Topic: local news
Dear general manager
Questions with notice for Annual General Meeting
Dear general manager
Questions with notice for Annual General Meeting
This announcement by Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell by his minister Brad Hazzard MP on ABC news last night says alot. It looks like another policy out of the pragmatic political file as per opposition to the open slather privatisation of public energy assets.
The same Brad Hazzard MP shadow minister for planning (?) we noticed nattering to an ex Liberal Environment Minister Tim Moore in Martin Place one lunch time.
That takes us back to 1992 when we got our green slippers on as street activist for The Wilderness Society and soon after the Greiner regime imploded under pressure from Independent MP, former Liberal MP, Terry Metherell over destruction of forest and wilderness areas. That and the 3 cross benchers in a minority government, and the hungry ALP Opposition behind them again.
If one had to guess one would say the Liberal National Coalition in NSW are learning how not to be wedged on the "mainstream" issue of the environment. And learning perhaps how to return the favour in 2011. That all those scolded community groups' anger the length and breath of NSW for some years now is worth harvesting. The kind of groups the ALP Right treated with base contempt for way too long. The groups that Bob Carr courted in 1992-1995 and won a famous victory by only 3 seats.
Meanwhile Liberal Party Mayor of Hawkesbury City Council is weighing up how to approach a hearing tomorrow in the Land & Environment Court. It's about protecting a chunk of Blue Mountains World Heritage where a sandminer Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd has a highly defensive claim for security for costs as a way of preventing ventilation of their breach of DA consent, which HCC's own chief planner reports 29 July 2008 has lapsed, recommending a cease to operate notice be issued.
Various community groups are riding this court case just like the folks at the big protest in Macqarie St yesterday in this image shown above. The Liverpool Plains farmers with the squat triangle placard remind us of a conversation outside the Environmental Defenders Office last Friday.
"You don't look like your average greenies" I said to this older distinguished looking couple in smart suits.
"We're from the Liverpool Plains. Do you know why?"
I did, being a bit of a media obsessive, regarding King Coal and juicy exploration license fees to the NSW Govt for prime farming country. Food versus coal. This gentleman was a retired judge now farmer!
Everyone is a greenie now.
It's time to chuck out our favourite enamel porridge pot. And enamel plates and cups all invariably chipped. They've done good service over the years but a bit of Dr Google has got us spooked. We have been experiencing some heartburn on and off for years so we have been examining our diet and lifestyle lately. Some changes like cutting alcohol, decaff coffee, more exercise etc. Then we got to thinking about our cooking gear too.
Turns out chipped enamel leaks antimony. Turns out that mildly acidic foods like fruit juice in enamel is a no no and can cause temporary poisoning by leaching out the antimony. Or so says the various google sites on enamel. What about fruit muesli as porridge cooked on slow for half an hour while I go on the morning exercise regime?
Maybe they should be chucked out after all as a customer mentioned on a market stall to us once.
Picture: Symbolically red cartoon by Bill Leake who had a very bad fall later on Saturday night. Get well Bill we hope and trust, previously Kid from Bondi.
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.
* John Robertson of Unions NSW to go to the Upper House to share the political workload. An opposite man to Michael Costa.
* Greens take 3 seats and to share Govt in ACT population of 300K compare Tas with 500K.
* Tim Gartrell ex ALP federal secretary just the latest to fall out of love with big party donations culture? Opinion piece in Sydney Sun Herald today. His farewells sound like a guy who wants time with his children before the whole western capitalism/dangerous climate thing goes crash.
* Actor Eric Bana, as per the graphic from 7 Sunrise above right, does his part for redneck car culture with new move Love the Beast. Notice the use of forests and cars on the road and ethereal 'nature' music reminiscent of Into the Wild. It's a classic form of culture jamming for possibly the biggests killer of nature and waste of natural resources in the history of mankind - the automobile. Also shown is Coca Cola's Mount Franklin adverts for women's health - same 7 sunrise website. Very sophisticated advertising strategy.
This is not so sophisticated:
Picture above - Hunters advert in the middle of the classifieds this weekend, colour and all. Breach of fair trading legislation (eg s.52 of the Trade Practices Act) for misleading and deceptive conduct? Professional sharp shooters use science, seasonal studies, well mapped locations. Weekend warriors they are not, who invariably miss, as well as releasing their own pets into the wild, and grooming feral populations for sport. Just another redneck agenda in Big Politics.
Speaking of Coca Cola Amatil - they have been in the news all over the place copping flack for their PR tactics with actor Kerry Armstrong - perennially skinny unlike most soda drinkers. What we noticed too was the very fit CEO of CCA in a profile piece in a colour supplement called "The deal" in one of the big press - seems he sleeps at 9.30 pm, and rows 2 hours every morning from 4 am. And doesn't drink his own company's products?
And speaking of fat (head?): Front page of the Sydney Morning Herald bottom left about we fatties from Oz 'having overcome the US to become the fattest nation in the world with more than 9 million adults rated obese or overweight' only Barry Cohen on the back of the front section at page 40 says 'We also ranked fourth in the obesity stakes.' That folks is what sub editors are for before you sacked them.
We get the feeling that Greenpeace have noticed our own ecology action mantra since establishment in 2002 in our own humble way, with their latest PR angle for fundraising - another insert in the big press this weekend as shown - some $8M a year apparently. Gawd, what we could do with that! Not jealous, just wondering.
10 Meet the Press: 8- 8-30 am
Julie Bishop follow up to Laurie Oakes on 9 last week. Competent but plain. Struggles heroically to find a federal angle in 4 byelections in NSW. Panel Fran Kelly and guy from WA News.
Part 3 to Gerry Harvey – no regrets about consumer debt
Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.
Riley Diary 7, 8.35 am
Good footage weaving in Dad’s Army – all doomed, versus don’t panic from Rudd Govt in some contradiction, with Capt Quibble Opposition Leader. Good use of weather metaphor again after rainy perfect storm. Missed last week’s still not on 7 video on demand. Slow update of Riley Diary dedicted page.
9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am
Interview with talking dopey koala … oh sorry it was Jenny Macklin. Didn’t bother listening.
Oakes own web link Oakes Report is here, and don’t miss his Saturday Daily Telegraph column which is often probative and makes Piers Akerman look the poor man’s LO.
Insiders 2: 9- 10am
Govt staged gravitas on Global Financial Crisis (GFC) which the show obsessed on last week available as video on demand in my case. Panel is Lenore Taylor, Brian Toohey, Tim Blair over his camera sweats. Vindicated by 15% got safety margin in NSW state seats.
Talent is Malcolm Turnbull. Makes a good point as per Alan Ramsey about accountability and role of parliament. “Thrown democracy out the window” claiming spin model like ‘NSW Govt’. Not eye glazing, which is saying something given the topic.
Everyperson segment – pensioner single mother teenage children. Suitably grateful.
BC etc picks up confused messaging of Govt as per Riley Diary.
Paul Kelly falls into line praising Rudd’s calmness which just so happens to fit his employer’s corporate self interest and sounds unconvincing about good policy or not, when the big media game is keeping the advertising industry on life support.
Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/
[Media Release follows]
NATIONAL PARKS ASSOCIATION OF NSW
MEDIA RELEASE - 14th October 2008
NEW LAW WILL OPEN DOOR FOR TOURISM IN NATIONAL PARKS
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.
Andrew Cox on 02 9299 0000 or 0438 588 040
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.
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.
NOTICE OF MOTION
Land & Environment Court of NSW
40733 of 2008
TITLE OF PROCEEDINGS
Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd
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
Tel. xxxxx xxxxxx, 0410 558838
xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx
PERSON AFFECTED BY ORDERS SOUGHT
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
Date of signature
15 October 2008
NOTICE TO PERSON AFFECTED BY ORDERS SOUGHT
If you do not attend, the court may hear the motion and make orders, including orders for costs, in your absence.
Level 4, 224 Macquarie Street, Windeyer Chambers
Sydney NSW 2000
The Land & Environment Court of NSW GPO Box 3565
AFFIDAVIT OF NEVILLE DIAMOND 15 OCTOBER 2008
Land and Environment Court of New South Wales
40733 of 2008
TITLE OF PROCEEDINGS
Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd
Hawkesbury City Council
Neville Diamond Applicant
Tom McLoughlin, Ecology Action Sydney
Authorised agent reference
ABN 506 347 944 95
Contact name and telephone
Tom McLoughlin, Ecology Action Sydney
Tel. xxxxx xxxxxx xxxxx, 0410 558838
xxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx
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
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 ActionTo: 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 & FenwickCc: 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 TelegraphSent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 2:19 PMSubject: Attn HCC Councillors call for formal mediation re sandmine threat to Tinda Ck Blue Mtns World HeritageDear Hawkesbury City CouncillorsThe following stories were posted recently on the independent news website www.SydneyAlternativeMedia.com/bloga 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:Friday, 10 October 2008Misleading plan and letter by sandminer in threat to Blue Mtns World Heritage Area?
Topic: legalMonday, 6th October 2008Google Earth reveals illegal drain intercepting Tinda Creek to World Heritage area?
Topic: legalWe 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 EnvironmentWe 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:That: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]CURRENT SITE MANAGEMENT..... 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 2008future
06 Jul 2008
Droughts to be more severe and occur more often in thewhich leads to this:An assessment of the impact of climate change on the nature and frequency of exceptional climatic events
which leads to this a 30 odd page pdf file: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,  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
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:which leads to this:An assessment of the impact of climate change on the nature and frequency of exceptional climatic events
which leads to this a 30 odd page pdf file:An assessment of the impact of climate change on the nature and frequency of exceptional climatic events PDF [2.5mb]
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 PMSubject: attn Chris Jewell re HCC planner Owens divergence with your number re Tinda Ck water lossDear ChrisI 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 storiesCC Stephen Griffiths, solicitor for HCC6 Oct 08Google Earth reveals illegal drain intercepting Tinda Creek to World Heritage area?
Topic: legalSaturday, 4 October 2008Coke Cola juggernaut hits corrugations: Pumping trial and risk continues to 2011
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:
[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.
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.
"Erosion and sedimentation controls [to be] submitted and approved by Department of Land and Water Conservation prior to any works commencing"
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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]CURRENT SITE MANAGEMENT..... 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:
06 Jul 2008
which leads to this a 30 odd page pdf file:
We had trouble downloading in a firefox browser but the explorer browser works well.
* 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
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: