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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Red centre comes to east coast of Australia in climate portent
Mood:  spacey
Topic: ecology


As a religious portent out of Shakespeare that 'something is not right' the dust enveloping most all of 4 million population of Sydney metro right now, today, is hard to beat.

In the United Nations in New York as we write politicians are talking climate policy. In Sydney it's climate and traffic mayhem with 10 international flights cancelled already apparently. Biggest dust storm in Sydney for 70 years says one report, though other 'big ones' have affected other parts of Australia more often like Adelaide and Melbourne.

The politics ought not be underestimated though because Sydney is the weight in terms of concentrated population.

Public broadcaster ABC radio leads in with REMS's ironic 'End of the World as we know it'.

We remain agnostic about whether the reddish early morning glow featuring in morning newspaper websites (as above) is more sunrise refraction than actually red dust. At 9 am the light is yellowy grey and life is proceeding with say 1000 metre visibility.

Asthmatics and the unwell are being cautioned, smoke detector false alarms are at record levels, and cameras are getting dust clogged, again according to local abc radio. An articulate intrepid caller from Wilton to the same station reckons he measured 2.57 grammes of dust per square metre off an outside glass table. Now a  (foolish?) listerner is miscalculating '10,000 sq metres in a square kilometre' with Sydney metro at 2000 km sq. Actually 1000 m x 1000m means there are a whopping 1 million sq metres in a sq km.

So the amount of topsoil dumped on Sydney would be:

1 million metres sq x 2000 km sq x 2.57 grammes = 5140 million grammes

or according to a handy web converter here making 5140 tonnes.

But keep in mind that this dust has blanketed say 50% of NSW which is 80 million hectares in area (from my previous time on conservation land use policy). Converting that to km sq  by another handy web converter is 800,000 km sq. Sooo .... conservatively half of NSW at:

400,000 km sq /2000 km sq x 5140 tonnes = topsoil lost at sea.

We make it 1,028, 000 tonnes of top soil lost from the outback of NSW into the Pacific Ocean.

What effect all that dust has for good or ill will be interesting such as 

- marine life which can use the nutrients (like a documentary of Central America fish stocks and the dust off the Sahara) or 

- climate in neighbouring New Zealand (glacier melt due to darker covering and sun absorption?).

It all reminds of this natural spectacular sunrise some months back in clear skies in the Hawkesbury:



Posted by editor at 11:26 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 September 2009 12:48 PM NZT
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Sunday political talkies: PM Rudd cynical job offer to LibLab 'rival' ex leader Nelson evidences The Greens as the real Opposition?
Mood:  spacey
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. Perhaps the greatest utility is the headline synthesis above of the 3 or 4 shows followed in this session.


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.


Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.  


Media backgrounders.


1. This week the venality of  PM Rudd is exposed like a loose thread that may unravel his career from stratospheric polling results. Appointing Nelson to “serve as Canberra's representative to NATO, the UN's World Health Organisation and as ambassador to Belgium and Luxemburg” against fast action on climate, pro Iraq war/admitting war for oil, and proven disloyalty to the Liberal Party, shows Rudd as a political chancer/opportunist. Good short term politics, but setting a deep neurosis into the fabric of the ALP which may see it shatter with a glancing blow from any David versus Goliath. The appointment is proof positive of Lib Lab fusion in thrall to big business, and says volumes about The Greens being the real opposition.

 2. Similar to point 1, Godwin Grech has not been charged with anything by the AFP. Why? Because the ALP have real accountability issues yet? ‘Doogie Howser’ Charlton has never been forced to answer any questions publicly. Nor has any other PM staff. Just saying. They may be as innocent as driven snow. And still GG has not been charged. Why is it so?

3. Keating in the SMH broadsheet is portrayed as Napoleon over planning issues on prime Sydney harbourside area. What is the self interest of PK we wonder. He was also consultant to Frank Lowy on the oversized Westfield at Bondi late 90ies – a regional sized complex in a sub region wiping out satellite shops. Why is he referred to as in effect regressing back to the value system of his youth over natural landscapes? A sense of guilt over failure of the environment as former PM? In the age of disastrous climate change? Mmmm. Good story Matthew Moore, SMH. 

4 (a) Minister Kristine Keneally on Stateline last Friday revealed she doesn't know who leading planning law barrister Tim Robertson is, being a Labor Lawyer (at least previously), joint architect of Carr’s early 90ies forest protection led famous election victory March 1995 (as legal counsel for North East Forest Alliance in marginal seats there), and if memory serves brother to famous Geofrey. Which despite the Minister's telegenic appeal and yankee verbal mastery, this ignorance also echoes with her frightened and inadequate interview as new planning minister with abc radio’s Deborah Cameron some months ago. She appeared on the Stateline footage in tandem with head of planning Sam Haddad. Recently we wrote to SMH journo Kate Mclymont about Haddad meeting a developer father and son team in about 2000 with their senior counsel in tow (a senior figure in NSW institutions now). Developer  then left the meeting stating “we have 2 green lights” which begs the question 'What open and transparent planning system?'


(b) Our other information about Haddad is that he presented in effect as a highly politicised instrument of the govt back in 2005 when he refused our FoI request in lead up to the September 2005 byelection of Carmel Tebbutt from Upper to Lower House seat in Marrickville. We wanted the Commission of Inquiry report relating to Port Botany economic drivers for the infamous $5B truck tunnel Port Botany to M4 East ….through Marrickville involving smog stacks ….completed some months before by respected Commissioner Kevin Cleland. Then Planning Minister Frank Sartor then released the report three weeks after the vote to announce an expansion of Port Botany prefaces smog stacks in Marrickville. The Dept even effectively refused to release their 'refusal of the FoI' letter in a timely way. They appeared to us very much to be running the clock down to only 5 days before the byelection. We complained bitterly and even stamped our feet in the foyer of their city office. We blogged about the curious adjustment of dates on the refusal letter signed by Haddad here: 

Thursday, 21 February 2008 Dept of Planning DG Sam Haddad politicised in Marrickville by-election 2005? Mood:  sharp Topic: nsw govtAt http://www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog/index.blog/1790631/dept-of-planning-dg-sam-haddad-politicised-in-marrickville-byelection-2005/ 

and notice image here:

Marrickville byelection: State ALP suppress Cleland Report into Port expansion  

And up to 2007 here:


Picture above and more below: Community rally at Botany Bay Beach off Foreshore Rd, Botany Saturday 3rd March, against expansion of Port Botany guaranteed to increase toxic transport congestion in most of southern metropolitan Sydney. Shade was a premium under the burning late summer day.

Marrickville by-election photo gallery 9/05 and more background here  Botany Bay heritage  


5. It’s mayoral election season in NSW and the ALP beat up of Waverley Liberal Mayor chubby Sally Betts over car parking fees is underway. People forget that the parking fees regime was rolled out under Labor Mayor now local state MP Paul Pearce, with help of loyal Kim Anson now GM at Marrickville Council but at that time a departmental director at Waverley late 90ies. Even back then it was a clichéd political attack over so called westies versus easties. But late 90ies it was ALP Right at state level ‘friendly fire’ against ALP Left controllers of Waverley Council over planning powers for Bondi Junction (read Keating backing Lowy expansion of Westfield there). We don’t vote Liberal but as Bondi Ward Councillor 1995-99 we know the federal and state govts have been absolutely derelict in funding tourism impacts at Bondi and gouging local ratepayers. In short the political attack on current mayor or any of Waverly is dirty hypocrisy.      

6. The Opposition are ‘revolting’ according to this image lifted off question time in Federal Parliament mid last week (and yes you read that right "question time" despite a division being called as a protest by the Opposition regarding a minister no longer be heard. 



10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 


First guest is Infrastructure Minister Albanese. Mostly boilerplate and opportunistic splitting of Opposition.


Compere Bonge tackles Albo about ALP lack of talent to appoint Nelson to Nato diplomacy.


Panel Fran Kelly ABC RN,  Glenn Milne News Corp Sunday Telegraph.


Second guest is former Opposition leader Nelson in cosy Govt job


Panel rightly target Nelson on internal inconsistency regarding climate policy [but perhaps reinforcing the truth of the ALP falsity on any real reduction in emissions here and pro coal generation and export donors both union and business]


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


Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am 

Very funny Gene Wilder Frankenstein visual metaphors (and over acting) re alleged Work Choices resurrection, dismissed by Riley as opportunistic but reinforcing the damaging beat up by ALP on opposition leader Turnbull ruling it dead on YouTube.   


9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith mostly sidelined by funny Riley Diary. Mostly boilerplate. 



Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Riley Diary style intro featuring Gillard, and expulsion of Tony Abbott and other question time hysteria.


Cross to Lisa Miller in US re PM visit to New York/UN.


Panel is Schubert Fairfax Age, Coorey Fairfax SMH, Toohey Fairfax AFR.


Minchin re Telstra break up policy. Guest is Lindsay Tanner, former shadow minister.


Women in politics vox pop.


Toohey goes hard on Nelson inconsistency, lack of credibility. Coorey agrees Nelson has no credibility. Paul Kelly agrees Nelson is now property of PM Kevin Rudd. Toohey scathing of Nelson not believing in ALP govt policy on climate.




Inside Business with Alan Kohler 

Fallout of structural separation of Telstra so called ‘choice’ ultimatum to Telstra by federal govt with interview with Minister Stephen Conroy, morphs into discussion of CEO remuneration need to hypothecate to performance.


Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/


Posted by editor at 12:35 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 September 2009 1:02 AM NZT
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Sunday political talkies: Rudd-ick* tell**: Furrowed brow, earnest tone presages DD trigger on $2B health shortfall



* refer fictional ‘Furian’ sci fi movie character Riddick – a uniquely lethal night vision specialist.




** reference to PM Rudd’s similar tired, serious expression during parade of People’s Republic of China troops with their Premier. Soon after the Australian Govt Defence White paper was released and surprised many including the PRC by taking a harsh line on China threats to security in the 21C. It’s PM Rudd’s ‘I am seriously worried so look out’ expression.



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. Perhaps the greatest utility is the headline synthesis above of the 3 or 4 shows followed in this session.


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.


Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.  


Media backgrounders.


 1. NSW Govt moves to sell of energy retailers reminds of the origins of the whole saga in 1996 – Bob Carr copying Howard’s $1B NHT in a greenwash steer through of the sale of Telstra worth how much ($50B?) In Carr’s case it was the $25B NSW energy generators and lines and retailers, with a $450M green fund. Who knows this may have been to pay out the woodchippers at Eden and get rid of them Do the Greens who trenchantly opposed that sale on the principle that climate policy is better handled within public ownership have a view about all this? It sure is a confusing morally speaking not least given the Carr led and ALP generally notorious self interest over public interest. Witness for instance consultant Keating barracking in 2007 for a mini sell off formula but listing maximum revenue figures. Apples and oranges Paul, called to account by Green MP John Kaye. Now all this is served up to new NSW environment and energy minister John Robertson, and Green MP cross benchers. 


2. Paddy Manning continues to write up the real issues of business in a sustainable world hidden from the crowds in the back of the newspaper. In some ways more important than the former Eco section of the paper. And what ever happened to that? The greenie bashing following the Victorian bushfires, that’s what. 


3. Lisa Carty in Sun Herald writes up Koperberg article today. How many florid metaphors this time? Is she the lightest feather weight state political reporter in the reptile park? Without Kerry Ann Walsh who will provide the gravitas the paper so badly needs? There we are first sentence “kamikaze” soon followed by “absolute hatred”  “stuff up” “disastrous” “disenchantment”. Meanwhile big Phil probably, in reality, has a mild headache thinking about the next fire season? The story is an obvious reprise of the ALP Right friendly fire over his personal life over 20 years ago to blast him out of his Blue Mtns seat. 


4. Is it us, or is Crikey’s expansion into multiple blog endeavours weakening the daily tealeaves of the ezine mailout contrary to the punchy name? And how is rival Punch going. Still haven’t bothered. Nor Twitted which surely is a Big Media conspiracy against web 2.0 credibility: A gotcha form of stupidity anathema to say wikipedia, or learned blogs. 


5. Very amusing reality tv show star, the Asian dry cleaner guy now spruiking  30 second cleaner product via Bunnings tv advert. Complete with new teeth. A small business man ‘hero’. 

6. Channel’s 7 and 9 are going head to head now at about 8.40 am Riley Diary versus Laurie Oakes respectively on Sunday mornings. Ouch. Oakes is a no show today. 

7. Worth keeping in mind in the slow motion implosion that is the NSW Govt that the NSW Left ALP are on a personal level a mirror of the ALP Right. Quite vicious and ruthless in a whatever it takes sort of way with highly flexible handle on reality. That’s what hatred does in a family – clones of slightly different flavour.



8. Latest NSW Govt reshuffle related email corro:


----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2009 2:10 PM
Subject: [] metro v RARA* land, Work Choices lens, Lee is da Woman, what Simon did next ...Re: [chipstop] John Robertson minister for environment and energy

* Rural & regional areas.
True enough re Currawong, but that was also related to funding the ouster of Howard on Work Choices which was an even bigger deal for the unions. So one might like to read that down regarding regional rural chipstop agenda. It's not the same as the blessed northern suburbs of metro Sydney hung up on their amenity issues (!?). (feel free to argue against).
Lee Rhiannon's office will be even more crucial now in relations with the ALP given her union antecedents, but that will probably be better too than Jeff Angel as the interface with the ALP Right delivering us many horrors (lets start with land 'bribe'/swap conceptual framework Jeff blessed in 1997 - Brigalow Belt South deal with farmers/WWF(Jamie Piddock) resulting eventually in Catherine Hill 2009). Indeed Jeff would know the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Note also FoE Sydney and Greens played a very strong role in preventing energy privatisation in 1997 - stay tuned for a historical brief on that via link to SAM blog, and Greens again in 2007. These were main platforms for Robertson policy speaking. He will be about public intervention for green collar jobs and the joke that is CCS (as per 4 corners last week - excellent show).
As to Part 3A analysis Tim Robertson on Stateline last night was confirmation of my view years now, that the 1979 L&E Act is broken - he said 'back to 1965' Askin era. Significant because (a) Tim is an SC barrister, (b) Labor Lawyer's group (c) NEFA legal strike in famous Chaelundi/Corkill legal victory 1991 re need for State Forests to do EIS's under the same Act (d) he is feeling brave enough to go public including via from his developer client's AND public interest group clients. (There is a first cab rank rule for barristers to not refuse clients which may explain some things.)
But Tim told me about 10 years back in his office once he doesn't believe in wilderness, rather refugia old growth with critters there to recolonise disturbed sustainably logged areas. Trouble is he is ignorant about island biogeography/edge effects because unlike moi he doesn't have a zoology degree to speak on such matters: If Wilderness as an ecological concept didn't exist it would have to be invented. Refugia is too limited a design framework. But he means well and is generally sincere. He was instrumental in Carr pre 1995 forest policy approach IMHO.
So much for theory and practice.
The other interesting revelation is reference by Lincoln Hall in his mountaineering story in the SMH today to one Geof Bartram (?) 1983-4 expedition to Everest with a journalist .... Simon Baulderstone. SB was ex minder staffer of Peter Garrett for the ALP in recent years 2004 onwards, and known recently to defend PG zeolously in the comment strings of crikey (where I outed him!).
Just saying ...
Yours truly, etc
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 5:46 PM
Subject: Re: [] John Robertson minister for environment and energy

hi all
it seems that Minister for Health is somewhat unhealthy
john robertson is poisonously disliked by many left leaning ALP members and conservationoists for his heavy handed tactics in pushing on (after Michael Decosta - remember him?) with the fire sale of the wonderful Pittwater foreshore property 'Currawong", an ALP retreat and holdiday resort for its rank and file members,and much used by teachers, nurses and local government employees at all levels, for sale to ALP mates/property developers who are part of the Bondi Beach Whiteshoe Brigade.
He is now core ALP right - an apparent disaster for us BUT he needs to be formally approached abouit his views on forests and biomas/biofuels/woodchipping calamities.

Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 5:18 PM
Subject: [] John Robertson minister for environment and energy

"John Robertson will pick up Ms Tebbutt's former environment portfolio, as well as continue as the Minister for Prisons. He will also pick up energy from Mr Macdonald."
Robertson defied the unions on privatisation of prison services, but I think it is most unlikely he would do anything the CFMEU didn't like.


Tony Kelly has been dumped as the NSW Police Minister after criticism that he mishandled a police pay dispute and was devoting more time to campaigning for a leadership challenge.

Ian Macdonald loses his energy portfolio, but remains Minister for Primary Industries.

Premier Nathan Rees announced a cabinet reshuffle this afternoon after John Della Bosca quit the cabinet over an affair. Mr Rees said the reshuffle was about loyalty and discipline, indicating that he had punished Mr Kelly and Mr Macdonald for working behind the scenes against him.

The NSW Deputy Premier, Carmel Tebbutt, has taken over as the state's new Health Minister.

Ms Tebbutt, from the Labor Left, has been the environment minister for the past year.

Michael Daley will become the new Minister for Police.

John Robertson will pick up Ms Tebbutt's former environment portfolio, as well as continue as the Minister for Prisons. He will also pick up energy from Mr Macdonald.

The Minister for Transport David Campbell picks up Mr Daley's Roads portfolio. Mr Campbell will be assisted by David Borger, who will continue as Minister for Housing.

Mr Della Bosca quit the ministry last week after admitting to the affair with 26-year-old Kate Neill.

Ms Tebbutt has previously served as the minister for education, from 2005 to 2007, before she resigned from the frontbench to spend more time with her young son.

The Marrickville MP is married to federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese.

She agreed to return to the frontbench when Nathan Rees became Premier but has held a relatively minor portfolio.

Three recent former health ministers have become political casualties, with two quitting Parliament and one now relegated to the back bench.

Former premier Morris Iemma was health minister in 2005, followed by Attorney-General John Hatzistergos in 2006/07, Reba Meagher in 2007/08 and Mr Della Bosca took on the job a year ago. Mr Hatzistergos took over the portfolio for about a week after Mr Della Bosca resigned.

Andrew Clennell is the Herald’s State Political Editor.

- with AAP


 10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 


Lead in on economic credentials of Oppositions leader with Govt’s Emerson trying his Peter Costello style theatrics (complete with mock Garrett arm waving, and florid phraseology).


Guest is Steven Smith on G20 re Hockey sledge it’s going centre left. Smith indulges more sledging of Hockey. Move on to Balibo 5 relations with Indonesia. PB as compere chases the filibuster answer sharply which is good. Senior politician alleged suspect footage shown.


1st out take is Albanese sledge of Turnbull side stepping Fielding’s pressure moment doorstop fiscal, physical stuff up. Nice on many levels given Albo was being smeared last week re Badgerys creek land deal, shows Fielding as the flake he is, and of course dumping on Opposition leader ALP corporate self interest.


Mid show section re Afghanistan rorted election. Smith finally makes the point re Sept 11 anniversary. Sri Lanka ejects child rights campaigning Australian working for UN. What is Australia doing about it? Good one Bonge.


Out take is cartoon at expense of Turnbull re Fielding learning difficulty.


Last section of show Rudd footage of history wars. Tony Roberts history of govt slaughters in NT under South Australian Govt semi official policy. Outstanding testimony of psycho sadistic murder of Black Australians.


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



Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am 

Fielding special satire, man under pressure and flaking badly.Albanese sledge rerun. Heart to heart about learning difficulty with Mark Riley. 29/100 HSC. Struggled back with higher degrees. Riley gives him a vote of support for being “fair dinkum”.  Riley agrees with view above re Emerson going OTT with Costello style theatrics. 



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 


“Given the week off”. That’s flippant. 



Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Riley Diary style package on economics, Fielding, Emerson, Greens Brown fiscal responsibility.  Albanese sledge 3 times today now. Abbott madness about “shit eating grin”. Gomer Pyle impersonations. [All about twitter and Sienfeldisation of public forums in a race to ecological dysfunction]


Panel Lenore Taylor News Corp all in white but not her employer (!), Glen Milne re policy of Work Choices,


David Marr “


Rudd grab off 7.30 Report – he’s got that earnest look like when he was paraded in front of PRC crack troops on parade. It’s the tell, re double dissolution on health funding of $2B. Guest is Minister Roxon rolling out the policy and rhetoric on health portfolio (got distracted from the mousy one).


Vox pop is woodchop with Foster etc re Fielding stuff up and pollie perks, and senator gets off light in his heartland demographic.


Debate follows re double dissolution prospects re health issue. [re read tell on Rudd furrowed brow and earnest tone]


Legacy debate over economics reform. Taylor says it’s painfull and tedious, and also patronizing [my words – and she is so right – what pollies do, jaw boning as the ecological wheels fall off in lead up to Copenhagen climate talks?].




Inside Business with Alan Kohler 

Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/




Posted by editor at 12:13 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 13 September 2009 12:47 PM NZT
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
World heritage sandmine scandal: Wrong EIS submitted to Environment Court by miner and council legal teams?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: legal

Picture: Approach to Tinda sandmine quarry on Putty/Singleton Rd with Yengo NP in the Blue Mtns World Heritage area in the background. Tailings ponds are out of sight behind the cyclone sand washing plant in foreground. The site is an inholding surrounded by national park including Wollemi NP to the west. The mine itself is on what used to be headwaters of Tinda creek.

SAM wrote of this controversial sandmine previously here:

Friday, 28 August 2009

There we detail misleading and deceptive evidence by the sandminer expert Peter Jamieson regarding size of extraction exceeding the approval plan area. 

Similarly the mine is opposed by peak green groups The Wilderness Society, National Parks Association, Blue Mtns Conservation Society, and Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

Although the mine is now extended and approved by the Land & Environment Court's Commissioner Brown recently it's been a rocky road for Birdon Pty Ltd as sandminer, and Hawkesbury City Council as regulator, in the world heritage area precinct: In the last year or so the opponents have noted:

    1. 10 DECC (Dept of Environment etc) conditions inserted albeit waffly language
    2. mine forced them to dewater the highly evaporative tailings dam
    3. a chief of DECC engaged now, perhaps due to sudden death of their responsible officer Jo Zurrer only 45 years old with stroke in her office;
    4. exposed HCC failures to partially vindicate Diamond's crusade
    5. lawyer Webster, expert Jamieson, and mine manager Ray Bygraves on the backfoot re illegal behaviour.
    6. Birdon spent something like $200K in legal gymnastics to defend their history of vandalism and short payments of s.94 contributions.
    7. LEC did their job and heard the objectors at an onsite inspection, with valid evidence and submissions
    8. objectors starting to move on from this planning farce

The LEC has not seen fit to web publish the verbal decision handed down by Commissioner Brown at 3pm 18th August 2009 witnessed by this writer and objectors.

Here is an earlier procedural contest which was lost by council and sandminer in favour of the non party objectors presided over by Biscoe J which has been published:

Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd v Hawkesbury City Council [2009] NSWLEC 143 (10 August 2009)

It has been suggested to us that because the final outcome before C'er Brown is 'an order by consent of the parties', there is no judgement to be published. However a decision by C'er Brown was in fact delivered verbally on 18th August 2009 cross referencing the evidence and legal submissions of the objectors. Indeed council and sandminer were unusually cooperative in this legal 'contest' so there was not much to decide there.

As indicated above wrong evidence was submitted to the C'er in making his decision. Cynics have suggested Council was not vigorous in pursuing the large number of blatant non compliances over 13 years by this sandminer.

Today SAM can reveal that the NSW Land & Environment Court presided over by Commissioner Brown in this part of the proceedings was also provided with the wrong Environmental Impact Statement. We have been told by a senior barrister that providing the wrong EIS 'will have serious consequences' for those involved.

Here is a picture of the redundant May 1995 EIS, next to the operative November 1995 EIS:

We are advised that the correct EIS may also have been removed from council's own file.

SAM as legal agent for objectors Messrs Diamond and Sneddon has inspected the the court exhibits including court bundle of documents from the parties being Birdon Pty Ltd (owned by Tom Bruce, represented by Russel Byrnes solicitor, John Webster barrister) and Hawkesbury City Council (represented by solicitor Stephen Griffiths, instructed by Chief Planner Matthew Owens).

The only EIS in court exhibits is "May 1995" - the incorrect EIS. We have written to council's lawyers on this very point previously. Why does it matter?

Here below at right (compare old EIS at left) for instance is the correct EIS requirement at p23 for

"In addition, a series of bores will be installed to monitor groundwater behaviour."


This requirmement for monitoring bores has the force of a consent condition as indicated in the picture below at the pink underline:



An issue in the recent LEC merits hearing raised by objectors was whether under clause 36, schedule 3, part 2 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2000, there have been sufficient non compliances to require a new EIS in 2009. We said there was failure to implement for 13 years the monitoring bores required by the EIS and the Nov EIS is critical to that claim, withheld from the LEC.

Indeed the monitoring bores were also the subject of a court order in 2005 via a consultant recommendations (see clause 4d "EcoWise" below) but still never implemented. Both that court order and the EcoWise report were excluded from the court bundle provided to the Commissioner, presumably to further mask the incredible non compliances in this case.



Here are the recommendations of the mystery Ecowise(Golder) report referenced in the 2005 LEC order requiring (again like the 1995 EIS) for the groundwater monitoring bores to be implemented, also exluded from the court bundle until the objectors submitted the documents:

Indeed the expert for sandminer Birdon (an engineer Peter Jamieson) was able to argue his water modelling was authoritive in the absence of such baseline monitoring bore data. Jamieson was contradicted by an expert hydrologist proper, Chris Jewell employed by Council. Jewell lamented the lack of monitoring bore data in his July 2007 report. But the council declined to pursue any cross examination of the water modelling report for the sandminer.

There are other irregularities in this environment case: A critical governmet memo (by DLWC) as to Tinda Ck falling within protections of the now defunct Rivers & Foreshores Protection Act is missing the critical 2nd page in the court bundle (at page 132):

Here is that memo in full and note 2nd page stating the Rivers & Foreshores Protection Act (now repealed) did apply to Tinda Ck:



Is this a fix being run through the LEC by a bogus 'order by consent'? Certainly we think the Chief Judge Brian Preston at the LEC who literally wrote the book on "Environmental Litigation"  should be briefed on the irregularities in this case all at the expense of Tinda Ck. And so should the Dept of Environment as well as the Dept of Mines.

Stay tuned for the next installment in the Tinda Ck series of stories: When did approved plans become optional extras? When the sandminer says they are 'confusing'!?

Posted by editor at 1:30 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 September 2009 3:44 PM NZT
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Sunday political talkies: Menacing big media and brush turkeys have NSW Govt poised on the edge
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. Perhaps the greatest utility is the headline synthesis above of the 3 or 4 shows followed in this session.


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.


Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.  


Media backgrounders.

 1. Oakes yesterday in News Corp tabloids goes at Greens Senator Rachel Siewert only she shares presser platform with PM Rudd. Go figure. Oakes nitpicks on 60 versus 90 nautical miles and 300 barrels versus 3000 litres?  

2. Shame of land bribes backgrounder here on SAM late last week, originating in compromised farmer- green movement alliance to extinguish Wik claims on western division land. SAM expose is no doubt a taboo amongst the hypocrites we used to work with late 90ies until their self interest and ignorance become insufferably immoral in the State of ALP. 

3. SAM assistance on sandmine in Blue Mtns world heritage precinct getting curiouser and curiouser. Not only deceptive evidence appears to mislead C’er Brown, and now confirmed wrong 1995 EIS in court bundle. May 1995, not later version November 1995 to address criticisms of govt authorities and public. All because silt pollution resulted in $10K fine in 1989 and the location is highly sensitive. We hear from senior barrister this will have ‘consequences’. CJ Preston will have to hear of this sooner or later. 

4. Tim Holding minister in Victorian Govt failed to carry ice axe for safety in snow and ice? That’s a real deficit of judgement given it’s mountaineering A01 according to our training at Wanaka NZ in 1989. Tsk tsk. And it seems the big media at a packed presser didn’t even ask him whether he had an ice axe and whether he knew how to use one? 

5. Pure Big Media sophistry about coverage of Della Bosca in breach of private lives convention to ignore. Shows BM fear of web based media stealing their dominance and reach by going so low rent.



10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 


Greens Bob Brown is talent. Various issues eg stimulus job creation, ceo excessive pay rates, private lives of MPs, Bradfield by election ALP “dipped out”.


Brown sounding clear and broadly engaged, skinny and fit like former Tas senator from DLP (name?)


Panel Stephanie Balogh Courier Mail, Marius Benson


Marius Benson picks up LO critique, LO “got his facts wrong”, 6,500 square km and challenges media on lack of analysis or investigation. Covers for colleague.


Warren cartoon out take re blind mystery woman with Della? Dep PM Gillard profile builder on some dumb game show.




2nd guest, Barry OFarrell leader nsw opposition. 5th health minister in 4 years but double counts Hatzistergos. Hypocrisy


Faith in ICAC? Excellent question. Says ‘inner spring has wound down’ Good line. Raises Ian Temby exemplar mid 90ies. ICAC low hanging fruit re govt agencies and local govt but not senior govt.


His agenda, planning, payroll deductions, scrap metro rail.


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



Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am  

Missed it  



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

Turnbull is guest. Happy Fathers Day all round. NSW issue of developer murdered. Runs line Labor machine state to federal. No Labor candidate in Bradfield byelection. Argues Chris Bowen federal MP exemplar of NSW ALP Right influence on federal govt. Replumbing irrigation districts better use of stimulus money.  



Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Riley Diary type intro re Della NSW media gossip ‘scandal’. Mostly gratuitous.


Sunday press A Crabb refers to developer murder scandals. Tape is with police. Akerman rezoning of Badgery Ck area involved re federal proposal. Cassidy challenges wider scope. Argues federal instruments involving banks also.


Crabb looking duly rococo. Stutchbury refers to Della 100 day plan in Sunday Telegraph. Does have claim to serious policy brain.


Interview with Wayne Swan in London. Chat about why Australia’s economy avoided recession via structural reforms, commodity based, industrial relations flexibility.


Pure sophistry  about big media trawling through the gutter of ex minister Della Bosca private life.


Talking Pictures with Gillard in India.





Inside Business with Alan Kohler 


Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/





Posted by editor at 1:04 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 6 September 2009 1:08 PM NZT
Friday, 4 September 2009
Minister Holding's mountaineer incompetence is about poor judgement?
Mood:  lazy
Topic: big media


Traditional training for ice axe self belay and arrest 

Head first, on the stomach, axe in right hand. Note that runs must be made with both the right and left hands.
(Remember, the axe must be changed to the up-hill hand at every switch-back.)


"Great job! Try to stop with the axe head a little closer to your shoulder."


We hear water minister in Victoria Tim Holding is "impressive" "lucky" regretful, ex commando, fitness fanatic, and to balance up all this ALP spin for a protege, actually a "super dill". Here is some coverage:

Tim Holding speaks about his dramatic rescue from Mt Feathertop ...2 Sep 2009 ... UPDATE 3.45pm: TIM Holding has revealed he feared the worst as he slid ... Tim Holding at his press conference.

Have a look at exactly why his 100 m slide on ice reflects on Holding's judgment and quite possibly misplaced, probably arrogant self confidence in snow and ice. Reckless? You bet. 

Did any journalist ask him whether he had an ice axe? Or knew how to use it? We wonder.

----- Original Message -----
From: Ecology Action To: Chipstop, Environment East Gippsland
Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 8:30 AM
Subject: ice axe mountaineering A01 Re: [chipstop] FDOTM vs The Tim Holding search

By the way the very very first lesson one gets in basic mountaineering as per my course in 1989 at Wanaka NZ, Mt Aspiring national park with a company called Mountain Recreation is this:

Traditional training for ice axe self belay and arrest

This so called ex commando, rising star of the ALP was totally out of his depth on his chosen hobby of bushwalking/mountaineering.
What does it say about his ability to manage conservation of water issues?
Cynical Media Watcher!

Picture: wonderful Mt Aspring south island NZ a tad under 13,000 feet, climbed in 1989 by the main face. 

Posted by editor at 10:45 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 4 September 2009 10:55 AM NZT
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Provenance of "land bribe" scheme back to 1997 via farmer green moral 'leadership' in NSW
Mood:  sharp
Topic: local news

The front pager report of the court decision here

 ALP donor projects scuttled


'Land bribe' exposes Labor's coziness with property developers

and editorial here 

Della Bosca's quick exit … focuses minds on the real shemozzle

and "withering" decision of the court by Lloyd J here at their homepage:

Gwandalan Summerland Point Action Group Inc v Minister for Planning [2009] NSWLEC 140 (31 August 2009)

relates to our backgrounder back in December 2008 re turn of events back in 1997 where the SAM editor was an uncomfortable witness. This was about the time the creeping corruption of environmental ngo movement by the Carr state government started taking hold one year after the death of leader Milo Dunphy - at least in our humble opinion:

Monday, 17 December 2007
Systemic racism in NSW behind the 1997 origins of 'bio banking' aka 'tradeoff' land clearing?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: indigenous

When we first read Henry Reynolds - Law of the Land published 1987 - we were shocked by the reference to 'sado masochistic Sunday afternoon hunting parties', and of 'childrens skulls smashed in'. This was Tasmania of 19th and 18th century colonial times that Julia Gillard euphemistically calls "settlement" surely not realising the unintended fiction - at the hands of brutalised convicts doing the British Govt's dirty work. As eloquently argued by many since it would take a triumph of willful blindess for we the Australian ancestral benefactors of the active theft or inheritors via disease and violence to quiet the whispering in our hearts, just as the UK Govt with the remoteness of distance might effectively ignore the truth.

We wove that 1987 book into our honours law thesis in 1989 called A Legal Foundation for Aboriginal Land Rights around the nascent concept of Native Title which was in fact recognised by the High Court of Australia 3 years later in Dec 1992. The famous Mabo Case and surely a hero of the age. But in 1989 we never quite nailed down what Australia was legally because the British empire had officially 'conquered' some of their global dominion in which case local people's land law continued in some form say under a treaty like Waitangi in NZ, and 'settled' other 'empty' land. But Australia seemed to be "sui generis" which is latin meaning "one of a kind" mentioned in some of the writings in dusty old common law cases from India and South Africa. 

Now we conclude Australia was neither empty/settled or peopled/conquered in the minds of the UK seat of government. We personally have no doubt it was a covert creeping invasion and consquest using convicts as the catspaw of the Empire. It was invaded by convict criminals sent in with sickness and violence to clear out whatever they came across. All very convenient and racist to not even formalise an international legal categorisation for the hapless Aborigines who lived so very close to nature.

In 1993-4 we played an active role at least here in NSW in reforming The Wilderness Society's national approach to such issues into a quite strong and ethical Land & Rights Policy which prefaced alliances over such campaigns in Starcke and Jabiluka of the 1990ies with Traditional Aboriginal owners of land. (We were not the instigator of such a reform, rather this was a couple Larry and Marg from memory, but we loved the change.) This was in a time when Noel Pearson was pretty friendly to the non govt group too. 

The essence of the TWS reformed policy was to recognise large intact natural areas known as wilderness under the NSW 1987 legislation as in fact Indigenous land, and secondly while never walking away from the goal to conserve such lands, to never seek to pre emtively extinguish that traditional, custodial Indigenous history in any deal making with other stakeholders in land such as govt, agri or other resource extraction industries.

One implication of that huge symbolic shift was that it could theoretically involve the TWS both supporting a native title holder's ownership and at the same time campaigning against them if they sought to act as a vandalistic black developer of crucial conservation values. This was a risk deemed essential in a new moral path for the green movement and for the nation post Mabo. It felt right and it was right.

5 years later 1997 we realised the game of covert extinguishment was still under way in NSW but this time by the NSW Govt Depts,  farmers and also either using or willingly with the aid of certain green groups.

Indeed the name of the game in conservative politics under the federal Howard govt was extinguishment of the Mabo legal test of 'ongoing physical connection with the land' and in the most redneck parts of the nation it looked like the bulldozer was the preferred method as here in Qld:

And not just the bulldozer to ensure extinguishment of native title with ongoing agri industry pressure on govt for corporate welfare via freeholding of govt leasehold land to the non indigenous squattocracy of the Western Division here:

And the farmers had their reasons to seek out their "bucket loads of extinguishment" as the Howard Govt proudly expressed in Federal Parliament, if they didn't care about the morals, because they knew they were being stalked legally after Mabo and after the Wik case earlier like this report dated April 2000:

This particular legal saga was trashed by the High Court of Australia in August 2002 as explained here [pdf file]

Native Title and the Western Division of NSW

eventually raising the question whether all that pre emptive land clearing was really needed in either NSW (see one report of the sorry landclearing detail here) or Qld (above) up to that point.

In 1997 the green groups were not to know how the legals would work out not least after the Federal Court decision in favour of the native title claim relevant to a huge areas of western NSW.

It was in this context that the 'leaders' of the NSW green movement were summonsed to this:

We particularly remember Jeff Angel blessing these endeavours by Jamie Piddock and being "very impressed" for franchising the idea of "clearing tradeoffs" by farmers. Jeff's blessing some 10 years ago is in stark contrast to some quotes in the press last Saturday Dec 15th 07 (below). Not a mention of native title extinguishment. Not a mention except by this writer as confirmed by the contemporaneous notes of the time. Here is Piddock's briefing note of this 'environmental' initiative to keep the farmers happy, and sideline the Blacks altogether (and note our very bad handwriting):


Our alarm at this attempt to promote trade offs of one area of native bush for another, after 200 years of land clearing and a general scientific understanding that no more land clearing was desirable in Australia at all, let alone to extinguish critical historical native title rights, and with a green stamp on them was pretty much ignored. This was a shameful day for the NSW green movment with Jeff Angel ascendant. Hence the careful notation of the documentation and signature and dating by hand above. Angel in particular should account for this (while Jamie Piddock is God knows where). Not least because he was busy on ABC radio last Saturday morning Dec 15th and in the Sydney Morning Herald with pretty much the direct opposite view against exactly this kind of 'bio banking tradeoff land clearing in favour of regional conservation outcomes' which the govt jargon for green lighting, greenwashing developer bush clearance.


In principle 1997 good, 2007 bad? Western NSW 'Black Land' good. Sydney urban bushland bad? Go figure. This may be what Jeff Angel said on 702 on air to be 'good in principle, its the implementation that matterrs'.

Angel is clearly right in 2007. But he was woefully wrong in 1997 so what's changed? Bob Carr is no longer premier is one significant factor. The ascendancy of the far more independent and fiesty Green Party is another.

Are you reading this Warren Mundine, prominent in the NSW ALP?

Some of us have a long memory about such things and we can prove it. Here is some of our confidential briefing notes of that shameful May 12 1997 cave in to redneck land clearing deal to further oust the Blacks from the Western Division:




Posted by editor at 10:00 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 4 September 2009 10:16 AM NZT
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Sunday political talkies: Dep. PM Gillard gets Big Media scrutiny, Dr Nelson aka ‘Higgy*’ throws verbal acid at Lib leader
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: aust govt

 * Refer Crabb story referred below regarding Higgy the Human


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. Perhaps the greatest utility is the headline synthesis above of the 3 or 4 shows followed in this session.


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.


Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.  


Media backgrounders.

  1. News Corp blinks in campaign to spook ALP and Rees out of his premier’s job in NSW with front cover by Simon Benson leading corporate back down in press late this week. Shows how web fracturing of big media influence has taken the sting out of News Corp bully boys.
  2. Will Federal minister Anthony Albanese ever do the right thing on asbestos in the heart of his own electorate e.g. Addison Rd Community Centre? See picture in due course. We reported on this over a year ago:
  3. Nelson bail out claiming equanimity while ruthlessly sledging Turnbull in Hartcher column in SMH this Saturday. Crabb same paper nails him with hilarious journalistic metaphor Higgy The Human Sponge. Fact is Nelson is tarred by failed rationale of Iraq war. The chill of that goes on forever … Howard, Costello, Downer, Vaile, Nelson etc etc all gone as they must. Turnbull elected post invasion in 2004.
  4. Paul Kelly News Corp broadsheet and Laurie Oakes both put the boot into Julia Gillard including pretensions to overtake PM Rudd in “authority”.
  5. Greg Hunt federal shadow Env spokes joins Greens Senator in raising alarm over ongoing bad oil spill in NW Australia. Good whistleblowing work.
  6. NSW State Forests fuel reduction burn runs wild according to our sources:

Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 3:29 PM

Subject: [chipstop] Fire on Gulaga Mountain


>A ‘fuel management’ fire that was started by Forests NSW (Hazard
> Advisory FNSW to RFS 28 August) in
> compartments west of Gulaga Mountain, has jumped containment lines and
> ‘got away’ burning out of control up the mountain and continuing to
> burn down the eastern flank threatening the two Tilba villages.
> Previously communities had called for no burns on the mountain and
> requested Forests NSW to extinguish this fire.  This fire had been burning
> for two weeks.  Forests NSW ignored community concerns and the severe
> drought and weather conditions.  Homes are threatened, sacred sites burned
> and rainforest decimated.
…….> (End)
> For more information contact SEFR on 0437471763 [Refer penultimate post for full statement].


7. Our suggestion on $20M branding Australia – “Australia honest”. Comes from student days brit girlfriend law student who ‘liked’ Australian because they were so ‘simple’. They are patronizing like that. The better view is Oz is relatively more straight, and direct not scheming or neurotic unlike the Old World countries or USA desperate capitalism. Only trouble with this


8. Foreign Correspondent stunning story by Sally Sara on acid throwing in Bangladesh – fantastic reportage and Walkley material.

9. Good round up of extreme Shooter lobby on Stateline, echoes Cumberland press front pager – picture in due course. About time these unscientific cranks and their land grab were challenged. On the other hand there is a valid case for top level predators assisting ecology but in a programmatic way.

  1. 10. We recall only a month back a very nervy planning interview on abc 702 with Cameron shows KKK (says Joe Hilderbrand pushing his red neck sticht) is way under done as premier material, and Rees delivered the $2B desal plant with public meetings all over the place. That’s the tribal difference

 11. Land  & Environment Court appear to take a curious  attitude to vandals in the Blue Mtns World Heritage precinct. See story 2 back from this post. SAM after a year of research has exposed systematic illegality and misleading evidence to the LEC, as well as ruthless behaviour by the sandminer agents. Is this really good enough in the 21C? Stay tuned for more on this story.


10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 

Press round up, mortgage stress, Kennedy (another one) dead,


Talent is Pyne Opp business manager. Re Gillard expenditure management, excessive advertising. [Compare road funding signs up for years after project finished.] Gillard grab says standard practice.]


First out take Rudd pushed for new hospital by sick patient.


Turnbull grab re News poll still low. Panel is Hewitt, Mal Farr both News Corp.


Polling dead bat re only one that counts is election. Brendan Nelson decided to leave “not a life sentence”. Farr says Rudd doing better ‘no one likes to call their own baby ugly’ vote by the public.


Gillard in adbreak ‘smarter than a 5th grader?’


Grab of Turnbull must engage on ETS. Talent no. 2 is Nationals Fiona Nash [very telegenic, probably a better look for leader post Truss?] RARA tub thump re “no negative impact”. Chat moves to leadership discussion. Good speaking voice. Unashamably parochial. Notes Joyce has a lot of “spirit”.


Challenged on business support for ETS engagement. RARA tub thump. Product differentiation.


[Nash is a minor revelation in tv stakes offsetting Julia Gillard profile, and more reasoned presentation ]


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


Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am   

Missed most of it. Theme on Crean better branding for Australia. Disappointing to miss.  



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

Albanese as Infrastructure minister, NSW Govt ‘turmoil’ media stories are a beat up in NSW. Challenged on costs blowout in Education. Looking very ALP with bulging suit coat but talking a good game.  Dense policy traverse including social housing, education infra, interest rates re stimulus. Oakes turns “Narcacistic personality disorder” attack by Nelson on rival Turnbull (in Hartcher article in Fairfax) around to Rudd’s personality too?  Strong interview and strong performance from Albanese [maybe he can fix the asbestos all through Marrickville including Addison Rd Community Centre – see picture above.  



Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Lead in on Gillard on excessive workload including $16B infra project in primary schools. [Makes three heavyweights Kelly, Oakes, now Cassidy]


Kennedy funeral wrap. Panel is Schubert, Atkins, Henderson


Press roundup – Gerard Henderson – apology on welfare kids mistreatment. Not drought rather climate change permanent re aerosols. Discussion re 1950-1970 were unseasonably wet and now reverting?


UN criticism of suspension of RDA, bipartisan approach to pragmatism. Tony Abbott responds in person as guest. Says grog is stopped and all night parties stopped school attendance is 70%. Basic law and order really as per Aurukun example, claiming Noel Pearson and Howard Govt agenda.


On Nelson verbal acid in Hartcher article says got to have steel and effectively dismisses the attack by Nelson, normal to have an ego and robust discussions. Refers to NSW ALP more like an opposition – which was probably SAM’s line first of all re Rees Govt.


[Echoed by Marr story Fairfax this last weekend profile of Barry OFarrell, effectively anointing him as Premier in waiting.]


Chat about Abbott interview concurring on Nelson excessive emoting. Everyperson segment on Nelson.


Kelly and panel on Gillard ‘halo slipping’ and contrarian mild support from Henderson rolling back some centralized IR platform. Cassidy refers to “market correction”.


Excellent Talking pictures with Bruce Petty re Nelson great escape and Womans Day on Rudd Rein GG ALP rose tinted show.


NSW Govt Rees presser shown. Keneally mentioned [very nervy planning interview on 702 with Cameron is way under done as premier material, and Rees delivered the $2B desal plant with public meetings all over the place. That’s the tribal difference.]



  Inside Business with Alan Kohler 

Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/




Posted by editor at 12:28 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 30 August 2009 12:33 PM NZT
NSW State Forests 'cause wildfire threatening south coast tourism'
Mood:  loud
Topic: wildfires
 The strong green movement on the NSW South Coast have gone into print about their local area:
We posted this gallery some years ago:
Gulaga/Dromadery Forest photo gallery protests 2005-2007
One example only:


Here is there statement
Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 3:29 PM
Subject: [chipstop] Fire on Gulaga Mountain

>A ‘fuel management’ fire that was started by Forests NSW (Hazard
> Advisory FNSW to RFS 28 August) in
> compartments west of Gulaga Mountain, has jumped containment lines and
> ‘got away’ burning out of control up the mountain and continuing to
> burn down the eastern flank threatening the two Tilba villages.
> Previously communities had called for no burns on the mountain and
> requested Forests NSW to extinguish this fire.  This fire had been burning
> for two weeks.  Forests NSW ignored community concerns and the severe
> drought and weather conditions.  Homes are threatened, sacred sites burned
> and rainforest decimated.
> Forests NSW “Southern Region Burning Proposals 2007” contains burn plan
> No. 07BAN3053 (the one that ‘got away’) further stating that the
> area’s last burn was in 1996, yet on the adjoining Burning Plan No.
> 07BAN3048 parts of the area were mapped as last burnt in 2000, 2001 and
> 2005.  FNSW intended to burn 1,103 ha.
> The 850 hectare fire is burning in State forest and National Park on the
> south-western side of Mount Gulaga, three kilometres west of Tilba.
> The main fire is burning on the western and south western side of the
> mountain, being pushed by westerly winds.
> A spokesman Greg Potts says a long 'finger' of fire is burning slowly
> downhill in an easterly direction towards the Dromedary walking trail that
> is near private property.
> "That fire is burning down towards the private property on the eastern
> side," he said.
> "It still is totally inaccessible to fire crews so as it starts to get
> closer to the private property then we'll have patrolling units there
> ready."
> Mr Potts says fire is also burning slowly downhill in a south easterly
> direction towards Dignams Creek. There are two spot fires causing concern,
> one on the northern end of Gulaga Mountain and the other on the south
> eastern side above Tilba.  The fire is currently burning on all sides of
> the mountain.
> Residents were being urged to decide whether to stay and defend or leave
> early and to have their evacuation plan in place. 
> At a town meeting held at the Central Tilba community building last night
> Julian Armstrong FNSW Burning Operations Unit Manager stated that Forests
> NSW started the prescribed burn in late July. 
> “The fire was kept going because the area was too inaccessible, once it
> got to 450 ha it was too big to water bomb.”
> “FNSW initially lit couple of hundred hectares,” he said.
> Fergus Thompson chaired the meeting and was noted to have stifled
> information and debate on how the fires began.
> “Neighbours  were not notified prior to the burns commencement,” said
> concerned resident Judy Beggs.  “My life and livelihood are in danger
> because of Forests NSW incompetence.”
> Smoke has affected residents at Dignams Creek, Akolele, Wallaga Lake,
> Bermagui and Bega 70kms away.
> “FNSW administrative breaches have resulted in damaging consequences,”
> said South East Forest Rescue spokesperson Tony Whan.  “But as is plainly
> shown in the Draft Report documentation for the current Regional Forest
> Agreement review process, FNSW threw out the concept of ecologically
> sustainable forest management many years ago.”
> Mr Potts said the cause of the fire and how it broke containment lines was
> under investigation.
> Fire activity yesterday and over night saw extensive spotting over the
> summit, resulting in several small spot fires, which are now burning in
> inaccessible terrain in the Gulaga National Park and Bodalla State Forest
> The community is stridently calling for a judicial inquiry into the
> incident and Forests NSW mismanagement, maladministration and criminal
> neglect of the events.
> (End)
> For more information contact SEFR on 0437471763


Posted by editor at 11:08 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 30 August 2009 12:13 PM NZT
Friday, 28 August 2009
Sandminer dupes Environment Court for approval to 2021 within world heritage precinct?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: local news


Picture: Why isn't the creek flowing? Stakeholder inspection downstream of sand mine 14 March 2007 with hydrologist expert retained by Hawkesbury City Council sixth from left. Taken by SAM editor.


Picture: Upstream at the quarry which is located right on the headwaters of Tinda Creek. Sand dredge using cutter suction pump in closed loop operation. Picture taken 14 March 2007 by SAM editor.


Last week 18th August, Commissioner Brown of the NSW Land & Environment Court took 3 hours to consider his position and deliver a judgement at 3 pm. This followed a day and half of hearing including a half day inspection of the quarry originally approved retrospectively in 1996, having operated mostly illegally since 1984.

This writer was pro bono legal agent for two brave objectors William Sneddon and Neville Diamond two environmentalists with a long experience in the Hawkesbury region. Other neighbours are too nervous to go public with their objections against sandminer Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd owned by managing director Tom Bruce. Mine manager is Ray Bygraves. Their consultant is Peter Jamieson, an engineer and director of Umwelt Consulting. He is pictured above on crutches.

Lawyers for Birdon are Russel Byrnes based at Surrey Hills in Sydney with his own interests in sandmining and related by marriage to the Bruce family, and John Webster veteran barrister of Martin Place Chambers in the Reserve Bank building. Webster charges up to $6,000 per day. More of these characters below.

So what was the misleading evidence we refer to in the headline? First we should outline the offence under clause 283 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 as follows:


False or misleading statements - 283 False or misleading statements

"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. "

The Act referred to is the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979. This story is about how such deceptive evidence has allowed a ruthless sandmining operation to destroy up to 2 km of Tinda Creek on private land inholding to the Blue Mountains World Heritage area, along Putty/Singleton Rd at the locality of Mellong.

Picture: Out of date image of the Birdon sandmine at Mellong/Tinda Creek area taken from current google earth. Estimated to be around 2001 or 2002 . To the left of here is Wollemi National Park and to the right is Yengo NP, both within the Blue Mtns World Heritage Area.

The current sandmine in 2007-9 has been way beyond it's 1996 approval. Hawkesbury Council finally responded to complaints about water loss due to evaporation in this dry hot location in the Blue Mountains by retaining expert hydrologist Chris Jewell in March 2007 who reported in July that year. Jewell advised that although the Creek was probably unaffected currently with 37% water loss immediately below the quarry, if it went ahead with final water body of 22 ha it would lose 53% of water flow.

Picture: Image from Council file obtained by flyover May 2005, with the sandmine growing outside it's approved boundary.

Similarly NSW Dept of Environment and Climate Change were concerned and wrote in 2007 to Council in response to a development application to expand the mine and change its boundaries to 125,000 tonnes per year to 2021. They wrote:

" As part of a remediation action plan to minimise evapotranspiration form open water DECC recommends that open water areas be reduced as much as possible".

This clause has even now been added into draft consent conditions in 2009 - so there has been some symbolic progress here. But given 13 years of non compliance on other critical consent conditions like groundwater monitoring bores and data loggers there is a serious credibility gap with this developer.

Hydrologist Jewell wrote that (contrary to sandmine claims) they are using 98 ML of water per year while licensed for only 55 ML. This is said to be mainly due to evaporation from those big tailing dams. This gels with a NSW Dept of Land & Water Conservation officer memo in 2003 suggesting 130 ML of water use per year. These are serious breaches of the water license to Birdon at the expense of Tinda Ck.

Picture: Main tailings pond open water body. Image taken March 2007 by SAM editor on authorised site inspection with stakeholders as legal agent for objectors.

Now in evidence to Land & Environment Court last Tuesday 18th August 2009 engineer consultant for the sandminer, Peter Jamieson, has handed up a diagram as evidence showing just how big the sandmine has grown, 318 metres at the 140 m approved northern boundary, and 503 metres at the 400 metre southern boundary.

However he did this in a very deceptive way - in our humble opinion. SAM has obtained a copy of the diagram which is discussed in this email to green group and government stakeholder interests:

From: Ecology Action
To: Jeff Smith director Environmental Defenders Office, Kirsty Ruddock principal solicitor EDO
Cc: Scott Hickie researcher to Greens MP Ian Cohen; Jackie Verzi Hawkesbury Council Watch; Tara Cameron President Blue Mtns Conservation Society; Andrew Cox National Parks Association; Peter Cooper The Wilderness Society; Gordon Plath manager litigation DECC; Carmel Tebbutt MP env minister, deputy premier; pro bono barrister Nick Eastman; Ben Cubby SMH ; Stateline NSW ABC ; Simon Benson News Ltd Daily Telegraph
Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 4:52 PM
Subject: Tinda Ck fallout: 'expert' Peter Jamieson, director of Umwelt exposed re deceptive evidence/offence, in 11133 of 2008?

Dear EDO
Re Decision of C'er Brown in Birdon v Hawkesbury CC 11133 of 2008 (Tinda Creek, inholding to Blue Mtns World Heritage Area).
We have the deceptive document now via council's lawyer, being a plan diagram handed up to the court and listed as exhibit "F". It's copied below with compare and contrast real approved plans.
I wrote last week suggesting I could smell some blood regarding the non compliances of this sandmine inholding to the Blue Mts WHA, and maybe we have some here, in three parts A, B, and C. And a fourth D still evolving.
The objectors would be very interested in EDO advice for the objectors on how to progress a formal complaint about breach of clause 283 re misleading evidence by expert Jamieson at Part A here:
Part A: Jamieson/Umwelt misleading and deceptive evidence under clause 283?
The General Manager of Hawkesbury City Council (GM) released the critical diagram provided in court, and also the water modelling (we will ask DECC to examine this latter evidence by comparing it with hydrologist Jewell report 2007 and DLWC analysis Conners 2003). We believe the GM for HCC doesn't want to be compromised by the deceptive evidence to Commissioner Brown and may have instructed council's solicitor Stephen Griffiths to release the evidence pronto.
Griffiths as council lawyer spoke to our objector Diamond on Monday and said words to the effect of "Your issue is with the Attorney General and Umwelt" which we interpret to mean, say a complaint about contempt of court by Jamieson.
Apparently Diamond said to him to the effect of
"... and what about clause 283 [of the EP&A Regulation 2000]. That's a criminal offence."
Solicitor Griffiths apparently paused, but didn't contradict him either.
So what does the Jamieson/Umwelt diagram show? Well it's quite clear in context the deception being promoted:
The diagram shows an ostensible "Area Outside Extraction Area on Fig 7.4 of EIS  = 0.43 ha". That is a trivial exceedance.
This was an attempted rebuttal to our objector submission under s.79C of the Act the day before at the site inspection - namely the mine is 40% out of area. This non compliance (as well as others) operates on cl 36, Part 2 Schedule 3 of the Regulation re non compliance a factor in a DA falling into designated development and needing a new EIS. That is, a refusal decision.
Jamieson was cunning in his verbal language in the witness box (but not cunning enough) responding to C'er Brown 'what does it show?': Jamieson said words to the effect of "this shows what is there now". In particular bright blue hatching showing a trivial "0.43 ha" exceedance.
So here is the hammer blow: The actual DA approved plans from 1996 have nothing to do with Fig 7.4 of the EIS offered up by Jamieson to the C'er complete with bright blue hatching showing "Area outside". When you compare the real 1996 approved plan held by all the parties, the miner is close to 40% out of area. See our mock up copy below with their same style of blue hatching soon to show what the real diagram should have shown: 40% out of approved area.
Umwelt has surely misled C'er Brown who decided specifically on the clause 36 matter words to the effect that 'not sufficient non compliance to justify refusal'. Maybe he would have decided the same even with 40% exceedance, or maybe not. But Umwelt/Jamieson weren't willing to take that risk with a truthful diagram rebutting our objector submission. Nor did HCC pursue this huge exceedance and non compliance.
Here in order are:
1. the colour version of the court exhibit "F" by Jamieson/Umwelt based on an expedient misleading EIS diagram, one of many and not the approved plan:


Notice Jamieson's blue hatching is very small out of area - if you use the wrong plan. Also a minor issue is Jamieson starts his diagram under the western side boundary power lines (in red) when the real approved area is 10m east of there.
2. Contrast the approved plan in similar orientation due north top of the page.
Compare the approved plan below with the diagram to court above at point 1, and notice the big discrepancy in distances: On the northern side above it's 318 metres of works says Jamieson, but only 140 metres or similar (depending where you take the peg from) below in the approved plan before you get a 30 degree dog leg.
On the southern side it's 503 metres long above for Jamieson, and 410 metres or similar in the approved plan.


Here immediately below is a wider view of 1996 DA approved plan no. 3 of 3 from which our measurements come from. These official plans are enforced by direct cross reference in consent condition 1 of the original 1996 approval. The diagram in the dark square box we added shows where the approved plan above comes from, rotated 90 degrees left to show regular north. There is no controversy these are the approved plans.




3. The indicative real exceedance out of area, without being a surveyor, is something like this:
The real indicative proportions of blue hatching is approaching 40% out of area as we told the court as laypeople. Further objector Diamond advises a diagram went into a report to council back in 2004 which shows the true exceedance similar to our version above.
Given all this above it looks like C'er Brown's decision has been made on some very unreliable evidence from Peter Jamieson of Umwelt trying to pass off another figure (one of many in the EIS) with no relation to the actual approved plan necessary to indicate real exceedances.
B. Alleged assault by John Webster barrister for sandminer Birdon of objector Diamond at site inspection
Objector Diamond has made a report to Hornsby Police re this. I am an indirect witness. Diamond is a survivor of major paralysis and still disabled so for him to be shoved around is despicable. A direct witness Bill Sneddon has provided a contemporaneous file note of the alleged assault (pushing) with Webster saying "sorry". Mmm. Not very Bar Association type behaviour. Particularly a $6K a day barrister according to a bill of costs we have heard about.
The context: Webster lost a critical notice of motion to our pro bono barrister Eastman the week before, and then again at case management later the same day with myself as legal agent.  A week later at the inspection we served a 9 page submissions document and 3 page chronology of the non complying sand mine. Enough to give anyone some heartburn first day of the hearing/site inspection.
Webster's site inspection choreography then went off the rails when I presented a list of locations to attend based on the evidence in their own expert's reports and previous expert Jewell site inspection in 2007. This sabotaged the developer railroad of the inspection. Further we had a notice of motion to be heard first thing next day to be made a party to the proceedings allowing us to cross examine their expert in trouble on various matters if one took the trouble to wade through it as we had (as implied from part A above too).
All this pressure seems to have resulted in Webster losing his composure. We have Sneddon's excellent witness file note. A trained food scientist and picky by nature. He will stand up to scrutiny in any forum.


C. Bygraves admission of disposal of $10K bulldozer at the site inspection.
Windsor police now have this under consideration.


D. Chief Planner Owens tenure getting shaky?
We are hearing that chief planner Owens at Council on $300K plus p.a wage is casting his eye around to move on from Hawkesbury CC. He instructed council's lawyer on their legal strategy to not pursue issues of non compliance.
We look forward to any feedback at your earliest convenience.
Tom McLoughlin legal agent for objectors Sneddon and Diamond in 11133 of 2008.
Bill Sneddon is a very reliable witness. Some of his background is here from an affidavit in the same litigation:
"I am a food technologist with over 10 years full time experience and trained scientist. I am also a public interest environmentalist and a foundation member for 10 years of the Castlereagh Liquid Waste Depot  Community Closure Committee (CLWD CCC) set up by NSW Waste Services within the NSW Government. This body provides scrutiny on ground water contamination issues which also helps inform me about the Tinda Ck sandmine. I am also a member for 6 years of the Quarraintine Grants Committee with a $3/4 million budget also associated with the CLWD.
So is this deceptive exceedance evidence by Jamieson/Umwelt merely a technical breach? After all the big tailings dam has been dewatered and they have agreed to various changes in their consent conditions way beyond a normal s.96 modification allowed under the legislation. They are responsive now to DECC and expert Jewell with a smaller final open water body of 10ha down from 22 or 17 or 14 ha depending on which document is analysed. They have dewatered the main tailings dam of 3 or 4 hectares reducing evaporation.
 Well yes, it does matter. As explained to the council solicitor earlier today, with copy to the EDO:
From: Ecology Action
To: Stephen Griffiths Pikes (solicitor for Hawkesbury City Council)
 Cc: Chris Jewell, hydrologist, Gordon Plath DECC litigation dept, Peter Jackson general manager of HCC, Kirsty Ruddock principal of EDO
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2009 10:01 AM
Subject: Birdon 11133 of 08 - Feb 2008 Umwelt water model report, request for full copy, every 2nd page missing in court exhibit?

Dear Mr Griffiths / Stephen
Birdon v HCC 11133 of 2008 decided by C'er Brown 18 August 09
As discussed with your PA Justine yesterday afternoon by telephone. Turns out the Umwelt water modelling report (allegedly overtaking the hydrologist Jewell 2007 for HCC), you released to us on instructions of HCC's GM is defective for lack of every second page.
Turns out from Justine's inspection your own copy similarly has only every second page.
The critical interesting bit about study of levels of evaporation water loss (ie as per Jewell 2007), or where it would be expected to be in the Umwelt report, seems to be missing. I stopped reading at that point and made the call to your office. (Near where he writes his report is only 'a desktop study' just like he accused Jewell of doing in the witness box.)
Could you please as the listed Party contact solicitor Byrnes for Birdon and obtain a full copy and indeed 'request' that they correct the document submitted to the court if they is necessary. Actually we would be most interested to know if C'er Brown was given a complete copy and whether the correct copy is on the court file.
Additionally Stephen, some intelligence on the site inspection:
The bypass channel at south east corner had a trickle of water at the start of it. Back with Jewell in 2007 site inspection (you weren't there, I did go) there was no water there in month of [March], but the main tailings dam was open water body. This time 17 August 2009 main tailings dam was de-watered over at a guess say 3 or 4 ha with only a few wet patches. 
The main effect of Jewell's 2007 report is that evaporation is a major factor - he said 37% [water loss] immediately below the quarry. That's why DECC have reinforced his concerns with proposed consent conditions of smaller water body in operations and final landform. Similarly the Parties have backed down to DECC: These DECC conditions have been incorporated in some fashion by HCC and Birdon.  We like to think we helped with that result.
All of this reinforces Jewell 2007 is right on evaporation and Umwelt Feb 2008 [water modelling report] is false evidence too. Like his out of area diagram in the witness box. Hence our intense interest in his water modelling report.
The out of area diagram is similarly related to water loss via evaporation because the original 1996 approval kept the open water body small, as did the EIS requirment (so I am told at 30% site disturbance at any one time). For Jamieson to present a deceptive diagram of small out of area hatching is calculated to cover up a bigger non compliance of exceeding their water licences as per Conner DLWC memo (2003 - 130 ML usage), and Jewell 2007 (98 ML) at least until that tailings dam was dewatered by 17 August 2009 site inspection.
But that's still a breach by Birdon of the POE Act and breach of their water license and not that long ago either. Something for DECC and maybe HCC to consider no doubt.
Very lastly who do you imagine put the dead fox carcass on the very spot of the Putty Rd bridge over Tinda Ck - exactly where we did our inspection with Jewell in 2007. Those country boys! Gotta love em. C'er Brown probably didn't spend very long looking from there on his own as he agreed to. But we did after the main inspection. The creek had a very small flow, again a bit better than 2007 inspection. In my view (as a rusty science grad) it all comes back to dewatering of the main evaporation source being the main tailings dam.
Thanking you in anticipation re the complete Umwelt water model report.
Please do not hesitate with any queries by tel 0410 558838 or return emial.
Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin, legal agent pro bono for objectors Sneddon and Diamond.
CC GM Jackson.
The objectors did a calculation while waiting for Commissioner Brown's decision in favour of the sandminer last Tuesday 18th August, in what one wag objector Sneddon now calls the Land & Extraction Court. They estimate about $206,000 in legal fees by Birdon Contracting in getting approval for their s.96 modification development application. And the costs of remediating their often illegal sandmine in an inholding to the world heritage area may cost someone many millions of dollars more.

For instance the original approved plans states the dredge fines will be buried 14 to 20 metres depth below the final open water land form. This is mainly crown land at that depth and they never bothered to get crown consent. It's common ground this hasn't been done anywhere on the site yet. Rather these claggy glue like dredge fines are overburden on commercial quantities of sand - the commercial reason they wanted to expand out horizontally in the first place.  

To move the dredge fines overburden - if they ever really do comply with this obligation to bury this quicksand at depth- defies engineering and economic practice. At least that's the view of the objectors and they have been proven right in time on most of their concerns so far. Just like the bogus 'out of area' diagram above.

One assumes it will be a matter of interest not only to DECC and DWE in place of DLWC now, how these dredge fines are processed but also the Dept of Mines people as well. A history of this controversial sand mine is here:


Version #3 version 16 August 2009 
Chronology Tinda Creek controversy inholding to Blue Mts world heritage area 

1981 – neighbour ND buys Lot 1 adjoining lot 2 future sandmine, “water from creek is like mineral water”

1982-1996  – water stops flowing in Tinda Ck once only 1982, first and only time says ND

1981-1986 – new ‘farm dam’ (1.5 ha/ 3acres) lot 2 becomes illegal sand mine operation (15 ha/ 30 acres) by Poyneed P/L ie Jan Stout and sons owners Lot 2

1985-6  - ND complains to Stout re ‘milkshake’ sediment pollution in creek water supply from lot 2 to lot 1 due to tailings dam walls progressively collapse [this was later marked “agricultural dam” in April 1996 approved plan no.3 of 3]

-         threat made by Jan Stout/Poyneed ‘you shut us down, we will shut you down’

-         campaign of at times ultra violent harassment/property damage commences v ND

1986 – sand mine Lot 2 originally farm dam, gets retrospective approval by HCC, Cr Books bulldozer work

1989 – Poyneed fined $10K in by State Pollution Control Commission (Local Court or LEC) for polluting Tinda Creek with illegal sandmine

1989 – 2004  Birdon Contracting P/L ie Tom Bruce as MD business/partnership with Poyneed/Stout

1986 -1991 – sandmine expands illegally, no HCC approval at any time this period before or after.

1991- 1996 – retrospective DA approval HCC for illegal sandmine over green group, neighbour objections

1995 May – Birdon EIS rejected by DUAP and HCC

1995 Nov – new Birdon EIS but plans are subject to various dept, community objections

1996 April – ultimate plans 1, 2 and 3 dated April 1996 by Port Stephens Design Services for Birdon.

1996 15 July – letter El-Chamy to HCC on details required for erosion/sediment control ‘formal hydrologic/hydraulic design’. Subject of finding by Pain J decision June 2009 on evidence never forwarded by HCC to Birdon therefore not required to comply with letter for what became consent condition 4 in Jan 1997 DA approval.

1996 Sept – ND mortgagee sale Lot 1 to Birdon, subject to option to re buy executed between solicitors

1996 – 2009 – dredge fines in plan 14m-20m depth to avoid pollution fine in 1989, buried much higher

1997 Jan -1999 arguably sandmine has lawful 2 year approval, controversy over lack of regulatory compliance

2000 – 2004 – sandmine operates illegally, gets retrospective HCC s.96 approval in 2004, deemed DA lodged in 1999 or so just not determined by HCC for 5 years.

2003 – ND discovered crown land from 15.24 metres with no crown consent to 1996 DA to bury dredge fines

2003 -2004 -  HCC GM McCully agrees in writing to objectors and ICAC to appoint independent barrister Phil Clay or Mary Walker to review Tinda Ck planning. Never done.

2004 – Poyneed selloff joint interest to Birdon

2004 – 2005 - Birdon get EPA and DIPNR/DWE water licenses for first time.

2005 March 16 – DLWC officer Connors memo that 150 ML quarry water use (125ML if 25 hrs/wk pumping: Bygraves)

2005 – existing area (top elevation, but not depth) available under 1996 DA ‘exhausts’ due to failure to follow depth diagrams in approval stranding 1.3 million tonnes under shallow dredge fines in approved area. Dredge fines should have been buried 14 to 20m deep as per approved plans.

2005 -2009 – quarry operating illegally out of area.

2005 – ND commences litigation over quarry  irregularities, settled by consent in 40430 of 2005 (“2005 Order”) Birdon must implement recommendations of Ecowise/Golder consultants

2005 October – Ecowise Golder report includes (at p7) 6 shallow/deep monitoring well pairs, data loggers, this data essential to water modelling. Never done.

2006 April – Ecowise/Golder report provided to HCC under cover of Birdon letter (not in LEC draft bundle tba)

2006  - s.96 DA lodged by Birdon with attempt by Umwelt to airbrush ‘confusing’ approved plans re dredge fines in wrong place, deceptive diagram of extent of Tinda Ck, and actual approved area.

2006 – new GM at HCC Peter Jackson ex ICAC

2007 May – Chris Jewell respected ind. hydrologist retained by HCC, ND etc attend inspection, report July,

2007 – 3 metre dry bore hole northern side with frog seen at Jewell inspection filled in.

2007 Sept – stakeholders at HCC re Jewell report on Umwelt errors, lack of monitoring bores, currently 37% water loss immediately below quarry in Tinda Ck, 53% loss if 22 ha of water bodies in future.

2008 – new broom in council election – eg Cr Books the earthmover retires.

2008 – DECC refuse to release ecological study to objector ND, not on council file

2008 18 July – solicitor Byrnes for Birdon letter to HCC threatening damages claim of $3M damages to council if this s.96 DA refused due to HCC’s own failure to enforce/manage consent conditions

2008 – Chief Planner Owens review of Tinda Ck in lieu of independent barrister promised to ICAC/objectors

2008 mid year – council demand to Birdon for $48K short payment of s.94 contributions

2008 – council votes 12 – 0 against sandmine despite friendly report by chief planner with narrow grounds of refusal on failure to comply with CC 4, Birdon appeals.

2009 – objectors demand transparency over ‘draft consent conditions’ in litigation process on current retrospective s.96  DA and right of objectors to be heard in the case before any deal is rubber stamped in letter to chief judge of LEC.

2009 June - Pain J decision in LEC that HCC failure to pass on El Chamy’s  15 July 1996 DLWC letter of  requirements for compliance with consent condition 4 (erosion/sediment) “prior to works commencing” effectively means far less compliance was valid. ND never called to give evidence of documents at late 1996 mediation with Tom Bruce/HCC.

2009, June 17 – Lloyd J decision in LEC against Birdon $48K in unpaid s.94 contributions.

2009 June – Umwelt update their EMP – final lake max 10m depth not 14, no sign where dredge fines to go. 6 ha of rehab bordering lake final landform with dredge fines under 30cm crust. No schedule rehab.

2009 August 14 – Umwelt response to issues – dredge fines to be buried 14 to 20 m as per 1996 DA plans, not done for 13 years, attaches March 2009 consent from Lands Dept to apply to council to use their land but no actual commercial licence deal yet. Water modelling at irrelevant locations upstream of quarry or below tributaries. Modelling proceeds contrary to Ecowise/Golder 2005 report requiring bore well data first, and critique of Jewell 2007. Also Umwelt ecological study still secret but in part in appendix shows Tinda Ck “drainage line” for 2 km is badly impacted (re water flow, low signal grade species) in comparison to nearby comparable creeks.

17 August 2009 – Chris Jewell independent hyrdrologist not invited by HCC to the site inspection. Has he been shown the Umwelt EMP June 09, the reply to issues Aug 09 contradicting Jewell water loss findings?

A copy of our submissions to C'er Brown at the site inspection follow, which was added to the court exhibits, with some minor verbal additions on the day shown in italic:

Objector submissions under s.79C EP&A Act 1979 re Tinda Creek sandmine s.96 modification DA [on behalf of objector Neville Diamond, also adopted by objector William Sneddon, delivered by legal agent Tom McLoughlin]


16 August 2009


Mr Commissioner


I have instructed my pro bono legal agent to draw up a chronology for you from 1981 to the present, with an extra copy for the parties. I have also advised my legal agent to draw up these speech notes to facilitate the hearing.


Mr Commissioner you already have with you the statement of my issues filed as per the direction of Justice Pain filed 1st July 2009. Justice Biscoe has decided 10th August 09 to allow me to be an objector despite a misconceived notice of motion by the appellant Birdon last week. Mr Commissioner you have agreed last week to hear all my issues subject to weight and relevance and I thankyou for allowing that.


Mr Griffiths for Council has suggested to hear our objections is proper no matter, to quote him, “however wayward” these issues are.


With respect my objections are not wayward. I’m not an educated man but I am a very experienced person. I was once a wealthy truck driver. I also worked 5 years as a researcher for Dixon Sands at Maroota 1996 to 2001 inclusing liaison with their legal people. I have the assistance of the EDO over the years, my legal agent and colleague Bill Sneddon who is a scientist as well as wide social network. [please also refer to Mr Sneddon's background on environmental issues in his affidavit of 30 July 2009 in these proceedings]


I was the property owner at Lot 1 neighbouring the sandmine in 1981 before it was even a farm dam. I lived part time there on lot 1 with my then wife Natalie and our son Matthew who grew up having to deal with all this trouble and danger. It seriously affected my marriage and I am now divorced and suffer post traumatic stress disorder to varying degrees whenever I think about this sandmine saga.


After my troubles began with the violence coming from the sandmine staff or their associates I lost my rent paying caretakers on lot 1, including a friend called Laurie Johnson, and I was forced by the bank to sell in 1996. It was bought by Tom Bruce the managing director of Birdon. As presented by our pro bono barrister Nick Eastman to Justice Biscoe last week in my affidavit, Birdon agreed to a legal option in my favour so that I could buy back my place on lot 1. This option was drawn up by solicitors for Birdon and I. 


Birdon gave me that option because they knew I had real merit to my objections and these could cause them a lot of trouble. They didn’t give me that option out of charity. It was a serious negotiation. But I never got the chance to exercise the option because a bulldozer asset of mine was stolen and sold by quarry staff.


I have references included in my last affidavit to Justice Biscoe from peak green groups NSW National Parks Assciation, The Wilderness Society, Blue Mountains Conservation Society, Colong Foundation for Wilderness. I am also supported in moral terms by Hawkesbury Council Watch a local community group.


I have another copy of these to tender for you commissioner. Their concern no doubt as well as mine are the wonderful Blue Mountains National Parks World Heritage Area including Wollemi immediately east and Yengo immediately west of the quarry. Both parks are official wilderness areas under that legislation. I can provide documents proving the conservation status of these places if needed.


Further, the Mayor Bart Bassett has also told me on several occasions that I have the best knowledge of the file because I regularly go and check on it’s contents.


My submissions today relate to  

  1. Why the s.96 DA is not the same development under s.96 (2);
  2. Why this s.96 DA is designated development under the planning rules for non compliance not because it’s already out of area;
  3. Why the EMP is seriously flawed;
  4. Why the draft consent conditions are seriously flawed
  5. Why Chief Planner Owens report and HCC is unreliable
  6. The DA itself is flawed and shouldn’t have been accepted.



1. Why the s.96 DA is not the same development [under s.96 (2)]


(a)    The last report from Umwelt says the lake will be 10 metres depth not 14 metres as per original approval;

(b)   The final landform will have 6 ha of dangerous dredge fines adjoining the banks of the final open waterbody while the original DA buried these 14 to 20 metres depth. A 30cm crust will be over these dredge fines which in wet weather could easily liquefy and become unstable. Further the dredge fines in shallows from zero to 10 metres depth will be a hazard to visitors, bushfire fighters harvesting water, and wildlife.

(c)    The original 1996 DA had staggered approvals to regulate rehabilitation and any non compliance, while the staging here is one approval all the way to 2021 for 5 different stages;

(d)   The final landform in the original DA is clearly set out with engineering design plans while this has a top elevation diagram and no other details how to achieve the depth or grading of batters or capacity of equipment to achieve the burial of dredge fines 14 to 20 metres;

(e)    The material to be mined is not the same material. Here they plan to mine and relocate up to 350,000 tonnes of existing dredge fines, rather than wash sand from its natural state to produce tailings;

(f)     It’s a different 1.3M tonnes of sand to the original 14 ha approved plan because they stranded a large deposit through failure to follow the depth specification in the original approval. It is also an extra 25K tonnes of sand per year.

(g)    There will be huge increase in fuel needed to pump or move existing dredge fines additional to normal sand production. If they need to move 300K tonnes of dredge fines, based on EIS figure of 2.4 litres of diesel per tonne of sand produced, the extra fuel will be 720,000 litres of diesel;

(h)    The economics of moving 300K tonnes of dredge fines at full cost of staff and equipment is a completely different proposal.

(i)      The new area will increase exposed water bodies and increase water loss to Tinda Ck estimated at 37% loss now with the quarry only expanding since 1996. Jewell (July 2007) says the water loss for a 22 ha water body would be 53%.

(j)     More water will be needed to process the extra 25K tonnes of sand production, as well as moving existing dredge fines. The water license for the dredge ponds is 40ML. The quarry already greatly exceeds its water licensing based on the hours of operation admitted at the stakeholder conference with Jewell at HCC Sept 2007 of 25 hours (Bygraves) applied pro rata Connors DLWC memo of 2005 of quarry use of an  estimated 150 ML loss at 30 hours, leaving a total of around 125 ML.

(k)   If this were the same development one might not expect so many changes to the draft consent conditions for the main 1996 approval



  2. Why this s.96 DA is designated development under the planning rules  

We have been advised by the NSW EDO by their letter of 17 Sept 2007 in the court bundle that this is a designated development under s.96 (2) of the EP&A Act. For consent under 96 (2) one is referred to the regulations. Regulation 2000 under the EP&A Act addresses whether an alteration is a designated development at Schedule 3, Part 2 clauses 35 and 36.


The factors discussed above at point 1 and in the EDO letter advise it is not substantially the same development.


Additional factors also apply under clause 36 of the Regulation not mentioned above or in the EDO letter: Clause 36 refers to


“previous environmental management performance including compliance with the conditions of any consents … or authorisations by a public body”


As evidenced by the letter of consent from the Dept of Lands dated 18 March 2009 allowing Birdon to apply to use Crown Land to bury silt fines from 15 to 20 metres (in Umwelt 14 August 2009) Birdon have effectively admitted they have not complied with this requirement in the approved plans for 13 years to date. A survey by Matt Freeburn confirms there has been no compliance with burial of dredge fines below 15 metres.


Further the 2005 orders by consent of the LEC (in Diamond & Kent v Birdon Poyneed  and HCC no. 40430 of 2005 ) - also the subject of Birdon’s failed notice of motion last week - requires Birdon to implement the recommendations of Ecowise/Golder Report as to 6 pairs of monitoring bore wells and installation of data loggers. HCC’s expert notes the failure to do this as compromised any reasonable water modelling on the impact of the quarry on Tinda Ck immediately downstream.


In addition the CSIRO report of July 2008 on "Drought exceptional circumstances" has not been addressed. This report was considered by C. Moore and C Taylor in the Peats Ridge water bottling Case 2008 where they took a precautionary approach at paragraphs 32, 33, 34, and 39 of Kettle/Coca Cola Australia v Gosford City Council  (2008).


And as per our statement of issues other non compliances include:


- 40% out of approved area, with this s.96 modification seeking retrospective approval, and as per letter of letter of HCC 7 November 2005 by Greg Hall to Birdon (not included in the bundle)

- concrete silt ponds never installed as required by EIS at page 12

- failure to provide annual reports as per Owens HCC Report

- failure to pay s.94 contributions of $46K as per recent decision of Lloyd J in this court

- demonstrably exceeding their water license allocations as per figures of 130ML/yr use in the CM Jewell expert report of July 2007 based on a mere 40-55ML/yr license allocation

- failure to report lack of Crown Consent under consent condition 33 reporting regime.


Additionally under Regulation 2000 schedule 3, clause 36 (c)

 “any proposals: (i) to mitigate the environmental impacts and manage any residual risk”  

This surely relates to the risks of the shallow silt fines in the lake dangerous in drought, and unstable on land surface in wet weather. Clause 36 (c) continues:

 (ii) to facilitate compliance with relevant standards, codes of practice or guidelines published by the Department or other public authorities  

This may well relate to guidelines on groundwater dependent eco-systems from DLWC/DWE, at risk as per expert report of hydrologist Chris Jewell to HCC regarding water loss from evaporation impact risk of bigger water bodies. SREP 20 will also apply as regards no adverse effect on groundwater dependent eco-systems.


Planner Owens attempts to say in his report the Concrite Case applies to show this is not designated development but the facts above are highly distinguishable from the Concrite case due to so much non compliance. Additionally there was no environmental damage in that case whereas here Umwelt’s EMP own ecology survey says Tinda Creek is running dry compared to other creeks at the same time immediately below the quarry, with lower signal species number. Jewell (July 2007) says there is 37% water loss in the same location.



 3. Why the July 2009 EMP is seriously flawed; 

Errors in the EMP, and Umwelt August report

  1. At p2, first line – Tinda was not intermittent 1981 to 1996, stopped flowing only once in that time in 1982.
  2. At p2  claim by Umwelt about stage 1 dredge pond having “minimal potential to cause significant lowering of the groundwater table upstream of the extraction area” which is flatly rejected by Jewell (July 2007 at page 7, 6th paragraph). Jewell points out role of dynamic water system and evaporation. Further Wayne Connors of DLWC in 2003 noted about 1500ML was being pumped around the system with industry practice of 10% water loss.
  3. Groundwater modelling at page 2 is dubious because as noted by Ecowise/Golder (2005) and Jewell and as required by consent Order 2005 monitoring bores and data loggers have not provided the required information to do accurate modelling for at least the 2 km of Tinda Ck immediately downstream of the quarry. Note especially the modelling locations in Figure 2.2 indicate location A is above the quarry and so not probative. Location B is on a tributary below and west of the bridge on Putty Rd and so also not very probative. Location C is many kilometres away downstream with many tributaries intervening and again not probative.
  4. Jewell flatly contradicts Umwelt on water loss projections  by estimating 37% currently. Jewell being independent is to be preferred. Further Umwelt’s own ecology report attached (at EMP appendix 1 page 2 middle of page) indicates Tinda Ck at site 4 (figure 2.3) immediately below the quarry ‘runs dry even when similar creeks nearby run okay even in dry times’. A clear indication Tinda Ck is stressed at that point and probably for 2 km to the first tributary which is an un named creek from the south east. Jewell notes a 53% projected water loss if like the last 13 years the quarry just gets bigger and spreads to the full 22 ha area of the EIS study, with only 14 ha approved in  1996.
  5. At section 3.3 re rehabilitation: There are no engineering diagrams or depth diagram or proven method indicated of moving existing dredge fines over the sand body stranded in the approved plan area at figure 3.1 given such fines will be heavy, congealed, worse than slurry concrete to pump. Yet at least some of the 350K existing tailings are to be moved to form a 6 ha land surface cap adjoining a final water body. Existing dredge fines  will be even harder to move once progressively dewatered. The EMP is glib about moving by “land overflow” and ‘pipe on floats’ but these likely can only work efficiently on dredge fines in suspension recently ejected from the cyclone to win sand output, not dredge fines that have settled for weeks, months or years in one mass. We don’t believe a cutter suction dredge will be able to pump solid dredge fines. By comparison we note the PF Formation or Dixon’s sand mine rehabilitation plan is a whole volume, not a thin document.
  6. On rehabilitation the soil stockpile shown on the 1996 approved plans no longer exists because Poyneed the former business partner of Birdon has sold it off. Hence the EMP refers to capping from non existent soil onsite at only 30 cm crust over dredge fines without declaring the true state of affairs regarding topsoil.
  7. On rehabilitation there is no schedule from now until 2021 unlike the approved plan with timetable included.
  8. On rehabilitation there is no change to a woefully inadequate $50K bond.
  9. On rehabilitation there is no mention of the EIS requirement of a maximum 30% of site disturbance rule.
  10. The EMP on Erosion and Sediment Control at section 3.6, page 11 makes no mention of the “Formal hydrologic and hydraulic design” required. These details were required in the now infamous letter that HCC received from DLWC dated 15 July 1996 and failed (according to Justice Pain’s decision June 2009) to forward on to Birdon. Birdon should comply with this letter even now 13 years later.
  11. Groundwater monitoring at section 4 page 14 is highly impertinent as it omits the mandatory recommendations required by consent Order 2005 in the LEC to have already implemented 6 pairs of monitoring bore wells. Jewell similarly notes failure to implement bore holes for monitoring in 2007.
  12. Ecological monitoring at section 4.2: Birdon/Umwelt refuse to date to release to council or the public their ecological study they claim at appendix 1 to satisfy DECC’s EPA license. The study at appendix 1 is also troubling because the conclusion is a non sequitur to the contents of the report. Tinda Ck immediately below the quarry becomes a “intermittent drainage line”. At the crucial site no. 4 there is a poor signal grade of 1 compared to other sites. Also the author notes that section of Tinda Ck is badly affected by low water flow running dry while other comparable creeks run well even in dry periods. To say at page 3 therefore there is no impact on Tinda Ck is therefore quite a non sequitur. The EIS calls for seasonal study of frogs not limited sampling as here.
  13. It is troubling to us that HCC have not retained independent hydrologist expert Chris Jewell to critique the Umwelt June EMP or 14 August response to our issues given Umwelt attacks Jewell’s finding at paragraph 20, page 6 August report.
  14. P9 issue 17 para 35 of Umwelt August 2009 a claims testing was done east of existing extraction area by Coffey Partners. However Coffey diagram 7.4 in the EIS shows this is wrong or deceptive as the bore holes are inside the eastern boundary.
  15. We believe the real solution to this hopeless development is radically different eg move the degraded  hill on lot 2 into and fill the quarry hole, and cap it to revive Tinda Crreek in 4 or 5 years, and use dry mining techniques to achieve that.

4. Why the draft consent conditions are seriously flawed


We note Mr Griffiths for HCC view in his letter of 27 Jan 09 that “It is unusual to impose conditions on a modification application.” Yet the draft consent conditions propose numerous changes including 10 weakly drafted conditions lifted without adaptation from a DECC letter of 20 Sept 2007.


Our feedback on the current proposed draft consent conditions (cc) from HCC/Applicant Birdon as follows:

(i)                  starting with cc 4, this should reflect the requirements of the letter of Marwan El Chamy dated 15 July 1996 as per paragraph 61 of Justice Pain’s recent decision, taking into account the effluxion of time and works to the current day.

(ii)                Cc 13 regarding amenity should remain especially as regards integrity of Tinda Ck downstream

(iii)               Cc 18 as per (ii) above in case of threats to Tinda Ck water quality and into the national park

(iv)              Cc 27 annual review of proposed EMP should also be provided to DECC and DWE.

(v)                Cc 27 should address changes in groundwater depths

(vi)              Cc 27 proposed EMP must address specifically how, and the scheduling, for relocation of dangerous shallow fine silt intended as the bottom of a final water body, or now to be capped, with engineering drawings showing depth dimensions. The silt is now approximately 350K tonnes.

(vii)             Cc 32 - Given the non compliance with dangerous shallow silt fines the bond should be $1M and $250K at the very least, as per previous costing estimates in our correspondence to council.

(viii)           Cc 33 - The annual report should to “to the satisfaction of council”.

(ix)              Cc 35 – The measure of 2M tonnes should be for the whole extraction since around 1986, not 1996, given illegal mining, retrospective approval in 1996 etc

(x)                Cc 37 – all the recommendations of expert CM Jewell should be adopted not just these 2, and they should be expressed in mandatory language with specified scheduling. The closure plan should be copied to and approved by DECC and DWE not just HCC.

5. Why Chief Planner Owens report and HCC are unreliable in this litigation 

The Owens report fails to address various non compliance issues re crown consent, dredge fines in wrong place, lack of engineering diagrams for current proposal, deceptive application and so on.


HCC have failed in this litigation to call evidence from the objectors in the first half of this split hearing on the legal question of consent condition 4 lapsing of consent. That question turned on alleged lack of notice to Birdon of DLWC 1996 letter on sedimentation and erosion control. We believe reticence by HCC is to avoid embarrassment over past non compliance or regulation rather than to address the merits of the new DA.


Further the extended Owens report does not mention that his report is in lieu of a promise to the community by two previous general managers, as well as by HCC to ICAC, for an independent review of Tinda Ck by a qualified independent barrister. Correspondence shows this was to be barrister Phil Clay or Mary Walker but they were never appointed.


It is troubling to us also that HCC have not called Chris Jewell as their independent expert to respond to Umwelt for Birdon.


It is also troubling the redundant May 1995 EIS appeared in the draft list of the court bundle given consent condition 1 cross references the Nov 1995 EIS.


It is troubling to us that HCC has not checked with council surveyors or engineers about how the rehab could work moving existing silt fines after years in sediment ponds via “overland flow” or “pipe attached to floats” or other engineering limits to burying the silt fines as per the approved plans, or the adequacy of a $50K bond.


It is troubling to us the draft court bundle (total at that stage of 114) excludes the 2005 LEC Order re clause 4(a) mandatory recommendations of Ecowise/Golder (Oct 2005) and that report also excluded, which is cross referenced by Jewell July 2007, in turn cross referenced by Umwelt (August 09). The Order and report demonstrate failure to implement monitoring bores.


6. The DA itself is flawed and shouldn’t have been accepted.


The DA doesn’t declare retrospective approval sought for illegal works.


Contrary to the 2000 EP&A Regulation at clause 283, the Applicant via agent Umwelt  claimed “confusion” over the specific approved plans and proposed a replacement plan, presumably to sanitise the non compliances to date regarding dredge fines to be buried at depth.


There has never been any confusion over the real approved plans in 3 parts dated April 1996. Additionally the advert of the s.96 application falsely indicated Tinda Ck was truncated 500 metres from the current sandmine operations when it runs immediately proximate to the sandmine.


Posted by editor at 3:07 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 28 August 2009 4:37 PM NZT

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