« March 2010 »
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
Entries by Topic
All topics
about editor
aust govt
big media
contact us
donations to SAM
election nsw 2007
election Oz 2007
free SAM content
human rights
independent media
local news
nsw govt  «
nuke threats
publish a story
zero waste
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
official indymedia
ecology action Australia
ecology action
Advertise on SAM
details for advertisers
You are not logged in. Log in

sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 5 March 2010
Memo Environment Minister, rare frog not quite top order predator extinction
Mood:  smelly
Topic: nsw govt

 Picture: Spot the non carnivore? It's a trick question from this zoology grad pseudo lawyer. They are all carnivorous, not least 'talking turkey' Minister Frank Ernest Sartor top middle. But give him time and he might yet surprise in the environment portfolio ...


'The ecological equivalent of a Tasmanian Tiger. Sounds like a motor bike. '

Oh gawd. Which is the biggest clue this is a PR choreography, with timing at the control of the government, perhaps even to offset the growing furore over forest destruction reported here on SAM recently? (Redgums and koalas in southern NSW):

Sky News: 'Extinct' yellow frog reappears in NSW4 Mar 2010

'Extinct' super frog back from dead - Local News - News - General ...

Minister Frank Sartor is interesting. He appears to have starved the Riverina sawmill so they pre emptively buckle (still to be confirmed), and run a choreography frog story yesterday tv, radio etc to offset all the forest noise. He's a clever bean. He actually might even like the environment too - he is very effective, just selfish as sin joining the ALP.
Sartor will love to deal with other chess players in back rooms. He famously got Harry '100M population' Triguboff of Meriton Apartments in to get things moving while Mayor of Sydney (CBD and nearby, not the whole metro).
Now don't get us wrong. We love frogs. It's our logo of think tank ecology action archive link (on the image below and at the left hand column on this very page):


Because frogs are vulnerable (like us), hang in precariously (ditto), and suffer from pollution and regular exctinctions (err ...hope not). Who knows the yellow spotted bell frog might even be a metaphor for our struggling career back from the civil dead.
By coincidence the current top order native predator - Tiger Quoll was found in the suburbs of Canberra recently by one Steve Taylor. There is a Quoll pictured above (bottom left).

Posted by editor at 10:19 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 5 March 2010 10:40 AM EADT
Thursday, 4 March 2010
Koala colony for logging on NSW south coast: Public meeting this Monday
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: nsw govt


Last month The Sydney Morning Herald alerted urban readers to this debacle of land use policy in the 21st Century:


Logging plan poses threat to precious koala colony

BEN CUBBY January 25, 2010

LOGGING is set to start within weeks in a forest that supports the last known koala colony on the NSW far south coast.

The NSW Government is yet to release data from a comprehensive survey of koala habitat and population in Mumbulla and Murrah state forests, near Tathra, even though some trees have been marked for removal.

The two-year koala survey, which could be published this week, is believed to contain strong evidence of koala occupation in several parts of the eucalypt forest.

Sources painted a picture of fractious debate between staff from the Department of Environment and Climate Change, which managed the koala research effort, and Forests NSW, the government agency that will manage the logging operation.

One source described a map of the area that had been drawn and redrawn in search of a compromise between felling trees and maintaining enough forest to allow the koalas to survive.

The NSW Greens and south coast environment groups are campaigning for a moratorium on logging in the koala habitat.

"The koala population on the NSW south-east coast is at a critical level,'' the Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said.

"Yet the NSW Government is prioritising the interests of the logging industry over the ongoing survival of this much-loved native animal.''

The logging operation, due to begin in early March, would involve taking some high-quality timber and some timber for woodchips.

Most of the timber from felled trees in the region goes to a mill in Eden, which exports woodchips to Japan.

As well as the remaining koala population, which has been identified by sightings, droppings and scratch marks on trees, the forest is known to provide a home for endangered long-nosed potoroos.

The Environment Department is ''committed to the protection of koalas and their habitat'', a spokesman said.

The department had engaged in ''what is arguably the most extensive koala survey of its type ever undertaken in Australia, in parts of the Mumbulla and Murrah state forests which are believed to contain koala habitat''.

''The survey results will be used in current negotiations with Forests NSW to ensure the longer-term protection of critical koala habitat identified in the survey,'' he said.

The marsupials are listed as a vulnerable species in NSW, but there is controversy over how many are still alive in the wild.

The Australian Koala Foundation has said its research shows there were only 43,000 to 80,000 left on the Australian mainland, based on data from more than 1000 forests surveys.

The group is heading a new push to get the species listed as ''endangered'' via the threatened species committee.

But many other researchers think the foundation's koala population figure is a serious underestimate, and say that in some areas koala populations are not in decline.

At the time we noted here on SAM that a former SMH environment reporter James Woodford who now doubles as a "real dirt ....environmental news" blogger on the NSW south coast  ("the real dirt, the whole dirt, nothing but the dirt"), author and opinion writer on SMH still, was seemingly ignorant of the koala furore in his tree change domestic bliss. We hope it was ignorance but we believe otherwise. We detect a history of airbrushing NSW Govt "dirt" being the source of many if not all of his stories as a journalist on the drip.

Since then the green movement on the NSW south coast has been in uproar for a solid 6 weeks over this vandalism of icon species habitat, as per media releases and articles below. Indeed what would the United States side of the Premier Keneally family think of such wanton killing of koalas creating a regional extinction in a section of NSW?

We have now received this notice of a public meeting featuring Deborah Tabbart, a high profile koala campaigner from the Australian Koala Foundation:

Public meeting:

Logging threats to the South Coast at Murrah, Mumbulla and Tanja

Guest speaker: Deborah Tabbart, Australian Koala Foundation

7pm Tathra Town Hall

Monday 8th March 2010

Related community and/big media follow, all apparently invisible to dirty blogger James Woodford even when it's his own backyard (but not here 6 hours drive away!): 

Additional public meeting here nearby forest at Western Yurammie


[The Canberra Times]

26 Jan, 2010 01:00 AM
A colony of koalas in state forest near Tathra on the NSW South Coast could be wiped out by woodchip logging scheduled to begin within weeks, the ACT Conservation Council says.

Executive director John Hibberd has written to Federal environment minister Peter Garrett and NSW Premier Kristina Keneally urging them to intervene to save the Mumbulla State Forest koalas.

''This is the only known koala colony on the far South Coast, and represents the last remnant of the once extensive koala populations in the Bega Valley,'' Mr Hibberd said.

''Shooting, clearing, feral animals and fire have all decimated the koalas of the region. We cannot afford to risk these koalas now.''

The NSW Government launched a comprehensive survey of the area three years ago after local Aboriginal land council staff unexpectedly discovered two koalas in the Mumbulla forest.

The first stage of the survey, the largest of its kind undertaken in NSW, assessed 400 sites and more than 12000 trees.

Early results showed evidence of koalas at about 50 sites in forest between Gulaga and the Mumbulla mountains.

Based on these findings, the NSW Environment Department issued a statement which described Mumbulla as ''a stronghold of the species'' on the far South Coast.

The Government has not released the final results of the two-year survey, but the early findings were posted online as evidence of the survey's success.

The logging operations, due to begin in March, will harvest high quality timber as well as woodchips for export to Japan. Forests NSW is required under state conservation laws to leave a percentage of koala habitat trees in the area being logged.

Artist and former fashion designer Prue Acton said the threat to the South Coast koalas highlighted the need to stop a national decline in koala numbers by listing them as a nationally threatened species.

'' While the Commonwealth has not yet listed this animal as a threatened species, there is enough evidence around now about its decline that we simply cannot afford to take any further risks with its future,'' she said.

Mr Hibberd said the koalas needed sufficient space for their young to move into new territories, and any post-logging fires ''will spell the end for them''.


NSW Government must release all koala data: Constance

17 Feb, 2010 10:22 AM
LIBERAL MP Andrew Constance has called for the release of all NSW Labor Government information pertaining to koalas on the state's Far South Coast.
"It is in everybody interests that all data is publicly available so that the wider community and the timber industry can see how the Department of Environment and Climate Change and Forests NSW are addressing any concerns relating to koalas," Mr Constance said.
"The advice I have is that there are a number of well established koala colonies in the region and it is in everybody's interests that the community and the industry have confidence in what the State Government is doing to protect koalas and honour the regional forest agreement.
"The government has to be open, accountable and transparent so that any debate undertaken in the community is done with all information available.
"Whilst claims that there is only one colony left, the government must outline what colonies exist in both the National Parks system and State Forests on the Far South Coast and what measures are being undertaken to protect such colonies from being decimated by wildfire.
Bob Brown in the 1990s claimed the national park in the Tantawanglo as the most important koala habitat in south east NSW with an estimated 40-45 adult koala population.
"If there is an issue with any koala colony on the Far South Coast then an explanation needs to be given by the Minister Steve Whan, who has had nothing to say thus far on this issue, on how any concerns will be addressed.”

Join the cause on Facebook 

Save the Mumbulla and Five Forests Koalas from logging

[19 Feb 2010, full copy PDF link on image]





Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 9:57 PM
Subject: [chipstop] koala report

 Koala surveys in the coastal forests of the Bermagui–Mumbulla area: 2007–09 – interim report

"Figure 1 indicates that there have been few reports of koalas in other coastal and foothill forests of the Eden Region since 1996. This reduction in reporting rate suggests an overall decline in the regional population. "






[South East Forest Rescue]





Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 10:27 AM
Subject: another letter on koalas

Hi All,

 Sorry to keep sending these emails, but we are trying to get the attention of the state government on this urgent koala issue. A preliminary DECCW report released yesterday confirmed that there is a small healthy recovering population of about 50 koalas on the NSW south coast. ForestsNSW intends to log these forests irrespective of the findings, possibly as early as Monday. This will almost certainly spell the end for these koalas, which are nearly extinct on the south coast.  It’s been shown that letters and phone calls, especially to your local members, are one of the most effective ways of getting politicians to respond – better than emails. On the other hand, since time is very short, a letter, email or phone call to one of the pollies below might be the best strategy.   It would be great if you could adapt this letter in any way you want and send it.  Many thanks, and no obligation,PS You might like to watch this fantastic Youtube video produced for Japanese viewers by Japanese-Australian campaigner, Anja Light.



The Hon Ian Macdonald, MLC,Minister for Mineral and Forest ResourcesGovernor Macquarie Tower
Level 36, 1 Farrer Place, 
Premier Kristina KeneallyMember for Heffron,Shop 117, 747  Botany Road, ROSEBERY NSW 2018   
Dear          ,  
Your urgent action is needed to save the koalas of the far south coast.  The preliminary DECCW report, released yesterday, confirmed a small healthy recovering population of about 50 koalas on the NSW south coast, in the Mumbulla forest.
ForestsNSW intends to log this forest very soon, irrespective of the findings of this report, of any debate on the findings, or of the public release of the full report, including the koala habitat mapping.  In addition, the compartments will be burnt after logging, which will further decimate the remaining koalas.
 Logging and burning could result in the extinction of south coast koalas, by destroying habitat and expansionary corridors, and by directly killing koalas in both surveyed and unsurveyed areas. Compartments in other as yet unsurveyed forests are also due to be logged and burnt in the near future, and these may also contain small populations of recovering koalas that have not yet been identified.  
Australia’s top koala experts recognise the far south coast as a region where our national icon is in serious trouble. Koalas have a range up to 50km, so leaving small ‘cells’ for koala habitats is not effective to safeguard populations. These koalas need space if their population is going to grow to a viable size, capable of withstanding disease, drought and fire. Koalas must find trees with nutrient rich leaves for their highly specialised diet, and males need to find new territory.  The requirements of koalas are poorly understood, so it is impossible to ascertain what trees they will need, and in which direction they will need to move. These forests are also home to other endangered species, such as Long-Nosed Potoroos, Sooty Owls and Eastern Grey Headed Flying Foxes, as well as being critical habitat for the endangered Swift Parrot.

The NSW government appears to be placing very short sighted interests over the survival of this courageous animal, over our natural heritage and over the expansion of industries such as tourism on the south coast. The koala, one of our iconic native animals, could face destruction in these forests, for the sake of a very short term supply of woodchips and sawlogs, when there are now enough plantation resources on-line in Australia to ensure that no native forest needs to be logged.  
The NSW Labor government has a wonderful opportunity here to demonstrate its environmental credentials in the lead up to the next election. We don’t believe that this Labor government will want to leave the demise of the koala on the south coast as part of its legacy. You can save these animals and we are asking you to act now by putting an immediate halt to logging in the south east forests. 

Yours sincerely,


[ABC SE NSW radio] 

 Claim: Koala survey a "hurdle"

Posted Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:39am AEDT

Forests New South Wales has labelled an interim report into the state's South East koala colonies as "another hurdle" to its logging plans.

After two years of fieldwork the report was released this week, identifying a healthy koala population in areas including the Mumbulla State Forest, near Bermagui.

The department says it must begin logging in parts of the forest, because it is tied to a supply agreement with the timber industry.

Regional Manager Ian Barnes says there are many years left in the agreement.

"The government, in good faith, in exchange for the loss of resources by creating new national parks, gave an assurance to the industry that supply would be continued for 20 years," he said.

"So we've got at least 10 years to run on that agreement."

Mr Barnes says the report reveals more koala activity than expected in parts of the forest, which complicates arrangements under the Regional Forest Agreement signed in 1999.


[ABC radio SE NSW]

Community battles to save koala colony

Posted February 27, 2010 08:47:00

Conservationists say they will confront loggers head-on in an effort to save the habitat of a small colony of koalas on the far south coast of New South Wales.

Surveys by the Environment Department have found evidence of a recovering population of around 50 koalas in the Mumbulla state forest, south of Bermagui.

The New South Wales Government is due to start logging parts of the forest next month.

Most of the timber is to be sent to a mill in Eden, which exports some of it as woodchips to Japan.

John Hibberd from the ACT Conservation Council says if NSW Environment Minister Frank Sartor lets the logging go ahead, the koala population will be wiped out.

"I think it's absolutely staggering that we're still having this debate," he said.

"The south coast is marked by fantastic beaches, beautiful forests and yet we're prepared to log the forests and destroy an iconic species like koalas for the sake of supporting a foreign-owned industry that's heavily subsidised by the NSW taxpayer."

Mr Hibberd will meet with Mr Sartor in Sydney today together with other conservation groups.

A meeting between environmentalists and Mr Sartor yesterday failed to reach any agreement to protect the koalas.

Noel Plumb from conservation group Chip Busters says it is almost inevitable there will be direct conflict in the forests.

"The community is not going to allow this koala population to become extinct because you've got an arrogant state forest agency that won't listen to anybody," he said.

Meanwhile, deputy director-general of the Environment Department, Joe Woodward, says State Forests has agreed to hold off on some of its logging plans in the area.

"Importantly, [State] Forests have stated that they won't be going in and initially logging in those areas where the koalas have been identified," he said.

"Then we'll be having further discussions with State Forests to work out what can be done to protect the koalas."


SERCA South East Regional Conservation Alliance


Conservation Council ACT Region

MEDIA RELEASE - 27 February 2010

Koala Crisis Deepens in South East Forests

The crisis surrounding the possible extinction of koalas in the South East Forests deepened yesterday, as conservation groups met with the NSW Environment Minister, Frank Sartor.

“The Minister is deeply concerned at the situation but seems embattled on many fronts with forest issues,” said spokespersons for the South East Regional Conservation Alliance (SERCA).

“State Forests will not rule out the start of logging in the key koala areas as early as next Monday but are also effectively blocking negotiations (to protect the koalas) with the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).”

“It was apparent to us in the discussions with the Minister and his senior officers yesterday that State Forests has refused to supply the critical, specific timber-supply figures that would enable Minister Sartor to negotiate for alternative supply arrangements with the Minister for Forests.”

“The Minister repeatedly expressed his concern that alternative supply arrangements had to be put in place because of contractual commitments to the logging industry".

Concerned environment groups say "Such figures are, according to their  own logic, critical if the koalas are really to be protected from the intensive logging and wood-chipping operations now proposed by State Forests in the koala area.”

“State Forests has also broken its public commitment, made at a community meeting in Bermagui in 2007* that there would be genuine community consultation about the future of these forests once the NPWS koala survey was released by DECC.”

The completed Report was finally released by DECCW only on 23 February 2010 but without the maps critical for clear community information. The survey covers approximately 10,000 hectares of the Mumbullah and Murrah State Forests which lie between Bermagui and Bega.

“This survey does however confirm south coast conservationists and community groups statements of the past 10 years, that there is a small but potentially viable population of koalas barely hanging on in the south east forests.”

Noel Plumb, John Hibberd and Prue Acton "expressed the deep concern of their respective organisations to the Minister that, given State Forests' present attitude, there would inevitably be direct conflict in the these forests if State Forests attempted to start logging operations. Members of  the south coast communities are sick to death of 40 years of woodchipping and associated environmental destruction, we are determined to save the  Far South Coast koalas.”

For further comment;

John Hibberd,  Conservation Council ACT Region, Mobile 0407292657;

Prue Acton O.B.E. SERCA Merimbula
ph. 0264945144, m. 0419393203.


MEDIA RELEASE 28 February 2010

Koalas Doomed in South East Forests

Sell Out In the Wind

Conservation groups today claimed that the NSW Department of Environment (DoE) was dooming the last remaining koala colony in the South East Forests by caving into the NSW logging agency, State Forests. 

“DoE has effectively sold out on the survival of the last koalas in the South East Forests as it tries to negotiate with State Forests on a grossly unequal basis”, said spokespersons for the groups.

“We insist that conservation representatives be included in the negotiations to ensure the koalas get a fair go at survival.”

“DoE has failed to insist on the critical information on timber supply from State Forests so that it can actually negotiate on the basis of alternative supply sources. This information is vital to get around the claimed short term supply problem for a local timber mill.”

“ We know that the reality is that most of the timber, up to 90%, felled in this region goes straight to the Eden chipmill. State Forests has been caught time after time trying to claim a supply crisis for saw mills when none exists, or should exist if State Forests was competent.”

“DoE has tried to hide its desperate situation with the misleading statement that State Forests won’t be “initially logging in those areas where the koalas have been identified” but all this means is that State Forests intends to woodchip the forests all around the actual koala sightings.” **

“The end result will be the same – extinction of the last koala colony in the South East Forests from lack of sufficient forest habitat to feed and shelter them.”

For further comment, images;

Prue Acton SERCA 6494 5144 (Merimbula).



Posted by editor at 12:05 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 4 March 2010 1:52 PM EADT
Tough reaction to river redgum decision as mill announces pre emptive closure
Mood:  not sure
Topic: nsw govt


Picture: File picture of this long running saga as per ex premier named in the banner.


Earlier this week the front page of The Australian led with a confronting/compassionate speech by federal Agriculture minister Tony Burke along the lines that it would have been alot kinder to implement transition out of drought declared farms 7 years ago. He mentioned self harm by farmers in recent years despite being on Exception Circumstances subsidy and even after the drought had broken because they had exhausted their capital, reached the ceiling of EC benefits, and have no great prospects by the next drought or capacity to loan for current investment. Leading to self harm. A hard story to be sure.

Then we heard a 5 year 6,000 cubic metre per year deal for logging to continue until a national park is created in toto in the river red gums of NSW:

Yesterday the Sydney Morning Herald ran this protest story:

 Rees's plan to save redgums faces the axe

BRIAN ROBINS March 3, 2010 

Chopping mad ...  environmentalists protesting against the decision raised a banner outside the Premier's office.

Chopping mad ... environmentalists protesting against the decision raised a banner outside the Premier's office. Photo: Nick Moir

The decision of the former premier Nathan Rees to immediately end logging of the Riverina redgums has been reversed by the state government.

It has opted for a five-year wind-down of logging, coupled with the establishment of national and regional parks that cover much of the contested area.

But getting the necessary legislation through Parliament is expected to be difficult, with the Coalition, Shooters and Greens parties all indicating opposition.

The state government said it would protect 107,000 hectares of Riverina redgums and set up an $80 million support package with logging to be wound down over the next five years.

Mr Rees proposed locking up the 42,000 hectares of the Millewa forest Riverina redgums in a national park, along with further unspecified areas along the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Lachlan rivers.

Environmental groups slammed the government for ''chopping the promised area in half''. The Greens want a total ban on logging while the Shooters are opposed to any halt to logging.

''This is clearly a deal with the Greens to win their preferences at next year's election,'' the Shooters MLC Robert Brown said of the government's proposal. ''We'll vote against it, as will the Nationals and Liberals, I suspect.''

The Greens MLC Ian Cohen said: ''Don't be surprised if I oppose it. It's a Labor-Nationals stitch-up. I am seriously unimpressed, and will be seeking advice. It's a pathetic compromise that leaves half of the magnificent Millewa Forest open for logging.''

The opposition also slammed the decision, saying that ''on face value, we'll be opposing'' the legislation because the government has ignored the local communities.

''The only reason that the redgums in the Barmah-Millewa area are in a reasonable condition is because they have been actively managed by the forestry industry for the past 150 years," the opposition spokeswoman on natural resources, Katrina Hodgkinson, said.

We also offered this analysis to southern forest groups:

Subject: redgum pr via Lake Cargelligo Re: [chipstop] Emailing: Riverina red gums get protection from logging - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

I was wondering what the expert analysis would be of the redgum outcome. Notice Premier Keneally's people did PR choreography for this rural regional logging policy story by announcing water pipeline for Lake Cargelico which ran radio and tv last night.

Home | NSW Premier1 Mar 2010 ... $19 million pipeline to secure town water supplies for Lake Cargelligo. Premier Kristina Keneally and Federal Minister for Climate Change

She foreshadowed this over a month ago and got praise from The Greens for this (fair enough)
This is surely her regime offsetting the backlash for literally any redgum forest protection by showing she cares for remote communities from Sydney - clever PR.

This cynical view of government choreography of regional rural stories seems to match with this expected reaction from local conservative authorities:

Riverina ABC reportage:
Red gum park decision 'miserable' 3 March 2010
Shires fear new parks to oust loggers 4 March 2010


How does that state government decision match up with the tough love of Minister Tony Burke we wondered, and with some chagrin: 6K cubic metres p.a. does seem quite low volumes compared to the east coast, but perhaps also quite high ecological effect for a generally dry environment with low growing rates?

Just now 9.30 am over the ABC radio 4 March 2010 we hear the next twist that 'a sawmill will close' in the Riverina having effectively decided to forego a 5 year logging future in the river redgums of the south west. So it seems Minister Burke's message of tough love has already had a further influence. 


Here is text of environment groups below another file picture in this long running saga (as per ex premier 3 previous named in the banner above):

[2nd March 2010]



Groups Unite to Condemn Red Gum Back Down


Seven environment groups from across two States condemned the decision made today by the NSW Government to back down on the protection of River Red Gum wetlands.  

"Despite yesterday’s rhetoric of new national park protection for Red Gum, the State Government has kept the best areas open to logging for five years” said Peter Cooper, Campaigner for The Wilderness Society Sydney.
“This is disastrous - these forests cannot sustain another five years of intensive logging damage."

"The Millewa forest, identified as an area significant enough for national park protection, will wait five years before it is protected.  This is an exceedingly generous outcome for the forestry industry but a very poor one for conservation," said Mr Cooper.

“This was the decision to judge Premier Keneally’s environmental credentials and she has clearly failed.  We are still to see any serious environmental outcomes in this term of Government and Premier Keneally has reversed the promises made for these forests.”

“Use of the NSW Environment Trust to continue logging is entirely inappropriate  – vast funds will be spent without delivering the environmental outcomes which were promised.”

The weakness of the NSW red gum decision compares starkly against a similar decision to protect River Red Gum forests made by the Victorian Government in Dec 2008,” said Jonathan La Nauze, Friends of the Earth spokesperson.

“When Victoria protected 91,000 hectares of Red Gum it was described by environment groups as ‘one of the most significant conservation decisions in the state’s history’.  The NSW decision today was described by the groups as an ‘empty shell’.”

“The Victorian Government delivered world class National Parks, including the full protection of the Barmah forest.  Yesterday the NSW Government delivered a compromised outcome on the other side of the Murray River, with the unprecedented step of opening up half the Millewa to logging for the next five years before making it national park.”

“The Victorian Government delivered a jobs positive outcome which saw a net increase in employment for the region.  The NSW Government has condemned the region to remaining stuck in the past by a protracted phase-out of industrial-scale logging and delaying the opportunity for new jobs creation”, said Mr La Nauze. 




Activists dump Red Gum firewood on Premier Keneally’s doorstep

The Wilderness Society Sydney Inc.
Media Release
25 February 2010

Activists from The Wilderness Society have today dumped a load of River Red Gum Firewood on the doorstep of Kristina Keneally’s Heffron office to highlight the destruction of the Murray River Red Gum Forests.

The firewood was accompanied by a banner reading “Kristina, your choice: River Red Gum National Parks or River Red Gum Firewood”. Today’s action launches a renewed campaign to communicate the need to protect the Murray River Red Gum Forests to the members of Ms Keneally’s electorate.

The Wilderness Society has become increasingly frustrated by the Premier’s lack of response to the December 2009 recommendations by the NSW Natural Resources Commission, which recommended the creation of over 100,000 hectares of new River Red Gum reserves.

A decision on creating new National Parks, as recommended, is currently before the Premier, from which the people of NSW will gauge her environmental credentials.

“Today’s action highlights the simple choice that Premier Keneally must make” said Peter Cooper, Campaigner for The Wilderness Society “She must chose between allowing the Murray River Red Gum Forests to be destroyed for firewood, or protecting them, as recommended by her own scientists”.

The NRC’s report confirmed the importance of the conservation values of these forests, as well as the environmental crisis the face – with up to 80% of trees stressed dead or dying in areas – and painted a damning picture of the impact of logging on the forests.





Will Keneally keep her Red Gum promise?




The Wilderness Society Sydney Inc.
Media Release
2 March 2010

The National Parks Association of NSW and the Wilderness Society Sydney have this morning unfurled a large banner outside the Premier’s office to urge her to deliver today on her promise for large new Red Gum National Parks.

A large banner reading ‘Stop logging the Murray River Red Gum forests’ was strung between the trees outside Governor Macquarie Tower in Sydney. A decision on the future of the forests is expected today.

“This will be a chance to rescue Labor’s abysmal environmental record and put the Premier on the map for the environment” said Belinda Fairbrother, spokesperson for The Wilderness Society.

“The NSW Government has not delivered any major conservation outcomes in this term and delivering on their green promises is crucial to their integrity with the electorate.”

Since 2007 Labor has overseen windbacks in planning laws, massive expansions in coal mining and a blanket approval to a car rally in World Heritage rainforests. Hunting and tourist developments in National Parks are still on the agenda.

“Premier Keneally must create new National Parks across the River Red Gum Forests, as promised, if she wants to be able to present any environmental credentials to the people of NSW” said Carmel Flint, Spokesperson for the National Parks Association of NSW.

“The NSW Government needs to implement the decision of the independent umpire – the Natural Resources Commission.  They mustn’t turn their back on the best technical advice.”

Environmentalists have expressed deep concern around the concept of ‘transitional parks’, where logging is phased out over a number of years.  Millewa forest, the centrepiece of the National Parks system promised last year, is at risk of becoming damaged goods through ‘phase-out’ logging.

“The environmental crisis facing these forests is extreme, with over 80% of trees stressed, dead or dying in some areas.

The forests simply won’t cope with a transitional period that allows logging to continue – logging must end now if there is to be anything left worth placing into National Park” concluded Ms Flint.

Posted by editor at 10:12 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 4 March 2010 10:49 AM EADT
Monday, 1 March 2010
Nicole Campbell 'local business woman' in Alexandria, ALP candidate for Bennelong '04?
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: nsw govt



Bike paths and protesters eh? Where have we heard that name Nicole Campbell before? Not an ALP hack doing Meredith Burgmann's work for her in the ABC news today?

Here is Ms Campbell back in 2004 in the Not Happy John campaign days.


Posted by editor at 7:12 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 1 March 2010 7:24 PM EADT
Thursday, 4 February 2010
South Coast forest being smashed daily
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: nsw govt

South Coast Area Logging Compartments Current

February 2010 report from South East Forest Rescue.

South Brooman 56, 63, 65

Yadboro 418

Currowan 501

Buckenbowra 544

Wandera 585

Currambene 1042

Tallaganda 2433 & 2434, 2439

Bodalla 3013

Dampier 3123, 3231

That makes thirteen active areas destroying forest habitat daily.

South Brooman is being logged heavily at present on the pretence that when they logged it last time

about six years ago the marking up wasn't done correctly and missed out on a lot of area down by the

gullies etc. into the rainforest and there was only wattle regeneration happening in the areas they done

last time anyway so…what you see on the ground is "adaptive management" at an exasperating level of

dysfunction. Interestingly compartment 65 had a sudden change of logging style; originally the

harvesting was said to be a 'single tree selection' operation

[Forest stands of mixed age cover 100% of the net planned area (249ha) and will be harvested under a

single tree selection (STS) regime with the objective of removing approx 50% of mature trees and defective trees

containing a sawlog, while minimising damage to young regenerating stems, and creating canopy openings where

appropriate for regeneration.]

but when questioning the logging contractor Mr Condie last Sunday he told us that they amended that

and changed to an AGS style operation. Austalian Group Selection is predicted to feature prominently

in native forest logging to come

[AGS medium intensity canopy openings must not be greater than 0.39ha and the total area of canopy

openings must not exceed 22.5% of the net harvestable area within the AGS medium intensity tract.]

inside each AGS canopy opening (which vary in their size and do get rather large) is clear fall logging,

all trees removed, lots of ground disturbance and scant remaining habitat.

Both Yadboro and Currowan forest are situated between the Clyde River and the escarpment to the

west; Currowan 501 has had neglible logging, and Yadboro 418 also only lightly logged historically.

Buckenbowra is west of Mogo and was nominated to be declared wilderness, yet tragically more

roading continues in compartment 544.

Wandera 585 can be seen kicking up dust from the highway just north of Moruya.

Currambene 1042 is way north up by the St Georges Basin. Coastal forest being scientifically thinned

for various Forests NSW research projects

The total combined green mill recovery based on volume was 48.3%.

This forest research said that about half of the logs become actual product ie. rough sawn green boards.

Tallaganda compartments are either old growth or minimally disturbed along the Great Dividing Range

west of Braidwood, Shoalhaven River drains to the east, Murray-Darling River Basin to the west.

Bodalla 3013 is out along Mitchells Ridge Road north of Narooma, more overcutting in coastal forests.

In Dampier 3231 there is original forest being destroyed. Compartment 3123 has been logged but a

very long time ago.

Future Plans

More roading in Buckenboura 543 after 544. Wandera 584 next after 585. Macdonald 1101 and 1104

beginning any day now. This forest is north of Milton has scant records of previous logging events.

Currowan big time in April with five compartments slated to start; 486 is virtual old growth, 487 was

last cut in 1984. Compartments 227 228 and 230 have only been selected for mining timbers with much

original forest still intact along the Clyde River.

Bodalla 3063 next, then Gulaga compartment 3047 in April , then with compartment 3023 in May.

Four Dampier compartments waiting in the wings 3127, 3102, 3162 & 3163.

All information for this report obtained from publicly available from government sources.

Posted by editor at 10:44 AM EADT
Friday, 11 December 2009
BOFFA blogs to harvest anti ALP sentiment
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: nsw govt

We have received two unsolicited blog emails from NSW Leader of the Opposition Barry O'Farrell or BOFFA as he seems to be known.

Here is our response and main email received below. We've kept the font and size of BOFFA as it was received. So make your own judgement. Our response in the preface relates to the tatty record of energy privatisation in the USA courtesy of Enron scandal. Our reference to hung parliament is echoed by a posting by Lee Rhiannon MP (Green Party) on New Matilda recently called Hang this!


Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2009 11:42 AM
Subject: mmm Re: Why YOU deserve a NSW election now

Schwarzenegger after Enron collapse  (Smartest Guys in the Room, free on Google Video)? Not your best argument there Barry, but I get the gist. We all do.
Am barracking for a hung parliament myself. Too bad the fed Lib party just turned Conservative according to Kort on abc just now.
Tom, editor
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2009 11:01 AM
Subject: Blog: Why YOU deserve a NSW election now

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

Dear Ecology Action

Last week NSW found itself with its fourth Labor Premier in four years - chosen by those Nathan Rees described as the 'malignant and treacherous' forces with the Labor Party, Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi - with the public again denied any say.

In his last press conference as Premier, Nathan Rees, proclaimed:

"Should I not be Premier by the end of this day, let there be no doubt in the community's mind, no doubt, that any challenger will be a puppet of Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi." (click here to watch it on YouTube)

The State's latest leadership change - and the methods used by Joe Tripodi and Eddie Obeid to deliver another ally into the Premiership - again highlights why Labor doesn't deserve to govern: public interest was again ignored; the main motivation was self-interest and Labor's election prospects.

Despite the different face at the top, nothing has changed - same factional warlords calling the shots, same Labor arrogance and incompetence, same problems facing families and business across NSW.

Where was the public's opportunity to have a say in who would be the next State Premier?  For the second time in 15 months - and just two and half years since the last election - you were denied any opportunity to have a say.

Earlier this year I announced that a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government would examine the option of 'recall' elections for NSW.

Recall elections - which apply in 18 US States and in British Columbia, Canada - provide the community with a means of forcing an early election.

It increases accountability, offer a safeguard against political abuse by government and can help restore confidence back into the political system.

The idea of being forced to an election by the community would provide government - even this NSW Labor Government - with the incentive to perform throughout the entire four-year term and not just in the months leading up to an election.

A recall election was the mechanisms that allowed Arnold Schwarzenegger to become Governor of California in 2003.

I believe a NSW recall provision is worth considering and debating.

In government, the NSW Liberal & Nationals intend to appoint an independent panel of constitutional experts to advise on the appropriateness and best model of introducing a recall election provision in NSW, including putting the matter to referendum at either the 2012 council or 2015 State election.

Let me know what you think about the proposal by commenting on Facebook, leave a comment at "Have Your say" or sign the early election petition at www.startthechange.com.au.


Posted by editor at 8:02 AM EADT
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Premier Keneally back when she was a sensitive local MP portside in 2004
Mood:  not sure
Topic: nsw govt

Depressingly we read a policy wonk in her team state - might have been via 'journo' (hyperbole merchant) Carty in Sun Herald - 'there will be no green gums, blue gums or whatever colour' under the Keneally regime. Whether that means post last Cabinet of Rees to protect redgum forests we don't know

On the other hand view this below just in, indicates Keneally understands human impacts of bad environmental policy - industrial pollution.
Glad I sent that bushfire science brief (refer SAM button on wildfires) to cabinet and upper house putting people and property at risk logging wet forest types. However I will send it to lower house this morning now too.
KKK has announced a caucus briefing.
What we don't have is a briefing about Ben Keneally, husband and policy wonk. Perhaps Lynda at BBACA can help us with that?
Lynda based in Laperouse notes this speech of yesteryear, which provides a contrast to the high level power politics in play this last few weeks:
Cheers Tom
Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 10:26 PM
Subject: KKK

Hi Tom and xxxx,

Came across this.  Thought you might be interested:

Cheers, Lynda

Orica Ltd Toxic Waste Destruction Proposal

Page: 11083

    Ms KRISTINA KENEALLY (Heffron) [5.27 p.m.]: I welcome the news that the proposed destruction of 60,000 barrels of hexachlorobenzene [HCB] waste will not take place at Botany or, indeed, in an urban area. Last week the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources announced that Orica Ltd had withdrawn its application to construct, operate and eventually decommission an HCB waste destruction facility at Botany, and that the Government has accepted a report that recommends the waste be moved out of Botany and destroyed in an alternative, remote location. This great news is the result of hard work and dedication by local community members who have fought for many years to have our concerns addressed. In June I led a delegation of community representatives to meet with the Minister for Planning to express concerns about Orica's proposal to destroy HCB waste in Botany.

    The delegation I led consisted of people from the Botany, Pagewood and Hillsdale areas who are members of the community participation and review committee [CPRC], a group that was set up to oversight Orica's proposal to destroy the waste. The CPRC has been meeting for approximately seven years. I am a member of the committee. Orica proposed to use a process known as GeoMelt to destroy this highly toxic waste. When we met with the Minister we told him that we believed the previous environmental impact statement and commission of inquiry into the GeoMelt proposal failed to consider adequately several issues, including transporting the waste to another site for destruction and liability for the local community. As a result, Minister Knowles convened an independent panel of technical experts to review Orica's proposal. This is a welcome move, and shows that the Government listens to local residents' views.

    The panel consisted of three scientists with a broad range of skills and expertise, including, crucially, consulting with the local community over planning and environmental issues. Throughout the duration of the work the panel consulted with the CPRC through regular meetings. The CPRC was able to give feedback and raise issues important to the community every step of the way. I am incredibly pleased that the panel report has recommended that the waste be destroyed at an alternative, remote location, that the long-term storage of the waste be addressed and that Orica lodge an environmental damage bond. This is a major win for our local community. All these issues are what our community fought for. Many residents in the City of Botany Bay participated in community meetings and in the CPRC. To them goes the credit for this great outcome.

    I would like to acknowledge those community members here: Louis Carvalho, Olivera Erturk, Dina Lawes, Lynda and Garry Newman, Paul and Beverley Pickering, Julie White, Michelle Grossback, Lauren Thomas, Julie Spies, Carla Smolenski, Lil and Reg Jory, Veronica Fisher, John Tullis, Paul Brown, the chair of the CPRC, Councillor Brian Troy from the City of Botany Bay, George Collison, John Tourrier, Jane Castle, Charles and Carol Abela, Alice McCann, Julie Gennissen, Larry Collis, Craig Wunsch, and Giovanna Fuote and her sisters. Two of the long-turn residents of the CPRC are Botany resident Nancy Hillier and Maroubra resident Richard Smolenski, both of whom featured in an SBS documentary 60,000 Barrels on the HCB issue. Nancy and Richard in particular ensured that the community had many victories along the way that led to this announcement.

    The CPRC demanded community involvement. They made Orica front up to the public. The community demanded a 60-day exhibition period for the environmental impact statement, which, I am advised, has never been done before. It was granted. We, the community, fought for the right of appeal to the commission of inquiry, and Minister Knowles set up the independent panel. Richard Smolenski told me, "Once we started the fight people started coming out of the woodwork." Residents from Hillsdale, the Italian community in Mascot and other newly arrived immigrants joined in with long-time residents to join the campaign. I congratulate Nancy Hillier, Richard Smolenski, community members and the rest of the CPRC. I would like to give special mention to Mayor Ron Hoenig and the City of Botany Bay, who were consistently opposed to the GeoMelt proposal, and strong advocates for the community on this issue. In addition, they made Botany town hall available for CPRC meetings. I would like to conclude with a quote from Nancy Hillier:

    This is not the end of it. We won his battle, but we have to win the war. The waste has to be disposed of in an area that is not environmentally sensitive and that is not populated. The CPRC will ensure this waste is destroyed in a fit and proper manner.

    A coalition of the local community, State and local government brought about this positive result, and with the CPRC we will continue to work with the Government.

Posted by editor at 9:18 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 9 December 2009 9:20 AM EADT
4 items on 'planning' 'lands' and 'environment' ministry in NSW now
Mood:  rushed
Topic: nsw govt

So meet new 'planning minister' Tony Kelly who already doubles as the 'lands minister' and also meet 'new environment minister' Frank Sartor.

And notice the first item is a farewell from new Premier Keneally to her 'planning' portfolio. We haven't seen the Jacfin Pty Ltd scandal turn up in Green Party rhetoric (yet) but The Australian/Opposition pick up the threads here too.

None too encouraging for governance of NSW and notice bold added for some choice bits.

The new Premier can say they are all "merits" based but in a healthy democracy potential conflict of interests are shunned. As the good book says, you cannot serve two masters - in this situation either good policy, or ALP corporate fundraising opportunities.

The Greens likely most left wing MP in NSW is going so far as to support a hung parliament here on New Matilda. Lefty Labor are apparently meeting this weekend to regroup against the Right onslaught according to the SMH here:

"Several ALP branches, with the support of the secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Andrew Ferguson, have called a meeting of rank-and-file party members, on Saturday, to vent their anger at the dumping of Mr Rees."

in Keneally promotes Sartor and Kelly Date: December 8 2009

..................................#1 of 4

Keneally decision gives top Labor donor $3.5m windfall | The ...

Imre Salusinszky, NSW political reporter From: The Australian December 07, 2009 12:00AM

ONE of Kristina Keneally's last decisions as NSW planning minister has delivered a $3.5 million windfall to Jackie Waterhouse, the mystery woman who was the biggest donor to NSW Labor between 2005 and 2007.

On October 28, Mrs Keneally, who was sworn in as Premier on Friday, used special planning powers to approve a proposal by Ms Waterhouse's private company, Jacfin, to build a warehouse complex at Erskine Park, in outer-western Sydney.

The decision was made despite serious objections by Penrith council, including that the warehouse will encroach upon a biodiversity corridor running through the Erskine Business Park.

It also overrides objections by the Planning Assessment Commission, the special body set up under Mrs Keneally to remove politics from planning decisions by dealing with large development applications where political donations are involved.

Last year, The Australian revealed that Ms Waterhouse, who was related by marriage to bookmaker Robbie Waterhouse, donated $300,000 to NSW Labor coffers between 2005 and 2007, much more than the next-largest donor, developer Kingold, which kicked in $190,000.

In a determination on September 21, the PAC raised numerous objections to the Jacfin proposal, including that it would crimp part of the biodiversity corridor -- designed to preserve the integrity of native bushland -- from a recommended width of 90m to 70m.

The PAC report concluded that "the approval of the application should be deferred until the applicant has submitted amending plans".

However, in its response to the PAC report, submitted to the Department of Planning on October 14, Jacfin refused to give ground on the corridor.

This did not prevent Mrs Keneally issuing her determination a fortnight later.

A Department of Planning spokesman said yesterday the PAC's recommendation for a 90m average width for the biodiversity corridor "would make it very difficult for a viable development to occur on the site".

The PAC's requirement for a minimum width of 70m had been met, he said.

"The PAC's recommendations helped the department negotiate a better environmental outcome for the site than what was originally proposed, whilst securing important economic and employment outcomes for the site."

Ms Waterhouse, 61, has property holdings in outer-western Sydney that are estimated to be worth more than $500m.

Rarely sighted in public, she was married to John Waterhouse, the cousin of Robbie Waterhouse.

After divorcing Mr Waterhouse in the early 1990s, she had a brief and tempestuous marriage with bookmaker and financier Robert Blann.

Ms Waterhouse did not return calls yesterday.

Local property sources have told The Australian that Ms Waterhouse's land would have gained $3.5m in value as a result of Mrs Keneally's decision.

..................................#2 of 4

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 4

Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 3:50 PM
Subject: [Greens-Media] (Hale MLC) Keneally and Kelly - new names but noreal

Media release

>From Sylvia Hale MP, Greens Spokesperson for Planning

8 December 2009   - For immediate use

Keneally and Kelly - new names but no real change

Tony Kelly’s reincarnation as the new Minister for Planning means
that NSW can look forward to no real changes to NSW’s discredited
planning laws say the Greens.

“As a former General Manager of Wellington Council, Tony Kelly is
well aware of the intense opposition within local government and the
community to Part 3A of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act and
the transfer of decision-making powers from councils to unelected
regional planning panels dominated by Ministerial appointees,” said
Sylvia Hale MLC, Greens Spokesperson for Planning.

“Only by immediately amending the Act to delete Part 3A of the Act,
by dissolving regional planning panels and rewriting the housing codes,
will Mr Kelly show that he is genuinely committed to the change the
community so desperately wants.

“But his past performance as Minister for Lands suggests that it will
be business as usual, so far as Planning is concerned.

“On the basis of his record there is little reason to hope that he
will move away from planning policies and decisions that have favoured
major donors and large corporations at the expense of residents and the

“When Lands Minister, he consistently supported for de facto
privatisation of a large portion of the Killalea State Park.

“The bankruptcy of the Mariner Finance and Babcock and Brown, major
donors to the ALP and the prime movers behind the Killalea Coastal
Developments’ proposal, gave him the opportunity to accede to the
community’s wishes and bring the Agreement to Lease deal to an end.

“But he did not do so, despite the intense public opposition to the
project and the South Coast Labor Council’s Green Ban.

“Being now both Minister for Planning and Minister for Lands, Tony
Kelly faces an intolerable conflict of interest between his role as
overseer of Crown Lands and the Minister responsible for determining
development applications for use of those lands,” said Ms Hale.


............................#4 of 4

Sent: Wednesday, December 09, 2009 7:20 AM
Subject: Meet the 'environment' minister Sartor .... Fw: planning

Again from Lynda who is a profound digger of info, think a Laperouse version of Harriet in Bega. I've already read this clip below from earlier in the year re Sartor postures as an indy 'honest' broker when dumped onto the backbench. But the Cleland CoI into Port Botany expansion proved he was just another [xxxx] in 2005- reversing the CoI findings following Cabinet diktat.
On the other hand Sartor is a brawler which might be of some use. On the other to that - Keneally is parking him just like Howard did Turnbull as Fed Env Minister. It's a leadership rival thing and expedient.
"Reform coastal management" in the article below is ironic not least given Justice David Lloyd finding of land bribes on Sartor's watch in coastal areas. (wake up Peter Garrett for that matter). Ouch! Sartor is so compromised the Right machine have him by the short and curlies now.
xxxxx is catching up methinks on the grim realities, not being quite the media obsessive here. Tragic lifestyle.
Regards, Tom
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 10:35 PM
Subject: planning

this one surprises me - Tony Kelly, Minister for Planning, Minister for Infrastructure, Minister for Lands
perhaps a vote of confidence that Sam Haddad can run the show and Kelly won't interfere
and this one will generate a lot of comment but what about this -

The morphing of former NSW Planning Minister Frank Sartor from the best mate of the developers to the hero of environmental activists is in full swing.

Since being dropped from the Cabinet by Premier Nathan Rees last September, Sartor, MP for Rockdale in southern Sydney, has been on a charm offensive and busily re-inventing himself.

Last week he was in the Tweed Shire on the NSW-Queensland border meeting Hastings Village Progress Association and the Sustainable Villages Alliance to discuss their long-running campaign against inappropriate development in the beachfront community.

He has other appointments with community groups in Newcastle and on the South Coast in the coming days.

Sartor, the former Sydney Lord Mayor and ex-independent, has caught media attention with a new campaign to reform coastal development legislation, a burning issue among NSW residents who don’t want their coastline defiled and turned into mini-Gold Coasts.

He told the Tweed Daily News: “There is a need for new State environmental planning laws that cover the whole coastal area. These laws should focus on the whole coastal areas  — from the dunes right back to the estuaries  — and should take into account the impacts of climate change, population growth and other development.

What is needed is State planning legislation that is clear, unambiguous and strong. I think the community would accept that there is need for appropriate development if there is greater consultation and transparency, from the developer and the government, and they feel they are part of the process.”

But SartorMark II hasn’t won everybody over. Many environmental activists still recall his high-profile involvement with major developments at Pitt Town, Catherine Hill Bay, Sandon Point, Anvil Hill Mine and the $2 billion Kurnell desalination plant, just to name a few.

However, Sartor has become the premier-in-waiting for The Murdoch press — The Daily Telegraph and The Australian  —  and Fairfax Media — The Sydney Morning Herald and The Sun-Herald. Others in the cheer squad are former Prime Minister Paul Keating, former premiers Bob Carr and Morris Iemma and former Olympics Minister Michael Knight.

The success of the Sartor push is predicated upon Nathan Rees imploding in the polls and the Caucus being spooked into yet another premiership change before the state election in March 2011.

Unhappily for the conspirators, yesterday’s Newspoll showed an improvement, albeit a small one, for Rees. In January and February, Labor’s primary vote jumped four points to 30 per cent while the Coalition dropped one point to 42 per cent.

A total of 37 per cent of voters are satisfied with Rees’s performance and 39 per cent are satisfied with the performance of Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell.

When Newspoll asked the question: Who do you think would make the better premier? 34 per cent said Rees and 29 per cent said O’Farrell.

In just seven months in the job, Rees has managed to outpoll O’Farrell as preferred premier which leads to the conclusion that Rees is cutting through while O’Farrell isn’t.

As Rees improves his game, his premiership will become safer and caucus will batten down the hatches for the election. The sound you can hear in the background is the regime change fanatics from News Ltd and Fairfax Media grinding their teeth in fury.


Posted by editor at 8:34 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 9 December 2009 9:13 AM EADT
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Local authority figure view on Premier Kristina Keneally in Heffron
Mood:  chatty
Topic: nsw govt


Well, we sent an email request for some comment "for publication" at 7.12 am this morning.

Lynda Newnam who for a long time was web master of Botany Bay & Catchment Alliance umbrella to 33 community groups, and appears to be the author of this post screenprint above, writes back quite soon after.

As a fierce critic of the Port Botany expansion we expected a rocket from Lynda (compared with say this on New Matilda recently) but we have to say it's pretty mild or complimentary actually. Here it is as something of a balance to some previous posts here on the new Premier:

Lynda writes as follows:

Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 9:34 AM
Subject: Re: Lynda, your view of Keneally for publication?

Hi Tom,

I have been telling people that Kristina would be the next Premier since May 1. I saw her at the handover of the Prince Henry Community Centre and it struck me then that she had the confidence, commitment, energy and desire to take the job on. 
Kristina has accumulated a wide variety of experience representing a diverse electorate.  She came into Heffron in the early stages of the Port Expansion and when Orica hit the headlines with the groundwater contamination and other issues like the HCB stockpile.  She also has constituents within the City of Sydney boundaries and those affected by the proposed ED ramps at Eastlakes.  There are large pockets of social disadvantage in her electorate.   Botany and Banksmeadow were incorporated into the Maroubra electorate at the 2007 election so she no longer has consituents facing those issues but she does carry the experience unlike someone like Barry O'Farrell who has represented a relatively privileged residential electorate. 

When Iemma was dumped her husband Ben was quick to follow.  Ben had pulled the State Plan together.  Cricial as I might be with the details it is a document that guides debate on issues at a State level.  We have too little debate on the big issues and the pity is that the State Plan and Metrostrategy aren't taken more seriously.  Ben Keneally's gone onto a job with Better Place the Electric Car promoters.  Looks like a sensible move.  Can't understand why couples like Albanese and Tebbutt think they are a good look, and the Coutts-Trotter's appointment to head Education (when he hadn't been a teacher and had a criminal record) made Plibersek look very poor.   I think it shows they spend too much time with uncritical friends rather than out and about in their electorates facing people who disagree with them. 

There is a strong cultural difference.   That 'can do' American approach.  Not suggesting there aren't negatives with this approach but I think the look will ultimately work in her favour. She isn't afraid to talk to people who oppose her.  I got the impression when she headed Planning that she paid attention to advice from her senior staff and supported their policies through to Cabinet.    The problem with Planning is there is insufficient debate in the broader community.  Lots of talk about Sydney needing to accommodate millions more but no consensus on whether this should happen, or if it should how it needs to be done.   I saw Kristina earlier in the year at a meeting where the Victoria Park development was being discussed.  She came with handouts for the audience and various people to field questions.  
The handout started with details on what level of population needed to be accommodated in the future along with demographics such as proportion of over 65s. The meeting lasted over 2 hours and she was prepared to answer any questions.  I don't agree with the policies but I did think she handled herself well and showed respect for the audience.

She gets ruffled by a few of the key Liberals but I don't like the sexist comments they come out with and I think a lot of other people feel the same.  It's silly lazy stuff, a poor substitute for doing research and hitting out on the facts.  Pearce has been chief Liberal interrogater for a while now and I think he does a good job generally and he did show up flaws in her modus operandi.  I suspect she will have learnt from that experience.  She does appear to be a learner and I think her domestic situation would support this.  Intelligent husband working in a 'green industry' with two young children and community connections which she works on (eg. church on Sunday).........not unlike the Prime Minister.  Looks infinitely better than Rees.  I could never work out what Rees stood for.  He waded into the Super 8 contract like an enthusiastic schoolboy.  Then silly stuff like the picnic on the bridge, wedding in New York, while at the same time signing off on the metro.   

I was in Queensland when I heard the news that Tripodi had been dropped and I couldn't believe it.  Whatever you think about Tripodi he was one Minister who had some clues on how to get the Port working.  The government, of its own making, has lots of 'challenges'.  Problems with the stevedores, the carriers, security, congestion, rail, intermodal operation.  This is the stuff that makes our economy go around so they really couldn't afford to take the eye off the ball on something so big.  I suspect the move to get rid of Rees came from many directions particularly 'business leaders' and motivated by a concern that NSW could be turned into a basket case as happened in Victoria pre Kennett. 

I see Kristina's appointment as a positive move and thought Rees was a mistake from the start. This is a government with ministers who are floundering but the same can be said about a lot of the senior people in the public service.   There should be more pressure on the Liberals to articulate policy so that we can debate an alternative direction for NSW.  At present it is a free ride for O'Farrell and that's not good for any of us.

cheers, Lynda

Posted by editor at 10:10 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 December 2009 11:59 AM EADT
Kristine Keneally, ideological lurv child of spiv Paul Keating!?
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: nsw govt

Here is a bit of ABC news below with thinly disguised ALP spin in the headline if not content which ran yesterday 7 Dec 2009: ABC have a mere 3 comments on this story before they closed it down from comments. But this quote has us most intrigued because Keating has been deafeningly silent on the Rees sacking:

But Kristina Keneally has affinity to the New South Wales right other than through her husband and his friends.

Outside church I ask her who is her political hero. She replies: “Paul Keating”. And she waves away the criticism of being a captive of the Right with the mantra: “I am my own woman, I stand on my own two feet.”




Kristina Keneally: consultative healer” (as if) by Matt Wordsworth, a true westie journo, state political reporter there.

We took a swing past Paul Keating's official website last night. Most of the links don't work as per the graphic above. Perhaps Paul (and Richo?) have been too busy with other things?

As we noted on a crikey.com.au story comment string, Keating has form in the big developer stakes: We were involved alot as Bondi Beach ward councillor in the issues of Westfield regional sized predatory shopping complex located in a sub regional location. We voted against it in council because it was destined to create retail carnage for neighbouring strip shopping etc. This was 1997.

Keating was discovered some years later to have been a covert consultant to Frank Lowy big cheese at Westfield no doubt to navigate both ALP controlled Waverley Council and Craig Knowles as then ALP planning minister on the Westfield gig.

We strongly suspect Keating with his overdevelopment history will be involved in the Keneally ascension, not least due to his deafening silence right now.

Posted by editor at 9:12 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 December 2009 9:28 AM EADT

Newer | Latest | Older