth Courier  p36

22.3.08 Hard to swallow misleading criticism of bottled water industry ... Letters , SMH

25.3.08 Bottled water: the new social poison? Julian Lee, Marketing Reporter, p1 Sydney Morning Herald

19.8.07 The real cost of bottled water - National - theage.com.au By Jason Koutsoukis

23 Feb 2008 Water way to earn the big bucks, 2 page feature Sydney Daily Telegraph



Posted by editor at 5:15 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 22 May 2008 11:39 AM NZT
Kangaroo shoot in Canberra largely irrelevant to greatest wildlife slaughter on the planet
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: ecology


The Big Media are as the tag implies going big on a protest against kangaroo culling in Canberra. We lived there 1983 - 1990 including lots of bushwalking in the relevant area. It's mostly a set up drawing the animal protection lobby into action and anxiety and then dumping on them as per this set of articles:

20 May 08 p1 picture story 'Little joey stuck in middle of slaughter'

20 May 08 A dead roo or two - who cares? | The Daily Telegraph

We don't want to say much about the heartfelt protests of animals rights and/or welfare people in Canberra. It's their argument for their local politics to resolve. Even if it is federal owned land run by a national organisation.

Why is it only a local issue you say? Because some 3 to 5 million kangaroos are 'culled' every year by the kangaroo pet food and skins industry, variable depending on drought conditions. Endorsed by every govt of both major parties state and federal. In other words the biggest wildlife slaughter on the planet is hardly affected either way by what happens in Canberra's suburban bush:

The 2005 Commercial Kangaroo harvest quota

In December 2004, the Australian Minister for Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, approved commercial kangaroo harvesting quotas for 2005 totalling around 3.9 million. This is a decrease of 0.5 million animals from the quota approved in 2004. This decrease in quota is related to the drop in kangaroo populations associated with widespread drought in eastern Australia over recent years.

The 2005 quota represents about 16 per cent (between 14 per cent and 20 per cent) of estimated populations of the four kangaroo species that are commercially harvested. The scientific community and State management agencies consider that annual harvest levels in the order of 15 per cent of the populations for Grey kangaroos and Wallaroos, and 20 per cent of Red kangaroo populations are sustainable.

Eastern Australia has undergone severe drought in recent years and, because the primary driver of kangaroo populations is rainfall, kangaroo numbers in eastern Australia have declined as a result. Populations of some species in NSW and QLD have declined by nearly 30% per cent between the 2003 and 2004 surveys, Populations of other species in NSW and QLD and all species in South Australia have increased (between 1% and 33%). In Western Australia populations of Red kangaroos have declined slightly, while Western Grey kangaroos have increased.


We have written about this before with some very serious concerns about health in a less controlled wild compared to agri meat production system, and also genetic impact on targeting of alpha males. We understand for instance that the legendary Big Red Kangaroo is practically non existent, with critters barely a few years old ever surviving until the inevitable bullet:

 Friday, 18 May 2007 The tricky kangaroo meat debate - next course
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: health

Monday, 14 May 2007


This level and pattern of shooting has got to be bad for the genetic health of species until the inevitable climate, disease or other impact threatens a whole population. That's our evolutionary ecology degree coming through.

And here is another ecological aspect. If there is a local overpopulation problem from the kangaroos say from artificial water sources and lack of natural predators then a solution which might set a few people back on their heels is ... reintroduce natural predators. There are some major public safety implications of wild dingos in Canberra, but as this ABC documentary makes very clear with fascinating insight

Strange Days On Planet Earth - Predators, 8:35pm Tuesday, 15 Jan 2008 

with wolves and deer in Yellowstone National Park, general ecological health depends on the presence of top order predators. Nature is full of pain and death like that. All power to the vegetarians amongst us reducing greenhous impacts in their diet, but it remains the case nature is not vegetarian.

Posted by editor at 4:02 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 May 2008 4:38 PM NZT
Turnbull budget reply speech to full press club lunch, genuine interest
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: aust govt

These images above carry the gist as datacast by ABC TV from the National Press Club, as we write. Already 3 genuine jokes appreciated by the audience. The last one a sledge on Premier Morris Iemma 'coming to Canberra'.

It's not that Brendan Nelson as Opposition Leader is not doing his best, it simply appears Turnbull is better.

Albrechtsen in the The Australian lends her voice from the loyal Liberal side to a change. This speech to a packed audience will only add to the feeling. Smart high achieving wife Lucy Turnbull is there, and the high level press are set to thinking. The Q&A section will be pretty hot.

And we notice Turnbull has no problem with reading where needed to give a long speech. Pretty normal that. It shows real preparation like PM Rudd.

Meanwhile over at Planet ALP local press carries the amusing graphic of Minister Albanese with infrastructure 'toy box' while everyone knows this is no game, with $5 billion truck tunnels and cancer causing ventilation stacks (a message Treasurer Wayne Swan as a survivor surely understands) slated for AA's own seat of Grayndler:

1 May 2007 $5b secret road under Sydney | The Daily Telegraph


Posted by editor at 2:50 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 May 2008 6:46 PM NZT
Public energy: Iemma stalking shooter votes, greenies, ferals and TSRs in NSW Upper House?
Mood:  rushed
Topic: nsw govt



Green Party MP Dr John Kaye MLC, 2 days ago:

Sent: Monday, May 19, 2008 9:11 AM
Subject: [Greens-Media] Coalition will sacrifice credibility if it backsIemma's power sell-off

Coalition will sacrifice credibility if it backs Iemma's power sell-off
Media Release: 19 May 2008
NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell and Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner would be unable to enforce their five electricity sell-off pre-conditions if they vote for Premier Iemma's legislation, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Commenting on the story on page 2 of today's Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Kaye said: "Coalition support for privatisation could only be on a wing and a promise.
"The government's Electricity Industry Restructuring Bill creates broad ranging powers for Treasurer Michael Costa to privatise the state's retailers and the generators in any way he sees fit, without further reference to parliament.
"The legislation ignores four of the five Coalition pre-conditions.
"It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to amend the Bill to include independent oversight of the sale process by the auditor-general or a parliamentary committee or the adoption of a Rural Communities Impact statement.
"Support for the Iemma government's legislation would then be based on a promise from Treasurer that he would implement the Coalition's conditions.
"For months Mr O'Farrell maintained the Coalition would 'wait to see the detail' before promising to back the changes to electricity industry ownership.
"Now that the Electricity Industry Restructuring Bill is available on the government's web site, it is clear that the Iemma government has no intention of releasing the details of how the industry will be restructured and sold-off.
"It would be a massive back down for the Liberals and Nationals to vote for legislation that allows the Treasurer to choose the final structure of the industry, the nature of the sale or lease and the maximum ownership level any one individual can hold.
"He can even override provisions of the Trade Practices Act relating to electricity trading contracts.
"The Coalition's credibility is on the line. If they hand over control of the electricity industry to Treasurer Costa, their promise to scrutinise the sell-off will prove to have been nothing but political posturing to placate unhappy rural MPs," Dr Kaye said.
For more information: John Kaye 0407 *** ***


Now we hear via ABC radio this morning 21 May 2008, that both the Shooters Party and the National Party are being duchessed for their votes with these, respectively:

1. Increased access, says ABC radio this morning to most State Forests. Similar to this 9 May Game on: forest ferals are hunters' targets - Local News - News ... Hard to get any record online and the minister Ian Maconald is taking our call on notice. Seems they are checking with their Game Council, a NSW Govt initiative. Nothing in their list of media releases. ABC news confirm its sourced to Brian Boyle, the Game Council executive officer. Such a provenance suggests high politics at ministerial level. The Game Council's David Dixon explains 192 state forests were advertised in early March and finalised in the Government Gazette on Friday 7th May 2008. Now the Game Council are administratively rolling out access to sporting shooters. The trouble is these folks are not scientific or expert clinical marksmen and unlikely to make any dent in feral populations even with truck loads of carcasses. It's bad policy.

 2. 21 May 2008 Don't sell off stock routes, Iemma urged - ABC News

This is an affront to public safety and conservation concerns. But nothing matters to Iemma and the spiv ALP except that $15 billion Opera House sized pot of money.

It's not money that is evil they say, but the love of money, and that's what we are seeing with this destruction of sound land use public policy in the big energy power wrestle.

Posted by editor at 10:32 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 May 2008 12:01 PM NZT
Nuke weapons road block to a one state solution for Palestine/Israel?
Mood:  sad
Topic: peace

 Image:Mordechai Vanunu.jpg

It's not our struggle (or maybe it is ecology wise?), but self described 'righteous gentile' here has noticed an inconvenient truth from our 6 years doing hack for crusty anti nuclear group Friends of the Earth Sydney 1995-2001.

That's a group that had (in)direct contact with Mordechai Vanunu via their eccentric anti nukes campaigner John Hallam who was also a friend and supporter of Reverend Ray Richmond of Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross (and notice Jewish local Norman Lee father of Ben Lee in the link there donating to Wayside). Mordechai spent time in the backpacker/tourism/entertainment/foodie/red light district when he visited Sydney briefly:

The Sydney connection

While working at the nuclear plant, Mordechai Vanunu became troubled by the implications of his work.  Despite signing security agreements, he took photos of the Dimona plant. He took these with him on his travels.

Visiting Sydney in mid-1986, Mordechai Vanunu joined a discussion group at St John's Anglican Church, DarlinghurstWhile in Sydney he made two momentous decisions.  One was to become a Christian (a major step for someone from an Orthodox Jewish family). The second was to make his photographs public in order to warn the world about Israel's nuclear capacity and the spread of nuclear weapons.

There has been a corner of every ngo heart for the anti nuke/peace activist whistleblower ever since. God/Yaweh bless him.

So anyway .... we greatly sympathisise with the view Israel has become a covert aparthied state, increasingly in the South African pariah sense, with haughty assertions it has earned the right to be so. This is morally wrong as most thinking people understand and a festering sore on the body geo politik.

It tempts fate both in terms of demographic frictions within and close to their own 'borders' and tests western allies like the USA with it's own racial baggage and lessons of such as ML King. It tests Australia who repudiated South Africa under the ultra right, Nazi sympathising SA Govt (how ironic is that, refer Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom) up 1990.

This all suggests a one state solution over time with commonsense and mediation over time and good faith on both sides. Except for one thing. And it's quite probably a game breaker on the one state solution which should worry the whole wide world.

Because it involves an irresistable force of growing Arabic population demographic to immovable object of 100-200 nuclear arsenal that Israel wisely keeps highly discreet (referenced below). And everyone knows how humans have trouble with these situations ending in war, only it could be a war to finish all of us.  

Who really believes short of disarmament treaties with Iran etc and iron clad confidence of USA backers, and a reconstructed Israel polity itself, let alone Hezbollah, Hamas etc, an ethnically diverse country and govt will be trusted with that nuke weaponry? And even those pre conditions won't be enough probably.

It's a big ask. Not inconceivable but just about. This is why we tend to conclude there will always be a two state agenda preserving 'Israel' as we know it for as long as there is always a planet to locate same. And it's with a heavy heart too given the aparthied implications and intractable grievance.

One thing is for sure, not recognising this impasse and not talking about it won't do either. There might be people smarter than we, an Einstien of diplomacy, and not just nuclear physics, out there to help?

We were put in mind of this dismal impasse recently resolving this clumsy censorship (?) or perhaps misunderstanding at centre left New Matilda, keeping similar view off this string. We can be grateful for the line of inquiry, 2nd story here on SAM albeit grim: We came across this referencing to the profound Federation of American Scientists (below) which corroborates exactly this analysis of covert nuke weaponry of USS 'Aircraft Carrier Israel' :

       Excerpt from 160-page secret DIA report, first disclosed and reproduced in Rowan Scarborough, Rumsfeld's War (Regnery, 2004), pp. 194-223.

Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 4:11 PM
Subject: still waiting .... Israel nuke arsenal, Federation of American Scientists

"Israel could potentially have produced a few dozen nuclear warheads in the period 1970-1980, and is thought to have produced sufficient fissile material to build 100 to 200 warheads by the mid-1990s. In 1986 descriptions and photographs of Israeli nuclear warheads were published in the London Sunday Times of a purported underground bomb factory at the Dimona nuclear reactor. The photographs were taken by Mordechai Vanunu, a dismissed Israeli nuclear technician. His information led some experts to conclude that Israel had a stockpile of 100 to 200 nuclear devices at that time.

By the late 1990s the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 weapons, based on production estimates. The stockpile would certainly include warheads for mobile Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 missiles, as well as bombs for Israeli aircraft, and may include other tactical nuclear weapons of various types. Some published estimates even claimed that Israel might have as many as 400 nuclear weapons by the late 1990s. We believe these numbers are exaggerated, and that Israel's nuclear weapons inventory may include less than 100 nuclear weapons. Stockpiled plutonium could be used to build additional weapons if so decided."



"The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) was founded in 1945 by scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs. These scientists recognized that science had become central to many key public policy questions. They believed that scientists had a unique responsibility to both warn the public and policy leaders of potential dangers from scientific and technical advances and to show how good policy could increase the benefits of new scientific knowledge."

Posted by editor at 8:50 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 May 2008 2:33 PM NZT
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
'Moral amazons' Meredith Burgmann and Yvette Andrews with some rattling skeletons out back?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: local news

The Ernies Book

We got our 2nd free ticket to the Sydney Writers Festival today in a radio competition but we still haven't managed to go. At the tail end of the ABC TV prime time news tonight we noticed a related report about a book on sexism embarrassing various public figures. It's a book by Meredith Burgmann and Yvette Andrews at the Sydney Writer's Festival called The Ernies Book

It's a well practised schtik by these two and it looks like the men of Australia continue to feed them up lots of material.

Just as these two serve up moral skeletons of their own. How ironic.

In Burgmann's case it's the airbrushing of perhaps a million North Korean women who died  (that is 50% of 2 million dead) in that govt created famine in the late 90ies . Airbrushed in this sanitised piece by Burgmann 

Piccolo Diplomacy | newmatilda.com

Not surprisingly Burgmann was not preselected to run for the ALP against Clover Moore MP  who holds the position of mayor of the City of Sydney, and it might be noted a strong Catholic.

 Experience ... Meredith Burgmann points to her long history opposing inappropriate development.

The ALP Premier Morris Iemma is similarly a church goer. Maybe the ALP hierarchy could see some PR problems for Burgmann over the location of 2 million famine deaths as her last holiday choice with not a hint of unease. And they would be right about that with SAM here just being an entre to her predicted election demise. And here is another serve over her parliamentary votes for ALP trashing of the environment. [Declaration: We did electioneer for Clover Moore in 2004.]

Truth is you don't have to be too religious to find a rose tinted attitude to North Korea quite disturbing:

In Yvette Andrews case it has been a dubious involvement in sanitising an irregular (and we say as a solicitor improper) rent free gallery lease provided to her mate as a private art for sale business on public land at Addison Rd Community Centre in Marrickville. 4 years rent free in fact with no financial records to the centre management as we hear it, for at least 2 years while Andrews had a junior and then senior central role on the ARC Board. It's a bit more complex than that but not much more.

Andrews stands accused of sanitising this bogus rent free 500sq metres at the ARC, first as President of ARC Board from her honorary appointment, and then General Manager in a job handed to her by her own (stacked?) Board. This GM job has never been advertised to the public this last 8 months and counting. We've been keeping tabs on this state of affairs a while now:

And here more recently. And here. Andrews is going down on this issue of abuse of public resources as night follows day.

None of this excuses male chauvinist pigs. But the idea these two authors are paragons or even guardians of public morality is frankly a joke, indeed an insult to those who are paragons on issues of gender equity and political integrity. If they are good writers then that's all it is.

In our view these are not two morally superior beings to be sermonising to others. No doubt their book is very popular to establishment sisterhood with undoubted greivances. Only we think the sisterhood might look for some more worthy moral champions within their midst.

Posted by editor at 9:30 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 May 2008 10:44 PM NZT
Sydney Uni takes meat axe to heritage aspect of sandstone front entrance? No!
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: local news


Postscript 4 November 2008 - A few months later and the actual constructions on the campus indicate that the impressions of the story below were misconceived. The new Law School building is not blocking the sandstone view but rather is some 300 metres away to the south east. However at the time of writing back on 20 May 2008 the clear impression by the official construction signboard for the new Law School building in the foreground of bulldozers on the lawns in front of the sandstone suggested something alot more radical. What these machines were doing it appears months later was replacing grass with paving stones walkway. That is no impact on the aesthetics or view at least subject to loss of little grass to cope with hoards of pedestrian students. Overall we can say what a relief.






Pictures above and following give an idea of some startling developments on Sydney Uni campus.

The first is a shocker - fully 1/3 of the view of the majestic heritage sandstone quadrangle building 'announced' by the open space front lawns visible all the way from Victoria Park is being obscured with some God ugly modern Law School building. Progress? We wonder. It's one of Sydney's best views reminiscent of Castle Howard in Brideshead Revisited.

Certainly lost open green space. We can't imagine what such doyens of heritage as Elizabeth Farrelly or others there at the urban affairs 'pod' at the Sydney Mornding Herald might think of it.

The other development is more uplifting as below - reclaimed road surface transformed into open space safe pedestrian boulevarde from City Rd into the campus, as well as extended pedestrian overpass. In a sense one can see the planner's logical tradeoff - road surface for building footprint on the lawns. Very pragmatic too. But it's a big impact on aesthetics. You be the judge. Some of the alumni will not be amused.



Posted by editor at 4:11 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 4 November 2008 8:22 AM EADT
Monday, 19 May 2008
Prof Alan Fels and former AFR editor deceptive on competition in logging industry?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: ecology

Prof Allan Fels is determined to stir up various hornet nests in some kind of profile build this last 3 weeks, as here:

Sent: Monday, May 19, 2008 3:14 PM
Subject: fels profile build Re: [chipstop] Letter in response to Fels, Brenchley NAFI propaganda

I think this article of mine a week back might be relevant to Fels postures on anything vaguely pro industry at the moment from easier approval of shopping centres (see World Today show 19 May 08), to sloppy analysis of logging industry on greenhouse as per Harriet here, or as here big banks:
Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Prof Allan Fels profile build to stalk Graeme Samuel's ACCC job?
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: aust govt

and then there is this pretty overt attack on firstly Howard ex regime but also Graeme Samuels here, again with AFR ex editor
So much for reining in big business | businessday.com.au 

Allan Fels and Fred Brenchley; May 3, 2008 ... Even the chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Graeme Samuel, appears at sixes and

Yep, Allan Fels is making himself a real pain in the butt all over the place but probably insinuating himself very effectively with the Rudd machine?

This was the latest source of aggravation about loud mouth Allan Fels and his mate former editor of the AFR Brenchley:

Sent: Monday, May 19, 2008 12:51 PM
Subject: [chipstop] Letter in response to Fels, Brenchley NAFI propaganda

Hi greenies
Letter in response to Fels, Brenchley NAFI propaganda

Letter to the Editor
So, the forestry industry is “greening up its act.” (SMH 17-18/5:45,47). If we read between the lines of the National Association of Forest Industries(NAFI)’s latest piece of self serving propaganda repackaged as “climate friendly,” we see they want to continue woodchipping our forests and count them as carbon sinks, too.
Under the Kyoto protocol, of course, they can. Kyoto doesn’t distinguish between a 500 year old forest and a six month old regrowth.
But NAFI doesn’t just want business as usual; it also wants a pulpmill and is asking the Government to redefine its old dream of burning native forests for fuel as “clean and renewable.”
If it seriously thinks this will “end Australia’s emotional debate over logging and even woodchipping” it is mistaken.
Harriett Swift



Have a read of this business horror story here (and yes we do mean you Prof Fels, Brenchley):

Some policy rhetoric in a response to the lines in the Fels/Brenchley article.


- The 1992 National Forest Policy Statement was a set of weasel words used to summarise the excellent Commonwealth Resource Assessment Commission 1992 Forest and Timber Inquiry Final Report of March 1992. The RAC was headed by Justice Don Stewart formerly of the National Crime Commission appointed by Bob Hawke. His chief of research was one Clive Hamilton. Keating as new PM had no love of Hawke creations and RAC was soon disbanded.


- The findings of RAC included, to paraphrase 'that no example of ecologically sustainable native forest logging was identified anywhere in Australia'. This was not for lack of searching. They do not exist because logging is highly mechanised, destroying canopy, dominated by high intensity woodchipping to transform the public land into pseudo plantation for private profit. All aided and abetted by corrupt accounting within state forest agencies.


- The bipartisan NSW Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee of 1990 found for instance that profits from plantations were being channeled into the loss making native forest sector at considerable lost public revenue and lost public heritage. The PAC recommended the NSW Forestry Commission be split into two parts to prevent this covert cross subsidy. In NSW the agency was simply rebranded as 'State Forests'.


- The so called Regional Forestry 'Agreements' of the late 90ies involved state to federal govt agreement with industry but never had consent of the public, represented by reputable polling against woodchipping or non government group membership representing some million or more Australians.  In this sense the RFAs are a fraud on the public by special interests in Canberra and highly paid PR operations. 


- perhaps the worst ongoing impact of this high intensity logging from a general public perspective is that huge swathes of landscape have been dried out due to disruption of humidity preserving canopy in natural forest. This is a recipe for megafire upon ignition. A megafire scenario aided and abetted by intensified woodchip driven logging.

- The emerging profitable plantation estate was evident as early as 1990-91 and was already underway well before the official tax incentivised 'forestry managed investment schemes'. The greater agri efficiency of plantation timber was out-competing hunter gatherer native forest logging as per published economic analysis of Judy Clark (later known as Judith Adjani) at that time. Out competing and replacing native forest logging. By 2000 it was clear that, in both volume of timber and jobs, plantations completely dominate the sector making the native forest sector look a niche cottage sector - apart from massive clearing via woodchipping to annexe public land. For instance a story "CSR, Boral form vehicle for sawmill operations" By Damon Kitney  in the Australian Financial Review, p27 17th February 2000, indicates:

  • the massive 550,000 m3/yr plantation sawlog industry around Oberon based on the existing plantation stockpile - dwarfing for instance the highly controversial native forest volume of 42,000m3/yr allocated on the NSW south coast, or 48,000 m3/yr at Tumbarumba/Tumut region;


- The MIS tax breaks accelerated the plantation domination, but also the traditional industry desire to clear and annexe as much public forest estate for higher efficiency plantation, as rent seekers of free land rather than establishment on existing cleared land. This has been a grotesque market distortion and public subsidy exploiting our water catchments and natural carbon store to lazy but politically powerful special corporate interests always interested in more free land of sufficiently high rainfall profile. The greed of private interests at the expense of the public estate in this respect is grotesque. For Fels to lend his weight to this agenda is a betrayal of his own principles.


- For Prof Fels to endorse the NFPS of  late 1992 as good competition policy is an insult to the RAC report earlier in 1992. Indeed Clive Hamilton spoke at a public rally in the Domain in Sydney around 1994 about the attack on our sovereign democracy by narrow corporate interests trying to annexe public forest for private profit. And he was right. Fels and Brenchley completely misconceive the internal federal ALP Parliamentary politics of 1991-96 in the transition to the Keating years when anything Hawke pioneered was trashed. Or indeed the role of industry front group 'Forest Protection Society' funded by NAFI (not dis similar to Westfield's bogus 'community groups against rival shopping centre developers) that supported woodchipping of Old Growth mature public forest. The FPA was forced under threats of legal complaints under section 52 of the Trade Practices Act and/or rhetorical expose to change their name, which they did to Timber Communities Australia - that still supports woodchipping of old growth forest today.


 - In short nothing NAFI submits in terms of natural forests in the public estate can be trusted and this pretty much reaches all the way back to the RAC report of 1992 and Keating's weasel words interpretation in the NFPS. In 1996 both the Australian Conservation Foundation and The Wilderness Society took the extraordinary step of repudiating the ALP under Keating and remaining neutral in the federal election of that year, not least for wanton public forest destruction, which allowed the Howard led Opposition to portray themselves as at least competitive on the environment.


This was true in the sense that both major parties were in a race to the bottom as seen most starkly in the corruption of landuse and govt process in Tasmania today over the Gunns Pulp Mill.

Prof Fels must recant to protect his own professional reputation.

Tom McLoughlin, Bsc/Llb hon

More context about those times relating to then Industry Minister John Button here:

John Button

Wednesday, 9 April 2008
On the actual merits of forest protection to preserve carbon store for climate protection this advert ran in the Canberra Times on the weekend of the 2020 Summit:



Posted by editor at 10:56 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 May 2008 8:48 PM NZT
Our backgrounder on Kirkpatrick Simpson repeated here
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: local news

The local press has gone big on 'Simpson' as in 'Simpson and his donkey': 

Simpson doesn't qualify for a VC

JOHN SIMPSON KIRKPATRICK, the man with the donkey, one of the most enduring of all Anzac legends, will be denied the ultimate recognition of courage and sacrifice - the Victoria Cross.

When we first got this micro news SAM going January 2007 we did a background based on an interview with a dedicated retired union man Alf Rankin who really knew Kirkpatrick's family on first name terms:

Here it is, and it may be a gem of Australian history research, word of mouth:

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Posted by editor at 6:05 PM NZT
Brian Langton's good reputation on public transport 1995-1997, beaten down by rival Scully
Mood:  cool
Topic: nsw govt

Have a look at this from one of our dusty old files above. The truth is Brian Langton former NSW Transport Minister 1995-97 had a good reputation back then amongst the green/non govt movement. But no doubt he was beaten senseless by Carl Scully MP as then Roads Minister over big construction projects like M2 and Eastern Distributor.

Langton lost the power struggle in a competitive dynamic engineered by Premier Carr. But it would be remiss not to stand up for Langton today on the tough work he did for public transport though eventually beaten down by ruthless Scully. True Langton kicked an own goal and lost his job over expenditure issues. Who knows maybe he was depressed over the policy beating at the hands of Scully, enough to depress anyone?

We last saw Mr Langton, at least if memory serves, in coverage of the VIP attendance at the memorial for Milo Dunphy held at Governor House around that time, who was founder of Total Environment Centre (and mentor to this writer).

We think Langton should be given credit where it's due, despite attacks on his past in the press today. At the least the good with the not so.

Here is more context of that hard fought policy and community politics dispute for which Langton was clearly on the side of the public interest ....when the Metropolitan Air Quality Study was showing 400 premature deaths from poor air quality per year. Indeed Sydney is suffering the escalating car fleet and road dependence even worse 10 years later.

In this sense Langton is vindicated on policy if not expense accounting, even as the political loser.

And one last comment: For those who sledge cyclists as free loaders on the roads. These car lovers never mention the capital cost of the land upon which the roads are built, around 1/4 to 1/3 of the whole city land mass when one includes all private and public land for car/truck usage including parking and services. That's a very very very big subsidy in free/cheap land.



Posted by editor at 3:30 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 19 May 2008 7:14 PM NZT

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