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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Sunday tv political talkies: Leadership spills, by elections and big media thrills in prelude to holiday season
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt


Picture: Image lifted off dynamic presentation on Sydney Morning Herald from NASA Goddard Institute showing warming pattern in 2008. This is the last frame of a 100 year progression.

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.  

Picture: No it doesn't relate to last week's news, but we just have to use this image of aging Rupert in killer mode. It took us ages to get the frame.

10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am 

In recess – didn’t run.


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

Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am 

Viewed via their website at http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/sunrise/video/weekend/index.html?autoplay_id=17002787#embedded-video-top

Wrap of leader Lib spills - Turnbull like Ceasar knifed, Tony Abbott winner action man, Sopranos image, Bishop as cockroach survivor as deputy leader. Lots of fake laughing spoof, Abbott has cut through, too much re last election stuff ups re Bernie Bantam, swearing on platform with Roxon, nakedness of Abbott the swimmer [pathetic big media obsession].

Q&A with Riley on byelections credit to Abbott no loss or swing against.

GFC aside, climate legislation big reform failed, carbon tax better.


9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.44 am 

Abbott is the talent missed virtually all of it – damn. It's here on the Liberal Party website as a transcript and given Abbott's "definition" it's easy to imagine the speaker next to the words, at:



From the brief bits of footage we saw of Oakes/Abbott via Insiders on 2 we would say LO was in deferential and subdued 'give him as much rope as he wants' mode. As if to lay down the underfelt for the topside carpet later on, whatever ever the pattern turns out to be. Not to say Oakes doesn't have the inner mongrel only that he wanted to park it today.

The text indicates that Abbott is indeed a modern media politician in terms of cut through capacity for meaningful brevity. That's not policy efficacy or wisdom but it can appear so like W Bush ever so certain and wrong on so many things.

[We can add another insight - we detected about 2 months ago a subdued and reflective Tony Abbott. A personality finesse if you like. Less aggressive, more humbled. It was, we thought at the time, as if someone had given him a priceless gift but he couldn't talk about it yet. But he was grateful, so grateful he didn't feel the need to brawl over more trivial matters. It was in this new phase he openly stated "no one is perfect" like some form of personal absolution.  So here's a theory. John Howard told him he would have his support to replace Turnbull and Howard has been working that up for months with such as Minchin, including via 4 Corners?]




Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Package on leadership ructions and result with sound track of Priscilla. Now inhouse Crabb on panel with big hair straightend. Dennis Atkin News Corp/Courier (Bris), and …


Wrap up of 2 Lib byelections – presentation of Abbott ‘success’. Cassidy talks up Bradfield result and deliberately (?) ignores whopping 35% primary in Higgins. Is that anti Green bias?


Talent is Joyce, looking fat, and strident as ever pontificating on byelections says blue collars in Asquith booth of Bradfield. Abbott quoted as public servant. Joyce introed as front bench loyalist of Abbott. Runs lines about Rudd jetsetter, overseas, vanity on global postures. Typical deep selfishness and cruelty of Nats. Joyful about demise of ETS law, Gillard gesture law again. Very fast talking and articulate. Looks more rested, less redneck physically. Says price rises on fundamentals. Joyce says interested in lower house seat.


Joyce waxes lyrical on climate law on ETS only one major disagreement with Turnbull as leader which is the ETS otherwise a good leader. Claims $3.7 billion hole in figures of govt. Says huge debt can’t afford it.


Vox pop on Abbott choice, santa theme.


Brian Toohey soliloquy damning AFR view of govt climate bill “bad joke” from otherwise moderate. Ouch. Ouch. Rudd will hate that analysis impact. Greg Hunt mentioned in dispatches, getting a run now. Move onto nuke power aspects of Abbott Coalition prospective policy.


On IR Abbott grab re Abbott undoing Keating Hawke reforms back to 1970ies. Rudd scares on cutting holiday pay etc.


Paul Kelly notes Abbott being himself. Will target the workers and Howard battlers. Highly conventional approach. Abbott will get real close to people. Content polarizing, personality is endearing. Rudd is narrow remote technician control freak. Abbott will try and fill in the gaps people don’t know Kevin Rudd.


Oh dear pregnancy precedes you Annabel Crabb, seemingly hormonal reactions to conflicted interest in bad boy Tony from the female half of the population.


Talking pics Abbott ascension ‘gift to the media’. Sad Turnbull, really very sad. Matt Price award, Tony Abbott people skills in 2007, Nelson in 2008 queues at petrol station, tie with every baby is valuable footage emoting. In 2009 Fielding re Tamiflu swine flu fool, Rudd psycho chook says Joyce, etc etc.


Out take has Toohey $7B plus giveaways was the worst decision Rudd made all year – brown and other coal power generators just have to keep operating, nothing more.




Inside Business with Alan Kohler  .

Talking point – the lucky country for real. Eco jeweler – bravo.

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


Posted by editor at 11:21 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 December 2009 9:54 AM EADT
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Did SAM micro news lock in the wall to wall puppet theme in big press?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: independent media

Sometimes we wonder if we are behind, in the middle or in front of the Big Media. Thursday night was one of those 'in the middle' experiences.

We had spent the day at Macquarie St picking up the vibe and watching question time. We listened intently to ABC radio news bulletins on the rail in, and back to the Hawkesbury.

As the 6.30 pm spill was scheduled to proceed we reached back into our Non Govt experience to note KKK - Premier Kristine Kerscher Keneally - was hopelessly compromised on the Port Botany expansion Commission of Inquiry of 2004-2005. In her own portside electorate of Heffron no less. We quoted chapter and verse of now retired Planning Commissioner Kevin Cleland.

Here is the story headline, and date stamp:


Arguably the importance of the SAM story was due to editors and journalists considering in real time Thursday night how to follow up the scorching speech of deposed Premier Nathan Rees for their Friday 4th December editions. If they had an RSS feed or whatever they would have the evidence via SAM of the finance and policy link Tripodi to Keneally at Port Botany Commission of Inquiry finding.

Only now do we realise that the article we grabbed from our photo file was via the Wall Street Journal/Domestic News Corp adding to the credibility, complete with the reference to Tripodi and Sartor in our handwriting back in January 2009.

Our recent posts on political stories from Canberra question time on location might have added to the cred too.

Then notice this headline with the same "meet" headline angle in the SMH following day 5th December 2009:

Get it? SAM writes 'KKK meet C'er Cleland'. Then SMH writes 'meet .....'

Perhaps it's our imagination. In any case the puppet theme is well entrenched mainly from deposed premier Rees speech the day before. As Richard Glover the arvo of 4 Dec 09 called it "burning the barns ad salting the fields" colourful metaphor.

But the rock solid evidence of motive putting Tripodi as Ports Minister and financing KKK in 2003 together with developer vested interest over expansion of Port Botany in her own electorate, makes clear they are politically linked for all time. KKK no doubt like everyone remembers who got them a start in their career [witness First Dog on Crikey 4th Dec to his departed editor Jonathan Green yesterday in a beautiful cartoon]. And fact is the strings are there whether she feels the pull or not. As GK Chesterton refers to Catholicsim - a string that lets you wander to the end of the earth and return to your master's side with one tug.

The front pages in Big Media got it right and so did the ex Premier.



This image that ran on 7.30 Report last Thursday night showed Tripodi was subdued - as he was in question time 2-3pm from our own eye witness in the public gallery.

But not Eddie Obeid who was in high spirits as shown above far right.

Interesting because after the Iemma dispatch in 2008 from the premiership Tripodi appeared to be bubbling over (see below via footage shown last night by 7.30 also):


Not to forget the golden rule of ALP and other aparatchiks - an effective machine moves "silently". Eric Roozendaal said that. It's wrong but they believe it. A good machine should work quietly but detectable to monitor it's workings, and never silently because that gives no clue as to its efficacy. It's called transparency in civil society.

However on the body language that we saw via Big Media yesterday, and viewed ourselves in parliamentary question time, we would say Tripodi is really sad, aggrieved even, and Obeid who is in high spirits has primarily run this destruction of Rees? So who is behind Obeid? Stewart and behind him Keating? One does wonder. We rule out Carr because he was in group pic endorsing Rees only weeks ago. That leaves deafening silence of Keating.

Posted by editor at 7:20 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 6 December 2009 10:26 AM EADT
Friday, 4 December 2009
Red's last pitch in praise of Redgum Forests
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: nsw govt



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

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

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

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

Ian Cohen MLC
The Greens
Legislative Council
Parliament House

Rees for red gums – goal scored

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


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


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


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


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

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

Premier acts to protect River Red Gums

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


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

 Is the Redgum decision locked in?

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


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

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

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

3 December 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by editor at 9:40 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 4 December 2009 10:12 AM EADT
Top science confirmation logging relation to increased bushfire impact
Mood:  hug me
Topic: wildfires


We have published on this previously on SAM micro news based on this ecology action web page referencing: Bushfire science back to 1995 publication with science referencing.


Now good scientific vindication from top scientists reported in The Canberra Times yesterday, in this way:

Logging could boost fire risk: study

03 Dec, 2009 10:22 AM
Large-scale logging could increase bushfire risk for Australia's moist mountain ash forests, creating bigger fuel loads and drier, more combustible conditions, new research says.

A world-first study led by Australian National University ecologist Professor David Lindenmayer has found gaps in the forest canopy allow the forest floor to dry out, increasing flammability by as much as 50 per cent in some cases.

The team looked at the impacts of industrial logging in moist forests across the world, including tropical rainforest, North America and Russia's wet conifer forests and mountain ash forests in southern Australia.

Professor Lindenmayer said the study had ''huge implications'' for future forest management and bushfire control in Australia.

''We can't ignore the risks, particulary in the face of climate change. These trends are occurring in moist forests right across the planet. There are no excuses, no reason to claim Australia's forests are somehow different. We've got to face up to reality and do some serious thinking,'' he said.

The study, published by the international journal Conservation Letters found logging altered forest fire regimes by changing the amount, type and moisture content of fuels. The paper's four authors include University of Maine conservation biologist Malcolm Hunter and Canadian Forest Service senior research scientist Philip Burton.

Professor Lindenmayer said the team wanted to investigate whether logging made forests more or less fire-prone. ''This is a question that gets debated after any big bushfire, and we usually hear all sorts of uninformed opinions from lobby groups. So we said, 'Right, let's do some serious science.' We looked at moist forests because fires usually occur at a relatively lower frequency than dry forests.''

The team found logging changed moist forest microclimates, drying out understorey vegetation and leaf litter. Roads built for logging access also increased the number of ignition points for fires, and the area of forest edge susceptible to drying.

The study said research published almost 15 years ago, found clear-felling of moist forests in southern Australia led to ''the development of dense stands of regrowth saplings that created more available fuel'' than if the forests were not clear-felled. Professor Lindenmayer, who has spent more than 30 years doing research in the mountain ash forests near Marysville, said decades of logging had ''created a legacy of ecosystem disturbance that will be felt for centuries''.

Posted by editor at 8:43 AM EADT
NSW ALP hypocrisy, Right, Left, Centre Unity

Della Bosca of all people after his affairs talking about "family and community" with Fran Kelly on abc RN this morning.

A ten minute interview by ex Deputy Premier John Watkins with James O'Loughlin on abc 702 sydney praising all the players and not mentioning once from his perch in Ryde the desperate need for a north west rail link.

Paul Pearce MP of marginal Coogee praising ex Premier Rees for seeking to confront the developer lobby - a long time principle held by Pearce, who just happened to roll over on a desecration of Bondi Beach during the commercial Olympics in order lock in his State MP pre-selection in 1999.

Premier Nathan Rees in question time we witnessed argues for public funding of elections, indeed implying it was a Cabinet decision, an issue close to the heart of Quentin Dempster likely to run on NSW ABC Stateline this evening. At the cost of $50M a throw.

Yet Rees got the job in the first place mainly for delivering a $2B desalination plant surplus to requirements and deeply criticised.

New Premier Keneally says in big media this morning she 'wants to establish trust' with the community, having closed her eyes for the last 5 years to the wicked expansion of Port Botany impacting her own electorate of Heffron and potentially another 50 suburbs in the future. Indeed 'Merits' Keneally has ignored expert planning report of Commissioner Kevin Cleland for years on this project (as per our penultimate post here).

Deputy Premier Tebbutt was also challenged by the Opposition in question time whether she will remain in her position to support 'the puppet of malign forces Obeid, Tripodi and Sartor'? We have the answer last night with Tebbutt's clay features beside Keneally after the leadership vote.

Will Keneally implement publicly funded elections at $50M a throw breaking the death grip of patronage we all saw in Wollongong and know is spread through all of NSW? We do hope so but won't be holding our breath. Maybe we will hear on abc 702 morning show with Deb Cameron.

What of defacto premier Graham Wedderburn (the 'silent premier') sighted there in the Bear Pit flanks yesterday afternoon, shifting his weight from toe to toe like a prize fighter coralled by forces beyond his control. Does he understand the legal let alone political doctrine of frustration of contract now his man Rees has gone? In other words, what chance a senate seat after this mess causing Prime Minister Rudd and gopher Mark Arbib both a migraine?

And then we have Barry O'Farrell's Opposition. One has to sit in Parliament to see what a bunch of rough, rat cunning, tired, cynical old boys the great majority of the Opposition present as. No wonder Robert Oakshott MP took a ticket to the federal parliament to get away from this bunch of cronies. And the ALP backbench looks just as bad generally speaking. Representative? Ethical? Not on your life.

Posted by editor at 8:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 4 December 2009 8:52 AM EADT
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Planning Minister Kristina 'merits' Keneally - meet retired Commissioner Kevin "real merits" Cleland
Mood:  irritated
Topic: nsw govt


Keneally MP famously asserted recently all her ministerial decisions are on merit. Yet she was funded by Ports Minister Tripodi (himself sacked 2 weeks ago) into the State Parliament via financial donations on the record.

Tripodi just happened to be the main promoter of expansion of Port Botany affecting some 50 Sydney suburbs, all for container ship gigantism pre Global Financial Crisis. Now the wheels have fallen off that agenda but Tripodi is still pulling the strings with his economic extremism.

Commissioner Cleland, a highly respected expert in planning just prior to retirement, rejected the expansion plan on its merits in a Planning Inquiry in 2004 - 2005. The report can be found here


which leads to this download


To quote the executive summary:

"The Commission recommends that:

  • Sydney Ports Corporation’s proposed development at Port Botany not be approved; and
  • A smaller expansion of container handling facilities at Port Botany be approved."

The expert report was rejected by previous Planning Minister Sartor in October 2005, himself replacing Planning Minister Knowles who resigned in scandal. The maximalist expansion plan remains on foot in 2009 under the current local MP Planning Minister Keneally. None of these succession of ALP Ministers care that the expert Commissioner agreed with submissions of 33 community groups under the umbrella of Botany Bay & Catchment Alliance.

Keneally is elected in the port side seat of Heffron - taking in the impacts of Port Botany expansion - and has not said a word about this mad expansion involving a $5B truck tunnel connection to M4 East freeway: A tunnel under current Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt's seat of Marrickville destined to get smog stacks if the plan is ever realised.

So much for her integrity over planning merits issues. She is indeed Joe's proxy.


The full executive summary reads as follows:

May 2005

The Hon Craig Knowles MP

Minister for Infrastructure and Planning

Minister for Natural Resources

Dear Minister,

Proposed Port Botany Expansion

Under Section 119(l) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 you directed a Commission

of Inquiry be held into all environmental aspects of a proposal by Sydney Ports Corporation to construct

and operate a new container terminal and associated infrastructure. Your Direction particularly

emphasised a number of environmental aspects as well as “an analysis of any potentially feasible

alternatives at Port Botany to the carrying out of the development, including the alternative proposed by

P&O Ports Limited”.

You appointed me to constitute the Commission of Inquiry and Professor Hans Westerman and Mr Tony

Wright as specialist advisers to the Commission.

Sydney Ports Corporation seeks to obtain planning approval to develop 57 hectares in Botany Bay with

1,850 metres of additional quayline sufficient for 5 berths, about 3½ hectares along the southern edge of

Penrhyn Estuary, and 2½ hectares on Foreshore Beach to provide:

§ Additional container handling capacity of 1.6 million TEUs per year;

§ Additional access points to container operations for road and rail;

§ Potential for a third stevedore to stimulate competition;

§ Enhancement of the ecological values of Penrhyn Estuary; and

§ Public recreational facilities along Foreshore Beach.

It was strongly stressed by Sydney Ports Corporation that doing nothing was not an option. Solely relying

on higher intensity operations by the two existing stevedores would constrain trade growth in Sydney and

ultimately result in adverse economic outcomes including businesses relocating to other States.

The project is generally consistent with relevant government policies in that it provides port infrastructure

for economic development (Shaping our Cities), limits the length of travel by road vehicles (Action for Air), provides for increased use of rail and includes comprehensive stakeholder involvement and

environmental impact assessment having regard to potential Bay-wide effects (Healthy Rivers Commission

and Towards a Strategy for Botany Bay). It is consistent with the Ports Growth Plan and Port Freight

Plan and does not compromise the stated directions of the Metropolitan Strategy or the objectives of the

Metropolitan Freight Strategy. Deferral of a decision until all relevant strategies are completed and

implemented as sought by a number of parties is unrealistic and not supported by the Commission.

Submissions to the Commission could generally be placed into three categories. The first category

comprised Government agencies who in general adopted a neutral position subject to adequate conditions

to control and manage residual environmental impacts. The Department of Infrastructure, Planning and

Natural Resources considered that doing nothing was not a supportable option given the economic and

social importance of maintaining a strong container trade in Sydney. The second category consisted of

industry partic ipants and associations who advocated the full proposal due to the economic benefits it

would generate. The third category were councils, community interest groups and residents who were

strongly opposed to the proposed development due to its biophysical, socio-economic and ecological


impacts. They gave overwhelming support to development at Newcastle and Port Kembla. Some council

submissions considered a smaller staged development could be a potential option.

The Commission finds that consideration of an expansion of Port Botany on the basis of an overall

container throughput capacity of 3.2 million TEUs per year by 2025 is reasonable. The evidence before

the Commission is that strong container trade growth would continue from the current container

throughput of 1.37 million TEUs per year. Given the importance of port facilities, the planning horizon of

2025 used by Sydney Ports Corporation is supported by the Commission. Furthermore, about 85 percent

of containers passing through Port Botany have either a destination in, or are sourced from, the Sydney

metropolitan area. Containers handled through regional ports would incur higher landside transport

charges and require major road and rail infrastructure upgrade for all but very modest volumes. The

Commission finds the continued focus on Port Botany is justified at this time.

The primary matter for the Commission to resolve is whether Sydney Ports Corporation’s proposal is the

most appropriate option for providing an overall container throughput capacity at Port Botany of 3.2

million TEUs per year as assessed in the EIS. The key to resolving this issue is to initially determine the

realistic container throughput capacity of the existing Port Botany container terminals before unacceptable

levels of congestion occur, in either the waterside or landside logistics chain.

There was substantial variation as to the realistic capacity of the existing Port between estimates prepared

by Sydney Ports Corporation, Patrick and P&O Ports, and the submissions of other informed parties. The

capacity of the existing Port is highly dependent on the berth length and terminal area as well as the

equipment and management systems used by the existing stevedores, Patrick and P&O Ports. Although

Sydney Ports Corporation owns the basic berth and terminal area infrastructure, its current leases to the

stevedores do not provide it with the opportunity to set productivity levels. Nevertheless, both stevedores

have made recent firm and significant financial commitments to increasing productivity.

Sydney Ports Corporation considers the capacity of the existing Port is limited by berth length but would

ultimately rise to 1.8 million TEUs per year with moderate productivity improvements. The two

stevedores consider the Port’s capacity could be in excess of 3 million TEUs per year and other informed

parties consider the capacity could be up to 2.6 million TEUs per year. Sydney Ports Corporation’s high

productivity scenario overlaps the latter container capacity estimate.

The Commission has considered all evidence in detail and has concluded that the container throughput

capacity of the existing port footprint, with realistic productivity improvements, is between 2.2 and 2.5

million TEUs per year. Consequently, an expansion would only need to provide additional capacity of up

to 1 million TEUs per year to achieve an overall container throughput of 3.2 million TEUs per year.

This conclusion is consistent with the recent approval for upgrading the Patrick terminal and empirical

evidence of current container throughput at Port Botany. In this regard Patrick has recently received

approval for a container throughput capacity of 1.3 million TEUs per year. P&O Ports’ current throughput

is about 700,000 TEUs per year, it has recently rec eived approval for a seventh quay crane, and plans to

purchase up to four more quay cranes. P&O Ports’ container throughput capacity is not limited by its

current consent. Presently, total container throughput at Port Botany is about 1.37 million TEUs per year

with berth occupancy at both existing stevedores between 45 and 50 percent using Sydney Ports

Corporation’s estimates. An upper limit of 60 to 65 percent with the existing berth lengths, while still

managing congestion to acceptable levels, is feasible. Clearly, the number of quay cranes and the hours

they operate as well as the terminal area and its associated logistics are significant determinants in

maintaining berth occupancy at acceptable levels.

The Commission finds that the proposal by Sydney Ports Corporation (Option 1) to provide a further 60

hectares of land at Port Botany for an additional container throughput of 1.6 million TEUs per year is an

overdevelopment, and is not warranted at this time. The weight of evidence is that the assessed overall

container throughput of 3.2 million TEUs per year predicted by 2025 could be achieved with a smaller and

possibly staged development. A smaller development would also minimise residual environmental

impacts on the local community relating to air quality, noise amenity, traffic and hazard and risk, would

not adversely affect water quality or shorebird access in Penrhyn Estuary, and would allow the


continuation of recreational activities along the full length of Foreshore Beach. Although potentially more

expensive per unit of quayline and terminal area, a smaller development at this time could provide a more

cost effective overall solution in the medium term, as terminal equipment would be more highly utilised

while maintaining an efficient Port operation with acceptable levels of congestion. Some smaller

development alternatives would not provide an additional road access point to the terminal area from

Foreshore Road but traffic could still be effectively managed.

Option 8, as suggested by the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, is not

supported by the Commission. Option 8 would provide for significantly more than 1 million TEUs per

year additional capacity and would thus be able to handle a volume which has not been environmentally

assessed. This option would also restrict flushing of Penrhyn Estuary and physically confine the Estuary,

but to a slightly lesser extent than Sydney Ports Corporation’s preferred option. Option 8 would have

potential environmental impacts relating to excavation at the eastern end of Brotherson Dock South which

would need to be fully investigated and assessed.

The desirability of increased competition at Port Botany was a significant issue emphasised by Sydney

Ports Corporation and provision for a third major stevedore was a key factor in its justification of a major

increase in quayline and terminal area from the outset. However, Sydney Ports Corporation did not

conclusively demonstrate that marginally increased competition, of its own, would result in reduced

container stevedoring costs. Furthermore, Sydney Ports Corporation’s preferred option allows for

inequalities in quayline and terminal area to occur which, on evidence before the Commission, could result

in important advantages for one stevedore, together with inefficiencies in berth occupancy for the others.

While smaller development alternatives only provide for the introduction of a third, minor stevedoring

operation in the medium term, they leave open the opportunity for a major stevedoring operation in the

longer term as well as providing for an equitable competitive situation between Patrick and P&O Ports in

the meantime.

Allowing congestion to constrain container throughput is not a viable proposition if NSW is to maintain a

strong economy, an important part of which is the import and export of goods in containers. Some port

development needs to be commissioned in the next 6 to 8 years to ensure efficient handling of Sydney’s

container trade and to limit congestion to an acceptable level, given the long-term projected growth in

container volumes. The Commission is adamant that the do nothing option would not be a responsible

plan. The Commission supports an initial expansion of the container facilities at Port Botany which is

smaller than both Option 1 and Option 8 to cater for the assessed trade demand of 3.2 million TEUs per

year by 2025.

Minimising the impact of container transport within Sydney is essential given the continuing strong growth

in trade. In this regard achieving 40 percent rail mode share or above for container transport from and to

the Port is strongly supported by the Commission. The Commission is satisfied 40 percent of containers

could be transported by rail but this will depend on the timely design of the metropolitan intermodal

terminal network according to the Port Freight Plan, and then development of the individual terminals.

However, an important issue with respect to substantially increased rail freight movement is the early

mitigation of noise impacts at residential and sensitive land uses along the Botany freight line as referred to

in this Report. While rail noise is a matter for final resolution during the future proposed upgrading of the

Botany freight line, it is potentially a quite significant issue.

Truck traffic would also increase significantly with an overall Port throughput of 3.2 million TEUs per

year but traffic impacts would be manageable both locally and in the region. Port truck traffic would be a

significant, but other than in the immediate area of the Port, a relatively small part of the substantial overall

volume of truck and small vehicle traffic in the region, at both 40 percent and 20 percent rail mode share.

It will be essential that intersections in the vicinity of the Port area are monitored and upgraded as necessary

to ensure their satisfactory operation is maintained.

The Commission is satisfied that an expansion in total container throughput capacity to 3.2 million TEUs

per year at Port Botany could be operated to consistently comply with accepted environmental guidelines

and criteria. Although exceedances could occur infrequently they would be relatively minor in respect to

acoustic amenity and air quality. Hazard and risk levels would not exceed accepted criteria. Port security


and operational safety at Sydney Airport would be maintained to the appropriate standards. There would

be little impact on groundwater, especially when compared with the groundwater interception works along

Foreshore Road, for options other than those which include excavation of the eastern end of Brotherson

Dock South. The Commission recommends measures to ensure residual biophysical environmental

impacts are minimised, monitored and managed.

Major ecological and recreational impacts on Penrhyn Estuary and Foreshore Beach respectively would

result from Sydney Ports Corporation’s preferred option. Sydney Ports Corporation proposes extensive

enhancement works to compensate for these impacts. Nevertheless, water quality in the Estuary would

decline and there remains significant uncertainty as to whether the Estuary’s ecological value for

shorebirds would be maintained as well as whether seagrasses could be effectively transplanted and

established. The proposed boat ramp and carpark would sever Foreshore Beach and the new terminal

would dominate views across Botany Bay from Foreshore Beach and Sir Joseph Banks Park Lookout. The

Commission finds the proposed recreational and ecological enhancement works essential if Sydney Ports

Corporation’s preferred option were to be approved. If this were to be the case the Commission considers

it likely the present ecological values of the Estuary could be substantially and permanently reduced due to

declining water quality as well as the restricted access for shorebirds and the enclosing nature of the

proposed Port expansion.

The Commission recommends that:

§ Sydney Ports Corporation’s proposed development at Port Botany not be approved; and

§ A smaller expansion of container handling facilities at Port Botany be approved.

The Commission recommends an initial smaller development provid ing 30 to 35 hectares of land to the

west of Brotherson Dock North and along the southern side of Penrhyn Estuary. The evidence from the

analysis of potentially feasible alternatives is that such development could provide up to 800,000 TEUs per

year additional capacity depending on its configuration, for an overall container throughput capacity at

Port Botany of between 3.0 and 3.3 million TEUs per year. It would fit within the footprint of Sydney

Ports Corporation’s preferred option and would not preclude that option in the longer term, including

provision for a third major stevedore, subject to further rigorous environmental impact assessment. In the

meantime it would provide for a small third stevedoring operation. It would not require a boat ramp and

car park to be constructed on Foreshore Beach as these facilities could be included in the new terminal

area. This approach would also assist in maintaining the ecological values of Penrhyn Estuary as well as

minimising the visual impact on views across the Bay from public areas.

Concurrently, a comprehensive independent investigation should be undertaken to determine whether

extensions to either or both the eastern and western ends of Brotherson Dock South, including relocation of

the bulk liquids berth, are feasible and viable. If so, extension of Brotherson Dock South could provide

further capacity in a timely manner, subject to comprehensive environmental assessment which would

need to have particular regard to groundwater, acoustic amenity, and hazard and risk. Extension of this

Dock would also provide an equitable basis for competition between the two current stevedores.


Deputy Chairperson

Posted by editor at 6:26 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 3 December 2009 7:04 PM EADT
Rees accuses plotters of lacking integrity in NSW Government spill contest
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt


Two items have come through to our office in the last 2 days which seem to bear out the accusation running like fire through state politics today, reinforcing current premier Rees view of odourous lack of integrity in the NSW ALP.

The first below relates to ex Minister and Right wing white anter Ian Macdonald allowing illegal logging in river redgum forests, allowing 3 forest conservation protesters to walk free according to Carmel Flint of Environmental Defenders Office.

The second relates to the Planning Minister Keneally apparently spruiking a development while also exercising discretion over public consultation for same development regarding community objectors. Meanwhile research shows major financial donations by the developer. Will she ever learn indeed.

We post these two items here and follow with a third being a pitch made direct to community sector people including micro news website SAM by Barry O'Farrell as leader of the Opposition by email mid November 2009 as the the third item. We held off publishing it till now, but it seems to echo with events of the day.

We have just booked our seat in question time at Macquarie St with the spill motion to follow at 4 pm. Should be interesting:

#1 of 3

Sent: Wednesday, December 02, 2009 9:10 AM
Subject: [chipstop] Fwd: [forest_alliance] [Fwd: Red Gum Protestors Found Not Guilty]

Info. Note: “The Magistrate made a clear finding on the evidence that a Part 3A
approval under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 is
required for the logging operation and had not been obtained. He concluded, 
therefore, that the logging was unlawful. 


From: Jonathan La Nauze
*Media Release, **1st December 2009***

In Deniliquin Local Court today three protestors arrested at the Red Gum 
blockade in June were found not guilty on all charges of trespass and 
“Represented by Ken Averre of Counsel and the Environmental Defender’s 
Office, the defendants argued that Forests NSW were logging illegally in River Red 
Gum forests and therefore the charges laid could not be upheld” said Ms Carmel Flint, 
one of the three acquitted.  
“The Magistrate made a clear finding on the evidence that a Part 3A approval under 
the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 is required 
for the logging operation and had not been obtained. 
He concluded, therefore, that the logging was unlawful.  
“This highlights an extraordinary and on-going breach of environmental law in 
the River Red Gum forests – logging is still occurring in these areas to this day.  
“Globally significant wetlands are being subject to irreparable environmental 
damage contrary to the law.  “The finding of the court shows that Forests NSW
 must now get its house in order. They should cease logging operations in River 
Red Gum forests until such time as they obtain a proper environmental approval.  
“The NSW Government must now take decisive action on River Red Gum 
and protect large areas in National Parks.  “Victoria has just created four
 new Red Gum National Parks whilst NSW continues to destroy theirs in
 breach of the most basic environmental laws” Ms Flint said.  
For more information or comment, contact Carmel Flint on 0400521474 

Jonathan La Nauze
Red Gum Campaign Coordinator
Friends of the Earth Melbourne
PO Box 222
Fitzroy 3065

Mob: +61 402 904 251


........................................................ # 2 of 3

Sent: Wednesday, December 02, 2009 12:36 PM
Subject: [Greens-Media] (Hale MLC) When will she ever learn?

Media Release

>From Sylvia Hale, Greens MP and Spokesperson for Planning

2 December 2009   - For immediate use
When will she ever learn?
Sylvia Hale MLC, Greens spokesperson for Planning, today condemned the
Minister for Planning’s promoting a development proposal at Marsden
Park that is currently being considered by her Department. The
Minister’s extolling the benefits of the development will raise
doubts about the impartiality of any decision the Department makes in
relation to the proposed rezoning.

“Minister Keneally has clearly learned nothing from the debacles of
the Catherine Hill Bay and Sweetwater developments,” said Ms Hale.
“The Land & Environment Court declared the Catherine Hill Bay
approval void because of perceptions that Minister Sartor’s decision
had been influenced by a ‘land bribe’.

“ Minister Keneally was then ignominiously forced to concede the
illegality of the Sweetwater approval on the same grounds.

“Yet only months after those decisions, we have the Minister
spruiking the alleged benefits of the Marsden Park Industrial Park
rezoning, and even going so far as to specify the number of extra jobs
that might be created and the value of road upgrades.

“It would be difficult for the Minister to be more blatant about her
support for the proposal.

“For her then to ask the public to comment on the draft plans is the
height of hypocrisy.

“Does she really expect anyone to believe that any notice will be
taken of public submissions?

“The public is well aware of how token the public submission process
is. The record shows that, despite thousands of public objections to
Part 3A developments, the Minister ends up approving almost all of

” The other ingredient common to the Marsden Park plans and Part 3A
approvals such as Catherine Hill Bay and Sweetwater, is the malevolent
influence of political donations.

“By the Minister’s own admission, the movers and shakers behind the
rezoning proposal are significant donors to the Labor, Liberal and
National parties. The Johnson Property Group has donated $494,000 to the
ALP, $136,00 to the Liberals, and $14,000 to the Nationals. Valad Funds
Management and the Winten Property Group have given $19,000 and $7,000
respectively to the ALP.
“So there we have planning NSW-style: a poisonous brew of developer
donations mixed with a perception that the Minister has made a decision
in advance of a token public submission process,” Ms Hale said.

 Contact: Colin Hesse on 02 9230 3030 or 0401 719 124

 .....................................................# 3 of 3

Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 12:29 PM
Subject: Blog - Why We Need to Start the Change

Barry O'Farrell imageBarry O'Farrell, Leader of the NSW Opposition

Dear Ecology Action,

This weekend we saw the soap opera that is the NSW Labor Government continue.  This is despite Nathan Rees saying it would end when he became Premier in September 2008.

We have another Rees ministry in 14 months - or a fifth series of the soap opera.

Replacing unpopular factional hacks with unknown factional hacks does nothing to address the problems our State faces – it’s simply an attempt to do a cast revamp in the face of falling ratings and thin story lines.

The kindest thing to do would be to pull the series off the air and call an election!

So, what are the NSW Liberal & Nationals plans for NSW?

Over a year out from the March 2011 election, we have launched some 40 policies and discussion papers – and will continue to do so!

Based on our five priorities, you can check out my past blogs (click on titles to read) on our commitments:

Transport and Infrastructure - build the South West and North West rail links, establish Infrastructure NSW and an Integrated Transport Authority;

Health –  establish smaller Health Districts creating a flatter administrative structure and giving communities and medical experts a say through representation on District Boards to deliver a health system that puts patients first;

Planning – returning planning controls to local residents, scrapping Part 3A, re-writing the State’s planning legislation, appointing a Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, appointing a separate Minister for Heritage, and implementing campaign finance reforms; 

Economic Investment – Making Sydney Australia’s sporting capital; and

Honesty and Accountability - establish a Charter of Honesty and Accountability in Government to clean up politics and restore confidence and integrity to Government in NSW.

Currently we are undertaking social policy consultations 'Smarter, Stronger, Healthier Safer' which is whole-of-government approach to the delivery of social policy based on a clear set of principles and supported by goals. Make a submission by visiting www.sshs.com.au.

Also, make a comment or suggestion on this blog by visiting Facebook – Click here.

You deserve change for the better and the NSW Liberal & Nationals will make real change to NSW happen.

Barry O'Farrell MP
NSW Liberal Leader


Posted by editor at 11:00 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 3 December 2009 6:19 PM EADT
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Memo Climate change deniers: Senators Boyce and Troeth to cross the floor
Mood:  special
Topic: aust govt


Sooo protege of Iraq War monster ex PM John Howard is now 'in charge' of the Parliamentary Liberal Party by a 42 to 41 vote complete with single donkey bray informal vote, and one abstention due to illness.

(It was classic tv viewing of the vote declaration by Alex SomlyayMP (Lib), with mobile tv propped on the dashboard, earphones on, with curious police car following us down Parramatta Rd).

'Bring it on' Mr Abbott and Nationals Senator Joyce exhort defiantly, meaning an election on climate: Correctly sniffing the reality PM Kevin Rudd is as scared of the consequences of a double dis-solution election as the Coalition should be. Meaning fear of Green Senators balance of power via increased numbers.

So much for respect for democracy and the will of the Australian People for real action. PM Rudd is hoist on his own petard - "Delay is Denial" according to PM Rudd quoted from the other side of the world.


Delay is Denial on a Double Dissolution . Why the delay in calling the DD election if Rudd really believes that? Why PM Rudd's delay on calling an election to get his climate legislation through?

Senator Milne for the The Greens this morning 7 am ABC radio news in Sydney has called on the Govt to to go full term and negotiate a climate law with them. That is not reach for the DD election trigger.

But the Greens 'only have 5 of 7 votes needed' to pass legislation replies ALP Minister/Senator Wong, and Minister Greg Combet in the House of Reps.

Re read the headline. Senators Sue Boyce and Judith Troeth may well vote according to loyal party lines to reject the current ETS climate Bill. But we have weeks and months ahead where these senators in particular who presumably voted for a different leader will have the capacity to cross the floor on a re-worked climate Bill.


Background on Senator Sue Boyce in her own words:

I was elected by the Queensland Parliament on April 19, 2007, to fill a casual Senate vacancy, and then elected in my own right at the Federal election on November 24, 2007. I am Deputy Chair of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Australian Crime Commission and Coalition Convenor of the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs. I have also been appointed to the Joint Standing Committee on Migration for its upcoming inquiry into the Immigration Treatment of Disability.

I am a Company director and former journalist and public relations practitioner with experience in Queensland, Victoria, PNG and the UK. I was based in Melbourne for more than 20 years before returning to Queensland, in 1994, to work with my family's manufacturing company. 

I stood down as executive chair at my election and I'm now a non-executive director of the company - a manufacturer, importer and exporter of products used primarily in the water and wastewater industries. The company, established in 1926, employs about 300 people in Australia and South Africa and has branches in Cairns, the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Logan areas as well as interstate. I believe this gives me a good handle on the issues faced by Australian manufacturers and by business, especially family companies.  I also appreciate the depth of co-operation needed from government and private sectors at all levels to solve Queensland's water problems.

I remain very committed to improving the political participation rates of women.

I am a disability advocate and a past president of the Down Syndrome Association of Queensland (DSAQ), and of Lifeways Inc., a Queensland organisation designed to assist ageing parents to plan for the long-term future of their adult child with a disability. 
I remain on the management committee of Lifeways.

I am a Past President of the Liberal Women's Council (Qld).  Most importantly, I'm the mother of three adult children.

I hold a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Monash University, a Masters of Business from QUT and I'm a Fellow and Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Background about Senator Judith Troeth in her own words:

When I was elected to the Senate in 1993, I made a personal commitment to the people of Victoria to represent them through hard work, honesty and openness.


Prior to embarking on a career in parliament, I worked as a secondary school teacher and was involved in local community activities such as the local hospital board, kindergarten and school council in South West Victoria.

As a mother of five and partner in a family farm for more than 30 years, I felt I could bring a wealth of practical experience and knowledge to the role of Senator for Victoria.


Importantly, I feel I understand the every day pressures many Victorians face trying to balance work whilst raising a family. I am determined to maximise the opportunities for all Victorians.

Having lived in the country and the city, I have a solid understanding of the issues that concern fellow Victorians. I believe the three most important things which Australians can have is a sense of national security, economic strength and social stability. I also see issues such as unemployment, education, and health as matters of top priority.

Whilst in Parliament, I have demonstrated my commitment to the people of rural and regional Victoria by actively working towards profitable, competitive and sustainable rural communities. I have worked hard to ensure that issues affecting rural Australia are thoroughly addressed.


As part of my commitment to keeping Victorians fully informed on Federal Government matters, I regularly travel throughout Victoria to meet citizens, and listen to their views and concerns.

I devote time to visiting schools, aged care hostels and nursing homes, community groups, service clubs and small businesses, listening to differing perspectives on a wide variety of issues.


I consider time spent with the people of Victoria as the most important part of my role.

During my time in the Senate I have been privileged to serve the First, Second and Third Coalition Government Ministries as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Primary Industries and Resources, and then as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.


Drawing on my extensive experience living and working in rural Victoria, I felt that during my time in the Ministry I was able to make a substantial contribution to the lives of Australians making a living from the land.


Under the Coalition Government I was also Chair of the Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Legislation Committee and a member of the Senate Select Committee into Mental Health.  In 2006 the then Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon Warren Truss MP, selected me to be Co-Chair of an Inquiry into Women's representation on regional and rural bodies of influence.  In August 2006 we released a detailed report titled At the table which presented our findings on getting the best people and making the right decisions for rural and regional Australia.

Currently I am an active member of a number of Parliamentary Committees and Groups: Public Works Committee, Scrutiny of Bills Committee, Parliamentary Group on Population and Development Australia, the Coalition Education and Industry Committee and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

In my spare time I enjoy reading, bushwalking, travelling and spending time with my family.

I am also a passionate supporter of the Hawthorn Football Club.

Posted by editor at 9:36 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 December 2009 9:39 AM EADT
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
'45,000 hectare' East Gippsland forest decision - reactions
Mood:  surprised
Topic: ecology

One of the challenges of a micro news website is deciding what category to post news under. In this post is it really about "ecology" or arguably real politik of buying the silence of the Melbourne head office based Australian Conservation Foundation, formerly ALP aligned on the climate legislation famously before the Senate today? Certainly there is big politics at play as per this media release by a peak green group challenging ALP Premier Brumby on 12 Nov 2009:

Lack of leadership breaks election promise to protect Victoria’s old-growth forests

 And as per this media release welcoming the ACF back to the indy fold by Green Party senators:


In that case it would be an "aust govt" topic really. But this story is about "the trees" in the jargon, which itself is a misnomer because that's shorthand for the massive water storage in the root system, the fungi and lichens, vertebrate furries, invertebrate crawlies, ground and mid storey plants of various green hues under 800 year old huge tree trunks and cool canopy.

Places like Goolengook, Dingo Creek, Brown Mountain, some seriously vandalised and smashed, others partly so, and a rare few still intact, not yet woodchipped for Japanese cartoon books and landfill.

So how good is the recent Victorian decision? Here is response of Tony Hastings with a background in famous legal victory over illegal rainforest logging in the Victorian Supreme Court (here via Austlii legal data base Hastings v Brennan; Tantram v Courtney (No. 3) [2005] VSC 228 (28 June 2005)

(Declaration: This writer paid for air fare for legal support for Tony for that hearing.)

Here is Tony's reaction [with bold added, and photographs added from his website and our file for East Gippsland]


From: Tony Quoll

To: Sent: Friday, November 27, 2009 8:09 AM
Subject: 45000ha new National park in East Gippsland!

Hi all,

Pop the champagne and shout it from the rooftops; The Parks And Crown Land Legislation Amendment (East Gippsland) Bill was been passed by the Victorian Parliament’s Legislative Assembly yesterday, 26th November.


This means that 45,000ha of forest including the entire Goolengook forest block, Rainforest Sites of National Significance including Dingo Creek and Sassafras Basin, and linkages between parks are now protected from logging.


This means that most of the areas which fulfilled the ‘JANIS’ criteria during the 1996 ‘Comprehensive Regional Assessment’ have at long last been included in the “Comprehensive Adequate and Representative Reserve System,” – which is what the public were lead to believe at the time.


And it only took a campaign involving dozens of lobbyists, hundreds of blockades, thousands of protesters, millions of items of correspondence and inestimable stress on all involved.


Don’t be fooled into believing that all old-growth forests and threatened species habitat is now safe. Those last fragments are scattered across the landscape, mostly in steep, wet gullies, and still rely on the writing and implementation of Action Statements required under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, enforced via the Code of Practice for Timber Production (2007).. Particularly, the “Loss of Hollow-bearing trees from Victorian forests”, listed in 1992, with action required “as soon as possible.”


The passing of the The Parks And Crown Land Legislation Amendment (East Gippsland) Bill  is a wonderful and amazing thing. It gives hope that there is some decency in humanity, and hope that honourable deeds will occur.




Tony Hastings
Po Box 130 Merimbula NSW 2548







Like World Heritage, conservation requires eternal vigilance. Here is legendary Jill Redwood response:

Hi Tom and others -
here's my take on the announcement. .....The areas that were included (after some were gutted like the heart of Goolengook and Dingo Creek) are a good save, but look at what was left out and double saved - ie - protecting large areas that were already in protection zones while leaving areas like the controversial Brown Mountain old growth open for the loggers.
ALP promise dishonoured
Old growth forests to go up in smoke.
The Brumby government snuck out a media release at 7pm on Tuesday 10th November 2009. What was in it that they didn't want the media to make a big deal about? 
It was about the area of old growth that it had promised to protect 3 years ago - but much reduced. There is now 5,000 ha less than the original offer. It also cut out the intact stands of old growth at Ferntree Creek and Big River. How did they do this and still claim to protect even more? They protected areas that were already protected but under a different name.
In 2006 they had 4,000 ha of protected forest offered for protection. In 2009, the government used this trick again to protect an even greater 12,000 ha of reserves. This is hardly a conservation win when ancient trees at Brown Mt. are still planned for logging.
The dry crappy burnt forest around Buchan has been left in as 'significant stands of old growth'.
However - one part of the offer is quite good. There's a decent area of the Yalmy forests protected (too steep to log) and at last Goolengook (what a shame they’d already spent over a $million logging the heart out of it earlier). 
But the rest?
Page ONE of the ALP 2006 election policy was a clearly worded promise to protect "the last significant stands of old growth currently available for logging" ---  not cow paddocks --- not burnt regrowth --- not previously logged areas --- not protect areas already protected -  but 'significant stands of old growth currently available for logging'.

This is another attempt by the government to put polish on a turd. 
Mr Brumby has caved into the logging brotherhood - again. Three years of negotiations after a solid promise to protect old growth and the Labor government still can't do what it says it will for forests.  
So that means thousands of hectares of publicly owned old growth forest are still on the government logging maps for conversion to industrial tree farms.
The government could have easily and smoothly honoured this promise - saved old growth forests - our 600 year old trees, endangered wildlife and saved the declining logging industry in East Gippsland. How? By helping to provide skilled workers to the plantations in the rest of the state. These plantation companies are screaming out for hundreds of workers. 
But Mr Brumby has instead decided to knock down ancient forests, add hundreds of years of stored carbon into the atmosphere, convert public forests into commercial tree crops, maintain the conflict, keep a handful of workers in an insecure industry, while allowing the plantation logging companies in the west to import their labour needs. 
Thanks Mr Brumby.

See also this video from 2006:

Protecting Victoria's Forests (part 1 of 2)

Protecting Victoria's Forests (part 2 of 2)

Posted by editor at 7:46 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 1 December 2009 7:53 AM EADT
Monday, 30 November 2009
ALP shedding it's base, Howard still running Libs to refight 2007 loss
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: globalWarming

Our comment based on fairly comprehensive political watching, including stint at 2 question times in the public gallery last week:

Academic and big media writer Peter Van Onselen is surely wrong today to say a reform of the Liberal Party is not overdue. Turnbull is the man to do it, while Hockey is not nearly strong enough and would be destroyed, just like Peter Garrett has been bent out of all shape by the ALP. Hock would be captured and leader in name only.

Fact is Howard having been thrashed in the 2007 election especially on climate is trying to re fight that election, as per recent conservative press images.


Like Thing from The Swamp he is trying to drag the Liberal Party back down there with him in a link chain with Tony Abbott. Big mistake.


PR veteran Gavin Kortlang on Sydney ABC radio last week made the point from the NSW 1989 victory against Barry Unsworth ALP - 'there were rusted on Libs who preferred to lose against the ALP back then than change and win under Greiner'.  How pathetic is that?

Same in November 2009.

If Joe Hockey wants a good outcome for Australia and the Libs in the medium to long term he ought to let matters take their course in the way of capitalist creative destruction. Don't be the sacrificial peacemaker. As Turnbull has said 'the climate war' will continue until it is resolved. The current CPRS is no resolution as everyone knows. Let Abbott run win or lose. Let Minchin block support in the Senate for the current CPRS and cross the floor etc.

This CPRS has lost the critical support of the Australian Conservation Foundation last week - hardly reported in big media - forcing a desperate adjustment with 45,000 ha national park in East Gippsland to get them back. The sunrise Green Party are right to say the CPRS is a formula for failure on climate safety, regardless of bias of Insiders compere Barry Cassidy.

The Construction Union within the CFMEU has disaffiliated from the ALP as you know from last Wednesday's question time. In other words the ALP are shedding their base as much as anyone. 

Let Howard and Co lose the next election on climate with bigger Green representation in the Senate following and make your run then. It's not just about your career Joe, or current discomfort, it's about your patriotism, and good policy outcomes. The current CPRS is a rabid dog.

Conversely a change in policy is gaining support according Mark Neeham, NSW Liberal Director, to quote "After the events of the last 48 hours you may be interested to know that the number of voters calling offices asking to join the party, as a result of Malcolm's and the party-room decision on our approach in tackling climate change, is more than double the members who have resigned" (Sydney The Sun Herald, p7 29 Nov 2009).



Posted by editor at 8:36 AM EADT

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