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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Big conservative NSW green group not happy with disney style national parks
Mood:  blue
Topic: ecology


[Media Release follows]


MEDIA RELEASE - 14th October 2008



NPA today released legal advice that confirms its worst fears about proposals before the NSW Government regarding the protection of national parks that will turn 50 years of conservation on its head.

“We wondered why big development and tourism interests were pushing to insert the word ‘tourism’ into the National Parks Act,” Andrew Cox of NPA said.

“Now we know why. Our legal advice confirms that it would allow developers to build all sorts of trashy things like amusement parks and fast food joints in our national parks.”

“Big industry has been pressuring the Government behind the scenes. They think they can get their way without the public noticing. They pretend to be all soft and eco-friendly but there’s a dingo under the possum-skin cloak,” Mr Cox said.

“Under existing national park laws, developments are only allowed if they support the main purpose of parks, which is conservation, and low impact visitor activities. This is what’s stopped our parks from being urbanised and Disneyfied.”

“If the NSW Government goes ahead with these changes we can wave goodbye to the international tourists who come to see our clean, green and natural attractions. The people’s sanctuaries of peace and serenity will disappear, piece by piece,” Mr Cox said.

“Our legal advice says that national park protection would be weakened by a ‘radical shift’ in the objects of the National Parks Act. Putting ‘tourism’ into national park management principles would have similar consequences. It will be much easier to allow ‘purely commercial tourism activities and associated developments’ by ignoring the conservation priority.”

“This will privatise the people’s parks, the only places left where we can still go to escape crass commercialisation everywhere else. It would be a disaster.”

“The proposed changes to the National Parks Act are unnecessary and fundamentally change the purpose of national parks. No other state except Tasmania have the word tourism in their national parks legislation.”

“Documents obtained under FOI confirm that the proposal is being advanced by the Taskforce on Tourism and National Parks. We fear the Taskforce will recommend the opening up of national parks for new accommodation that can better be sited outside national parks or in nearby towns. We have formally sought written assurances from the Environment Minister on some of the worst possibilities, but this request has gone unanswered.”

The Taskforce on Tourism and National Parks is due to release its draft report in several weeks.

“There is just one question people need to ask themselves. If you take away the legal protection, do you trust this Government, any Government, with your national parks?” Mr Cox concluded.

Contact details:
Andrew Cox on 02 9299 0000 or 0438 588 040

Posted by editor at 9:56 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 16 October 2008 10:20 PM NZT
Hawkesbury City Council public duty to protect their World Heritage park in court Friday 9.30am
Mood:  blue
Topic: legal

We missed our last Sunday Political Talkies posting for the first time in maybe a year because we were busy collating a 432 page affidavit of evidence for our pro bono client, environmental crusader Neville Diamond.

It was about this as per one of his letters of support:

Hawkesbury Council Watch Incorporated

Registered office: 65 Reserve Road, Freemans Reach 2756

To whom it may concern.

Re: 1.3M tonne expansion sand mine threat to Tinda Creek water source for Wollemi/Blue Mountains world heritage listed park.

Our group was established in August 2005 and has a membership of 1153. We became Incorporated on 24th August 2005. 

The goals of our group include ensuring integrity of the planning process in local government, sustainable use of water resources and the protection of the environment including national parks and wilderness areas.

We understand that expert hydrologist Chris Jewell as consultant for Hawkesbury City Council investigated the Tinda Creek site in 2007 and in his report to council is concerned about future reduced inflow - as a result of tailings ponds - to Tinda Creek then into Gibba Swamp, Wollemi Creek  and then into the Colo River. These waterways are all in the Wollemi National Park World Heritage Area.

We understand that the NSW EPA have also written in 2007 expressing concerns about the size of the tailings ponds at the sandmine causing excessive evaporation.

We understand HCC planning officers on 29th July 2008 recommended against any extension of the sand mine at Tinda Creek because it has lapsed consent and is therefore unlawful and must cease operations.

We understand that the Environmental Defenders Office have written a legal advice to Neville Diamond and copied to HCC that the sand mine's development consent has lapsed.

We support Neville Diamond's public interest litigation against the sandmine seeking to prevent further degradation of Tinda Creek water supply into the Wollemi National Park/ Blue Mountains World Heritage area.

We believe this is in the interests of justice and the public interest that he be permitted to bring his case in the Land & Environment Court.

We understand that I will not be liable for any costs, but would be pleased to offer moral support.

Yours truly,

Doug Bathersby


Hcw Inc


Yesterday we helped organise as court agent for Mr Diamond, this Notice of Motion and supporting affidavit to see if Hawkesbury Council will come in and defend their World Heritage jurisdiction. And if they won't, they we wonder who will. Nor can the state and federal ministers say their office has not been notified of the situation here. But first the Notice of Motion before Justice Sheehan of the Land & Environment Court this Friday anytime from 9.30 am 17 October 2008.

Form 20 (version 1)
UCPR 18.1 and 18.3




Land & Environment Court of NSW







Case number

40733 of 2008



Neville Diamond





First Respondent

Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd

Second Respondent

Hawkesbury City Council


Person seeking orders

Neville Diamond, Applicant

Filed in relation to

Applicant’s request for mediation, vacate hearing date


Tom McLoughlin, court agent

Contact name and telephone

Tom McLoughlin, Ecology Action Sydney


Email: ecologya@wix.com.au

Tel. xxxxx xxxxxx, 0410 558838

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx  xxxxxxxx 


Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd

Hawkesbury City Council


This motion is listed at


This motion is to be dealt with in the absence of the parties.


[on separate page]


1                           An order that the parties go to mediation under section 26 of the Civil Procedure Act 2005 (NSW).

2                           An order that the hearing date for the First Respondent’s Notice of Motion set down for 21 October 2008 be vacated.

3                           An order that Applicant and First and Second Respondents have leave to issue notices to admit facts by 28th October 2008, and the First and Second Respondents reply by 11th November 2008.




Signature of or on behalf of party if not legally represented


Signature of applicant



Court agent

Date of signature

15 October 2008


If you do not attend, the court may hear the motion and make orders, including orders for costs, in your absence.


Street address

Level 4, 224 Macquarie Street, Windeyer Chambers

Sydney NSW 2000

Postal address

The Land & Environment Court of NSW GPO Box 3565


02-9113 8200



Form 40 (version 1)
UCPR 35.1




Land and Environment Court of New South Wales



Case number

40733 of 2008



Neville Diamond

First Respondent

Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd

Second Respondent

Hawkesbury City Council


Filed for

Neville Diamond Applicant

Legal representative

Authorised agent

Tom McLoughlin, Ecology Action Sydney

Authorised agent reference

ABN 506 347 944 95

Contact name and telephone

Tom McLoughlin, Ecology Action Sydney


Email: ecologya@wix.com.au

Tel. xxxxx xxxxxx xxxxx, 0410 558838

xxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx



Neville Diamond


xxxxxxxx Turramurra



15 October 2008

I Neville Diamond of xxxx xxxxxxxx  Turramurra 2074 do say on oath:

1. I have substantially complied with the court order to provide evidence in reply to the strike out motion by 13th of October 2008, and security for costs order, of the First Respondent. This is very substantial material which will take both parties some time to read and analyse.

2. There has been a general election of the full council since we submitted lodge our class 4 application on 29 July 2008 and the circumstances of the parties may have changed now in relation to the DA over the Tinda Creek sandmine since then with new councillors elected.

3. I have also provided to the other parties a draft Amended Application which raised several more causes of action relating to the unlawful operations of the Tinda Creek Sandmine.

4. I have also been in direct consultation with the re-elected mayor of Hawkesbury Bart Basset regarding problems with the chief planner’s report to full council on the DA of 29 July 2008 which was deferred upon notification of my class 4 application, and the Mayor agreed on or about 1st of October to meet me and discuss the problems with the report.

5. The serious errors in the report which are also contained in the evidence I submitted in reply in a sworn affidavit include:

(a)   No mention of the need for consent of the part owner, being the Crown

(b)   No acknowledgement of mining out of approved area on lot 2 of the site

(c)   Failure to address mining on adjoining lot 1 without approval

(d)   Failure to address mining out of sequence of the staged approval in the consent conditions

(e)   Worrying discrepancy between the Chris Jewell the independent expert for HCC and the planner’s report over 53% water loss to world heritage Tinda Creek

(f)     The report glosses over apparent breach of s.283 of the EP&A Regulation 2000 regarding false and misleading information in the s.96 application of the First Respondent namely (1) truncated location of Tinda Creek adjacent to the sandmine and (2) arguing the wrong diagram – SK2 - was the approved plan

(g)   No recognition of the 11 ha final lake form of the approval will now be increased to 17 ha (Chris Jewell) or possibly more given utter failure to rehabilitate in the past.

(h)   Obvious errors like reference at p69 to the EPA issuing water licenses when it is obviously the DWE

(i)      I am also concerned about rumours that the planner was also behind the now infamous Glasshouse planning decisions by Port Macquarie Hastings council which has led in part to the dismissal of the council.

6.      I understand HCC have responsibility under their Code of Conduct and the EP&A Act and the Local Govt Act to enforce consent conditions in the public interest. I further rely on the decision of Lloyd J in proceedings 98/40130 Baulkham Hills Council v Dixon Sands where he states “the applicant  [Council] is the body charged with the duty and responsibility of administering the Act within its area. It is thus acting on behalf of the public and the public interest.

7.      In this case for reasons known only to itself the HCC are [not] acting to enforce their own officer’s report which despite all the errors above still recommends closure of the sandmine for a lapsed consent. I have offered to withdraw my case against them as a party if they will join me in enforcing the planning laws in the public interest. I have a copy of HCC’s legal advice dated 29 August 2006  on their public file which I believe shows the HCC are exploiting me to do their job for them and exposing me to risk of a costs order.



Signature of deponent

Signature of witness

Name of witness

Thomas Joseph McLoughlin

Address of witness

xxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Capacity of witness

Solicitor in New South Wales


Here is the networking email to the Hawkesbury City Councillors and copy to state and federal govt ministerial offices:

----- Original Message -----
From: Ecology Action 
To: Mayor Bart Bassett, Cr Barry Calvert, Hawkesbury City Council, Cr Kevin Conolly, Cr Christine Pain, Cr Bob Porter, Cr Paul Rasmussen, Cr Rex Stubbs, Cr Leigh Williams, Cr Rex Stubbs, Cr Leigh Williams, Pike Pike & Fenwick
Cc: Ben Pratt for Minister Peter Garrett, expert hydrologist for HCC Chris Jewell, SMH journo Ben Cubby, Kirsty Ruddock principal solicitor for NSW EDO, Keith Muir Director Colong Foundation, Peter Cooper The Wilderness Society, Jacki Verzi Public Officer Hawkesbury Council Watch,  Andrew Cox Exec Officer National Parks Assoc, Don Cameron for Blue Mtns Conservation Society, Cate Faehrmann for NSW Nature Conservation Council , Rosalie Chapple Blue Mtns World Heritage Institute, Scott Hickie for Ian Cohen MP, NSW Stateline, Deputy Premier/Minister for Environment, Minister for Local Govt, Simon Benson Daily Telegraph
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 2:19 PM
Subject: Attn HCC Councillors call for formal mediation re sandmine threat to Tinda Ck Blue Mtns World Heritage

Dear Hawkesbury City Councillors
The following stories were posted recently on the independent news website www.SydneyAlternativeMedia.com/blog
a the links below relating to your local government jurisdiction. The site receives about 25,000 pageviews a month on average including from the mainstream media journalists.
The links are as follows:
Monday, 6th October 2008
We are also in contact with various stakeholders about the future of Tinda Creek just as we opposed the Mushroom Composters Pty Ltd proposal back in 1995, in that case withdrawn by the developer, including:
- green groups (Colong Foundation for Wilderness, The Wilderness Society, NSW National Parks Association, Blue Mountains Conservation Society),
- local stakeholders (eg Hawkesbury Council Watch),
- academic researchers at Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute
- office of new Minister for Local Government Barbara Perry
- office of new Deputy Premier and new Minister for the Environment
We call on HCC leadership to support a mediation process to be discussed by formal Notice of Motion before the Land & Environment Court tomorrow 9.30 am Friday 17 October 2008.
In this way Councillors can actively support the report of your chief planner Matt Owens of 29 July 2008 to full council - at least in respect of the recommendation that the sandmine at Tinda Creek has a lapsed consent and that a whole new DA and EIS is required not least to protect the Tinda Creek World Heritage area:
"[at page 70] Recommendation:
1. The application under S96 to modify Development Consent DA0134/95, Lot 2, DP 628806, No. 6102 Singleton Road, Mellong be refused as, due to non-compliance with Condition 4 of the original consent, the consent has lapsed and Council is unable to consider the application.
2. A Notice of Intention  to serve an Order be issued on the operator to cease operations due to there being no current consent for the operation.
3. A survey plan is to be submitted to Council within 2 months, showing the location of diversion works in relation to the property boundary. Should any works be located outside the property boundary of Lot 2 DP 628806, those works are to be removed immediately and the land rehabilitated to its natural state.
Earlier this week pursuant to the orders of Justice Pain of 8 September 2008 we submitted a 41 page affidavit by Mr Diamond, with another 390 pages of carefully cross referenced evidence detailing various problems including for instance the increase of the proposed lake final landform proposed by the sandminers up to 22 ha in size. This compares with the original approval of lake area of only 11 hectares (Letter of Tom Bruce for Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd dated 2nd May 2008 to Greg Hall/HCC)..
For instance council's own report obtained from independent hydrologist Chris Jewell's stated June 2007 that:
"[at page 11 after expert Jewell notes during drought evaporation is much greater effect on Tinda Creek ]
"As the project proceeds through the stages outlined in the EIS, evaporation losses from the ponds will increase, so that by the end of the operational life there will be a 34 per cent reduction in outflow to Tinda Creek. Post-closure, there will be a net loss to the creek system of about 140 ML/year, or 37 per cent of the natural flow, due to evaporation from the ponds.


If the final landform involved a lake occupying the entire 22-ha operational site, as now proposed, then the reduction in outflow to Tinda Creek would be 204 ML/year, or 53% per cent."

[at page 12]


..... On the basis of CMJA's recent experience in gaining project approval and carrying out long term monitoring on other sand extraction sites in NSW, the state regulators have required higher standards of impact assessment and monitoring than is the case with this site. In particular CMJA notes that  groundwater window lakes (or mirror lakes) in final landforms do not receive approval where groundwater resources are an issue of concern.

[at page 12].....Conclusions

.....[repeats the point above]

Recommendations ....

It is recommended that: ....

* Council does not consent to changes to the approved development that result in a larger area of open water in the final landform than is currently approved, unless the proponent can demonstrate, using a more sophisticated and site-specific water balance than is presented in this report, that the final landform will not result in lower catchment outflows to Tinda Creek. Preparing a better water balance would require the collection of site-specific hydrological data over a period of several years."
Councillors may not be aware of this alarming report by the CSIRO in July 2008
In effect the CSIRO predicts that extreme temperature and drought conditions are likely to happen once every 2 years now increased from 1 in every 20 years. This is a major challenge for all land management and planning decisions. This factor and was instrumental in a recent court decision of former Liberal Environment Minister Tim Moore as Commissioner in the Land & Environment Court to support local farmer objectors as follows in David Kettle [agent for Coca Coca Australia Pty Ltd] v Gosford City Council decision of 1 October 2008 by extending a strict trial on Coca Cola water bottling for another 3 years to 2011:
" [Moore C, Taylor C] 32 In response to a question in relation to ground water recovery rates, Mr Lane [single parties expert] confirmed that he had assumed a continuation of past rainfall and aquifer recharge patterns.

33 The most recent information published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes it clear that the validity of such an assumption is improbable. Recent observational data show that relative to the worst-case scenario model developed by the IPCC, climate change is occurring more rapidly and at a greater magnitude than anticipated. These recent significant upwards increases in climate change rates coupled with an inherent uncertainty associated with the limited temporal data elucidating the ground water-extraction relationship, direct us to consider the matter with caution.

34 In BGP Properties Pty Limited v Lake Macquarie City Council (2004) 138 LGERA 237,
[2004] NSWLEC 399, McClellan CJ made the following relevant observation with respect to the consideration of an appropriate level of caution in such matters:

113. In my opinion, by requiring a consent authority (including the Court) to have regard to the public interest, s 79I(e) of the EP&A Act obliges the decision-maker to have regard to the principles of ecologically sustainable development in cases where issues relevant to those principles arise. This will have the consequence that, amongst other matters, consideration must be given to matters of inter-generational equity, conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity. Furthermore, where there is a lack of scientific certainty, the precautionary principle must be utilised. As Stein J said in Leatch, this will mean that the decision-maker must approach the matter with caution but will also require the decision-maker to avoid, where practicable, serious or irreversible damage to the environment.

114. Consideration of these principles does not preclude a decision to approve an application in any cases where the overall benefits of the project outweigh the likely environmental harm. However, care needs to be taken to determine whether appropriate and adequate measures have been incorporated into such a project to confine any likely harm to the environment.

[later in the judgement Commissioners Moore/Taylor go on to say:]

39 We do not express our conclusion in precise terms as being a response to the precautionary principle (and without undertaking a rigorous analysis of whether or how that principle should be applied to this operation in light of the totality of Mr Lane’s evidence). However, we have concluded, consistent with the approach inherent in McClellan CJ’s observation, that this approach is the appropriate balance after weighing up the evidence of Mr Lane and the Department’s past estimate of the volume of water capable of being extracted from the aquifer without damaging it [on one hand] and the broader scientific uncertainty about the extent to which climate change is highly likely to continue modifying rainfall and inturn impact potentially on the health and resource capacity of this aquifer [on the other hand].
Please do not hesitate to contact the writer by return email or tel. xxxxxx xxxxx or 0410 558838.
Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin for Neville Diamond


Posted by editor at 9:12 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 16 October 2008 9:41 PM NZT
Friday, 10 October 2008
Misleading plan and letter by sandminer in threat to Blue Mtns World Heritage Area?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: legal

Picture: Stakeholders site inspection March 2007 of Tinda Creek downstream of the sandmine with expert hydrologist Chris Jewell (5th from right listening to a submission). Jewell says the creek into the Blue Mountains World Heritage will be cut by 53% with a 22 ha lake final landform as proposed. Jewell adds that best case scenario 'if the site is closed now is a reduction of 37% of flow in the long term'.



The more research one does of the destruction of the headwaters of the Tinda Creek waterway into Wollemi Ck and Gibba Swamp and then into the Colo River in the Blue Mountains World Heritage area, the more curious it all becomes.

The relevant local government authority is Hawkesbury City Council led by ambitious Liberal Party mayor Bart Basset and staffed by General Manager Peter Jackson formerly an officer with ICAC. These folks have nothing to gain by being involved in false and misleading planning decisions.

Chief Planner Matt Owens runs the reporting to full council and previously worked for Port Macquarie Hastings council. That's of some interest.

We are court agent for previous land holder neighbour to the sandmine Neville Diamond who has a grievance about the destruction of Tinda Creek amongst other things.

And his concerns are borne out by a set of tricky diagrams and correspondence: These documents posted here show what's called a section 96 modification application made in 2006 by the sandminer Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd (Managing Director Tom Bruce) via consultant Peter Jamieson/Umwelt seeking to replace the original approved plans for the sandmine consent of 1996, already very controversial back then. We say already controversial because the sandmine had operated for 10 years 1986-1996 unlawfully and got a retrospective consent from HCC - as well as a $10K pollution fine along the way in 1989 or so from the State Govt.

Jamieson/Umwelt for the sandminer Birdon write: 

"The first reason for seeking this modification application is that since consent was granted there has been confusion as to which plan Consent Condition 1 is referring to as PS91/E130 is the Job Number used .... as a result there are many figures and plans showing a range of things that have PS91/E130 on them" [bold added]

Here's the letter:

Jamieson then attaches a convenient diagram called "JOB No. PS1/E130 DRAWING No. SK2" which just happens to show a bigger extraction area than the one approved in the detailed actual DA consent with plan from back in 1996 which is "Plan No PS1/E130, dated April 1996".  The date is all important as the identifer and Jamieson airbrushes that reality. The bogus SK2 diagram also just happens to truncate the watercourse of Tinda Creek to a mere 100 metres or so from the Singleton/Putty Rd, when in fact it runs all the way to the now sandmine which interrupts the natural watercourse.  Here is Jamieson's diagram:

Here are the real approved plans in a set of 1 of 3, 2 of 3 and 3 of 3 from 1996, no confusion, on HCC council file (cost $25) and well known to those who actually follow the planning laws and know about this sandmine saga. This one is no. 2 of 3;

This trick of switching approved plans due to "confusion" via a s.96 application is reminiscent of The Sting movie switching envelopes of cash in broad daylight with untold consequences and so it might be here too.

Here is yet another diagram from HCC council report of 29 July 2008 authored by chief planner Matt Owens, a diagram that is not in the s.96 modification application of 2006 by the sandminer as best we can tell:

Who generated this diagram? Why is it added to council's report? It may be from the original EIS of 1996 prepared for the developer but as anyone knows the EIS diagrams are not necessarily the approved development subject to all kinds of conditions. Indeed that's the point of environmental impact assessment.

[We are since advised by Neville Diamond that the diagram is from Jamieson/Unwelt for Birdon after the s.96 application of 11 July 2006, as somekind of amendment, but never advertised to the public.]

In any case this diagram adopted by HCC also suggests a much larger 22 ha area of lake final landform extending some 40% into the north east section of the site - 40% out of approved area -  not the 15ha that Owens says is the case convenient to the sandminer developer. In independent expert Chris Jewell's report of June 2007 we trust.

Of course it helps the sandminer or any of their barrackers when the quarry is a remote site in a World Heritage precinct set back from the Singleton/Putty road away from prying public eyes - and the only neighbouring land holder knowledgeable enough to say what is going on has been bullied and threatened for 20 years by sandmine staff. Councillors too get a little averse to taking much of an interest in the fine detail when the heavies get involved and the victim starts to rant.

And why are people concerned more broadly now?

This little switch of approved plans is no small thing - the increased area sought in the so called minor change to the existing 1996 development consent, is a whopping 1.3 million tonnes of sand, 40% extension of area. This normally would require a new full Environmental Impact Statement and all the time and expense involved. It is also arguably the difference between 37% water loss to Tinda Ck and to the World Heritage area, already a large volume, and an even higher 53% loss of volume to the World Heritage area.

This is very worrying with the CSIRO noting much greater prevalence of drought and extreme temperatures likely in the future in their July 2008 report:

Minister's media release here:      

06 Jul 2008       Droughts to be more severe and occur more often in the future

which leads to this:

which leads to this a 30 odd page pdf file:

We had trouble downloading in a firefox browser but the explorer browser works well.

Since 1996 the Blue Mountains including Wollemi and Yengo National Parks near the sandmine have now been declared World Heritage areas. Perhaps also for this reason Hawkesbury Council themselves have sought independent expert hydrologist advice in 2007 from Chris Jewell.

And this is what he said as per our correspondence yesterday to the man himself:

Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 9:28 PM
Subject: attn Chris Jewell re HCC planner Owens divergence with your number re Tinda Ck water loss

Dear Chris

I write as court agent for Neville Diamond. We attended the information session at HCC when your report was presented in mid 2007.

Could you let us know if you stand by the '22 ha lake final landform' area figure mentioned at section 4.1 in second last paragraph to that section on page 11:
"If the final landform involved a lake occupying the entire 22-ha operational site, as now proposed, then the reduction in outflow to Tinda Creek would be 204 ML/year, or 53 per cent."
We ask because chief planner at HCC has written in his report of July 2008 that

"The final landform involves aproximately 15ha"

at p45 29 July 2008 HCC business paper. He relies on this to assert the lower water loss rate (still large) of 37% to Tinda Creek applies to the final landform.

We will be relying on your report and if you don't want to stand by that evidence it would seem wise to let us know asap. Suffice to say we accept your report on face value as the expert evidence in this matter and your statement.

Our reading of the s.96 modification application (Umwelt letter 11 July 2006) with a diagram SK2 (attached) indicates at least to us such an expanded extraction area of 22-ha. Similarly the "Final Waterbody" diagram attached to the HCC report of planner Owens at page 73 also indicates an expanded larger area more like 22 ha rather than 15 ha - at least to us.

(By the way we can categorically prove that SK2 was never (contrary to representations in the Unwelt s.96 application) the approved plan diagram when consent was granted way back in 1996. The approved plan was actually identified by job number and date in the original consent as "PS91/E130 dated April 1996". SK2 has the same job number to be sure but there is no ambiguity because it is undated. It is demonstrably not the approved plan in the consent.)

(Mr Jamieson of Unwelt, we feel, may need to be consulting his lawyers regarding clause 283 of the EP&A Act Regulation 2000 as regards false and misleading material under the planning regime which is a serious offence.)

Please do not hesitate to contact the writer by return email or tel 02-xxxxxxx and 0410 558838.

Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin, court agent for Neville Diamond, objector Applicant in Diamond v Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd & Hawkesbury City Council 40733 of 2008.

PS You may be interested in these two community news stories

CC Stephen Griffiths, solicitor for HCC

6 Oct 08



False or misleading statements

283 False or misleading statements

(cf clause 115 of EP&A Regulation 1994)

"A person is guilty of an offence if the person makes any statement, knowing it to be false or misleading in an important respect, in or in connection with any document lodged with the Director-General or a consent authority or certifying authority for the purposes of the Act or this Regulation. "


And topping off all this is the Federal Court precedent case of the Flying Fox Case:

In that case it was impacts from adjacent landholder using an electric grid to fry pesky flying foxes - in their thousands -  in breach of the World Heritage Act 1983, here it is killing off a chunk of World Heritage catchment by diverting it's water into a highly evaporative lake from sandmining. Now the 1983 legislation is folded into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 that protects Cth threatened species and World Heritage areas. Or it should under Federal Minister Peter Garrett's responsibility.

Thanks to Kirsty Ruddock principal solicitor of the EDO for that last legal clarification. And peak green groups are not happy either. The Wilderness Society have written their support and the latest letter is from the well known Blue Mountains defenders Colong Foundation for Wilderness here:



Posted by editor at 8:56 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 10 October 2008 4:16 PM NZT
Monday, 6 October 2008
ALP MP jumps ship to Greens in Queensland
Mood:  surprised
Topic: aust govt

[Green Party media release of today's date follows]

 5 Oct 2008

Ronan Lee is Queensland's first Greens MP

The Member for Indooroopilly, Ronan Lee, is Queensland's first Greens MP. Mr Lee resigned from the Labor Party today.

Mr Lee, who won Indooroopilly from the Liberals in 2001 and then retained the seat in 2004 and 2006, says he will provide a strong, sensible response to the climate crisis for Queensland.

Mr Lee said, "Queensland needs to take advantage of its natural advantages to make our state the world's leading solar power economy".

"We also need to focus our infrastructure spending on building a world-class public transport system"

National Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown said, "Ronan Lee's move will give the Queensland Parliament a strong and intelligent Greens advocate to lead debate on the best social and economic way forward in an age of environmental and economic crisis".

"Now there will be a responsible voice free to challenge those old Labor and National-Liberal policies which, for example threaten the death of the Great Barrier Reef and tens of thousands of jobs dependent on it within a generation".

Mr Lee said, "Climate change is the biggest challenge of our generation and now is not the time to sit back and hope that small policy changes will be enough to safeguard our community."

"The type of old-fashioned thinking that got our society in this climate change mess is not the type of thinking that can get us out of trouble - we need a major shift in policy focus with a genuine commitment to renewable energy, public transport, protecting our state's wilderness areas and a smarter water policy that reduces the need for major dams."

"Queensland needs to refocus its attention on climate change and the environment."

"The old political parties have for too long defined the debate about climate change as a choice between doing very little and doing almost nothing."

"Our community deserves and expects much better from our decision-makers," Mr Lee said.


From the MP's own website, green leanings apparent:

About Ronan Lee

Ronan grew up in the small Irish farming village of Ballyjamesduff, near the Irish border and since migrating to Australia in 1989 has lived and worked in Brisbane. He was elected to the Queensland Parliament in 2001 at age of 25, and is now serving his third term as the Member for Indooroopilly.

Ronan's 2006 Campaign Launch with Bill Shorten at the St Lucia Bowls Club.

Ronan has built a reputation as a hard working local member who doesn’t compromise when it comes to getting the best for his electorate. He is a member of many environmental groups, including The Wilderness Society, Oxley Creek Environment Group and the Cubberla-Witton Catchment Network. He has been a vocal advocate for many environmental issues, including protecting Queensland’s wild rivers, ending broad scale tree clearing and banning duck shooting. Ronan is passionate about protecting Cape York for future generations.

Campaigning in 2005 to protect Queensland's Wild Rivers.


Posted by editor at 2:36 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 6 October 2008 2:49 PM NZT
Google Earth reveals illegal drain intercepting Tinda Creek to World Heritage area?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: legal

Picture above: Location of sand mine impacting Tinda Creek near Mellong along Singleton Rd north of Windsor in NSW which flows into Wollemi World Heritage area. These images following are from Google Earth today and date from sometime around 2003. The latest image is from May 2005 below via Hawkesbury City Council file.

Picture above: Mellong in the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains region is at top left of the image.

Picture above: Taken 6th May 2005 by Hawkesbury City Council in overflight showing about 40% out of approved area, and starting to encroach on the northern side (top left of image) into Lot 1 with  no legal development consent in either place. Sand mine operated by Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd at Mellong with huge tailings pond which in the 1980ies comprised the wetlands and headwaters of Tinda Creek, into the Wollemi and then Colo River. Compare Google picture below which despite the 2008 copyright indicates about 2003 stage of workings (less excavation, less tree clearing, less encroachment on unapproved land).

Picture above: Image on Google Earth today but dating from around 2003 given the comparison with HCC May 2005 picture above. Here in 2003 showing much less excavation and smaller tailings pond, and less trees cleared in the east and north of the site.


Picture above: The Wilderness Society endorse the campaign to protect the water resources of Wollemi national park, world heritage area.

Picture above:  Controversy of the past. Combined environment groups beat off another development in 1996 in the headwaters of Tinda Creek, this time a fertiliser factory.
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 5:43 PM
Subject: Briefing to Minister on litigation re threat to Tinda Ck in Wollemi NP/World Heritage Park

Dear Deputy Premier Tebbutt/Carmel

As discussed with your electorate staffer and as my local MP and also Minister for DECC please find a brief attached and a request for a meeting to discuss this below as soon as practical.
Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin, tel. 0410 558838
court agent in Diamond v Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd and Hawkesbury City Council 40733/ 2008

Action requested

A. Bring Ministerial pressure on Hawkesbury City Council ("HCC") - led by Mayor Bart Bassett (Liberal Party) - in order to cure past HCC inability to sanction a sandmine with lapsed consent or to enforce DA conditions. 
B. Request Council to pro-actively support current public interest litigation by community objector Neville Diamond (and/or the writer) to prevent further sand mining by Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd (MD Tom Bruce).
C. Help resolve the threat to Tinda Creek water course into Wollemi Wilderness/National Park/World Heritage Area, as well as to other local land holders.


The sand mine is located on private property 1km east of Wollemi NP on Tinda Creek next to Singleton Rd about 37 km north of Colo River village. On 29 July 2008 HCC planning officers formally recommended in an extensive report to full council that due to breach of condition 4 of a 1996 development consent - requiring details of
"Erosion and sedimentation controls [to be] submitted and approved by Department of Land and Water Conservation prior to any works commencing"
1. the whole consent had lapsed,
2. that a s.96 modification (expansion by 1.3M tonnes) under the planning legislation could not proceed, and
3. that "A notice Of Intention to serve an Order be issued on the operator to cease operations due to there being no current consent for the operation".

HCC officers relied in part on letter of legal advice from the Environmental Defenders Office 27 Sept 2006 for their recommendation. On the same day a community objector Neville Diamond, previously a neighbouring landholder, made a pre-emptive application to the Land & Environment Court (Diamond v Birdon & HCC 40733 of 2008) seeking declarations of lapsed consent and orders for rehabilitation of Tinda Creek.

This pre-emption was felt necessary given apparent HCC acquiescence to:
- consistent non compliance with consent conditions by the mine back to 1986 including $10,000 fine in 1989 under a previous operator for water pollution of Tinda Ck, and currently 40% out of area on Lot 2, and no DA consent ever granted for a bypass channel on Lot 1;
- apparent bias by elected Liberal Party councillors to ignore various breaches of planning law and consent conditions from 1986 to 2008;
- Liberal Party councillor verbal advice they would reject their own council officer's recommendations.
Expediently HCC on legal advice decided to defer any decision on the sandmine until resolution of the Diamond litigation and decline any active support to date. Sand mining continues. Preliminary litigation issues for Diamond personally include questions of security for costs, Diamond's impecuniosity and status of previous consent orders, to be heard on 21 October 2008 with evidence for Diamond to be filed by 30 Sept 2008.

If Diamond fails at the threshold the intention is for this writer to immediately file new legal proceedings against Birdon with help from EDO and others in his own name.

As court agent for Diamond the writer has contacted the NSW policy officers for the biggest NGOs with coverage of this issue namely The Wilderness Society (NSW Campaign Coordinator Peter Hooper) and National Parks Association (Nikki Hammond Acting Exec Officer for Andrew Cox) seeking endorsements regarding public interest aspect of the litigation. Similarly Kirsty Ruddock as principal of the Environmental Defenders Office. We have moral support of Hawkesbury Council Watch Inc, East Bend Resource Centre Inc and other local interests.
There are various other irregularities beyond the scope of this litigation including:
- HCC order on Birdon 25 June 2008 for refusal to pay $48,472 outstanding s.94 development contributions "towards RTA's road maintenance program";
- failure to obtain permission for a DA over Crown land between 15.24 and 20 metres in both 1996 and 2006 extension application;
- breach of water license of 40 ML/YR on their dredge pond given DWE officer Conners usage report 155 ML/YR dated 16 March 05;
- breach of an EPA/DECC license issued 2005 to prevent scowering of the bypass channel.


1. Picture of smaller of two dredge ponds onsite 14 March 2007
2. Picture of before and after 1985 and 2005


TWS - Peter Hooper
NPA - Nikki Hammond
EDO - Kirsty Ruddock


Picture above/below: Stakeholders inspect the flow of Tinda Creek under Singleton Rd toward Wollemi World Heritage area during an inspection supervised by Hawkesbury City Council on 14 March 2007

Picture above: Greg Hall of Hawkesbury City Cuncil is third from right. Consultant hydrologist for HCC, Chris Jewell is last on right.


Here is a quote from Chris Jewell,  Hawkesbury City Council expert consultant hydrologist in his 2007 report which really sounds the alarm, in combination with CSIRO July scary predictions (below, effectively that extreme temperatures will increase from 1 in 20 to 1 in every 2 years):
In Independent Assessment 0 6102 Singleton Road, Colo Heights June 2007  by C.M. Jewell & Associates Pty Ltd, tel. 02 4759 3251, www.cm-jewell.com.au

[at page 11 after expert Jewell notes during drought evaporation is much greater effect on Tinda Creek even allowing for less plant transpiration] [bold added]

"As the project proceeds through the stages outlined in the EIS, evaporation losses from the ponds will increase, so that by the end of the operational life there will be a 34 per cent reduction in outflow to Tinda Creek. Post-closure, there will be a net loss to the creek system of about 140 ML/year, or 37 per cent of the natural flow, due to evaporation from the ponds.

If the final landform involved a lake occupying the entire 22-ha operational site, as now proposed, then the reduction in outflow to Tinda Creek would be 204 ML/year, or 53% per cent."

[at page 12]


..... On the basis of CMJA's recent experience in gaining project approval and carrying out long term monitoring on other sand extraction sites in NSW, the state regulators have required higher standards of impact assessment and monitoring than is the case with this site. In particular CMJA notes that  groundwater window lakes (or mirror lakes) in final landforms do not receive approval where groundwater resources are an issue of concern.

[at page 12].....Conclusions

.....[repeats the point above]

Recommendations ....

It is recommended that: ....

* Council does not consent to changes to the approved development that result in a larger area of open water in the final landform than is currently approved, unless the proponent can demonstrate, using a more sophisticated and site-specific water balance than is presented in this report, that the final landform will not result in lower catchment outflows to Tinda Creek. Preparing a better water balance would require the collection of site-specific hydrological data over a period of several years."

As regard's expert Jewell's comments regarding drought compounding water loss from open bodies of water the CSIRO July 2008 make these scary predictions re drought conditions 1 every 2 years in future compared with 1 in every 20 years:

Minister's media release here:      

06 Jul 2008       Droughts to be more severe and occur more often in the future

which leads to this:

which leads to this a 30 odd page pdf file:

We had trouble downloading in a firefox browser but the explorer browser works well.

Posted by editor at 12:10 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 7 October 2008 11:28 AM NZT
Big press backgrounder: Assorted stories
Mood:  chatty
Topic: big media

 Under construction 



* Not strictly press but we noticed Nathan Rees's formative political career was during the rise of Howard's One Nation appeasement. We see the V8 'revhead/redneck' approach at Olympic Park in the same light. The more of whom V8 "is not your cup of tea" complain in real politik terms the happier Rees will be. Especially that lady in the hijab on tv with the beautiful speaking voice. Iemma had pretty much the same sticht with the car racers in various tv news items only Rees is far more obviously bogan stock, speaking as one want to release the inner bogan on occasions.

* The ALP wing of the green movement here

 3 Sept 2008 Reaching for the environmental tipping point - National News ...

referring to Jeff Angel whose formative political career was cutting deals with Neville Wran over northern NSW rainforests such that he thinks there is no point in pitching to all sides of the political spectrum. Jeff is not a Kelly's Bush kind of campaigner like Jack Mundey who prefers the Green Party to the "corrupt ALP government". This particular article caused hilarity and contempt amongst the anti woodchipping campaigners - over Angel claiming "Stopping woodchipping of south-east forests - given 2500-3000 native trees are woodchipped every day in 2008, with recently a record count of 190 trucks to the Eden chipper in one day (per Harriet Swift, ChipStop).

* Peter Garrett the ALP environmental figleaf emphasising the point again that Rudd ran on climate change as a wedge not a political value - you have to go to the Green Party for that:

26 Aug 08 Sidelined minister Garrett 'could target packaging' | The Australian


Posted by editor at 7:54 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 6 October 2008 8:24 AM NZT
Big press backgrounders, Keith Orchison on energy policy, Ken Henry on reality
Mood:  blue
Topic: globalWarming

The Australian continues as the preferred attack on real climate change action while Fairfax eg SMH or the smaller Crikey.com.au the real take action voice. The former well represented by the Scribe showing his generational blinkers, or more significantly Keith Orchison opinion piece: 

8 Sept 08 Action plan sets us up for a fall | The Australian

who led energy associations for 23 years, that is helped create the diabolical problem for all future generations including his own kids. Orchison is indeed knowledgeable and a respected face on such as NSW Stateline show at times. But like all addicts he doesn’t want to change. He doesn’t want to show others how to change. He doesn’t believe in change. Yet all the addicts must change or die prematurely (along with the rest of us). Orchison like the rest want’s party on western materialism until we die in the gutter. Common to the anti change rhetoric is the airbrushing or in this case sidelining to the end of the column of the value of our “how to” example, to quote:


“and, if the purpose of embracing a high-risk policy [in Orchison’s terms] is to show an example to other countries that have made it clear they don’t intend to follow suit, then Garnaut, it seems to me, is as far away from making a political case for action as he was when the Rudd Government gave him the task almost a year ago.”


But this is mostly sophistry – Garnaut’s job was to provide an economic analysis not a real political analysis per se. For instance just as the Global Financial Crisis has led to contraction of growth estimates for China so will market bans on high density GHG embedded imports. China and India know this especially under either McCain and Obama. Even The Australian as it tub thumps about oil shale bans in Qld is not so stupid about global survival as to ignore the watered down science of the IPCC with this column next door as preview to a Sydney conference 22-25 October:


8 Sept 08 Only a small price to tackle emissions | The Australian


Mind you we at SAM disagree with the 'small price to pay' crowd which includes such as ALP aligned John Connor of the Climate Institute in the energy industry reform lobby. We think this betrays a political wedge philosophy of the Liberal National parties rather than good faith which and the conservatives can smell it. We think like a world war and Winston Churchill it's far better and respectful to promise hardship and misery for a purpose of collective survival. But then Winston had the proof of Nazi extremism to make his case. We have the Doubting Thomas scenario - won't believe it until we see ocean rise, which will be way too late.


We think major land use reform is also quite necessary, neatly illustrated by this speech by Ken Henry as Commonwealth head of Treasury quoted by Alan Ramsey ripping into now Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull back in April 2007:


6-8 April 2007 More than enough dirt under his fingernails - Opinion - smh.com.au


an extract here:


"Some 38 years ago, my parents walked off the dairy farm they had been leasing and my father returned to cutting railway sleepers and, later, logs for local sawmills. For all but a few years of the remainder of his working life, my father worked in the timber industry, mostly felling logs in state forests. He worked long hours, leaving at dawn and returning after sunset.

"One day, about 30 years ago, he arrived home in the late afternoon. He had something he wanted to show his three young sons. He bundled us in the car and took us down to the sawmill. There, on the ground was the biggest log we had ever seen. When our father stood at its base it was apparent it measured some two metres in diameter. And it was 12 metres in length, as long a log as a truck could carry. All up, about 7000 super feet of timber.

"He was very proud of his achievement: to have taken out a log of that immense girth, single-handedly, with nothing more than his chainsaw. And we were very proud of him.


"Then the questions started. 'Dad, how old do you reckon that tree must have been?' 'Oh, very old. At least 100 years. Anywhere up to 500 years.' 'Where did you find it?' 'It came out of the Lansdowne State Forest.' 'How many houses do you reckon you could build out of it?' 'The framing for at least three houses.' 'So how much would that log be worth?' 'I'm not sure, but certainly thousands of dollars.'

"When I think about it now, it seems to me it could have been at that instant that my future career was set. The continuing questions and answers went something like this: 'How much do you get?' 'Not much, only a couple of hours' wages' 'So the sawmill gets the rest?' 'Not all of it. The state government charges royalties on all timber taken out of state forests. Royalties are like a tax.' 'So what would the royalties be on that log?' 'A few dollars I guess, perhaps not that much.'

"Our father told us he had cut down hundreds of trees just like the one from which this log had come, but he'd had to leave them lying in the bush. He explained that old hardwoods typically had hollow cores - 'pipes' he called them - and the sawmill didn't consider it economic to pay the transport costs to bring in a log with less than one foot of solid timber around the hollow core.

"The problem was you couldn't tell how hollow a tree was until you cut it down. That didn't trouble the sawmill, because it paid royalties only on what it took out of the forest. The Forestry Department didn't get a cent for what was left behind on the forest floor. So hundreds of trees, hundreds of years old, were torn down, their carcasses left to rot where they fell. The memory of that afternoon has troubled me ever since.

"I don't know if I managed, at the age of 13, to discover the source of the sense of unease I felt at the time. But if I did, I hope that as I looked at that enormous hardwood log, that I found entirely unacceptable the fact that somebody could legally appropriate, for only a few dollars, this extraordinary asset of the people of NSW that would take perhaps hundreds of years to replace. I hope this smacked to me of highway robbery. I hope I was less than impressed that the elected representatives of the people of NSW appeared to be demonstrating such disregard for the protection of their citizens' property. I hope I wondered about the ability of governments - and not just the venal - to redistribute wealth so arbitrarily, and to disenfranchise future generations. And I hope I vowed that one day I would do something about it…

"Growing up on the NSW mid-North Coast, I was reminded, constantly it now seems, of the failure of economic policy. I recall my disquiet on learning that ancestors on both sides of my family were 'cedar getters'. 'What's a cedar getter, Dad?' What I heard him say was something like: 'Well, that's why we don't have cedar trees anymore.'

"I remember being concerned when I learned that every generation of Australians caught fewer and smaller fish than the preceding generation. I remember learning that weeds were not native plants, and that rabbits that destroyed river banks and foxes that killed chooks were not native animals. I remember learning that soil erosion was caused by humans. I remember being horrified by the apparently wanton destruction wrought by the rutile miners who ripped through the sand dunes where I used to surf, leaving a moonscape devoid of the stunning Christmas bells that used to grow there in profusion.

"I remember being perplexed when the Killabakh Creek that tumbled down through the rainforests of the Comboyne Mountain and then swept around the periphery of my maternal grandmother's dairy farm simply dried up.

"I remember being absolutely staggered to learn that one of the conditions of my paternal grandfather's retaining possession of his 600-acre 'soldier settler' block of rainforest timber was that he clear a certain number of acres each year, and watching over the years as the trees were replaced by bracken fern and lantana, and as the soil washed into the creeks and gullies, replacing the native fish that had long since been exploited to extinction. And I remember, too, that as the weeds spread and farming became too difficult, my grandfather turned to more facile means of making a quid, stripping the native orchids out of what was left of his rainforest property. And if I didn't understand the 'how' or 'why' of these things at the time, I did at least develop a deep conviction that something was horribly wrong…

"When I asked my father the other day why the Killabakh Creek dried up when I was a schoolkid, I suggested that unpriced access to irrigation water was surely the culprit. He thought that might have had something to do with it. 'But don't forget,' he added, 'we fell timber all over the Comboyne Mountain, pushing in dozer and snigger tracks and roads for the log trucks. That's where the water would have gone. You can see it from the erosion left behind.' My question for policy advisers, then, is this: how much erosion are we going to leave behind?"

How's that, Malcolm Turnbull, for "someone who is only a sort of financial person"?

Posted by editor at 7:33 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 6 October 2008 8:35 AM NZT
Sunday, 5 October 2008
Sunday political talkies: Federal Govt 'can't speculate' on anything financial anymore
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt

Author’s general introductory note


This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media.


For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.


Media backgrounders


Peter Fitzsimmons reckons Julie Gillard is 'hot'.


Full page booze adverts are back in the news big time.


Festival of the boot part 2 later today.


OJ goes down, The Juice on A- peal.


Karry Ann Walsh nails the problem today in “A greed constituency”.


10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am


Deb Knight as compere. GFC – global financial crisis. Press roundup as usual – Henson moral panic story for using children as artistic fodder. Australia should take Tuvalu population [and their TV domain name? Could be good economics.]


Wayne Swan as Treasurer on the low rater as the talent. Shows the Govt serious or reaching? Name dropping US undersecretary of Treasury ….whoever.  GFC – package absolutely essential re bad debts.


“Can’t speculate ….”about share market, or reserve bank. Big question of banks not passing on full reduction in interest rates in future.  [Shows banks under some pressure.]


Outtake Russel Crowe getting applause for bad maths on socialist give away for USA on late night live. [tried to divide 700B by 300M, how do you do it? What is 1 billion in US terms 1000,000,000? Or $100,000,000


Panel Jessica Irving smh, and Mal Farr. MF question. “Can’t speculate on May budget ….” Both sharp tools in the shed.


Can’t confirm 18 weeks parental leave. [There’s a scratch in the record dear Eliza, dear Eliza!]


Animation out take is a cracker – got and opposition of rich people for  rich people by rich people. That’s our democracy.


2nd guest. Academic prof Steve Keen. Exponential debt levels here in Australia over the last 40 years. This guy is so so so good. Our own debt bubble.


GFC bail out package was a wrong move. Competition as economic vitamin C. Problem is too much competition. MF – what think of $20B infrastructure splurge. Keynsian rather than neo classical. Helps balance sheet but ignores debt. Last year 260 billion debt. Demand is going to fall just like ‘America’.



Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.



Riley Diary 7, 8.35 am


Very clever comparison of the GFC and Australia as the fishing trawler heading into the perfect storm of movie of the same name. Rainfall overlay on Mal Turnbull metaphor on multiple interviews that going to get wet but not sink. The more they say it the more scared we all get and distrustful.


Chats after the tape - Riley in cream suit looks interesting. Reserve bank this Tues.





9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am


Intro News re GFC, and other stuff. OJ goes down.


Clashes directly with Riley Diary for first 5 minutes.


Julia Gillard is the talent as deputy PM. GFC is the topic. Moves onto banks passing on rate cut or not and then infrastructure good investments that also stimulate the economy.







Insiders 2: 9- 10am


GFC intro with Jim Middleton, namesake on panel with Meglogenis and Henderson looking more like Akerman in profile (?).


Bipartisan support ignoring the Keen analysis on MTP.


Cross to Roland in Washington. Delay re Bush authority. Gone in 4 months, quacking noises getting louder.


Meglo press notes Milne story no rate cut pass through in full. Prestige vehicles on slide. Henderson tub thumps on talent scouting for child models moral panic.


Peter Costello is the talent. Interesting choice given Sydney rounds discussing his book.

Agrees with Swan and Rudd will be okay. Australia should continue to grow. Own role doing a bit with the World Bank. Yes changed financially.


Costello lists some tough question for govt on banks – “highly profitable”. Should be passed on in full. Presents as breezy and insightful sabbatical style break from Treasurer, front bencher jobs as we blogged earlier this week after Seymour Centre talk with the perfumed steamroller Jana Wendt.


Soliliquy by Chris Uhlmann as federal political reporter about impact of the GFC to affect climate change approach of the USA next year?. Grab comparison Wayne Swan last month and this month about not passing on the full rate cut.


Panel discusses banking. Henderson argues private confidential conversations with banks and govt. [Fascist hierarchy?] Grab about Turnbull opportunism capacity for banks to pass on full cut.


Panel chat. Henderson tries an apologia for GW Bush – pathetic stuff really.


Talking pictures – Patrick Cook and Mike Bowers who are both now freelancers ex Bulletin, ex Fairfax smh.


Predictions at the wind up, Henderson gives a advertorial for “excellent” Costello memoir.


Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/



Posted by editor at 11:51 AM NZT
Saturday, 4 October 2008
Coke Cola juggernaut hits corrugations: Pumping trial and risk continues to 2011
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: legal


We took a call yesterday from the SMH journo yesterday responding to our update. It's a reasonable report but as with these things there's some missing elements, and the headline is misconceived as dear reader you will see. So we thought we better fillout the complex and highly tactical background.

We emailed Ben Cubby this tipoff Friday morning copy to local objectors from Wednesday prior, as court agent for activist intervenor Neville Diamond in this Land & Environment Court case:

Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 8:59 PM
Subject: CCA got 35 ML/YR permanent with 66 ML/YR trial ongoing to 2011

I have a copy of the orders and judgement from earlier today 9.30 am. Neville also.

I will mail a copy up to you guys - Jane I guess or Margaret or both.

No costs orders against anyone. Our 2 extra consent conditions failed to get up, one to ban bulk export and the other revegetation - though this latter one got closer than I expected.

Moore/Taylor took serious notice of the climate change concerns - and we did well to get that evidence in even though we are not acknowledged directly about that. But given no one else ran the issue up except GCC in their pleadings (Statement in Reply document) says to me we had to be in the case all along and not trust GCC.

Well done xxxxxx for photocopying for me the CSIRO report - again not mentioned specifically but you can see them leaning on it in their cross referencing of other legal cases on the precautionary principle re climate.

For me the critical turning point in the case was Lane being chosen as CAE [court appointed single party expert] who was alwys going to go for an approval.

There is a paragraph too that gets it wrong regarding Peter Campbell evidence which he will want to read, mixing Peter up with Mr Hitchcock on the water sharing committee. There is also an embarrsing typo in the documents referring to trial until 2911! Sounds good to me but should read 2011.

The Commissioners also notably extracted in their judgement exactly the same text I lifted from Lane in my submissions, that contradicted his own verbal evidence to a fair degree.

So in conclusion we kept the trial. And they got 35ML permanent.

Thanks linesman, thanks ball persons! Until the next tennis match.

Kind regards, Tom
Which is not quite the same spin as the Herald headline writer as above which does bear some resolution of the different versions, ours being the more informed (we humbly submit).

To explain: CCA wanted to get free of their existing 66 ML/YR trial from the 2005 judgement because a trial is just that - it puts their whole approval in jeopardy if they fail the trial. So there was no "extra water" in the court decision which has always been at 66 ML/YR since 2005. That is 66ML/YR before the court decision, 66ML/YR after the cout decision. But contrary to the Herald slant Coke are hamstrung by another 3 years of risk of trial conditions, as they should be. That's a job well done by the community sector.

How so? Because with the trial leash CCA know from history in the Peats Ridge area they can't go anywhere near the 66ML/YR without some major impacts all carefully measured with monitoring bores. Which is why in their trial up to late 2007 they refused to pump more than an average 35ML/YR for the last 3 years despite a court authority (some argue mandatory requirement) to trial 66 ML/YR fearing the consequences of resultant scientific data being exposed. Indeed the court decided this latest data only justified 35ML/YR permanent approval up from 25 ML. So their trial over the last 3 years has got them only 10 ML/YR extra permanent increase to 35 ML.

In reality CCA squibbed the 66 ML/YR trial and paid the price with another 3 years - go back and do your homework. Good decision LEC.

Indeed when CCA tried in 2006 to pump at a higher rate of 66 ML they ended up in court again for a plummeting water table in what became known as the "Trigger Case". This refers to a trigger where the CCA bores automatically shut off at 10 metres depth - which was loosened in CCA's favour to 15 m. In that case CCA applied for but lost their application for unlimited depth so you can never over-estimate the chutzpah of CCA . The LEC being the only thing between big political donations to the ALP Govt with their so called independent public servant bureaucrats.

This latest decision is not a win for Coke. No costs orders were made against any objector party, neither council or intervenor Diamond. Even when we didn't get our extra consent conditions. Indeed if we hadn't been there alot of climte change evidence would have been airbrushed.

Coke didn't get their trial conditions removed which was their stated case in their application and pleadings, so their appeal was only "upheld" to the extent of a minor increase of 10 ML/YR permanent increase free of the trial consequences in 2011 depending on the data at that time. Here indeed is that very pleading to delete the LEC/Moore C. prescient trial at 66 ML/YR imposed since 2005:

And notice Dr Noel Merrick in the story above as "the groundwater expert" at UTS. Our advice, and we are happy to be corrected, is that he is a computer modelling expert, not a qualified hydrologist. He is reported as admitting this at a boisterious public meeting in 2006 or so.  

A quick look at his resume online indicates:

 Research Expertise

  • Groundwater modeling – flow, solute, contaminants, stochastic.
  • Optimisation modeling - resource management, groundwater allocation, dewatering, pump-and-treat
  • Electrical geophysics - software, resource assessment, salinity monitoring
  • Computer programming - FORTRAN, GAMS 

Later on in the resume he indicates:

Academic Qualifications

  • PhD, 2000, University of Technology, Sydney.
  • Graduate Course in Hydrology, 1981, The University of New South Wales.
  • Graduate Diploma in Data Processing, with Distinction, 1980, The New South Wales Institute of Technology.
  • Master of Science Research Degree, 1977, The University of Sydney.
  • Bachelor of Science Degree, 1971, The University of Sydney

Professional Society Memberships

  • MIAH - Member, International Association of Hydrogeologists
  • MASEG - Member, Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists
  • MNZHS – Member, New Zealand Hydrological Society
We added the bold regarding graduate course in hydrology. A degree does not quite make for profound expertise in a highly contested legal case. What was the Phd in? We suspect it was in computer modelling. And the memberships of various hydrologist professional bodies does not quite get you there. There is heavy emphasis on the computer modelling aspects in this resume. And clearly Merrick is a smart man. That's not the question. For those who aren't aware the highest expertise in this area of groundwater in Sydney sandstone is referred to as a hydro-geologist. And that leaves wide open the area of ecological expertise of groundwater dependent ecoystems.

No one is saying Merrick doesn't have knowledge of these, but is he the expert beyond his computer modelling career? We do wonder.

Yet Merrick is offering arguably unqualified ecological impacts advice to anyone who will listen? - Mr Lane who was the hydrologist single parties expert in the case, the local press in a letter in May 2007, and to the SMH here. But he's not an ecologist, and he's not a hydrologist. We asked Lane in cross examination who in turn admitted in writing he relied on Merrick for his expert evidence .... 
McLoughlin: 'He's not a hydrologist is he?'
Lane " Is he not?"
McLoughlin: "So that's your evidence, you understand him to be a qualified hydrologist?"
It was about to get ugly and Commissioner Moore intervened to keep it all polite and smooth. But the point was made.

Indeed Dr Merrick has written in effect that he is a potential joint venturer with Coca Cola funding his proposals for future academic studies of Peats Ridge. In other words he appears to have a potential financial conflict of interest. In this case Merrick was happy to endorse a whopping '30% reduction in stream baseflow'. Too bad if you're an eco-system in the surrounding national parks dependent on that 30% of water resource!

There is simply no scientific environmental impact assessment by Merrick, State Govt or CCA for such an outrageous posture. Indeed it contradicts the gist of Merrick's own Nov 2006 170 page report which suggested sustainable yeild for that catchment had been over estimated by 100%. Which was why CCA wanted to get him onside and out of the way? And wanted to offer to jointly fund his future studies? And why the local Catchment Management Committee refused to endorse the next Merrick CCA joint study for lacking independence?

The main parties in the litigation didn't want to consider Merrick's Nov 2006 academic report which tended to contradict his new view of things by May 2007 in the clammy embrace of CCA. This writer forced them to include it in evidence to the expert Lane. He got the report with only 4 days to interpret the complex data 14 July 2008, final report 18 July, hence the verbal consultations with Merrick direct as conceded by Lane in writing in his final report.

This Nov 2006 Merrick report is realistic about the historical over-allocations and uncertainties of unlicensed water use such that grant in 2005 to Coca Cola from 25 to 66 ML/YR (in contrast to any other rival applicant) was in the context of existing unsustainability. In other words in isolation the CCA increase is 'a minor impact' if it were a sustainable paradigm but in reality its salt into the wound and the local farmers know it. No double talk can hide that reality.

There is no doubt a govt funded independent study of water usage in the Peats Ridge, Somersby Plateau should be done, whether by Merrick or otherwise, but not funded by CCA to compromise the results. And why hasn't it been done? Because it appears there is rampant sandmine and other unlicensed water use in the area making for a real can of worms, and just like water regulation in many other areas of the state. Of that CCA is quite accurate. It's another state govt dog's breakfast.

As we understand rather than address the local water supply systemic over-allocations which Dr Merrick implies in his own correspondence then minister Frank Sartor indulged in 2007 in some corporate welfare and approved a $27M water pipe down from the Hunter to keep the local Gosford Wyong water supply going.

And what does this all mean for future water use by CCA at Peats Ridge? Quite likely once they go pump over the tried and tested 35ML/YR average their monitoring will start to show big problems just like it did in 2006 with a plummeting water table impacting local farms. It ain't over yet by a long chalk. And the anti bottled water forces are getting stronger as people's discretionary income for this luxury is going south. Same as tap water indeed! Ben Cubby got that right.

Another minor nit pick in the SMH story. The NSW Nature Conservation Council rep might well have a valid opinion about the broad situation of bottled water. But they didn't have anything to do with the community litigation in the LEC in 2008. The people on this author's radar were Scott Hickie ably assisting Ian Cohen MLC, campaigner Jon Dee, Clean Up Australia and to a lesser extent Waverley Mayor Ingrid Strewe (till recently) and similarly Peter Macdonald of Manly council.

An extensive history of the latest litigation and our role as SAM editor sometime court agent can be found here:

Monday, 29 September 2008

Friday, 19 September 2008
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Monday, 4 August 2008
Friday, 25 July 2008
Friday, 18 July 2008
Friday 18 July 2008 -  
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Saturday, 5 July 2008
Friday, 4 July 2008
4 July 2008 -
Friday, 27 June 2008
Friday, 27 June 2008
Tuesday 24 June 2008 -

Posted by editor at 11:08 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 16 October 2008 4:26 PM NZT
SAM micro news viewer stats for Sept 2008, down to 20,746
Mood:  not sure
Topic: independent media

We lost 5000 plus hits somehow over the last month! Less a slump as a mini crash. Not that we are too stressed about it. One week laid down with a rotten cold. Flat out with a distracting environmental law case about sandmining adjacent to a world heritage Blue Mountains, other pro bono legal help as tutor for a disabled volunteer. Getting a more serious exercise regime. But these are all excuses, we just do what we do and the readership figures can please themselves.

We got out biggest thrill this month catching out new Opposition Leader Mal Turnbull making a mild gaffe about the national football codes, blogging it and watching it run all week, not to say SAM was the template, but then again maybe it was.

Also sometimes we wonder if our readers are the political activists and hacks who are at times too busy to slum it here say when Parliament is sitting affecting readership. Or maybe there are lots of shareholders who were riding the slippery dip of global financial markets this last fortnight.

On the other hand we similarly try to keep our eye in with comment threads on such as crikey.com.au but less so this last month - which we think might also draw some interest back to the SAM site.

Or maybe we just don't have a clue what builds circulation at all?!

Previous monthly reader pageview figures for 2007, 2008 verified by screen shot (web host provider monthly pageview account details) posted on or about 4th day of the month found in this thread:

  • August 08 - 25,344
  • July 08 - 22,855
  • June 08 - 27,440
  • May 08 - 25,046
  • April 08 - 19,250
  • March 08 - 20,803 
  • February 08 - 13,109
  • January 08 -  19, 898
  • December - 11,627
  • November - 10,220
  • October - 9, 100 
  • Sept -  8,100 (roughly, no screenshot)
  • August - 8,845
  • July - 7475
  • June - 9675
  • May  - 9, 059
  • April  - 12,087
  • March  - 6,684
  • February - 5,372
  • January 07 -  2800 (3rd Jan - 3rd Feb 07)

Posted by editor at 10:44 AM NZT

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