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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Green Folder goes missing as Coca Cola kills Peats Ridge creek?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: legal

Margaret Pontifix is a retired local school teacher in agriculture and biology, and local authority figure and champion of Mangrove Mountain District Community Group Inc. "I'm not a greenie" she states firmly "but I am a conservationist. It's just terrible what's happened to the environment there." Here is Margaret talking to Jonathan Harley of 7.30 Report in 2005.

Margaret, who was a pioneer female teacher in her profession when she went through Newcastle University in 1959-61, told SAM 2 days back that up to the 1980ies the Peats Ridge creek(s) which emerged from the Peats Ridge Springs were clearly present and surrounded with natural vegetation but now it's a paddock while multiple bores are the source of "Peats Ridge Springs bottled water" marketed by both the former business owner and now Coca Cola since 2003.

In the 1980ies, as she told Commissioner Tim Moore in evidence in a controversial 2005 Land & Environment Court case involving Coca Cola, she used to collect under license 500 to 600 umbrella ferns (species name Collicoma) 3 times a year. In other words this was a very ecologically productive area with a permanent creek up until the early 1990ies. Now it's "a paddock" next to Euloo Rd, Peats Ridge now.

What a shame, and the price of progress some might say. Or maybe an improper price? Margaret Pontifix says all this ecological richness was documented 'in a big green ring binder' she took to the court hearing in 2005. She points out her forbears came to Mangrove Mountain in 1826 and the historical information in that folder is irreplaceable. Commissioner Tim Moore saw it's importance too and asked to borrow it to have a read before making his decision at David Kettle Consulting v Gosford City Council & Ors [2005] NSWLEC 519 (29 September 2005) . But where is this critical historical and ecological baseline evidence of the rich environment that is now the Coca Cola bottled water plant?

This big Green Folder of baseline data and photographs might also have been critical in an earlier case --Azzopardi & Ors v Gosford City Council & Anor (No.2) [2001] NSWLEC 283 (14 December 2001) which objectors lost involving claims of breach of the Rivers & Foreshores Improvement Act 1948. The RFIA has now been repealed and folded into the new Water Management Act 2000. It remains unclear to this writer how effective the new WMA is in protecting waterways.

The story gets murky. According to Margaret Pontifix the Land & Environment Court Registry returned the valuable Green Folder after the court decision in October 2005 to a representative of PJ Donnellan Solicitors who represented Gosford City Council in the case. It was 'to be returned to Margaret Pontifix'.

It was Gosford City Council lawyers who negotiated "consent conditions" agreeable to Coca Cola (in the name of their agent David Kettle) which was duly endorsed by the court. 

We understand that since as early as 1992 Coca Cola was keen to extract water at Peats Ridge Springs near Gosford NSW. This is recored in MMDCG meeting minutes quoting a representative of Coca Cola visiting the area. But it was only by 2003 that they actually bought the bottling business there on Euloo Rd owned by the Pace family who initated water bottling in the early 90-ies. It remains unclear just how close the supply relationship between Pace/Parit Pty Ltd and Coca Cola Amatil/David Kettle Consulting has been from 1994 - 2003 but according to local residents it was always known that "Coca Cola would buy Pace's water bottling plant at Peats Ridge Springs".

This suggests that the Pace owned operation was a main supplier to Coca Cola for a long time prior to the latter buying Peats Ridge Springs in 2003. A cynic might suspect that Coca Cola Amatil have never been willing to destroy the Peats Ridge environment in their own name, but happy to via a proxy from 1994 to 2003, just as they prefer to run all their litigation today in the name of their agent "David Kettle". Why the PR secrecy Coca Cola? Why not stand up in your own corporate name? Is there a guilty conscience at play here for what you know has happened to the destroyed creeks and the rich ecology there?

The purchase of the Pace operation in 2003 itself was a little controversial as here:

 [Media release ACCC 26 June 2003]

ACCC not to oppose proposed acquisition of Peats Ridge by Coca-Cola Amatil

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Parit Pty Limited, trading as Peats Ridge, by Coca-Cola Amatil Limited, Acting ACCC Chairman, Mr Sitesh Bhojani, announced today.

Peats Ridge bottles and wholesales packaged water products under the brand names Peat Ridge Springs, Mount White and Blue Beau. Peats Ridge does not supply direct delivered, bulk bottled water and the overwhelming majority of Peats Ridge's sales of packaged water are to supermarkets and other food stores.

CCA bottles and wholesales packaged water nationally under the brands Mount Franklin, Kirks, Pump and Deep Spring.

"The ACCC conducted market enquiries and considered whether the proposed acquisition would lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the bottling and distribution of wholesale packaged water", Mr Bhojani said.

"The primary reason for the ACCC's conclusion that the proposed acquisition would not substantially lessen competition was the lack of significant sales by Peats Ridge to the highly concentrated route distribution channels. Route distribution includes convenience stores, milk bars, petrol stations, vending machines, and on-premise distribution such as restaurants, cafes, pubs, arenas and cinemas. "Accordingly, the ACCC decided to not intervene in the proposed acquisition.

"However, given the strength of CCA in the route distribution channels generally, the ACCC will closely examine any future proposals by CCA to acquire other beverage businesses".

Additional contacts

  • Mr Sitesh Bhojani, Acting Chairman, (02) 6243 1132

Release # MR 131/03
Issued: 26th June 2003

More here Amatil buys Peats Ridge Springs, stays silent on Neverfail, By Scott Rochfort, June 3 2003

Today we wrote to the lawyers for Gosford Council to request them to produce the missing Green Folder, the implication being that it will be raised as an issue in the new court proceedings as early as this Friday directions hearing 6th June 2008:

Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 11:16 AM
Subject: Coca Cola case - mystery of missing Green folder of baseline evidence Peats Ridge creek(s)

Dear Robert,
I will need to ask your firm, the council's solicitors to produce this mysterious green folder of historical and ecological baseline data relating to Peats Ridge creeks on the Coca Cola property (formerly Pace). If at all possible to the directions hearing on Friday. Margaret Pontifix advises me Registry at the LEC provided it to a representative of Donnelan's firm after the Tim Moore hearing and I have offered to help her search for it. Can you please advise.
Here is some more background (see below) as published to the community and general readership earlier today. Readership for this SAM news website is about 25,000 per month.
For your information Hermadth De Silva of Newcastle Dept of Water and Energy advised by phone yesterday that for the first time "a deterimination" for the percentage of water licences available for the next year would be made on 1st July 2008 in about 4 weeks time. Not sure if that means 100% or some smaller amount or whether that is surface and groundwater licence annual determination.
Further I have been consulting the DOP over whether the original 2003 DA should really have had, or indeed legally needed to have, a full formal EIS. Would be interested in council's view or advice about that either through you or Alan Ford, as legal officer. It looks like an area fertile for specific express addition to Sch 3 of the 2000 regulation for designated development though it may well be in there implicitly as well?
Further I will call you about the scope of the directions hearing this Friday. Hopefully later this afternoon.
Very lastly, I note this story in the press yesterday on the now familiar theme, again about uncertain and variable rainfall patterns. This seems very relevant to "which" average rainfall numbers are relied on for Kulnura-Mangrove Mountain Water Sharing Plan and management generally including by Gosford Council water authority/department. That is last 10 years or the quite distinct 100 year averages.
Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin agent for objector Diamond, researcher for Jane Azzopardi

Previous reportage on Coca Cola Amatil at Peats Ridge Springs here:

Sunday, 1 June 2008 Coca Cola Amatil bottled water legals: Ratepayers force reversal by Gosford Council so far
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: ecology

1 June 2008 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 Coca Cola in Environment Court on 6 June over Mangrove Mtn bottled water extraction
Mood:  sharp
Topic: ecology

Posted by editor at 5:34 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 5 June 2008 12:55 AM NZT
NSW public energy: 'Costa's demise added bonus' : Kaye MP
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: nsw govt

Is Michael Costa the dead man walking, a metaphor beloved of big politics referring to the great Sean Penn movie?

The willing headline on yesterday's News Corp tabloid raises a question about their corporate displeasure:

We include the SMH front page because it reveals some things too: News Corp tabloids to a newspaper all editorialised in favour of the invasion in March  2003, and on the day they could have reported exit from Iraq they went the bash on NSW ALP Treasurer instead. That's a pretty 'defense/offense Big Media attitude' given the exit from Iraq is in fact the real news priority not least the connection to increased oil prices from disruption in Iraq, as reported here on SAM via UK's The Independent (and notice Piers Akerman there).

Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Iraq war has caused the petrol price rise in the West: UN oil expert
Mood:  not sure
Topic: aust govt

Specifically  Oil: A global crisis 25 May 2008

We contacted John Kaye MP (Greens) earlier today in light of his press release below on the upcoming NSW budget. The on the record conversation went like this:

SAM: In light of the front pager of the Telegraph yesterday [above] about Michael Costa being "a debt man walking", what do you say about the future of Costa and Premier Iemma if, and it's a big if, the public energy privatisation agenda falls over? And we should mention the feature profiling Carmel Tebbutt MP in the Herald recently [as potential leadership material, by State roundsman Clennell]

John Kaye MP: "We've said all along that that it would be an added bonus to end the career of Michael Costa. NSW can't afford a climate change sceptic, an attitude to the environment like robber barons of the 1890ies.

SAM: You are diplomatically avoiding reference to the Premier?

John Kaye MP: We don't hide the view Morris Iemma has made appalling mistakes showing he is not equal to complex and challenging times - desalination which has already gone ahead, Tillegra Dam near Dungog, and electricity privatisation.



Here is Kaye MP's media release today:

Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2008 7:28 AM
Subject: [Greens-Media] Costa's budget puts paid to privatisation assumptions

Costa's budget puts paid to privatisation assumptions
Media Release: 3 June 2008
NSW Treasurer Michael Costa's budget to be delivered this afternoon proves that the electricity industry sell-off is unnecessary and bad for the economy, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Commenting on the pre-release announcement of a $58 billion spend on infrastructure, Dr Kaye said: "The Iemma government's budget is based on the sensible idea that borrowing for infrastructure is a healthy investment in the state's future.
"It is time for the same logic to be applied to the electricity industry
"Treasurer Costa has belatedly joined the big borrowers brigade, recognising that the state needs to invest in transport, health and education to secure the economic future of NSW.
"Exactly the same argument can be applied to the state's energy system.
"Borrowing for investment in new clean energy supply capacity would not only help the state cope with increasing pressure on greenhouse gas emissions.
"It would also earn a healthy return, which would pay off the debt.
"There would be no effect on the state's credit rating.
"If Treasurer Costa could see beyond his ideological commitment to privatisation, he would understand that maintaining public ownership of the electricity industry would help ease the debt burden.
"The generators and retailers currently put  $1.1 billion to the state's budget each year.
"That's a very healthy return on assets that are probably worth less than $7 billion on the open market," Dr Kaye said.

Posted by editor at 12:38 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 4 June 2008 11:06 PM NZT
Fuelwatch is a new Get Up - run from within the ALP proper?
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: aust govt

Image:Handtiegelpresse von 1811.jpg

Comment (links to follow, maybe)

We have been stewing over this insight for about 3 days now - what is the real real politik of Fuelwatch? Small change in price of petrol effect. Small but significant polling pain for the federal ALP Rudd Govt as per News Corp press today. Largely irrelevant as to big ticket item of carbon pricing. Yet the Coalition are fighting tooth and nail against the plan - even raising shaky constitutional issues via MP Chris Pyne.

And accused by Ross Gittins of lacking strategic nouse, suggesting shallowness. But now I think I understand. Kev you are a clever chap.

Get Up was seed funding cyber activism from Evan Thorley MP (ALP) and others on a diverse but unity ticket of Anybody But John Howard. Get Up have kicked on  post electin to become a huge progressive 250K subscriber/membership not so ALP aligned as such anymore, building another feisty raison detre 6 months into the new Govt. Acknowledging that earlier ALP influence is an important aspect of growing beyond that stereotype with open ness and honesty (Solomon on MTP 10 about a month ago).

Thorley himself came from the US IT sector avoiding the tech wreck of 2000-01: Cross fertilising Australian politics with the pioneering Demorat aligned George Soros funded MoveOn.org aimed at removal of George W Bush 4 years in 2004, as a balancer to Fox News right wing ranting in the Big Media.

So what is Fuelwatch if not an internet based mass engagement, empowerment movement on a significant price sensitive topic of interest to most voters given our car dependence? The Coalition have every reason to fear another highly successful Get Up only this time out of the national ALP Govt proper.

Brendan Nelson as Opposition Leader was on 7.30 last night with ridicule over price controls of supermarkets in GroceryWatch. But it's not a joke Brendan. Just as Get Up is all too real. Just as Barak Obama raising huge funds on the net is no joke. Just as Big Media are embracing/meeting/loathing the challenge of the internet - as significant as invention of the printing press in the late 15C according to experts like Jay Rosen and Margaret Simons.

Just as you read it here first.

Posted by editor at 10:53 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 3 June 2008 4:35 PM NZT
Big alarm over top cop charged over huge corruption scheme
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: legal


The wow factor is high in the Charles Miranda and other coverage over charging of assistant director of the 'secretive' NSW Crime Commission over drug importation global scheme.

It follows another wow story on 4 Corners last night about international organised crime and corporate thuggery.



According to the radio interview with the Daily Telegraph's Miranda 'sitting on this confidential information for 12 months' a shipping container was delivered with the illegal precursor chemicals for the drug ice. We will read up about this detail with interest.

A contact of a contact of a contact suggests that the source of illegal handguns arrive in Australia exactly the same way. We have no idea if it's true but the echo is there.

The echoes with the rat movie in The Departed with haunting Rolling Stones anthem is there too.


We also heard Maroota 45 km north west of Sydney mentioned (indicative pictures only here taken January 2008, dog stuck taken around 1997). Alot of sandmining out there we know well. One aspect of sand mine slurry pits is things like people or anything else can disappear pretty well forever in those pits. Scary.



Posted by editor at 9:55 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 3 June 2008 12:19 PM NZT
Marrickville dawn view of the CBD from Schwebel st
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: local news

Not a UFO, rather a slow exposure, with flash on the digital turned off, balanced on a wire fence for some but not total precision of focus (while holding breath).

Looks like News Corp Sydney press broadsheet and tabloid liked the evocative morning light above, or were already on a parallel track with their prominent visual next day 4th June 2008. Our's from Marrickville, theirs from North Sydney with professional skill and equipment:



Posted by editor at 9:37 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 5 June 2008 12:40 AM NZT
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

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