- Protect our land and water from mining.
- Honesty and integrity in politics
- Local jobs
- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

NO Antimony Mine on the Dorrigo Plateau- Protect Our Water: Sticker

The by-election may be over but the campaigning on specific issues that affect the Clarence continues.

One of these issues is the proposal for an open-cut antimony mine at Wild Cattle Creek. If approved, this mine would threaten the Nymboida River and every animal that relies on it (including the people on the town water supply in the Coffs and Clarence LGAs, and our unique and endangered Eastern Freshwater Cod) - not to mention the downstream industries of fisheries, agriculture and tourism.

And yet our new MP, Chris Gulaptis, does not consider it a key issue for our electorate.

These stickers will be available at the Clarence Environment Centre in South Grafton.

Media Release: NO Antimony Mine on the Dorrigo Plateau- Protect Our Water: Sticker

This sticker will soon be appearing on the bumpers of many local cars.

Local residents, protesting the proposed reopening of an antimony mine at Wild Cattle Creek near Dorrigo, funded the sticker. A generous donation by Jamie McKinnon of Pepperprint Colour Printers, Coffs Harbour, also made the printing possible.

The sticker is being distributed by the Dorrigo Environment Watch Inc., Antimony Action and local NSW Greens groups.

Antimony and many of its compounds are toxic; the effects of antimony poisoning are similar to arsenic poisoning. In small doses, antimony causes headaches, dizziness and depression. Larger doses damage the kidneys and the liver, causing violent and frequent vomiting and will lead to death within a few days; otherwise skin contact causes dermatitis. ......The proposal by Anchor Resources Ltd to undertake Antimony mining activities within the headwaters of the Nymboida River is of immense concern, particularly when considering that this catchment provides drinking and potable water for in excess of 100 000 residents between Yamba and Sawtell.

Motion put to Coffs Harbour Council meeting by Greens Cr Mark Graham and seconded by Cr Rodney Degans. June 23, 2011.

Further information about the proposed reopening of the mine and about the dangers of antimony mining in high rainfall areas is available at


ABC Story : Poison in Paradise at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-21/proposed-mine-prompts-poison-fears/3594644 and http://mncgreens.blogspot.com

The stickers are available from Kombu Wholefoods in Bellingen, The Happy Frog in Coffs Harbour, The Clarence Environment Centre in South Grafton, Sawtell Paradise Fruit, The Sawtell Newsagency, Hickory Wholefoods in Dorrigo and the groups listed above.


Link to Macleay Argus article: More Water Discharged From Mine

Flood plain development at West Byron.

Climate change! What climate change?

NCEC Media Release  November 28, 2011

With world Governments due to meet in Durban, South Africa to keep trying to hammer out a global agreement for action on climate change, it's clear that Australian Governments are still largely in the denial phase.

According to NCEC President Susie Russell, this is demonstrated by the business as usual approach to  planning and development, where Governments still encourage development of land subject to increasing natural hazards, using the same energy-guzzling designs.

“The proposed new suburb of Byron Bay – West Byron, is a case in point.

“The development will see about 1000 homes, plus retail and industrial buildings built on the floodplain of the Belongil Creek. 

“Developing the floodplain of a coastal estuary is not wise.  With sea-levels rising and rainfalls intensifying due to climate change it will subject future landowners to massive risks and hardships.  

“Scientists have been telling us since the mid- 1990s that we can expect more intense rainfall events, with a likelihood of more flash flooding. One in a 100 year floods can be expected every 20 years. This is consistent with what we are seeing in Northern NSW.

“If the NSW Government accepts this 'concept' and rezones this floodplain for residential, retail and industrial development, will the taxpayers of NSW be responsible for picking up the tab for flood damage to this suburban infrastructure?

“The public has less than 2 days to comment on this development 'concept'. 1 Many questions about it remain unanswered. Changes to the planning process introduced under the previous Government mean that developers can get approval before detailing exactly what they plan to do, how they plan to solve various problems or deal with particular environmental impacts.

“As a community we should be planning and building for a future of greater climatic instability, not continuing the folly of building new suburbs on flood prone land,” she said.

1. http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=3547

For comment contact Susie Russell 02 65504481

Friday, 25 November 2011

Shooters and Fred Nile strike deal with Coalition to betray police

Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2011 *media release - David Shoebridge MLC - for immediate use*

The Shooters Party and Fred Nile have sold out NSW Police, striking a last
minute deal with the O'Farrell government to pass the government's
contentious Police death and disability legislation in the NSW Upper House,
David Shoebridge & Janet Cavanaugh with Grafton police representatives
according to Greens NSW Police spokesperson David Shoebridge.

"The modest amendments proposed by Fred Nile and the Shooters Party mean
that the O'Farrell government's attack on police death and disability
benefits remains little changed.

"The government's legislation delivers a low-cost and unfair scheme that
will leave seriously injured police paying the price for their service to
the State.

"Police deserve better than this. Slashing benefits will not make the job
any safer or reduce the number of injuries suffered by police.

"With their benefits cut there is a real risk we will see seriously injured
police remaining at work despite the risk to their health simply because
they can't afford to leave the police force. This will likely only compound
their injuries and place their fellow officers and the public at risk.

"By supporting the O'Farrell government's attack on Police disability
benefits, the Shooters Party and Fred Nile have revealed themselves as well
out of touch with the genuine needs of serving police.

"Police do some of the toughest and most challenging work and when they are
injured, they should expect their government will fairly compensate them.
Sadly, after tonight's vote, they no longer have this protection," Mr
Shoebridge said.

*Media contact: 9230 3030 | 0408 113 952*

Government shuts down parliament to avoid coal seam gas moratorium bill vote

Hear Jeremy Buckingham being interviewed about the Greens' Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill 2011 by Alan Jones


24 November 2011

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham has condemned the O'Farrell Government's move to cancel this week's Private Members Business sitting day as a cynical manoeuvre to avoid a vote on the Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill.

The Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill was next in the order of business due to be debated on Friday morning, the last sitting day of the year.

"Last year Barry O'Farrell condemned Kristina Keneally for her decision to prorogue Parliament in an attempt to avoid scrutiny on the electricity privatisation, yet now he has canned the last sitting day of the year to avoid a vote on the Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

"With the ban on fracking expiring on December 31, it will be back to full speed for the coal seam gas industry over summer because the O'Farrell government was too gutless to debate the merits of a moratorium or vote on it.

"Regardless of the government's procedural tricks, the coal seam gas industry has not earned a social licence to operate and the community will use direct action, such as the Spring Ridge blockade, if they try to roll out."

Contact: Max Phillips - 0419 444 916

The ABC has put up an informative website highlighting the environmental dangers the industry poses as part of a data journalism project: Coal seam gas by the numbers.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Gulaptis meets his traditional foe

For those who can remember, Chris Gulaptis's one and only political success to date has been getting some 'action' on the flying-foxes that used to roost in and around Maclean High School. It was a major issue in late 1998 and the lead up to the 1999 state election, and we are still living with the ramifications of this action. The Maclean Rainforest Reserve is a weed patch, though it is nice to see that the plaque commemorating the official opening of the walking track by then environment minister, Tim Moore in September 1988 is still there (albeit hidden behind the lantana).

Well, the bats are back and, according to an article in the Daily Examiner, our new MP said he would get to work on finding a solution to the bat problem when he is officially the member for Clarence.

He is quoted as saying "I will be looking at the options that are available to proceed with a logical scientific dispersal".

Trouble is, dispersal has been shown time and time again NOT to work. The flying-foxes show incredible fidelity to this area, returning year after year to the site of their traditional maternity colony.

So it seems Chris Gulaptis MP has a lot to learn about flying-foxes and, it seems, the Maclean Flying-fox Management Strategy.

Dispersal efforts since 1999 have been a waste of time and money, and have just shifted the problem to the wider community, including residents near Maclean Gully.

This isn’t just my view: it is one of the key findings of the Strategy which has been endorsed by several NSW Government departments and Maclean High School.

We can only hope that our new MP concentrates on ensuring there is full funding for the urgent implementation of the Strategy to permanently resolve the Maclean flying-fox issue.

High priority actions are regeneration works in the Maclean Rainforest Reserve and the identification of nearby areas away from residential areas that can be revegetated to provide alternative habitat.

And, Chris: forget about Farlows Swamp. It just doesn’t provide the type of habitat needed by a maternity colony. That's why the bats don't roost there at this time of year.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Election analysis

I've had time to digest the election results now.

I'm really pleased about the significant increase in vote in all of the Grafton booths (47% increase overall). My vote at the Community Centre in Duke St almost doubled compared to the March state election. The photo on the left is of me with Tony and Esther at the Community Centre in the afternoon.

I was the highest scoring candidate at the Nymboida booth on Saturday. This is the first time that the Greens have ever won a booth in Clarence. Woo hoo!!

In contrast, Labor didn't outpoll the Nationals at any booths across the electorate.

I admit to feeling ambushed by Labor's shift to focus their campaign purely on coal seam gas mining on Saturday (i.e. stealing my platform and presumably many votes that would otherwise had been first preference for the Greens). The budget for this shift must have been phenomenal, with large banners throughout town (see photo, right), and a different how-to-vote featuring a membership form for Country Labor on the back under the heading: "Join Country Labor and help stop coal seam gas mining in our valley".

I claim this as a victory of sorts: it cost me votes but I believe it reflected the strength of my campaign in making the by-election about mining regulation. I take the credit for forcing NSW Labor to reverse its policy on coal seam gas.

I can only hope that John Robertson follows through and works to get a change in Federal Labor's stance, and will vote in support of the Greens bill for a moratorium on the coal seam gas industry.

I believe I ran a good campaign, and one which I can be proud of. I certainly felt that I earned a lot of respect across the whole electorate, for myself and The Greens. We'll be back next time.

PS. As a Richmond Valley resident, I have to say that I was disappointed throughout the campaign by the poor coverage in the Northern Star. I spoke to a number of people in the Mid Richmond last week who did not even know there was a by-election happening on Saturday. There was no mention in their on-line version and the only articles in the last week of the campaign were buried after page 10.

The Northern Star is losing touch with the Richmond Valley local government area. I am glad that, despite this, my vote in the Mid Richmond booths remained relatively unchanged and strong (Coraki - 12.7%, Broadwater - 13.6%, Evans Head - 9.3%, Woodburn - 15.6%). My vote in South Casino increased by 40%.

2011 Clarence By-election Results

Friday, 18 November 2011

Daily Examiner Article: Q&A with candidate Janet Cavanaugh

QUESTIONS and answers with Greens candidate Janet Cavanaugh. Greens candidate Janet Cavanaugh.
Debrah Novak

QUESTIONS and answers with Greens candidate Janet Cavanaugh.

1). What is your policy on a second bridge over the Clarence River at Grafton. Where would you prefer it to be located and when will it be built?

The second bridge over the Clarence River at Grafton needs to be located so that it serves the needs of the whole community for the next 80 to 100 years. We have to get it right this time.

I recognise that traffic congestion on the bridge is a major problem for Grafton and the productivity of local businesses. However, the RTA's decision to focus solely on this in its current planning exercise ignores the future traffic volumes on the Summerland Way, particularly once the rail hub at Casino is constructed.

I was pleased that the RTA appears to have taken a backward step in planning the second crossing. I hope they are open to suggestions, such as mine, that the new crossing should allow heavy traffic using the Summerland Way or accessing the industrial estates at Koolkhan / Trenayr to bypass the town. We need to get B-doubles out of the residential parts of town.
My preferred location is the northern edge of town.

In terms of timing, I would like it to be built sooner rather than later but am enough of a realist to recognise that Grafton is probably too far from Sydney for our bridge to be considered a priority for the current government.

While waiting for bridge promises to be kept, Grafton commuters and businesses need to take measures to improve traffic flow by switching to active transport (park and walk or cycling), car pooling and being more flexible in terms of working.

2. What will you do to ensure the Pacific Highway is upgraded to dual Carriageway. When do you expect the upgrade to be completed?

I have consistently called for a safer highway and firmly believe that this could have been achieved by now and at a much lower cost by making the current highway a dual carriageway.
It distresses me that our community is being asked to wait for the RTA's preferred option of the super-motorways before the highway is made safer for the people who use it every day. And we are paying for this delay - in terms of the cost to tax payers, in terms of the environment and in terms of our lives.
I will demand that the RTA install safety barriers down the centre of the existing highway in all sites where head-on accidents have occurred in the past 20 years.

3. How many new police do you hope to deliver to the Clarence Valley and Casino? Where will they be stationed and when will that happen?

While I agree that there is a need for more police in our region, particularly so that Casino and Yamba can have 24 hour police stations, I do not want to give an actual figure at this stage. Instead, I would be influenced by the views of the Local Area Commands and ensure that the additional police provides adequate coverage to backfill those police officers who are on leave.

Extra police and 24 hour policing are only part of the solution.

The Greens are calling for justice reinvestment, which focuses on addressing the underlying causes of crime, rather than just another 'law and order auction' which exploits community fears.

The Greens support youth clubs and other early intervention measures such as smaller classes, better educational opportunities and annual hearing tests for all Aboriginal kids. These have been shown to reduce crime and are cost effective. It costs as much to hold a person in prison as it does to employ a teacher.

The O'Farrell Government is promising 550 new police for the state but at the same time is undermining the morale and conditions of serving police officers, making the job far less attractive.
Police officers in NSW have a tough job. We expect police to place themselves in harm's way on an almost daily basis when at work, in return the government must ensure they are fully protected when they are injured. They deserve better support than the O'Farrell Government's watered down Death and Disability scheme.

The Greens are calling on the Police Minister to take a step back and return to the negotiating table with the Police Association to come up with a remodelled scheme that better protects injured police.

4) The current increase and interest in the mining of Coal Seam Gas seems to be paramount in the electorate of Clarence as the large mining companies are coming into our area and carrying out their operations by stealth all in the sake of greed.

Are you for it or against it? And are you prepared to accept the blame if their actions contribute to the pollution of the Mighty Clarence and Richmond Rivers through "Run Off," because of the chemicals that have to be used in "Fracturing?"

I've used my efforts in this campaign to make the by-election a referendum on mining regulation, and was pleased to receive the endorsement of the Lock the Gate alliance's Drew Hutton earlier this week (see Clarence Greens blogspot).

The NSW Greens started demanding better regulation of coal seam gas mining last year. Since the NSW State Election in March, The Greens have successfully moved to get a parliamentary inquiry established and have introduced a bill for a moratorium on CSG activities.

I have spoken to a lot of locals about this issue. Most people agree with me that, as a basic precaution, there should be a moratorium on the industry until the current NSW parliamentary inquiry submits its report and its recommendations are implemented. I believe we need a moratorium on CSG until it is proven safe. The rapid growth of this industry has out-stripped our current regulations. We can learn from the experiences in Queensland and do not need to repeat their mistakes.

In Federal parliament, the Greens have tabled a bill which would give land owners greater rights when it comes to dealing with mining companies, and allow the federal Environment Minister to consider the impacts of CSG on water.

Hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking' is one of the more riskier activities associated with the extraction of coal seam gas and other forms of unconventional natural gas such as shale gas. It involves injecting sand, water and chemicals into the coal seam under pressure to create fissures for gas to flow. This can crack aquifers and contaminate underground water.

I am also concerned about the amount of saline and chemical laden water that is produced when extracting gas from the coal seams. The use of evaporative ponds to dispose of this water has been banned for new exploration licences but continues on existing licensed areas.

I have welcomed the NSW Government's current moratorium on the practice and hope this will be extended indefinitely.

5). Could the candidates for the Clarence By-election please give their preferred location for a second bridge crossing for Grafton and provide an explanation as to why they reached their conclusion?

My preferred location is the northern edge of town so that the new crossing will allow heavy traffic using the Summerland Way or accessing the industrial estates at Koolkhan / Trenayr to bypass the residential parts of town.

In making this decision I am considering future traffic volumes on the Summerland Way, particularly once the rail hub at Casino is constructed.

6).Would you go against your political party's policy to protect your electorate from any threat to, say, pure clean drinking water? 

There is no conflict between my views and Greens policy regarding the need to protect the Clarence electorate from any threats to our drinking water supply.

Greens councillor Mark Graham (from Coffs Harbour City Council) first alerted the media about the potential impacts of the proposed antimony mine at Wild Cattle Creek on the Nymboida and Clarence Rivers, and our communities that rely on these rivers for their water.

Antimony is a highly toxic substance. Any leak at the mine would have a devastating impact on the Coffs-Clarence water supply, and downstream industries such as fishing, agriculture and tourism.

The NSW Government has to give a guarantee that antimony mining will not be permitted in this area. Proposing a 'balance' between mining and farming is not good enough. The fate of the Clarence catchment population rests in this 'balance'.

7). I would like to know about your interest in the manner in which "Cooperate greed" is increasing at such a rapid rate and wether you consider it is now time to act to stop its increase. Or do you favour it as most of our retired politicians seem to be getting involved in it through becoming members of mining company boards?

Unlike other parties, The Greens are not about money or power. We share your concerns about corporate greed and big business destroying the world in the name of short-term profit.
As far as I know, there are no ex Greens MPs working for mining companies (unlike the Nationals). I believe this give The Greens a unique strength when we're dealing with mining companies.

8). When you make a promise, will you actually keep it?

The Greens stand for honesty and integrity in politics. If I make a promise, I do intend to keep it. However I am enough of a realist to recognise that, as new information comes to light, some decisions need to be changed to ensure the best possible outcomes.

9). Sports and tuition tourism is the fast growing tourism areas for rural Australia. What do the candidates feel need to happen to improve this for the electorate?

The State Government needs to provide funding for improved facilities and also event organisation.

10). With support for some of our long running festivals beginning to dwindle due to a change in demographics, should we also be putting more money into tuition events such as the heavily underfunded Artsfest?

I was disappointed that this year's Artsfest will be the last. After 18 years as Australia's premier creativity workshop event, its loss from Grafton will affect not just the economy but also the cultural environment of our community.

The Greens NSW believe that the arts are an integral part of people's lives, and we recognise the importance to all Australians of a rich and lively artistic life, both as audience and as participants. In particular, we believe everyone should have a right to education that develops individual creativity, irrespective of their age, financial circumstances, or their physical or cultural differences.

If elected, I will work to increase substantially the total funding of arts organisations in NSW, and the proportion of arts funding set aside for small to medium organisations. I will also work to increase the proportion of the NSW Arts Budget devoted to community and local projects in the regions.

Events need to be coordinated and funded, and it annoys me that Events NSW has not supported any events this year in the Clarence electorate, apart from the Coffs Harbour World Rally Championship (which only marginally benefited the electorate). This contrasts markedly with Port Macquarie which has benefited from several flagship events this year.

The role of tuition events needs to be recognised by Events NSW and I would lobby for both State and local government support for future cultural and tuition events in this electorate. 

Janet Cavanaugh, the candidate opposing antimony mining in your water catchment

Janet opposes the reopening of the antimony mine
Mining and its threats to the Clarence’s water and food security is the key issue in this by-election. We have antimony mining proposed in the catchment of the Coffs-Clarence water supply and coal seam gas operations expanding throughout the area. 

    Janet Cavanaugh is the candidate saying, ‘Never!’ not ‘maybe’ to the antimony mine. The Clarence electorate is yet to become aware of the danger an antimony mine represents to the Clarence. We are not talking of a little bit of pollution. We are talking of open cut mine 1.5km x 0.5km under a very high rainfall. A tailings dam will collect antimony and arsenic (a byproduct) in polluted water, and must eventually overflow into the Clarence catchment. Like the Macleay River, our river will be poisoned for thousands of years. For a few jobs on the Dorrigo Plateau our  jobs including farming, tourism and fishing will be lost.

Janet Cavanaugh is one of the few local candidates really opposing dangerous mining practices. The Greens’ priorities are long-term investment in education, health , services, an upgraded highway and other transport services, and the creation of local jobs for our youth. Janet Cavanaugh wants to expand and improve the quality of tertiary education in the area, to improve transport options to jobs and services, and will fight to keep public sector jobs in our towns.

Media Release from Beyond Zero Emissions: CSG report

An explosive report demolishing gas industry claims that coal seam gas is "clean energy" has been suppressed by the Board of the company that wrote it.

The report was commissioned by the not for profit renewable energy research group Beyond Zero Emissions and fully completed in September.

Worley Parsons have a $580 million contract with Queensland Gas Company for engineering and procurement services for the company’s massive Queensland Curtis LNG project.

"We have a contract for the delivery of this report. The report has been completed, and the fact that its findings are inconvenient for the gas industry and Worley Parsons is not a good enough reason for its suppression. It is of the utmost importance that the proper scientific research into the true emissions impact of coal seam gas sees the light of day" says Matthew Wright, Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions. "We need to clear the air on gas emissions."
This report supersedes a report selectively and repeatedly quoted by oil and gas industry lobby group APPEA, but hidden from public view until its release under pressure a few days ago.

***The supressed report includes information that:

There is no Australian field data on fugitive emissions and that the American Petroleum Industry data that the industry and government rely on is out dated and superseded, including well workovers having emissions around 8500 times previous estimates. Individual wells in the US have reported fugitive emission levels of up to 30 percent, and fields of up to 15 percent of total well yield.

In addition the American Petroleum Industry compendium which is the basis for industry claims that coal seam gas is lower emissions are blown out of the water by the compendium itself which says:

"The Compendium is neither a standard nor a recommended practice for the development of emissions inventories"

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Shooting and Trucks Don’t Mix

17 November 2011
Greens candidate for the Clarence by-election, Janet Cavanaugh, today was joined by Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge in calling for safer highways while inspecting the new section of motorway through Glenugie State Forest, an area that the government is proposing to keep open for recreational hunting for the next decade.
Ms Cavanaugh said: “As a regular highway user I continue to be dismayed by the delays in making the highway a dual carriageway.
“However, this proposal to allow recreational hunting in the forest on both sides of the highway raises another fear with motorists at risk from hunters’ bullets.
“I question the new sign for Glenugie State Forest declaring that ‘Your forests are in safe hands’.  80 hectares of forest has been lost to construct this 7km road.
“Glenugie State Forest is one of 39 state forests which are being proposed to be kept open for recreational hunting for the next 10 years.
“This is effectively turning our state forests into Game Reserves to the exclusion of other users and causing a risk to highway traffic through the use of high-powered rifles,” Ms Cavanaugh said.
Janet and David at Glenugie State Forest
Mr Shoebridge said: “The Minister is supposed to give consideration to issues such as public safety, other users of state forests, and also whether recreational hunting is actually the most humane and effective form of feral animal control.
“However the current proposal lacks even basic details on how the public can be heard on this proposal.  In recent hunting declarations the only voice the government has listened to is the pro-hunting Game Council.
“How can the Minister give proper consideration to the local needs, including safety issues, via a mass declaration with no proper consultation process?
Feral animal control is a serious issue, for landowners, the agricultural industry and the environment. But it should not be done by done by amateur hunters, who have an ongoing interest in maintaining feral animal populations on public land, in order to have game to hunt next season.
“The Government must review the process for declaring public land open for hunting and prohibit hunting in forests adjoining public roads,” Mr Shoebridge said.


Contact: Janet Cavanaugh         0429 479 968
David Shoebridge                          0408 113 952

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Piccoli's preschool fees bad news for public education in Casino

The O'Farrell government is sacrificing educational outcomes for a short term boost to the state's budget bottom line, according to the Greens candidate for the Clarence by-election Janet Cavanaugh and the party's education spokesperson Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Nationals MP and Education Minister Adrian Piccoli announced as part of the September state budget that compulsory fees will be introduced from next year in the 100 preschools attached to public primary schools.
The fee structure for 2012 for preschools attached to the two public primary schools in Casino will be as follows:
Full fee (per child per day)
Aboriginal children (per child per day)
Healthcare card (per child per day)
Casino Public School
Casino West Public School

For more information see: 

Media comments:
Greens candidate for the Clarence Janet Cavanaugh said: "Compulsory fees are not only a deterrent to entry for low socio-economic background families but an insult to the notion of free, secular and comprehensive education.
John Kaye MP & Janet Cavanaugh in Grafton
"Requiring principals to ask parents to demonstrate hardship in order to obtain the cheaper fees is an insult to their professionalism. It will also undermine the important relationships principals have fostered with members of their local community.
"School principals are educational leaders not fee collectors.
"Strong relationships based on trust and compassion between schools and their communities are integral to improving student outcomes," said Ms Cavanaugh.
Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "The lack of consultation with the early childhood sector, parents, teachers and their union before this new fee structure was announced suggests that the Minister knew that he was breaking faith with the community.
"The benefits of preschool are well established in Australian and international studies, particularly in towns such as Casino which have problems with youth crime.
"Fees put at risk improvements to lifelong learning outcomes, social adjustment to school life, long-term further engagement in education and income levels.
"These benefits comprehensively outweigh any budget savings that the fees will bring.
"This isn't even good economics, given the long run savings on costs in the health, criminal justice and school education systems," Dr Kaye said.

Contact: Janet Cavanaugh 0429 479 968, John Kaye 0407 1954 55

Greens support regional jobs and services

Janet Cavanaugh & David Shoebridge MP outside Grafton Jail
Greens candidate for the Clarence by-election, Janet Cavanaugh, and Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge today spoke at Grafton Jail in support of regional jobs and public sector wages and conditions. 

Ms Cavanaugh said: “The O’Farrell Government is attacking the public sector that is vital to deliver government services to our region. 

“This was a government that came to power by promising jobs in regional NSW and yet one of its first actions was to slash jobs here at Grafton Jail and at the Forest Science section in Trenayr. 

“The relocation of the long-term female inmates to Kempsey has led to the loss of 13 jobs at the Jail. 

“This is 13 pay cheques taken out of our region, with flow on effects to the rest of the local economy,” Ms Cavanaugh. 

“The relocation of the women prisoners means their families now have hundreds of kilometres to travel to maintain contact. This is a punishment on their innocent children,” she said. 

Mr Shoebridge said: “In eight short months, a pattern has developed of the O’Farrell Government consistently attacking the public sector. 

“Cuts in jobs and wages and conditions will have a real ongoing impact on the Clarence’s economy. It will also see the government’s ability to deliver quality services continue to decline,” he said. 

Janet Cavanaugh – 0429 479 968 David Shoebridge – 0408 113 952

Ian Price Anchor Resources; ABC interview November 16

Well my concerns weren't allayed, soothed or otherwise calmed. Jacquie Hudson from the Antimony Action Group spelled out the concerns of a Sawtell citizen, why she was worried about the proposed antimony mine in the catchment for Coff Harbour's water,  very clearly.

When Ian Price from Anchor Resources was interviewed the main point he wanted to make was that Anchor Resources is at the exploratory stage and the company has not decided to mine. Well we knew that. It is necessary to argue against further investment by Anchor Resources because once more is invested by the foreign and local shareholders the prevention will be much more difficult. Indeed Anchor Resources is very clear on its website that mining prospects are very 'positive' at that site, otherwise why spruik the asset to prospective shareholders?

"A scoping study released early 2011 indicates that positive financial returns are achievable from the project."

However, mining companies do not invest millions in exploration to walk away from a viable mine if they will make a profit for their shareholders. Under incisive questioning Mr Price admitted there was at least a 'moderate' amount of antimony ore. He did say some of the ore was deep and could not be mined using an open cut but he did say some of the ore could be mined using an open cut.

Once the company has invested in exploration and environment studies and reports the company's investment is massive. Anchor Resources will promise 'the world' to persuade the government to approve the mine. We know that mining companies walk away from polluted sites and we know that governments do not have a strong track record in monitoring and preventing pollution. We know this from the Hillgrove mine experience.

We all want productive industries with job opportunities but not at the expense of our children's health or jobs in other industries.

John Vernon for the Clarence Greens

Letter to the Editor: Antimony mining is unsuitable in a cloudfall zone

"With a State by-election on Saturday the 19th, voters might consider the toxic matter of an open cut Antimony mine in the headwaters of the magnificent Clarence River system.

Antimony is in increasing demand for modern electronics. Antimony is an aid to this letter. That said, Antimony as an element is rated on a par with arsenic. If the matter of open cut gouging is not worrying enough, the Dorrigo Plateau  has one of the highest rainfalls in the state. Control of run-off in flood events is impossible, Antimony mining is unsuitable in a cloudfall zone.
Lower Creek residents at Bellbrook Bridge. Their river was poisoned. (Published Macleay Argus September 27, 2011)

There is a parallel in Kempsey's Macleay system. Winding 300 kilometres upstream is a currently disused Antimony mine, mostly pits, slightly safer than the open cut method. "The Macleay River Estuary Processes Study " estimates that Antimony contamination of the Macleay system is 80-90% due to mine leakage. It says, "The time frame of contamination in the Macleay River system will continue for the foreseeable future with time frames of at least hundreds to thousands of years."

Transfer this information and apply it to the Clarence system and you fore-see disaster. What does it mean? People along the Macleay system have been told not to pump the water. Soft advice for don't drink it. The State Environment Minister Robyn Parker said it was "standard advice and remained in force at all times." (SMH 22-10-11) For "hundreds to thousands of years" perhaps?

I urge voters to consider the candidate who is against this proposal.

Warren Tindall.

Editor's note: The only candidate who is campaigning for a complete ban on an antimony mine in this unsuitable area is the Greens Janet Cavanaugh.

Letter to the editor: Daily Examiner with voting advice

Reblogged from http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/
On November 19, the voters of the Clarence electorate will have to go back to the polls, not long after the last state election, because their elected local member had to fall on his own sword after getting caught out doing something very inappropriate. After a fairly short selection process, the National Party was able to find a National Party candidate who could both read and write, so they selected him as their nominee.

Now, if you want someone to represent the Clarence Valley in NSW Parliament, who likes to do photo opportunities and sound bites for the media, then this might seem like a suitable representative for you. You know, like standing outside Grafton Hospital while your photo is being taken, is doing something about local health, or standing next to the Pacific Highway while the press takes your photo is doing something to improve local roads, or standing outside Maclean High School for another photo-op to garner red neck votes over the bat issue. You get the idea? The usual National Party fare to gather the country bumpkin, or local red neck votes.

However, if you want someone to represent the whole of the Clarence Valley and its diverse needs, you should consider casting your vote more wisely this time. If you want someone who will stand up for local interests in NSW Parliament, and fight tooth and nail to represent us, and not big business, then cast your vote for the Greens. Recent history has shown that independents such as local Greens candidates are able to get much more for their electorates than party hacks can.

Your previous National Party representative tried to assume as low a profile as he could in the O'Farrell Government. Hardly likely to bring much benefit to the Clarence Valley, or protect the local environment and local jobs from greedy big businesses or O'Farrell Government razor gangs.

The National Party has failed to stand up to the Liberal Party when it came to the best interests of their electorate time and time again. When the Liberal Party says jump, the National Party says how high, please sir. You are starting to hear all about coal seam gas extraction, fracking and the like, and how much damage it can do to the environment, farmland, damage to the Great Artesian Basin and underground water supplies. Then there is the likelihood of an antimony mine being opened up in the catchment of the Nymboida River - your water supply. If this gets polluted it will be for hundreds of years.

Don't expect a Liberal/National party government to do anything to stop these, other than making lip service statements. They are deeply in the pocket of big business and vested interests, and everyone with two eyes and tolerable hearing knows it.

They can hardly wait to sell off the rest of the State electrical generation system, completing the job started by the Labor Party. If you think your electricity bills are high, wait until big business owns it all and the only thing that matters is keeping the stock holders happy. Screw the customers and the staff. They don't matter (and this has nothing to do with a carbon tax despite all the misinformation and deliberate lies being put out by the Liberal/National parties).

So, if you want to save your bacon, so to speak, you have one clear choice, vote green. Janet Cavanaugh is your local Greens candidate. She is well educated, intelligent and motivated to look after the local environment and local jobs; she already has a great track record in those areas. Already there are reports of government jobs being lost from the Clarence Valley, plus loss of services that are already poor enough.

Police, nurses, teachers, etc., will be leaving the NSW public service in droves soon because of O'Farrell Government policies. Stop the rot - cast your vote wisely. If you don't and get what is coming to you from that choice, then don't whinge about it afterwards. You had your chance and blew it.

M Casey

Source: Letters, The Daily Examiner, 16/11/11

Lock the Gate urges Clarence to vote Greens in by-election

Date: 14-Nov-11
Author: Drew Hutton

Listen to this article. Powered by Odiogo.com
Janet Cavanaugh in front of her Casino shopfront
The Lock the Gate Alliance has urged voters in the Clarence by-election to give their first preference to Greens candidate Janet Cavanaugh because of her strong stand on coal seam gas.

Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said his organisation had no political affiliation but would recommend a vote based on candidates' record on coal and coal seam gas.

Mr Hutton said he had studied the records of all eight candidates and was pleased that one of the independents and the Labor candidate had supported a moratorium on coal seam gas until all social and environmental issues had been addressed.

However, Ms Cavanaugh's strong advocacy on this issue over a long period made her the best candidate for voters to express their opposition to coal seam gas moving into their region.

The New South Wales Greens had also done a great deal to keep this industry under control, especially through the work of mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham.

"The people of Clarence have companies like Metgasco, Red Sky and Arrow looking to cover much of the region with gas wells, pipelines and other infrastructure turning this beautiful region into a bleak industrial zone," Mr Hutton said.

"The tourism and agricultural industries will be at risk and underground water will be threatened.
"Coal seam gas is the biggest issue facing the voters of Clarence and the best way to send a clear message to Premier Barry O'Farrell that it is not wanted here is to give a vote to the Greens."

Contact:  Drew Hutton 0428 487 110

Nationals statement on coal seam gas fails the credibility test


Letter to the Editor: Our health is in the hands of our Pollies

Nymboida River before pollution. Keep it this way
Most of us put our health up there as pretty important. We expect our government to maintain decent health services. We expect our nurses and doctors to do the best for us and our children. We could quite easily “undermine” and poison these efforts when we vote next Saturday.

The health effects of antimony mining has already shown itself in the last 6 months, with serious contamination of the Macleay and its tributaries, from Hillgrove to the ocean. With a huge new open-cut Chinese antimony mine ready to be approved for the Nymboida River, we have a clear choice at the pooling booth to either protect or threaten our health. Do we want poisonous heavy metal pollution in our waterways, threatening fish stocks and town drinking water?

Labor has decided (after years of indifference) to study the problem. The Nationals have taken a “balanced” stance where we can perhaps have clean drinking water most of the time, and poison ourselves when accidents inevitably happen with the storage ponds. The Greens instead have already put a motion to the NSW Upper House to deny approval for the mine, at least until a Land Use Plan has been developed for the Mid North Coast. The Liberal-National Coalition opposed this motion, and indeed the State Government says that such a plan is a “low priority”. So we are destined to see a hole, measuring 1.5 kilometre by 0.5 kilometre, opened up to extract and process a poisonous combination of sulphur and heavy metals, with a tailings dam perhaps many times the size of the Hillgrove version that recently overflowed 900,000 litres into the river system. This new one ultimately connects through the Nymboida to the Shannon Creek and Karangi dams and thence to the taps of Coffs residents.

A clean water supply is a privilege in this country. Its hard to see an issue that is more important this time around. For all the talk about the “radical” Greens, safeguarding our water seems a whole lot more rational than pussy-footing with “development” that could be very, very expensive to our river, our fish stocks, our environment and our very health.

...... (Dr) Paul Bryce, Bellingen

Greens call for overhaul of Forests NSW

Janet Cavanaugh and David Shoebridge in Doubleduke State Forest, November 15, 2011
Greens candidate for the Clarence by-election, Janet Cavanaugh, today joined calls by NSW Greens Forestry spokesperson David Shoebridge MP for an overhaul of Forests NSW and their timber supply contracts to ensure the long-term sustainability of the native timber industry. These calls were made while visiting Doubleduke State Forest southwest of Woodburn.

Ms Cavanaugh said: “I am a strong supporter of continued forestry in native forests but it needs to be environmentally sustainable.
“The threatened species licence (TSL) and codes of practice are meant to be controlling forestry’s impacts. However the destruction of threatened species habitat and endangered ecological communities (EECs) is still occurring.
“When I inspected the alleged breaches of the TSL of in Doubleduke State Forest in January this year, I expressed concern that our state forests were not in safe hands, contrary to the signs and the intent of the legislation.
“Those breaches had been first reported by the Clarence Environment Centre in April 2010. It is only in the last month that the Office of Environment and Heritage is finally taking action on this case in the NSW Land and Environment Court.
“In a separate case, Justice Pepper commented on Forests NSW’s cavalier attitude to compliance with environmental laws. This is not good enough for our public native forest assets,” she said.
Mr Shoebridge said: “It was revealed last week through court documents obtained under FOI applications that Forests NSW is facing ongoing commercial damages claims from Boral Ltd for failing to supply enough timber from state forests.
“The same documents reveal that in 2006 Forests NSW paid $500,000 to Boral for shortfalls in timber supply from 2003 to 2005. Now Boral is again taking Forests NSW to court seeking uncapped damages for shortfalls in wood supplies from 2005 to present.
“It is evident that Forests NSW is, for the most part, running our forests at a serious commercial loss, with the NSW public now paying Boral for the privilege of logging state forests.
“Major shifts in NSW forest policy are urgently required in order to achieve ecologically sustainable forest management and to protect tax payers from ongoing commercial damages claims.
“The Greens are pressing for an urgent review of this State's forest policy.  If we don't act soon, our state forests will be irreparably damaged by Forests NSW in order to meet the short-term and unsustainable timber demands of Boral,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Contact:    David Shoebridge 0408 113 952
                  Janet Cavanaugh 0429 479 968

Frances Pike, Forest Campaigner, has sent this evidence of the damage to our forests in these two  videos.

"My aerial footage of the damage at regional level.  What is really taking place in Mid North Coast Forests.

Without voice over aerial footage of destrution from to the Coast...note that this does NOT include the vast areas of clear fell of plantations.
 With voice over explanation
Frances has more evidence at  www.nativesrule.org Look for "more evidence" on home page under Aerial Footage mention.  It is a short comprehensive summary.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

We want a ban on coal seam gas drilling in our special 'country'.

Janet Cavanaugh said, "The coalition is claiming the Liverpool Plains represents a special case for not continuing drilling for coal seam gas.

"I happen to believe the Clarence and Richmond Valleys also represent a special case. Minister for Western NSW Humphries may believe his 'country' is special. We want a ban on coal seam gas drilling in our special 'country'."

Coal seam gas blowing up Coalition

Media Release - Jeremy Buckingham MLC  - 14 November 2011

Desperate National Party members have broken ranks on coal seam gas only to be reigned in by their Liberal colleague, with Resources Minister Chris Hartcher slapping down the Minister for Western NSW, Kevin Humphries today after Humprhies promised an announcement that coal seam gas pilot production would be halted.

Greens Mining Spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said Nationals MP Kevin Humphries was on the right track in defending rural communities from the threat of coal seam gas and should not tolerate being reigned in by his Liberal colleague Chris Hartcher who said there would be no change to coal seam gas policy.

"This is a massive rebuke for the National Party and the Coalition is in complete disarray on coal seam gas," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

"If Kevin Humphries can't deliver on the pending announcement he promised this morning, then he will have lost the confidence of the people of Barwon and Western NSW.

"Labor's reversal on coal seam gas policy has left the government exposed out on a political limb.  Nervous Nationals are now starting to break ranks, while the pro-industry Liberal Minister attempts to reign them in.

"The government's handling of this is a dog's breakfast and Barry O'Farrell needs to step in.

"The Greens Coal Seam Gas Moratorium Bill won't pick winners and losers as the O'Farrell Government seems to be attempting with its ad hoc announcements.  The Bill will press pause on the industry state-wide for 12 months while we investigate whether it should be granted a social licence," he said.

Jeremy Buckingham will tour Santos' coal seam gas operations in the Narrabri area with the Legislative Council Inquiry into the industry on Tuesday.  Hearings will be held in Narrabri on Wednesday and a hearing will be conducted at Parliament House on Thursday.

Contact: Max Phillips - 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

The following Coalition MPs have CSG activities and significant community opposition in their electorates:
Kevin Anderson (Nat) from Tamworth,
Kevin Humphries (Nat) from Barwon,
George Souris (Nat) from Upper Hunter,
Pru Goward (Lib)from Goulburn,
Brian Doyle (Lib) from Campbelltown,
Thomas George (Nat) from Lismore
Steve Bromhead (Nat) from Myall Lakes
Andrew Stoner (Nat) from Oxley
Tim Owen (Lib) from Newcastle
Craig Baumann (Lib) from Port Stephens
Lee Evans (Lib) from Heathcote
Geoff Provest (Nats) from Tweed
Gareth Ward (Lib) Kiama

Greens support Police

Greens candidate Janet Cavanaugh and Greens MP, David Shoebridge with Police officers, Dean Ferguson (in uniform) and Detective Sergeant Paul Fredericks, outside Casino Police Station.
Greens candidate for the Clarence by-election, Janet Cavanaugh, was today joined by NSW Greens spokesperson on justice, David Shoebridge MP in meeting police in Casino to discuss the town’s crime statistics, changes to the Police Death and Disability Scheme, and the recently revealed cover-up of asbestos in Police housing.
Ms Cavanaugh said: “One of the key issues in this area is crime, both within Casino and also in outlying areas. I agree that this town needs more 24 hour policing, and preferably a 24 hour police station.
“But that is only part of the solution. The Greens are calling for justice reinvestment, which focuses on addressing the underlying causes of crime, rather than just another ‘law and order auction’ which exploits community fears.
“The Greens support youth clubs and other early intervention measures such as smaller classes, better educational opportunities and annual hearing tests for all Aboriginal kids. These have been shown to reduce crime and are cost effective. It costs as much to hold a person in prison as it does to employ a teacher.
“While the O’Farrell Government is promising 550 new police for the state, I can’t believe that they are working to undermine the morale and conditions of serving police officers,” Ms Cavanaugh.
In August it was revealed that a report finding police housing to be riddled with asbestos and lead paint was covered up for eighteen months.
Greens NSW MP and Police spokesperson David Shoebridge said: “Police officers in NSW have a tough job. They deserve better support from the government than sub-standard housing and a watered down Death and Disability scheme.
“These cuts will have an unfair impact on police officers suffering psychiatric injuries.
“Approximately 80% of police medically discharges are because of psychological injury alone. 90% involve some degree of psychological injury.
"We expect police to place themselves in harm's way on an almost daily basis when at work, in return the government must ensure they are fully protected when they are injured.
“Police have been willing to negotiate in good faith with the Minister on disability benefits, but the Minister has walked away from the negotiating table.
"The NSW Government stepped further away from negotiations last week by forcing its police death and disability legislation onto the Parliament’s agenda in a close vote in the NSW Upper House last week.
“On one scenario provided by the government a psychologically injured police officer will see their benefits cut from some $569,000 to just $76,000.
“Society has recently made real progress in recognising mental health as a significant issue. By slashing the benefits payable to psychologically injured police, the government is taking a large step backwards.
“The Greens are calling on the Police Minister to take a step back and return to the negotiating table with the Police Association to come up with a remodelled scheme that better protects injured police,” he said.
Contacts: Janet Cavanaugh – 0429 479 968David Shoebridge – 0408 113 952

Coalition confusion. CSG exploration continues.

CSG exploration suspension put on ice

By Catherine Clifford, ABC Updated November 14, 2011, 3:07 pm

The New South Wales Government has been forced to pour cold water on the announcement by one of its ministers of a temporary halt to coal seam gas exploration.

Minister for Western New South Wales Kevin Humphries this morning flagged the need to suspend pilot well exploration while better regulations were developed.

But Resources and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher says the suspension will only apply to the operations of mining company Santos at Spring Ridge, in the state's north-west.

It was not a distinction made by Mr Humphries, who was commenting ahead of a forum sponsored by the Murray Darling Association in Narrabri today to discuss the co-existence of mining and agriculture.
"Those people that have got an exploratory licence, and you've had exploratory activity undertaken and it's progressed to pilot activity, then we're looking to work with industry... on them standing down until we've got a much tighter regime, particularly when it comes to water or aquifer interference," Mr Humphries said.

Mr Humphries said 44 petroleum exploration licences were issued under the previous Labor government and said every one of them was being reviewed to determine their futures.
"It's obvious that there will be places where this industry, and I'm talking about coal seam gas in this case, will be able to go and there will be places where the industry won't be able to go," he said.
"Now does that mean that some of those exploratory licences won't convert into extraction? I have no doubt that will be the case."

But Mr Hartcher has previously defended the need for CSG projects in the state, provided the concerns of farmers are also considered.

Labor announced a change of policy last week, with Opposition Leader John Robertson criticised by Mr Hartcher and others for advocating a freeze on all CSG exploration.

The Greens have also pushed for a moratorium on CSG exploration and mining, and currently have a bill before the Upper House.
Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham says the backdown sounds like a political fix.
"If this is just about Spring Ridge all this will do is enrage all those communities across New South Wales who are in exactly the same position," Mr Buckingham said.
"The farmers in the northern rivers, the Manning, the people fighting to project the drinking water catchments of Sydney.
"All of those communities will be enraged if this is just about ending the blockade at Spring Ridge."


The Sydney Morning Herald's

Win for gas blockade as Santos pulls back

Ben Cubby, Sean Nicholls
November 15, 2011 (last three paragraphs)

......................"The Resources and Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher, said the government ''has not announced any change of policy related to coal seam gas licences. The legal rights of all exploration licence holders across NSW remain unchanged.''

The Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said the Nationals feared a public backlash. ''Nervous Nationals are now starting to break ranks, while the pro-industry Liberal minister attempts to rein them in,'' he said.
The Herald has learnt that Stuart George, the son of the prominent Nationals MP for Lismore and Deputy Speaker, Thomas George, has been recruited by the coal seam gas explorer Metgasco to negotiate access to private land for the company.
Mr George, a Richmond Valley councillor, was appointed land administration officer. In August the former deputy director of the NSW Liberals, Richard Shields, was appointed Metgasco's manager of external relations."

Headwaters not Deadwaters. No antimony mine near our water.

This Saturday the electors in Clarence will be able to clearly send a signal to the O'Farrell government about the proposed antimony mine on the headwaters of the Clarence and Nymboida Rivers. This message is also crucial for the residents of Sawtell and Coffs Harbour dependent on the same water source.

Only the Greens candidate Janet Cavanaugh is pressing for a complete ban on the reopening of the mine.

The National Party is enticed by the possibility of short term jobs and talks of a 'balance' between the environment and mining. The Nationals recently ruled out the possibility of even expediting a land use assessment when this was proposed by Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
Labor still talks of a moratorium and safety measures.

Fence sitting politician with our future at the Karangi Dam protest
There is only one candidate that clearly states, “Don’t ever mine antimony at Wild Cattle Creek and risk our water.’ Don’t take the risk with ‘fence sitters’. 

Are these candidates seriously considering the possibility that an open cut antimony  mine, 1.5 km long and 0.5km wide, could be made safe? That could be a very long time. In our high rainfall it is inevitable that tailings containing arsenic and antimony will be washed into the Nymboida and Clarence, as has happened to the Macleay River. It may not happen next year or in the next ten years or even the next 50 years but these sites have the capacity to pollute for thousands of years.  The only safe way to contain antimony and arsenic is to not to disturb the ground.

Mr Wade Walker has represented ‘Steve Cansdell’s Office’ at at least one meeting and requested Pauline Hanson to stand in the Clarence electorate.  http://paulinehanson.com.au/pauline-hanson-2011/.  He might stand as an independent but his politics are ‘conservative’.

'Among Mr Walker's other key policies is more of an emphasis on renewable energy in the Clarence and also a halt to coal-seam gas exploration and antimony mining in the Clarence area until more is known about their environmental and health-related impacts.' Daily Examiner, November 8, 2011

In reality these candidates are mouthing ‘appropriate’ words like ‘balance’, ‘safeguards’, ‘protection of the environment’ and ‘calling a halt until more is known’ hoping that this greenwashing will sooth the concerned voter. Don’t be fooled.

There is only one candidate that clearly states, “Don’t ever mine antimony at Wild Cattle Creek and risk our water.’  That candidate is the NSW Greens Janet Cavanaugh.

Don’t take the risk with ‘fence sitters’. Send a message to the O’Farrell government. Vote Green on Saturday.

John Vernon for the MNC Greens


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...