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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 4 December 2009
Red's last pitch in praise of Redgum Forests
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: nsw govt



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

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

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

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

Ian Cohen MLC
The Greens
Legislative Council
Parliament House

Rees for red gums – goal scored

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


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


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


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


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

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

Premier acts to protect River Red Gums

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


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

 Is the Redgum decision locked in?

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


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

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

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

3 December 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by editor at 9:40 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 4 December 2009 10:12 AM EADT
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Planning Minister Kristina 'merits' Keneally - meet retired Commissioner Kevin "real merits" Cleland
Mood:  irritated
Topic: nsw govt


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

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

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


which leads to this download


To quote the executive summary:

"The Commission recommends that:

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

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

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

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


The full executive summary reads as follows:

May 2005

The Hon Craig Knowles MP

Minister for Infrastructure and Planning

Minister for Natural Resources

Dear Minister,

Proposed Port Botany Expansion

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

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

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

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

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

P&O Ports Limited”.

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

Wright as specialist advisers to the Commission.

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

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

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

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

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

§ Potential for a third stevedore to stimulate competition;

§ Enhancement of the ecological values of Penrhyn Estuary; and

§ Public recreational facilities along Foreshore Beach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

productivity scenario overlaps the latter container capacity estimate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

maintaining berth occupancy at acceptable levels.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Foreshore Road but traffic could still be effectively managed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

would need to be fully investigated and assessed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the meantime.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

year by 2025.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to ensure their satisfactory operation is maintained.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

impacts are minimised, monitored and managed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

proposed Port expansion.

The Commission recommends that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Deputy Chairperson

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


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

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

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

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

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

#1 of 3

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

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


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

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

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

Mob: +61 402 904 251


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

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

Media Release

>From Sylvia Hale, Greens MP and Spokesperson for Planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Ecology Action,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NSW Liberal Leader


Posted by editor at 11:00 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 3 December 2009 6:19 PM EADT
Monday, 16 November 2009
Did SAM micro news blog save premier Rees' neck?
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: nsw govt

Copy to SAM web micro news:

#1 of 2

Sent: Monday, November 16, 2009 6:40 AM
Subject: civil society briefing note on $35B sale proposal breaks Rees critics on Right? Re: [chipstop] goodbye macca

This is a big break for the redgum forests I imagine.
I'm going to post a self referential (!) story this morning, something about 'Did SAM save premier Rees?'
Which of course is tendentious/speculative. But it goes like this and it's an intriguing scenario: The 1997 failed energy privatisation has been driving alot of the angst in state politics. Keating reckons it was worth $35B, if only really $25B, and privatisation mark 2 in 2007 also failed at $10 to 15B (different asset range, different market). So Right and Left in ALP Govt and big media were at each other's throats, not least over investor fees to be gotten (in the $150M range in 2007).
The Greens were in alliance with the unions against the sale(s).
Into this poisonous soup of political ambitions and fear and loathing about 2 months back we posted this story:
Briefing note from civil society group on 1997 NSW power sale
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt
Since about that time, the ructions over the power sale political dynamics have evaporated from big media. More light than heat to help the bruvvers understand what really happened back in the day, pre google? Could be.
Regards, Tom
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, November 15, 2009 5:36 PM
Subject: [chipstop] goodbye macca

He's gone. Whacko!


NSW Premier Nathan Rees forces Joe Tripodi and Ian Macdonald out of cabinet

  • Imre Salusinszky, NSW political reporter
  • From: The Australian
  • November 15, 2009 4:35PM

NSW Premier Nathan Rees has sacked two of his most controversial ministers in a desperate attempt to gain a lift for his Labor government in the polls.
Ports Minister Joe Tripodi and Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald tendered their resignations to Mr Rees today after the Premier called them last night and said he wanted them out of cabinet.
They will be replaced by Heathcote MP Paul Macleay and upper house President Peter Primrose, with an announcement of portfolio changes expected tomorrow.
Mr Tripodi has been a constant source of controversy to the Government due to suggestions he and his fellow Right faction warlord, Eddie Obeid, maintain close relationship with property developers who, in exchange for generous political donations, expect high-level access to government figures.
Mr Macdonald has been at the centre of numerous allegations of excessive use of ministerial expense accounts and, unlike Mr Tripodi, has aligned himself with recent moves to challenge Mr Rees's leadership.
Mr Tripodi said this afternoon: “I have been nothing other than loyal to Nathan Rees.”
But he insisted he accepted the Premier's decision and would not be moving for a leadership spill.
The sacking of Mr Tripodi and Mr Macdonald follows rapidly upon the heels of Saturday's decision by NSW Labor's annual conference to grant the party leader unfettered power to sack and appoint ministers.

# 2 of 2
Sent: Monday, November 16, 2009 6:43 AM
Subject: transport Re: civil society briefing note on $35B sale proposal breaks Rees critics on Right?

Not to forget this one also, posted the same day, getting into the head of big media, big politics at the time:

Posted by editor at 6:51 AM EADT
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Sartor the planning expert 'honest broker' suggests Crikey?! Au contraire!
Mood:  loud
Topic: nsw govt
Mmm, censored twice in a week on crikey.com.au
As they say journalism (speaking as a lawyer) is something someone somewhere doesn't want published!
We wrote last week about the "punitive" role of re-insurance stalking King Coal here in Australia regarding climate policy debate. "Punitive" is the word Kim Beazley new USA ambassador used in discussion with Monica Attard on Sunday abc RN in relation to greenhouse gas emissions. Not just carbon taxes Sarkozy style but .... with holding re-insurance coverage for Australia. But it was deleted from their Rooted environmental blog.
But we digress. Last Friday it was this story about Frank Sartor. Now we generally like Bernard Keane, not least for the Irish surname, for giving the Greens Party due credit on climate issues, and for being a fiesty b*stardo generally, as well as prolific.
But we aren't always "on the same page" to use his term. At one point he argued he doesn't do moderation of comment strings. So who knows. Our censored comment on this story of his may not be him, but as they say, 'refer upward':
[Friday 9th October 2009, crikey ezine] 

 Politics, The Universe, Etc

9 . The Sartor planning plan: politics at arm's length

Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane writes:

Frank Sartor has called for the complete depoliticisation of all planning decisions right up to the Commonwealth level and urged a new approach to COAG that would enable the States to better handle the political risks of reform.


The controversial former NSW Minister has confirmed his reputation as one of the few substantial thinkers in NSW Labor in a wide-ranging discussion with Crikey.


Sartor, a veteran of Sydney’s planning wars from his time as Sydney Lord Mayor and later as Morris Iemma’s Planning Minister, has urged that NSW’s crippled planning system be overhauled with a new approach that entirely removes politicians at all levels from planning decisions. He also believes the Commonwealth should adopt the same approach. “Peter Garrett shouldn’t be making major planning decisions as Environment Minister,” Sartor believes.


Instead, he has proposed a system partially adopted by the NSW Government during his time as Planning Minister, of giving independent panels full responsibility for planning decisions at local, state and even Commonwealth level.


However, Sartor was critical his successor as Planning Minister, Kristina Keneally, for the process of appointments to panels. Keneally is currently mired in a dispute with eight NSW local councils who are refusing to appoint representatives to regional planning panels because of concerns council-appointed representatives will be outvoted by State-appointed representatives. Sartor believes local councils alone should appoint members, albeit from a State Government-developed list of accredited experts.


In Sartor’s view, politicians at all levels are ill-equipped to make planning decisions, and are inevitably accused of corruption by aggrieved parties regardless of checks and balances. Sartor’s concerns extend beyond the normal claims of developers influencing Labor politicians via donations. “Local councillors go along to meetings about developments and get screamed at by residents and put on the spot to oppose them. I’d be pushing my kid around the supermarket and have people come up to me and tell me things had to be blocked. Developers would bail me up at functions. Politicians are lobbied everywhere. Just get the politicians out of the process.”

Read the full story on our website

Comment on this article


Trouble is you can't "Read the full story on our website" even if you are a subscriber because what you get is the "embarrassing" graphic above:


So what did we write that sort of crueled big Frank posturing via feisty Crikey?

Well we will try and rewrite it from memory now given the censorship:


Tom McLoughlin

Oh dear where to start to get some balance in this story:

1. Sartor (FS) was under the shadow of Clover Moore community independent at Sydney CC and then also as MP for the seat of inner city Bligh. He was getting frustrated by that.

2. Eventually Sartor got to be Mayor of Sydney, and his big challenge was various holes in the ground like World Square. People were grateful when he got those built on and back into usage.

 3. But even so FS was still being sledged as independent mayor by such as Olympic Minister Michael Knight who didn't even organise a ticket to Olympic social events in 2000 leaving FS famously peeved.

4. But FS was learning how to play with the big boys all the same. He was meeting luminaries like Harry Triguboff, aka Mr Meriton, about how to fill those city holes. And they also got to like him too. A mutual love in of development you might say. Sartor is known to have met this developer as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald quoting Big Harry direct.

5. But where to next for FS? He decided to jump out of community politics to a state ALP Govt seat - Rockdale, a right wing den for the ALP in the gift of Premier Bob Carr. (Knight had bailed from NSW Govt too so no friction there.)

6. In the political values makeover from Indy to ALP, Frank also chucked his first marriage along the way (soon to remarry), and now he was planning minister. He lay down on the proverbial tracks for the ALP seeking to pump prime the economy with fast track development, including repeal of swathes of the iconic Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 with an infamous section called Part 3A. This is the time honoured price of promotion in the money politics of NSW: Sell your honour for career advantage.

 7. In 2005 a Planning Commission of Inquiry (Kevin Cleland) decided effectively to reject the ALP Right maximalist expansion of Port Botany. In turn intended to drive [!] a $5 billion truck tunnel to a new M5 East tollway expansion through inner west sydney. Trouble for ALP is that tunnel needs cancer causing smog stacks in marginal seats like Marrickville.

8. Sartor's assistant Dept of Planning director Haddad refused an Freedom of Information request for 5 weeks prior to a sensitive byelection in Marrickville, releasing it only 3 weeks later rejecting BEST EXPERT PLANNING ADVICE of the Inquiry. Rather Sartor decided to promote the maximalist expansion of Port Botany. Haddad is thus implicated in a political FoI refusal to avoid lost votes for the government party in the byelection, a seat now held by the current deputy premier Tebbutt.

9. So for Sartor to go around in Sept October 2009 saying politicians shouldn't be involved in direct liaison with developers is weird. It's contrary to his own political career as Mayor of Sydney.  He has also said recently govt planning staff shouldn't be meeting developer/lobbyists so much which appears grossly hypocritical given his/his govt previous bias over Port Botany CoI report.

10. Sartor may well want to redeem himself today only any expertise or wisdom he has to offer is of no credibility coming from him. If he wants to redeem himself he should first quit parliament.

And now since the Crikey take down of their webpage as above - including my comment similar to above - we see Sartor in even more trouble with this front page blowtorch, following a warning editorial late last week suggesting all bets are off regarding the stink around NSW planning decisions (second half here).

Well the Crikey graphic above might say 'sorry we took you to the wrong place' regarding Frank 'honest broker' Sartor. Indeed they did, and their take down was probably the best they could do in the nick of time, given the story had gone out in the ezine already and was in their main webpage index.

I wonder did someone threaten them legally to do it?

Posted by editor at 9:57 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 October 2009 11:31 AM NZT
Saturday, 10 October 2009
Documents imply NSW greenie 'leader' in $221,000 cash grants to pull ICAC Woodlawn complaint in 2000?
Mood:  sad
Topic: nsw govt



The first time this writer ever spoke to Dr Judy Messer, chair of the Nature Conservation Council was about 1995. This was soon after we bailed out of The Wilderness Society Sydney office (which is a ripping yarn itself about s*xual harrassment of this writer by a co worker - hell hath no fury etc - and other impossible working conditions) when we moved into a quite dormant Friends of the Earth Sydney office. At least it was close to a clean slate was the thought.

The good doctor said "Where is your money from?" I was a little gobsmacked having worked 3 years on the successful NSW wilderness protection campaign on a shoestring up to the March 1995 election of the ALP. No greeting with 'how are you going', or 'what's new'. No 'what campaigns are you working on', or 'where is your office' or the like. Messer we soon understood was a power player at intimate levels of NSW politics and that meant for her knowing the money trail. A member of the Sydney Water Board as govt appointee for 10 years on a bursary of some kind.

(It was an experience similar to the one conversation with Opposition Attorney General Smith former Crown prosecutor some 10 years later. In a similar power dynamic his first question - "where is your money from?" he wanted to know. It's a fair enough question to ensure bonefides but it is also so very NSW. No trust, grasping milieu.)

Last evening 9 October 2009 we saw director of Total Environment Centre on (now also web cast) NSW Stateline on the debacle that is waste policy here (available in due course from ABC here) but not Angel's likely role in that outcome. It jogged our memory. We don't trust Angel but compere Dempster gives him credit. So why the reservations here - well the list is substantial but sticking to the waste policy area for now it involves Messer and waste and now dead Frank Miller and Angel coming in over the top of the real campaigners - as usual.

But first we need to introduce yet another policy wonk - John Denlay, guru on waste issues. He was our mentor for this writer's time 1995 to 1997 in closing the dioxin spewing Waterloo Incinerator: Opposed by Greenpeace, South Sydney Council, Eastern Suburbs Greens (including this writer then Bondi councillor) and Friends of the Earth Sydney (Denlay's group). But not opposed by Total Environment Centre advisedly according to John Denlay and my own experience as Bondi Ward councillor elected to close the old monster. They wanted an upgrade and an effective escape hatch for waste burnt into the atmosphere and toxic ash. A very bad idea. They called it "waste to energy".

This TEC record is instructive for what follows at Woodlawn too given Angel's pre-eminent role in the green group interface with the NSW ALP ministry from 1997 onwards.

Above is a NCC conference resolution from 1995 from our file from JD to me to present over two pages from our file about how to really address land fill. During this time Angel was a nobody on waste policy. It was all John Denlay's leadership.

By 2000 Denlay had married and left NSW. Despite high hopes of the Carr Govt wrestling waste volumes down with innovative 'extended producer responsibility' and industry plans and metropolitan waste boards, including closure of notorious waste escape hatches (Waterloo incinerator simply gasifying the refuse), by 2000 the wheels were falling off.

The NCC had an expert working group called Waste Crisis Network. Frank Miller was on WCN. FM was a rural land holder at Braidwood, esteemed member of local Green Party, and FoE Sydney rep on WCN following the Denlay pioneering work on policy. The other members are mentioned below in this explosive letter to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. Notice the date 6 June 2000. The folks on WCN were the cream of the green movement on waste and probably had 100 years of experience amongst them hands on. They weren't light weights by any measure. The handwriting at bottom left is the SAM editor's writing in a telephone file note confirming who authorised the letter for WCN (old lawyer habit):

Independent MP Richard Jones pushes this controversial development here 2 days later in NSW Parliament and apologies for the faded image off old fax paper:


Now notice the date of this letter by Messer countermanding the reference to ICAC dated 14 June 2000 duly signed:


There is no doubting Messer wanted to destroy the credibility of the ICAC referral by the cream of the waste campaign of the NSW green movement, indeed the NSW Environment Minister quotes the letter in parliament 29th August 2000 in making their excuses:


The so called "junior officer" Frank Miller in the Minister's reply was at leat 70 years of age and backed by his whole committee.

Notice this line item in the NCC budget papers of that year up to June 2000 - $37,500 for "water reform process", that is main business of the Sydney Catchment Authority, and Messer's own Sydney Water Board, in papers prepared by Geof Lambert as treasurer (a very credible professional scientist/psephologist), with this writer an elected NCC executive member who resigned that year in disgust at anti environmental decisions being forced through the executive.

And this additional amount of state grant:

And notice this record of nearly $150,000 1999 to 2000 on forest assessments work. All serious money for desperate NCC:


The policy back story is here: Having failed after 5 full years to wrestle down waste volumes as promised the Carr govt wanted an escape hatch - Woodlawn mine site near Goulburn according to out of sight, out of mind tradition that has got western civilisation where we are today. The more greenwashing by the operator the better as here regarding methane harvesting April 2007:


Back in 2000 via minister Refshauge a friendly was appointed to an inquiry to locate and assess Woodlawn mega tip. This is waving the white flag, creating the notorious escape hatch not so different conceptually to the Waterloo Incinerator issue mid 90ies, this time a hole in the ground and water table problems, previously toxic ash and dioxin air pollution:


Notice from the sender details at the top the draft has been forwarded to both NCC and TEC head office in a deliberate strategy to sideline the NGO expert working group within their own Waste Crisis Network:


What a coup in divide and rule by the Carr Govt - leveraging their grant money and the wages to the NCC head office?

NCC then issues a friendly, green tinted, grotesquely naive press release.


Unduly friendly once you read the context: Veteran campaigner Miller can see the work of the WCN being dismantled and shafted:


The expert working group has not been consulted on the press release yet he is being listed as approving the release. That's a fraud actually:

The allegation to ICAC for one is being sanitised. See this background from Miller as spokesperson for WCN on the real policy reality of an industry/govt capture in the inquiry announcement:


and this


And what does this have to do with Jeff Angel at Total Environment Centre? Well Jeff a well known confidant of the NSW Government is copied in to the Miller memo of 15 June 2000 so he is very much involved.

Angel writes to Miller later that year cutting him down even further with something to do with a media spot by Angel on an REP - regional environmental plan - for the catchment (?):


Angel has a reputation for speaking over the top of the real campaigners on the coal face on diverse policy areas from forests (just ask ChipStop convenor Harriet Swift), to waste (here), to Snowy River (Carl Drury) to Lake Cowal (Ruth Rosenhek) and on and on it goes. SAM here was puzzled what this REP for this waste matter is all about.

But today we googled and found this explanation in Hansard regarding  the issue of conflict of interest within the model for the Sydney Catchment Authority for regulator/operator model. The very issue that came up with the msyterious submission to the Woodlawn Commission of Inquiry from the SCA against Woodlawn and then changed by SCA midstride to grudging acceptance.

Presciently Ian Cohen MP refers to the relevant REP in his speech in parliament in 1998 here, and notice all the players are mentioned in his speech on the SYDNEY WATER CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT BILL Second Reading, 1 December 1998 and see bold:

The amendments have been drafted with the assistance of longstanding water campaigners such as Dr Judy Messer, a board member of Sydney Water; John Connor from the Nature Conservation Council, a peak body in the environment movement; Keith Muir from the Colong Foundation; Graham Douglas and Noel Plumb from the National Parks Association; and Michael Mobbs, the only person in Sydney who can credibly argue for a more sustainable existence in that he lives in Sydney’s only sustainable house. Many people should follow Mr Mobbs’ example. I have not yet visited his house but I have heard a great deal about it. His home reflects the attempts being made in non-urban areas to achieve sustainability and no run-off of pollutants from living areas. Michael Mobbs has certainly achieved that.

I also commend Kathryn Ridge from the Greens’ office, who has worked long and hard on preparing the necessary material. She has done an excellent job. Both the ministerial representatives and the Opposition acknowledge that this bill was the product of extreme deadlines. I have received copies of correspondence from Dr Judy Messer, who has been a director of Sydney Water for almost 10 years. She indicated her concerns about this bill directly to the Premier. She stated:

I wish to express my strong concern that, in terms of its powers, functions and scope as outlined in the Bill the Sydney Catchment Authority will not achieve the admirable outcomes that you wish to see eventuate.

The Greens share the deep concerns expressed by those who have had a long history of involvement with this issue. For example, John Connor from the Nature Conservation Council sent a letter to the Premier expressing similar concerns to those of Judy Messer. Mr McClellan spoke on a number of occasions about the need for any legislation to establish a completion date for a regional environmental plan [REP], which is a prescriptive instrument that controls the actions and decisions of State agencies and local government authorities; the incorporation of water quality objectives set by the Environment Protection Authority or the Healthy Rivers Commission; consent authorities not approving a development application unless it has a neutral or positive impact on water quality; and the development of amelioration or action plans to address existing developments which are causing pollution.

An REP which incorporates these elements will be groundbreaking,
but there is no confidence that this vision will take shape if it is not clearly outlined in the bill. Such articulation is crucial to ensure that the Sydney Catchment Authority [SCA] has no role in setting the catchment water quality and environmental flow objectives for its operations. Such a conflict is untenable and must be addressed in the bill. Later I will give my recommendations for addressing the regulator-operator conflict that is inherent in the SCA. That conflict relates to the setting of objectives, the financial framework, the role of the board and the contract of engagement for the chief executive officer.

In relation to ending the ad hoc political decision making in relation to Sydney’s catchments - and certainly that is an issue of ministerial discretion - the Minister for the Environment should be the Minister responsible for Sydney Water, because the SCA is to have primary responsibility for protecting the catchment and catchment water quality. As Dr Judy Messer so aptly put it, there is not only considerable conflict of interest but also an inordinate amount of ministerial authority. She said, "This allows virtually unfettered powers to the Minister without imposing adequately defined duties and responsibilities". The ministerial discretion powers must be subject to the operating licence, which needs to be mandated and created following a period of public exhibition within a specified time frame.

at http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LC19981201043


So what was Angel's performance like in that 'interview opportunity' back in the day in late 2000? Did he sanitised the Woodlawn ICAC issue, did he go soft on the Carr Govt, his mates who confided in him and appoint him to various committees? We don't know but Frank Miller had some choice words to say. We would love to know what the "offensive" fax is that Miller sent to Angel. We can guess it's a doozy.

Dr Messer in particular, and Angel as well, have some profound questions to answer regarding their style of 'leadership' of certain peak green groups this last 10 years given the flow of big grant money while allegations of corruption are raised against state departments. Their greenie record of environmental protection is a dismal failure once you get behind all the PR and mates network. These two are an eloquent argument for "grassroots democracy" in a Green Party to subordinate compromised sclerotic small g green leadership.

About 7 years ago if vague memory serves Cohen MP said to this writer in exasperation on the telephone 'what is it with NCC, I'm telling you Tom I won't work with them anymore'.  No wonder given all of the above.

Frank Miller died broken hearted a few years ago, and this is just another inadequate apology to him from this writer: For failing to run sufficient political protection for his sound and idealistic work in the snakepit that is Sydney politics, green and otherwise. We were as beaten as he was.

These are his words, as if from the grave but actually from October 2000, and worth a read despite the prose style, and very wise:


On Stateline last night Angel complained about insufficient proportion of waste levy hypothecated to recycling and waste reduction. But 9 years ago he had nothing to say about his ALP Government setting up a policy framework "to secure the future of the multi national mega tip industry for the next 100 years" which provides an escape hatch at government and industry level and no real pressure to innovate waste reduction. Thanks for nothing Mr Angel.

The serious allegation is that both Messer then and presumably Angel were out of their depth when they betrayed in 2000 the trust of the real waste campaigners at the coal face in 2000 to sustain their relationship with the Carr Govt, and stay on that drip.

Posted by editor at 11:59 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 11 October 2009 10:35 AM NZT
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Briefing note from civil society group on 1997 NSW power sale
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt

Mediocre laissez faire economic analysis has grown up around the alleged desirability of the defunct 1997 '$35 billion' (or is that only $25 billion?) NSW power sell off plan, rejected by the union movement and ALP conference. But not just those groups. Civil society groups were also very concerned as per this article in the UK The Guardian in 1997 which was provided to NSW MPs with the package below:


The following documentation has never been web published before sitting in a plastic folder in the SAM archive for 12 years now. But we always knew it was quality information that should be kept for posterity, whether one agrees or disagrees with the weight of the arguments.

As stated elsewhere, this writer slotted a copy of this briefing note under every NSW MP's door. A practice we learned from an earlier parliamentary officer job with cross bencher Clover Moore MP in late 1992, when Moore McDonald and Hatton's influence and power was in their halycon days. The unofficial circular under doorways was banned soon after and we may well have caused that. Certainly the anger in the ALP Right must surely have been white hot after their power sale plan fell over.

As stated in the penultimate post regarding plans for the sale income in 1997:

(b) we know of another $450M via John Connor (now of ALP aligned Climate Institute) which Carr planned to insert into a NSW version of Howard's $1B Natural Heritage Trust package in the sell off of Telstra. Indeed the 1997 energy sale plan was quite a monkey see, monkey do version of Carr copying Howard in 1996 federal election win. In NSW substitute power assets for telco, but it was all about smashing unions and getting the money. And people wonder why Carr jumped directly to Macquarie Bank from the premiership?

The briefing paper from 1997 follows and main credit goes to freelance writer and academic Claire Gerson in Third Opinion magazine edited by Stevie Bee/Broadbent (now out of publication) who often worked overnight because back then internet speeds on landlines were so slow it was the only way to access his international sources. Also to then climate change campaigner Dietrich Willing of Friends of the Earth Sydney:







Lastly here is a poster from nascent  NSW Green party from that time in 1997: 






Posted by editor at 2:19 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 October 2009 4:00 PM NZT
Fact checking 4 Corners push of a falling wall re Sydney transport woes
Mood:  rushed
Topic: nsw govt



While agreeing with the overall thrust of the show last night there are some omissions and clarifications of significance:

1. Obeid MP, hardly objective, quotes $35 B valuation of 1997 energy sale proposal. This figure is also quoted by Keating in (complete with banker consultancy conflict) the SMH in recent years putting the sale at $35B but conflating the 1997 and 2007 sale plans which are radically different. Keating here 6 May 2008 and note his disclosure eventually of financial conflict to Lazard Carnegie Wylie bankers, in


However other literature we have seen from that 1997 controversy puts the 1997 sale figure at $25B not $35B. So we remain agnostic on the true figure. To be sure it's a big number but so is a $10B discrepancy.

 2. In fact the Iemma plan excluded various infrastructure reducing the sale down to some $10-15B. It took John Kaye MP (Greens) to expose Keating's in effect false advertising of the sale on the opinion pages of the SMH. Keating wanted people to think it was the 10 year delay that caused the price reduction from $35B to $15B and '$20B in lost income', when really it was apples with oranges. Tsk tsk. Perhaps this deception related to this:

NSW power sale fees to tip $150m | Business | News.com.au 11 Dec 2007

3. The unfettered market axiom assumed in the 4 Corners view of history behind the 1997 proposal is shallow and potentially very dangerous. SAM will publish material from that 1997 campaign from UK experience which is damning, by academic Claire Gerson, and circulated to all NSW MPs via FoE Sydney green group at the time by this writer by hand under their parliamentary office door. A practice that is now banned.

4. Further to point 3, Argentina privatisations were a disaster. The gigantic Enron bankruptcy in the USA another disaster for social fabric and subject of withering doco on google video - Smartest Guys In The Room. And Lehman Bros collapse more recently in the GFC. In this sense public ownership of essential services has been vindicated big time. These are huge democratic issues beyond a once off sale of the family silver.

5. As per the second episode of the long running West Wing tv show "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc" because a rail project stalled doesn't mean it was the failure of the 1997 sell off that caused it. A whole list of broken promises for rail was mentioned.

The rail extension to Bondi Beach we know alot about (and published source materials here ages ago) as then ward councillor at Bondi, and chair of the council environment committee. Bondi Rail was private public partnership with Macquarie Bank with Lend Lease involvement. So it was off Govt budget not part of the energy sale income. Second it was opposed for high priced ticket, failure of design over lack of mid way station, destruction of public park, cost of excavation in soft terrain for beach front station, and fear of high rise on air space rights (just like Bondi Junction/Gold Coast is today).

6. An irony of point 5 is that 4 Corners last night showed Lee Rhiannon MP (Greens) who back in 1997 was a private Bondi citizen and a strong local voice against the Bondi rail/private capital. Rhiannon and her protege now Mayor of Balmain Jamie Parker, are shown promoting north west rail against the Metro in 2009. Horses for courses: 1997 against Bondi rail, 2009 for NW rail showing just how political the Sydney snakepit really is.

7. Perhaps one of the biggest omissions is the political-economic reality of the disastrous thankfully stalled plan for a $5B secretive truck tunnel from Rozelle to Port Botany with cancer smog stacks in marginal Marrickville (held by Carmel Tebbutt on the Rees team replacing Iemma).  

SAM here posted on this recently with YouTube background on container traffic. And note feature in SMH yesterday business section of container ship gigantism at least pre GFC (and note error in that story re alleged promotion of exports when Sydney has low container exports - it's all imports). Without that construction largesse another project of similar size has been vomited up in the form of the $5B metro in a similar geographical location.

8. Another big ommission is that not all income of the 1997 energy sale was likely to end up in transport. More likely it was intended for a raft of political fixes and boondoggles. The green movement in NSW are as implicated in this as much as anyone:

(a) We know of possibly an extra $billion spent on the Chatwood-Epping rail build (supposed to go Parramatta) due to complaints over a postage stamp of Lane Cove NP, in particular via Dr Judy Messer then chair of Nature Conservation Council and north shore egomaniac. The redesign involved was rejected by leading greens in FoE Sydney, Karen Morrison and others. This wasted $1B possibly more than anything probably cruelled the extension to Parramatta. (But it did boost the need for a democratic Green Party beyond such as Dr Messer, or Jeff Angel, who also championed the deal with Carr to entrench logging in public forests for 20 years 1/4 saved, 3/4 trashed).

(b) we know of another $450M via John Connor (now of ALP aligned Climate Institute) which Carr planned to insert into a NSW version of Howard's $1B Natural Heritage Trust package in the sell off of Telstra. Indeed the 1997 energy sale plan was quite a monkey see, monkey do version of Carr copying Howard in 1996 federal election win. In NSW substitute power assets for telco, but it was all about smashing unions and getting the money. And people wonder why Carr jumped directly to Macquarie Bank from the premiership?

9. We could swear we heard the presenter Wendy Carlisle suggest to ex RTA supremo, now Metro supremo Les Wielinga, that the 'NSW public more in sorrow than anger will see an extended metro when they believe it'. That is transposing the old saying. Just a small slip up but still confusing. Yes, a double check shows the journo fluffed her line, but we knew what she meant and so did big Les Wielinga.


10. The use of press gallery journo Simon Benson of free market News Corp (Sydney Daily Telegraph) ideology is to put it mildly somewhat biased sourcing (and to think he started out as environment reporter). Of course Benson will sledge any attempt to prevent unfettered privatisation and weave whatever smear he can over such an outcome having built his journalistic career on the hegemony of the NSW Right. What else is new.

11. In terms of real politik, voters ditching the NSW ALP as per the vox pop at the end of the show won't mean much in safe Liberal Party seats in the north west sector (where this writer is based 6 months now). That's the cruel real politik of the situation for voters. And perhaps even their own fault since they voted in the M2 tollroad way back in 1994-5 and 1999 when the NGO sector - including arrest of this writer as a protester - called for rail not tollway road  vision for Sydney. In that respect both Labor and Liberal are indistinguishable.

Posted by editor at 12:06 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 October 2009 2:26 PM NZT
Saturday, 3 October 2009
Haddad implicated in secrecy around smog stacks threat to Sydney residents, more on YouTube
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt

SAM editor has finally taught ourselves how to upload DVD (VOB file) to YouTube. It involves video conversion programme Super, downloaded for free from Majorgeeks.com,  including working out preferred settings for YouTube upload easily found via google (eg say WMV file, which is also handy in the process for reduction in file size, 30 frames per second etc etc). Finally one must split any file longer than 10 minutes or longer than 100MB in size, via another free download programme Yamb found via google and a nervous download in terms of security integrity. Through all of this a 700MB file 14 minute file has become some 9 and 5 minute files of 78 and 44 MB file size respectively.

Here is our submission in the last 24 hours:


This video from February 2007 shows background to plans of the NSW Government, Australia, to install a $5 billion truck tunnel via marginal seat of Marrickville to a vastly expanded Port Botany for gigantic new container ships. The film is about what is driving the tunnel/smog stacks project rather than the tunnel itself covered in more detail here:

1st March 2007

$5b secret road under Sydney


A tunnel must have smog stacks which will pollute and kill Sydney citizens from air pollution well before their time. More detail here:

28 August 2009

"M5 East pollution harming asthmatics"
"POLLUTION levels in Sydney's M5 East tunnel are so high that healthy motorists who use it daily could develop respiratory problems within two years"


Botany Bay & Catchment Alliance (33 community groups) and local Green Party have been exposing this agenda for several years now, including BB&CA being a party to an official Commission of Inquiry. The CoI report urged minimising Port expansion but was kept secret prior to a sensitive Sept 2005 by-election in Marrickville by then Minister Frank Sartor via (then) Deputy Director of Planning Sam Haddad. The CoI report was released 3 weeks after that vote and ignored with maximalist project announced the same day.

This film reveals many of the arguments put to Commissioner Cleland who retired soon after his work was done. This secretive agenda for massively expensive truck tunnel/smog stacks is still affecting govt leadership dynamics in 2009 with local MP and Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt newly appointed health minister and tipped to take the top job before March 2011 general election. Will she sell out local voters, particularly the young, sick, elderly and democracy itself?

More at http://www.botanybay.info/



See part 2 also on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXbT9dl94Zg

Thanks for watching.

Added: October 02, 2009, 02:50 AM
Time: 5:04


And here is the letter we refer to in the background signed by then Deputy Director of Planning Sam Haddad who also appeared last night in footage on ABC TV Stateline. We say this letter shows a very political agency on the part of Haddad for then Minister Frank Sartor and the NSW ALP given the sensitive timing of the Marrickville by election Sept 2005.



Posted by editor at 10:37 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 4 October 2009 10:27 AM NZT
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Redgum forests: Secret RACAC maps don't reflect too well on Carr's record in exhortation to Premier Rees
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt

We have been following the Redgum conservation campaign for some months now: Here are images from our story:

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Redgum forest decision in Victoria: Time for complementary NSW protection by Minister Ian Macdonald
Topic: nsw govt

Now we look at the record of past forest decisions to get a grasp of what we can expect from the brown ALP in NSW


Picture explanation: What's in a map? This is a secret map the Carr Govt didn't mean to release back in 1999, quite tatttered now after various relocations by the SAM editor. It was obtained from a friendly NSW Resource and Conservation Assessment Council (RACAC) staffer in early 1999 who quickly sought it back but we refused. Viewed with an informed eye it reveals just how hyperbolic Carr's oft boasted 'big national park decisions' actually is.

The final maps publicly released for the Upper, Lower and Eden forest regions don't have this colour detail as above. In the public version they merge the new reserves with the old park reservations to make them look bigger (see for example Upper NE map immediately below). 

Note in the map above carefully the purple/maroon area which shows the actual new national parks by Bob Carr in 1998-9. They are minimal compared to the light green logging areas effectively privatised for 20 years out of public land.

Don't be misled by the dark green areas above. These were parks created by other governments - decades and decades earlier in recognition of the 80 million hectare area of NSW majority cleared and degraded. 

The question has to be asked "Did Carr release more forest for destruction (private logging areas out of public forest) than he saved (new national park)?" The answer must be yes. Current premier Nathan Rees has a very low standard to improve on the record of  Bob Carr in his recent exhortations to save the redgum forests of the Murray Darling River.

Significantly Rees' current chief of staff GraemeWedderburn was also in that role for Bob Carr in 1998-99 and presumably in on the political deceit on the public interest back then.


Simon Santow ran some stories in the ABC radio news yesterday and on flagship World Today as here:

The World Today - Push to save river red gum forests 24/07/2009

The story was spinning off the article about, and opinion piece by, ex NSW premier Bob "akimbo" Carr in the Sydney Morning Herald both front page and opinion piece column:


 and front page here:

A word of advice: Carr tells Rees to save Riverina red gums

And the story is evolving already suggesting an ALP set piece choreography with advance notice to the ALP Govt of the SMH profile pieces:

Rees bows to pressure to stop logging 24 Jul 2009

It's sound politics for the NSW ALP no doubt given Verity Firth MP (ALP) is looking very shaky in her inner west seat of Balmain from so called 'blue' Green Mayor Jamie Parker: A description of Parker by News Corp's Imre Salusinszky, not understanding that Parker (marketing student and promoter of Horny Goatweed in your local ColesWorth supermarket) has always been an adoptee or at the least close ally of 'red Green' Lee Rhiannon MP since his Macquarie University student politician days.

(We well remember meeting Jamie in Rhiannon's parliamentary office foyer years ago and noting a precocious, impertinent, brash and talented individual. We decided to quit the party soon after.)


But News Corp know how to kick the ALP. As the Chinese say, everyone likes to push a falling wall.


Being such an accomplished spruiker Carr's Herald foray almost had this writer forgetting the ex premier's real record on forests in 1998 and 1999. How Carr protected:

'only 1/4 of the scientifically assessed areas deserving protection and under threat' according to Dailan Pugh of North East Forest Alliance (see Pugh's report of his below in late 1998).

Here is a sample of green NGO reactions we collected at the time knowing the historical accuracy and significance in the face of a tax payer funded PR machine:

Pugh was also recently quoted in the Australian Weekend colour magazine profile of current federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, then a policy adviser on forests to Carr Govt in NSW. He repeated the lowly 1/4  protection figure of true area demanded by the science in NSW. Wong then bailed out to become a South Australian senator, perhaps also knowing the truth would eventually come out in NSW about the forest fraud?

Indeed Carr has always been a dodgy and unreliable voice on the so callled 'programmatic specificity' of government policy. Not just integrity of forest conservation decisions. Famously he banned web archiving of his government press releases.

With a web archive people soon realise how maps of forests conflate publicly owned native forests into "Native forest and hardwood plantation" as per Upper North East publicly released RFA map (above): In other words conversion of public estate to agri industry corporate profit. All in a days work for the now Macquarie Bank consultant ex premier Bob Carr: He may well be a keen bushwalker but at some point like his political recruit Peter Garrett now minister at federal level he not only sold out the green agenda but started to believe his own bullsh*t too.

This is the first time these secretly obtained maps from the government's own RACAC have been (web) published. Also note RACAC itself is a rip off of the earlier Coaliton/Fahey Govt NRAC - Natural Resource Audit Council  of 1993-4. This gives you the clue of the brown ALP agenda from the beginning.

The secret maps show, particularly via the maroon colour new conservation areas versus light green logging areas, Carr simply foreclosed on any future protections with 20 year logging guarantees. And he has the chutzpah to call that being green. Certainly his strategy harvested green votes via cunning tax payer funded advertising but it wasn't a real green policy outcome, and the maps and credible commentary prove it.

Let the reader judge just how hyperbolic those '300 new national parks I created ... no one could have done more' claims by Bob Carr on radio yesterday 24 July 2009 actually amount to. Such statistical games are only really of any sense taken in context of nationally and statewide only 20% forest landcover in 1788, down to 10% land cover now, with barely 1/10 of that which actually remains intact mature forest critical to wildlife. The highly mechanised logging and agricultural industries have been taken their toll. 

Tragically Carr only manages to parade his 300 national parks by airbrushing from history the far greater area of forest he effectively privatised. That's just another reason why he was embraced by Macquarie Bank as a consultant within months of being forced from office under pressure of devastating polls in 2005.

Ironically now the caravan has moved to west of the Great Divide Carr's and the Sydney Morning Herald's postures on saving redgum forests are indeed valid and important. The two main NGO groups associated - The Wilderness Society and NSW National Parks Association - are quite justified in leveraging the exhortations of Carr as a loyal ALP public figure.

But those of us with longer experience and more probing analysis of green and national politics well understand Carr's posture has more to do with:

  • Carr papering over his own dodgy environmental record, and perhaps desire for redemption at various times;
  • the flurry of attacks this last week on federal brand ALP minister Peter Garrett and his shredded green credentials - recruited by Bob Carr in the first place after green group scathing repudiations of Carr in 1998-99;
  • the electoral bleeding of inner west ALP MP's like Verity Firth, and also to some degree Carmel Tebbutt.

Now this writer has the web publishing capacity much of this pre google material can now by made accessible.

Here is the remainder of the maps available at that time, indicating the relatively minor additions by Carr in maroon colour, the much more extensive dedicated logging areas in light green with repeal of iconic environmental legislation, and below that the scathing reportage of Dailan Pugh in 1998-9, important as Pugh was embraced by the Carr Govt and a green NGO appointee on RACAC itself. Groups with far more democratic base like The Wilderness Society were simply frozen out. Note too how a scathing statement of Carr as "sell out" reference by Pugh below becomes a lesser rhetorical question in lobbying document to the NSW Teachers Federation.










Picture (above): Notably absent from the line up at this icon event was one Peter Garrett because it would involve criticising ALP premier Bob Carr



In conclusion, one can safely assume that the rate of native forest destruction in NSW, including high conservation value forest has not reduced at all since Bob Carr's 'big national parks decision of 1998-99. And the additions to his national parks since - for example 65,000 ha in the 2003 election campaign - do not alter the general position. Increased intensity of logging in State Forests, and on private land, has resulted in the destruction of millions of individual rare and endangered wildlife.  When you deconstruct the spin current premier Nathan Rees could hardly do worse than Premier Bob Carr when it comes to ecologically sustainable logging policies or conservation as in the case of the redgum forests and may God have mercy on them now.

Famously politicians like Bob Carr in 1994 find it easy to be green in Opposition but can't be trusted. Notice similarly with these ALP politicians pre 2007 federal election namely Garrett and Albanese, later in lock step to support a Gunns plan for a massive pulp mill of Old Growth forests in Tasmania.


Nathan Rees though premier of NSW is in effect an ALP politician in Opposition posturing on green policy too, but the implementation will need extreme levels of scrutiny.



Posted by editor at 12:51 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 26 July 2009 12:08 PM NZT

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