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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Monthly pageviews for SAM micro news site May 2008 - 25,046
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media

The upward trend in monthly pageviews continues. We are a day early actually mainly because yesterday was a bit of a standout with over 1000 reads in a day. Yeah we feel quite good about that.

Here now is the real 4th June 2008 screenprint which crosses the 25K mark. Cool.


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

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

We received this amusing email yesterday late, starting with the response first in typical string format:

Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 11:15 PM
Subject: free copyright here Roje Re: City News

Hi Roje,
usually I would be happy to only I'm very busy this week with a public interest environmental law case involving Coca Cola Amatil. The material there at the SAM website is copyright free as per my free use statement here:
I get my kicks if my stories are lifted.
So you or any helpers can use any of it even in AMG publications! I'm all for free press man, really. It would be nice to have some acknowledgement but otherwise not necessary.
On the other hand if you want to flick me a fee to package two stories up say $25 each I could reorganise my schedule, though a bit painful.
Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 9:39 PM
Subject: City News

Hi Tom,

Roje from City News here. Apologies for not following up our brief phone conversation the other week, re the Law Building development at Sydney Uni.

I was wondering whether you'd be interested in writing a short comment/opinion piece for our next edition of City News? I'd be interested in something on the law building and the blocked views from Victoria Park, or even the issue of B-double trucks you mentioned in city streets. Two interesting issues for our readers.

Because of the public holiday on Monday, I'm working on a very tight deadline, so was looking at perhaps getting something written up by this Thursday afternoon? Probably about 400-450 words if thats ok.

Thanks Tom. Hope to hear from you soon.


Roje Adaimy
Editor, The City News
Alternative Media Group
W: www.alternativemediagroup.com

Posted by editor at 9:16 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 4 June 2008 5:09 PM NZT
Sunday, 1 June 2008
Coca Cola Amatil bottled water legals: Ratepayers force reversal by Gosford Council so far
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: ecology

The local residents at Peats Ridge, not least Mangrove Mountain District Community Group, and other diverse neighbours, are on the case of Gosford Council as reflected by the council reports shown below. It's all about defending the decision by ex NSW Environment Minister Tim Moore shown in part above, who is now a Commissioner of the Land & Environment Court. First report below is dated 5 February 2008 by council officer recommending approval for Coca Cola Amatil (discreetly represented by their agent David Kettle Consulting)  to consolidate a permanent 66 Megalitre p.a. extraction of the drinking water aquifer arguably needed by the local towns. Councillors decided to defer for more information - legal counsel most likely.

Then a week later 12 Feb 2008 after a local backlash the council refused the Coca Cola Amatil so called minor 'modification' of an existing approval under s.96AA of the EP&A Act 1979. From our reading of that section, in a Planning Act which is under major attack now as per feature in the Sydney Morning Herald this weekend, 96AA potentially formalises a cute racket sidelining the community and the planning laws in this way:

Council refuse a development application for breach of the planning rules, often under citizen pressure, to appear to uphold the integrity of the system. Then the developer appeals against council to the L&E Court, and given the court is so risky and expensive for them the community stands by expectantly. Then behind closed doors the developer and council lawyers can agree to draft development consent conditions between themselves. Both then present these "consent conditions" to the Court itself often quite happy to avoid more work by giving a rubber stamp. If 'the parties' in an 'adversarial system' are happy it should be okay thinks Mr Commissioner or Judge. In this way council saves legal fees, developer gets their way with a bit of exta grist for the legal professionals, the court reduces the list and there is no real sanction of past breaches of Environment & Planning laws even for blatant previous unlawful works suggesting punishment not approval. These past sins making life a misery for others all get wrapped up in the court blessed "consent conditions". It's a game of retrospective approval mis-described (in our view) as court approval/consent when it's really barristers for council and developer massaging the way. Even more so if the developer is a political donor high up the food chain such that departmental and council officers know which way the wind is blowing. There isn't any real "no" in this scenario. The only alternative is a "judicial review" type appeal for civil enforcement as per this EDO fact sheet over past breaches where the loser pays easily $40K in costs of both sides. Most including councils don't want to gamble with cashed up developers like that. Money usually wins despite blatant past planning law breaches by developers. It really is that ugly and developers know it. Wolves amongst sheep.

What is unusual in this case is that ex minister in NSW Parliament, and in 2005 Land & Environment Court Commissioner Tim Moore insisted on more than "consent conditions" in the above 2005 case. Rather he went for a rigorous trial of 2 years at the relevant extraction rate of 66ML p.a. to get a real measure of sustainability, or not. CCA appear to have squibbed the rigour of the trial always keeping extraction lower than the full rate at some 35 ML to avoid being flushed out damaging the aquifer at that permanent higher rate and being ruled out of that higher level indefinitely.

All this is coming to a head again with Gosford Council already reportedly preparing "draft consent conditions" in litigation with so called David Kettle Consulting as agent for Coca Cola Amatil.

We will be observing closely and assisting the community interest as much as we are able (with our restricted practising certificate and absent our principal solicitor since last Friday, Alex Tees who is alternatively unwell, unwilling or otherwise engaged. Cie la vie.) Alot of the serious thinking has been done by the community before us, which we do greatly respect, as here by local retiree Peter Campbell interviewed recently on 2GB radio in Sydney.

Previous posts on this topic here:

Objecter seeks to be heard in Coca Cola bottled water case after driest May on record
Mood:  rushed
Topic: ecology

and here

Wednesday, 21 May 2008


Posted by editor at 8:53 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 2 June 2008 4:13 PM NZT
Sunday tv talkies: Major parties focused on 20C political economy showing their whiskers?
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt




Author’s general introductory note (skip this bit if you know this regular weekly column):



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.




Indeed it’s the tv version monitoring task similar to what Nelson Mandela refers to here in his book Long Walk to Freedom (1994, Abacus) written in Robben Island prison (where he was meant to die like other African resister chiefs of history in the 19C), at page 208




“..newspapers are only a shadow of reality; their information is important to a freedom fighter not because it reveals the truth, but because it discloses the biases and perceptions of both those who produce the paper and those who read it.”




Just substitute ‘Sunday tv political talkie shows’ for "newspapers" in the quote above.


For actual transcripts go to web sites quoted below except with Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.



Media backgrounders



- As Rudd hits 50+ his hair is going grey. This is said to be a manifestation of overwork with a chronology of brown to grey on front of the SunHerald. Premise looks a bit dubious as far as timing of hair colour but there is no doubt he works hard but he looks just as fit, and it’s mostly about psychological health at that level just like Jed Bartlett character and his shrink over lack of sleep. We find when the mind is racing sometimes its better to take action so you can sleep at all later.



- moral panic about child predator builds on saturation coverage about art versus porn on front of the Sunday Telegraph. Sewing a climate of fear and grievance is the tone.



- Reba Meagher gets very bad PR over Reeves rogue doctor in both Fairfax and Sunday Telegraph.



- Liberal Party are cranking the spin that peace and cooperation has broken out in the NSW Division. Perhaps.



- the big News Corp media via Malcolm Farr yesterday’s Daily Telegraph p118 (“Our black gold rush”), and today’s Sunday version via Tony Vermeer and Trevor Seymour explain the global realities of the oil market. Puts flesh to the bones of a story we wrote here on SAM cross referencing the UK’s The Independent with similar conclusions. This is good media, better to know than stew over it.

Picture: Sydney Daily Telegraph (News Corp) inimitable Warren letters page.


- Laurie Oakes goes a little hyperbolic in the cranky twilight (?) of his career in his Saturday tabloid? Fits the genre of the paper perhaps, over the leaf from mad as a cut snake Tim Blair. LO says there is no justice if Nelson doesn’t get a bounce. Mmm. And implies that the Assistant Treasurer Chris Bowen is probably a liar, but we thought only the ACCC had done serious econometric analysis, which might back Bowen’s take on Fuelwatch? Careful LO. Says Govt is hypocritical for complaining about a leak, but I didn’t hear Rudd complain, he said rather they would cop not flushing out the public service.



- next page about jammed seats on Sydney public transport. We have to report a very enjoyable train ride yesterday armed with broadsheets via tel.131500 i.e. 10.58 from Marrickville, change at Redfern back toward Parramatta at 11.30am, alight at Granville at 11.50 am to avoid bus track work (even though my train continued on), met by friend in 4WD monster converted to LPG to arrive in Parramatta. Nice sunny morning plenty of room to read quietly. Cost $6.40 return (bit high?). Give me more and compare with the traffic snarl and petrol costs.



- bitter rift in NSW ALP cabinet and caucus says the Telegraph p4 today with nasty youtube videos adapting the Hitler movie Downfallen. It’s nasty and it’s not original either having been done against Hilary Clinton on the ascendance of Barak Obama. Given the prominent local Jewish diaspora we thinks it’s a case of don’t go there trivializing the death of tens of millions of all colours and creeds in WW2.



- Picture of Kevin Rudd’s travel assistant. Derr. Bit rich for the affluent Coalition Industry captains landed gentry squatocracy party to complain about hired help?



- ASIO history gets a bit more bollocking p31 SMH yesterday for going political instead of security per se for the Coalition. We wrote about the family professional relationship Michael Bialoguski who was the ASIO/ASO spy in the Petrov case.



- Hansonism getting a review after Camden Muslim school planning controversy flushing out white supremacist leanings of some.



- full pages adverts mostly tabloid but also broadsheet on retail booze. Scipione cops a sledge from Steve Price in Sunday Telegraph for being teetotal but there is no shortage of legal drug profits from this ruthless industry.



- Gunns pulp mill now officially not being financed by ANZ, probably for shortage of foreign credit but maybe also bad PR issue of Opes Prime litigation.



- letters page smh has Wendy Bacon trade barbs with Sydney Writers Festival over the UTS Journalism students’s Festival Newspaper. We have 2 editions and it looks fine to us, including too friendly picture of Bob Carr. Suggestions of excessive control paranoia by the organizers? We were pressured to censor a photo from an event, is this an echo?



- Big power play for public power assets grinding on to the next probably end phase. Robertson of Unions NSW has called negotiations off and “over”. Iemma pushing on. Herald barracking with private investment for gas power station report. Iemma reported 25 May p23 Sunday Telegraph “Iemma spends $104 million on spin” in 2007 on public relations. Taxpayer dollars. Ironically p20 same paper half pager “Water for life/ NSW Government”



- press gallery have said the Rudd “honeymoon is over”. But we will wait for the real polling on that. True we have now a thin file a week or so old now called “Rudd fallen halo” but it’s not so bad, all open source recent niggles.



- art crowd continue to miss the gravity of the Orkopoulos conviction driving the free expression debate over the Henson exhibition. They would do a lot better to show how arts help empower and nurture children and youth, especially say abused or damaged ones. They need some real PR coordination and analysis.



9 Sunday 7.30 – 9.30 am



- Pasquerreli as speech writer for Pauline Hanson is engaged to a young Singaporean woman. Promo for Bond movies


- Ross Greenwood does tax tip and Ellen refers to so called “very interesting times” for resource boom suffering families disjunction. Talk about a broken political economic system.


- feature about sudden infant death syndrome – very sad, mystery


- feature about Pasquerreli clearly white/western supremacist in settings, getting married to an Asian woman. Pretty ironic. Does have a charming side, but empowers bigotry and doesn’t get multiculturalism, runs all the usual smears against Left wing activists (same ones opposed to Vietnam war etc). He’s a busy “ideologue”, says the reporter.


- Laurie Oakes absent today, interview Ellen with Downer who refuses to answer the go or stay question.









10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am



Warren Truss as the National Party leader.  Bangs on about Fuel Watch sensitive to regional and rural areas.


Panel is Matthew Franklin of The Australian. Philip Clark of 2GB Future of National Party etc.


Return to show to see Iraq AWB issue, compere re AWB anything to fear about re opening?


Lumby academic on consent issues in Henson gallery exhibition.



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





Riley Diary 7, 8.35 am




Missed most of it sadly. Only caught the amusing Jeeves film footage, mostly benign allusions.




Insiders 2: 9- 10am



Fuelwatch features in the opening, Christine Milne gets a good run sledging both major parties for not getting to grasp with the macro issues affecting the micro political economy.


Lindsay Tanner is the interview hosing down all the controversy of a tough week, moderate tones. Talks up infrastructure, congestion in big cities.


Every person segement – circus performers talk through fuel watch issues, express frustration, distracting lithe actions.


Panel Middleton SBS, Farr News Corp, Bolt News Corp. Chat phase first up fuel watch.


Soliliquy Paul Kelly – retail gesture politics getting the Rudd govt in trouble. Ominous tones about prominent Australian (read chair or CEO of a big corporation as if that’s where democracy resides).


Talking pictures.


Talk about Nelson does a good angry. Emo man. Bolt the hard man doesn’t like it. Nor does this writer.


[other work missed last 15 minutes, refer website in due course]


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

Posted by editor at 1:16 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 2 June 2008 12:46 AM NZT
Wollemi world heritage boundary still at risk from sand miner & Hawkesbury Council
Mood:  sharp
Topic: ecology

Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 10:27 AM
Subject: For Sally, media - Iemma office re Hawkesbury Council planning farce, pic fac opportunity for you, ALP land use bouquet?

Sally, etc
Herein is a small to moderate land use political opportunity for the State Govt/Sartor/Iemma given how badly you are bleeding this last several weeks in the big media.
I write as a solicitor, but also community media practitioner 15 years, editor of www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog with at present 23,000 readers per month on an upward trend.
Here is a suggestion from a position 'of Swiss neutrality' to you in the ALP state machine to do something "good" no tricks, no hidden agendas, no party politics - but time will run out as Hawkesbury Council is due to decide this by Tuesday week if memory serves around April 29 2008.
If you call Kirsty Ruddock at Env Defenders Office she can vouch for what I am writing about - tel 9262 6989
Basically there is this huge hole in breach of planning approval and conditions since at least 1996, now damaging the Wollemi World Heritage Tinda Creek catchment on the Singleton Rd.
Hawkesbury Council, Liberal Party dominated, are due to ratify a lapsed/breached sandmining approval soon for another 1.3 million tonne sand extraction that even your own EPA expert says will ruin the water supply to the park in this area. The chief planner Matt Owens is previously from Port Macquarie which has been sacked and you can see the fingerprints in Hawkesbury now.
Everyone knows this sand extraction/lack of rehabilitation, is the wrong thing to do but Tom Bruce (Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd) a big donor to the Liberal Party there will get his s.96 ( EP&A Act) modification to keep going unless it's challenged in the Land & Env Court at real trouble or expense, or the State Govt calls it in and fixes it. It's a great picture opportunity too. Look at the hole next to world heritage area for God sake.
It won't affect sand supplies to Sydney generally and owner Tom Bruce is desperate to get out of the business and sell on anyway.
The political opportunity for Sartor, Iemma etc to look good on this land use decision is precious real politik opportunity, even if it's a consolation prize in your current real politik travails.
Will you get Sartor to call it in? You can get a big PR  bouquet if you take up this opportunity. A win win. It won't solve all your other "perception" problems but it will stop the damage being a one way street a bit.
Think about it, but don't delay too much.
Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin, editor, solicitor
tel. 0410 558838, 02-9558 9551
Attach - extensive briefing note here used in meeting with: Mayor Bart Bassett, General Manager Peter Jackson and chief planner Matt Owens (formerly of Port Macquarie Council before it was sacked)
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Sandmine in Hawkesbury Council boundary operating with lapsed consent for 10 years?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: ecology

Picture: Neighbours site visit 14 March 2007 with sandminer Tom Bruce 3rd from Left

Posted by editor at 10:45 AM NZT
Objector seeks to be heard in Coca Cola bottled water case after driest May on record
Mood:  rushed
Topic: ecology

We previously wrote about this case involving Coca Cola Amatil's controversial bottled water plant here over local impacts and water sharing not least May being the driest month on record in Sydney area:

Here is the latest approach after the SAM editor here wading through extensive litigation documents in this saga back to 1994 in the Peats Ridge/Mangrove Mountain area within the Gosford Local Council area.
Subject: request for objector to be heard for appeal in David Kettle [Coca Cola Amatil] v Gosford City Council 05/10429, next directions hearing 6th June 2008

The Registrar
Land & Environment Court of NSW
By email:             
Dear Registrar
Request for objector Neville Diamond to be heard via his agent/lawyer Tom McLoughlin on the appeal in David Kettle [Coca Cola Amatil] v Gosford City Council 05/10429 Class 1, 2, 3
I am writing on behalf of objector Neville Diamond as his agent (pro bono). (I am also currently holding a restricted practising certificate as a solicitor in NSW, currently no supervisor, with a history in public interest, pro bono legal work.)
I'm advised that my client in 2005 submitted a 100 page objection to the development. He has received notice from Gosford Council in May 2008 of the appeal by David Kettle (for Coca Cola Amatil).
I have been reviewing the extensive case(s) history with materials from an earlier listed party Jane Azzopardi with whom I am actively liaising.
Ms Azzopardi as neighbouring land holder does not seek to be heard personally not least because of the stress of the fraught history of this matter to date, while maintaining strong misgivings about the development consent and now this modification. We understand Ms Azzopardi strongly supports myself speaking on issues of public interest and impact on the local neighbourhood as agent for my client Mr Diamond. For instance we are most concerned that climate change aspects as per the Anvill Hill and Sandon Point precedent cases, and the driest month of May on record are taken into account.
My client Diamond seeks to exercise his entitlement (if as we understand it is designated development) to be heard as an objector through myself as agent (possibly as supervised solicitor in future) on the appeal at the hearing. Similarly if it is not designated development my client alternatively still seeks the court's permission to be heard as an objector through this writer's agency/advocacy.
In this regard we refer the text highlighted in bold from the NSW Environmental Defenders Office Fact Sheet at Merits Appeals – Class 1


Can objectors be joined as parties to a proponent's merits appeal?

Yes. If a proponent lodges a merits appeal against a council's decision in relation to a designated development, then the consent authority must notify any objectors of the appeal, and those objectors are entitled to be heard at the appeal as if they were a party to the appeal. If an objector wishes to attend a merits appeal and be heard, then they must apply to the Court within 28 days of the date of the notice by writing a letter to the Registrar indicating their wish to do so.

An objector may also be permitted by the Court to join a proponent's merits appeal in relation to an application for development consent if they can show that they are able to raise matters that might not otherwise be raised.


Can objectors be joined to non-designated development merits appeals?

There is no express right for objectors to be heard in relation to appeals concerning non-designated development. However, in practice, the consent authority may often call objectors to give evidence at the hearing, and objectors are often granted permission (or leave) by the Court to call evidence, cross-examine witnesses and make submissions, although this does not extend to the right to appeal against any final decision.

Objectors may also apply to the Court to be involved as a full party to the proceedings if they can show that they are able to raise issues which will not be adequately addressed by the other parties, or that it is in the public interest or the interests of justice for them to become a party.

In relation to whether the development is designated development (an EIS prepared in 2005?) it remains unclear to us at this stage whether this modification under s.96AA EP&A Act for a permanent 66ML p.a. extraction of ground water has been treated as designated development status, or excluded as a result of:
"Water Sharing Plan for the Kulnura/ Mangrove Mountain Groundwater Sources (as amended 1 July 2004)" found at http://www.naturalresources.nsw.gov.au/water/ind_sharing_plans.shtml
as this interacts with
Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000,

Schedule 3 Designated development

19   Extractive industries (1)  Extractive industries (being industries that obtain extractive materials by methods including excavating, dredging, tunnelling or quarrying or that store, stockpile or process extractive materials by methods including washing, crushing, sawing or separating):

(a)  that obtain or process for sale, or reuse, more than 30,000 cubic metres of extractive material per year, ......

(2)  This clause does not apply to: .....(c)  extractive industries undertaken in accordance with a plan of management (such as river, estuary, land or water management plans), provided that:

(i)  the plan is prepared in accordance with guidelines approved by the Director-General and includes consideration of cumulative impacts, bank and channel stability, flooding, ecology and hydrology of the area to which the plan applies, approved by a public authority and adopted by the consent authority and reviewed every 5 years

We also note factors for deciding whether a matter is designated development include factors in the 2000 Regulation below - note bold added re past non compliance as a relevant factor.  .........................

Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000

Schedule 3 Designated development

Part 2 Are alterations or additions designated development?


36   Factors to be taken into consideration


In forming its opinion as to whether or not development is designated development, a consent authority is to consider:

(a)  the impact of the existing development having regard to factors including:
(i)  previous environmental management performance, including compliance with the conditions of any consents, licences, leases or authorisations by a public authority and compliance with any relevant codes of practice, and
(ii)  rehabilitation or restoration of any disturbed land, and
(iii)  the number and nature of all past changes and their cumulative effects, and

(b)  the likely impact of the proposed alterations or additions having regard to factors including:

(i)  the scale, character or nature of the proposal in relation to the development, and
(ii)  the existing vegetation, air, noise and water quality, scenic character and special features of the land on which the development is or is to be carried out and the surrounding locality, and
(iii)  the degree to which the potential environmental impacts can be predicted with adequate certainty, and
(iv)  the capacity of the receiving environment to accommodate changes in environmental impacts, and
(c)  any proposals:
(i)  to mitigate the environmental impacts and manage any residual risk, and
(ii)  to facilitate compliance with relevant standards, codes of practice or guidelines published by the Department or other public authorities.

Most recently in 2008 for instance there is apparent breach of clause 1.5 of the water licence General Terms of Approval to the developer by DIPNR [now DWE] attached to their letter 28th January 2005 for this development site:

"1.5  Water shall not be pumped from the bore authorised by the licence for any purpose other than water supply for mineral bottling purposes."

We are advised via the neighbouring land holder that since February 2008 up to 3 or 4 tankers a day of Coca Cola big water tanker trucks have exported water off the relevant site yet this is the only mineral bottling plant in the district [owned by Coca Cola Amatil]. We understand the water may be for a brewery owned by the developer at Wannervale. Perhaps Coca Cola Amatil will submit evidence to explain this export of water. 

A review of the files indicates a cascade of illegal development with retrospective approval at this site especially by previous owner back to 1994 as per legal advice letter(s) of Donnellan & Co Solicitors acting for the consent authority Gosford City Council dated 15/11/96 and 21/10/96 .

 Please do not hesitate to contact the writer .....

Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin, agent for objector Neville Diamond
We have provided extensive land use submissions previously for environmental activist Neville Diamond previously here:

Here is that press release about the return of the dry in Sydney and NSW:

Driest May on record for Sydney

Press Release, Saturday May 31, 2008 - 09:48 EST 

Sydney has just endured its driest May on record, according to weatherzone.com.au.

The city picked up just three millimetres of rain throughout the entire month, compared to a long-term average of 122mm. This made it the driest May since records began way back in 1859.

In fact, the entire state of New South Wales experienced a very dry month, putting a worrying dent in the recovery from long-term drought. Other towns to come in with their lowest May rainfall on record included Cessnock, Mangrove Mountain, Bellambi, Camden, Bega, Green Cape, Ulladulla, Tabulam and Narrandera.

"Typically, during May, we would see plenty of moisture across New South Wales with the odd low pressure system off the coast. It is also the time of year when northwest cloud bands start to have an impact on our rainfall. This leads to May being statistically one of the wettest months of the year," weatherzone.com.au meteorologist Matt Pearce said.

"However, this year, the northwest cloud bands have been largely absent so far, following a trend that has become apparent in recent years. In addition, the waters off our coastline have been cooler than normal, which means that moisture levels over the state have been too low to produce any useful rainfall."

It was also quite a warm month. Sydney had an average maximum of 21 degrees, above the long-term normal of 19. However, there was still the odd cool day. For example, on the 18th, the city reached just 18 degrees, making it the coldest May day in two years.

Nights were closer to normal. Sydney’s average minimum of 11 degrees was right on the long-term normal.

When both daytime and overnight temperatures were combined, Sydney’s average temperature for May came in at 16 degrees, slightly above the long-term normal of 15.

On the other hand, nights were generally colder across the rest of New South Wales. For example, Braidwood had an average minimum of just one degree, its lowest for May in 13 years of records.

"As a result of the lower humidity across New South Wales during May, skies were clearer. This typically leads to higher daytime temperatures and colder nights, which is what we saw this month," Pearce said.

"We are expecting drier than normal weather to continue across central and northwestern parts of the state through winter. However, northeastern and southern districts can expect close to normal rainfall."

- Weatherzone


Meanwhile we just noticed this on the influential Sunrise Channel 7 programme back in January 2008

Posted by editor at 9:58 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 1 June 2008 11:57 PM NZT
Friday, 30 May 2008
Getting up the nose of Gunns Ltd
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: ecology


Broadcast email to some 250,000 subscribers of Get Up here:

Sent: Friday, May 30, 2008 12:27 PM
Subject: Let's pulp it once and for all


Dear Tom,

All those pundits out there who have been saying construction of the Gunns pulp mill is a foregone conclusion obviously forgot to tell you. ANZ has pulled out of financing the controversial project. Congratulations - this is a major victory and our first corporate win!

Premier of Tasmania, Paul Lennon, has also quit largely due to his unpopular and relentless pursuit of the mill - the project is on a knife's edge, but the battle is not over. We must act decisively and urgently to finally sink this mill as Gunns desperately searches for political and financial backers.

That's why we're planning two full-page newspaper ads - one in the Financial Review to definitively warn off any other potential financiers, and one in Tasmania's Mercury to tell the new Premier to distance himself from the old. Click here to see these arresting ads and chip in to get them in print:


This campaign could go either way - we need to act quickly. Getting ANZ, Gunns' banker for over 20 years, to withdraw from its plans to fund the mill was an amazing achievement. Not only does this put the pulp mill project in serious jeopardy, it also sends a clear message to all other potential financiers considering financing the mill.

But Gunns have been busy approaching other banks to step into ANZ's shoes - we need to let them know that financing the mill is risky business, and the public won't let them off the hook. That's why we're putting it in the paper they read each day. We've booked the ads, we just need your help in paying for them.

If we raise $15,000 we'll run the Mercury ad, if we raise $40,000 we'll run the FInancial Review ad. If we raise $55,000 - we'll run both:


That's people power in action - all the might and muscle of a big corporation like Gunns can't match the collective concerns of the people when we all chip in together. This last act on your part might just stop this mill before the bulldozers move in and this chance is lost forever.

Few thought we had much chance of convincing ANZ to do the right thing. They were wrong. Let's prove once and for all that a united people's movement can match the might of big corporations and politicians who stand in the way: let's finally stop this pulp mill. Click here to make a contribution.

Thanks for all that you do,
The GetUp team

PS - Next week GetUp is heading to the NT to assess the 'intervention' for ourselves. We know lots of you have questions and comments - and we'd like to take them with us (in video format) so that the Aboriginal communities themselves can respond. Click here to submit a question.


Posted by editor at 7:49 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 1 June 2008 9:51 AM NZT
Chris Richardson puts a boot into the Howard era?
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: aust govt

We rang Access Economics to seek clarification of a quote in this story as circled:

That quote again reads:

"We've made this mistake once. We have failed to surf the biggest potential burst in national prosperity that Australia has ever seen," Mr Richardson told the minerals council.

Come again? Made the mistake once before in the post war period, or the sixties and 70ies?

Richardson through an assistant advises SAM news blog that "this was a reference to the period 2002 onwards".  In other words as we interpret him the Howard Government regime "failed to surf the biggest potential burst in national prosperity" but you could probably include the state governments in his collective "we've" and maybe some industry leaders in there too? Unions? Given he's so diplomatic we might as well include the whole citizenry. But the buck does stop with the PM in our system.

Posted by editor at 7:21 PM NZT
Brief lobby of John Robertson, union leader, in the lobby re public energy in California
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: nsw govt

Our last two posts are about a visit to Sussex St precincts earlier this week. An area famous for political power business. Our mission was purely visual snaps for the news blog not power politics but fate suggested otherwise.

We feel nostalgic in this part of town being close to the culture of Chinatown and where we took our first political baby steps. Once the home of The Wilderness Society in St James Lane, relocated to Kippax St (Surry Hills opposite the 'Holt St Harlot'). Sundry union buildings still around. And sure enough this picture in a window:

Now we hear Unions NSW leader John Robertson in the news last night and today very adamant in a message to the public that negotiations with the Iemma Govt over sale of public energy assets is "over". Similarly we here Green MP John Kaye saying it's dead in the upper house. Both very categorical and confidently public. Noteworthy because pollies are usually never so categorical in a hard contest for fear of embarrassment and lost media currency later.

This reminds of standing last Monday 26 May in the lobby confused trying to find the Justice Action office. Then we noticed a buff looking guy. When you do as much obsessive media monitoring as we do you often recognise people and even feel you know them (which we don't) and sure enough there was button eyed John Robertson wandering in about 2pm. "Ah John, which way to Justice Action office?" I asked, all workers together. He looks at me uncertainly, as you would, and to his credit answers "Good question, it's down this way" heading to the rear section of the building down a flight of stairs to 2nd smaller lift well. He's a good guy.

As we walk I give him the SAM news blog spiel, readership figures, and mention 'Enron: Smartest guys in the room' on Google Video having the broadcast  the link all over the place.

"I've just got a copy of that in my office." 

I wax lyrical a bit about the rogue traders sabotaging the Californian economy, and US$65 billion travesty of 7th biggest company there bankrupt in 24 days in 2002. It truly is a business-labour horror story all NSW citizens need to see. Feeling a little embarrassed preaching to the famous member of the anti sell off choir, and then out at level 2, brush with fame over.

We have no idea if the ripping yarn of the Enron documentary stiffened his resolve, but it sure is educational:

Meanwhile there are hints of developer council mates involved in this proposal in an old campaigning ground of the Camden Haven back in 1992 Commission of Inquiry against a canal estate development, lodgings with local pillar 'Angry Ant':

30 May 2008 Council met with 'dirty diesel' protests

More than 500 people protested outside the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council last night, against plans to build a diesel power station in the Camden Haven.

The protesters gathered under rainy skies chanting "no dirty diesel".

They are outraged by a proposal to build a peak diesel power plant near Kew.

Residents Against Power Pollution's Stuart O'Brien addressed the crowd.

"A polluting diesel power plant in any area makes no environmental sense, social sense or economic sense," he said.

The New South Wales Government has the final say on the development, but the council owns the land on which the power station would be built.

It has given in-principle approval to sell the site to the developer.

Last night it resolved to get legal advice on whether or not it has to go through with the sale.

and here

More time for power plant consultation

Posted Tue May 27, 2008 8:10am AEST

The community has been given more time to comment on a controversial proposal for a diesel fuelled power plant south of Port Macquarie.

Local MP Robert Oakeshott says Camden Haven residents can use the extra time to let the Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, know about their concerns.

Mr Oakeshott says many people have been surprised by the proposal to build a 'peak load' station between Kew and Herons Creek.

He says they will now have time to comment on the plan.

"When the meeting took place last week, which was the biggest meeting I've seen in the Camden Haven of about 600 people, it was very clear that the majority in the community were either not aware of the proposal at all, or were only just getting their heads around it all," he said.

"So getting an extension to the time frame was important and I'm really pleased that the Minister's come through with that and we've got an extra 20 days, through to June 22.

And here

Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 1:13 PM
Subject: [Greens-Media] Herons Creek power station unnecessary,bad for environment

Herons Creek power station unnecessary, bad for environment
Media Release: 22 May 2008
The proposed diesel peaking power station at Herons Creek on the Mid North Coast of NSW should be rejected by the Department of Planning, according to Greens MP John Kaye.
Dr Kaye said: "Local residents are right to be concerned about the environmental impacts of the proposed plant.
"Diesel power stations are a poor way to generate electricity.
"The plant will produce 23,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year at a time when a rapid reduction in emissions to combat dangerous climate change is essential.
"These stations cause significant local air pollution, including emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, lead, sulphur dioxide and microfine particles (PM10), which have been called the new asbestos.
"The power station developer has given vague assurances about water use and storage. Glib statements that these will be used onsite 'as much as practicable' are not good enough for a major development application.
"Local residents will face regular noise pollution and exhaust stacks 20m high will become a major eyesore.
"The Greens do not believe this peaking plant is even necessary.
"A better solution would be a significant program of energy efficiency measures. If absolutely necessary, the local line capacity could also be upgraded.
"A new diesel-fuelled peaking plant is the wrong option for the region," Dr Kaye said.

Posted by editor at 10:52 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 30 May 2008 11:44 AM NZT
Tragic death of Roni Levy 11 years ago on mural at Justice Action office
Mood:  sad
Topic: nuke threats

We recently got permission from Brett Collins principal of Justice Action prisoner lobby/human rights group, to take a picture of this mural of Roni Levy who died from multiple gun shot wounds from police early morning about 10 years ago. Roni by all accounts was in high confusion and distress and brandishing a knife when he died.

We were put in mind of this mural recently since we were a local ward councillor back then living 2 blocks from the same beach and it was this event said recently to justify the use of stun guns now in NSW:

 Taser guns rolled out to cops | NEWS.com.au

 NSW top cop says tasers not fatal - Breaking News - National ...

He'd be alive if we had tasers: police chief - National - smh.com.au

More NSW police to be issued Taser guns - ABC News (Australian ...

We had another theory about the sudden enthusiasm to announce the decision by the police minister:

 19 May 2008

Police Minister Campbell tasers 'travel rorts' story in Sydney Morning Herald?
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: nsw govt

Posted by editor at 10:22 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 3 June 2008 1:21 AM NZT
B double trucks in narrow city streets: Is it safe, is it wise?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: local news

Photo taken 26th May 2008 in Sydney CBD, corner of Liverpool and Sussex St

There is no doubt B double drivers are very expert drivers generally. But as this story points out on NSW Stateline fatal accidents do happen with pedestrians, especially the elderly, the deaf, the slow who have every right to be in their CBD:

Transcript An Avoidable Death. Broadcast: 01/06/2007 Reporter: Quentin Dempster

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: In 2001 Lola Welch, aged 70, was killed on the footpath near a construction site in the northern Sydney suburb of St Ives.

In the six years since, Mrs Welch's grief-stricken husband, Alan, a former construction controller for the Coles Myer group, has campaigned for changes to the law to make safety measures - including flag men to protect pedestrians - mandatory for all construction sites.

He's also tried to bring to account those he sees as responsible for the approval of the construction in the first place.

Although through his own investigative efforts and agitation Mr Welch made significant progress, he won't give up his demand for a coronial inquest as a start to changing the law.

Six years ago in pouring rain, Alan Welch took Stateline to the exact spot where his wife Lola had been killed as she was walking past a contentious home unit construction site in busy Mona Vale Road, St Ives.

Lola Dorothy Welch, aged 70, was killed when walked between the prime mover and trailer of a huge excavation truck moving across the footpath in front of her at 12:20 pm on Saturday, June 30. According to a police report:

EXCERPT OF POLICE REPORT: The trailer knocked the deceased to the ground and as the truck continued to turn onto Mona Vale Road, the rear offside two sets of wheels crushed the deceased, causing extensive head injuries and immediate death.

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Alan Welch was called from his Saturday afternoon golf game to be told his wife was dead. His life shattered, he lost weight and was sick with grief. He told investigating police that Lola had a peripheral vision problem, identified by her doctors some years before. But during the police investigation he was comforted by the knowledge that all the facts would come out in a coronial inquest.

But there was no coronial inquest. In spite of a letter writing campaign, the ministers, the Premier, the Ombudsman, the ICAC, the Judicial Commission and the Attorney-General, the Coroners Office consistently refused. Six years later, Alan Welch, now 78, remains deeply disillusioned.

ALAN WELCH, WIDOWER: It should never have happened, it was totally avoidable. The builder was at fault for having the required safety measure in place, bus as I pursued it further, I learnt of the failure of the various authorities, in which we can discuss later, who have all contributed to Lola's death.

And we received this technical comment about cost of trucks on roads recently:

Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 8:20 PM
Subject: from RAILPAGE

for nearly 6 years i worked in the UWA civil engineering dept building data logging systems and writing code for thier soil labs. one of the professors there who was a road surfaces expert explained to me the amount of damage large trucks do to roads. B-doubles in particular. he went on to say one of the problems is that many of the prime movers have only 1 driven axle. the lateral loading on the bitumen broke it up over time. he explained light vehicles did next to no damage if the surface was sound. this was in the mid 90s. back then he said a B-double could do as much as $30k / year in road damage..

it would be interesting to do the maths and see what 21c/L equates to.



Posted by editor at 9:50 AM NZT

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