Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Politics & Opinion

Mining

Bellingen council back’s CVC’s anti mining stance

Geoff Helisma. Bellingen Shire Council is the second council to support Clarence Valley Council’s anti-mining stance ... "So, this is asking that we don’t mine areas of high rainfall where there is a chance that it will have lasting effects on the environment and our economic opportunity. We do protect those things that are so valued in our community, so I have no qualms about putting this motion up to support what the Clarence Valley councillors have put” : Bellingen mayor, Dominic King.

Water

State intervenes on Dunoon Dam

Rous County Councillors voted 5–3 to keep the Dunoon Dam out of the region’s future water strategy and instead tap into ground water aquifers in Alstonville and Tyagarah ... “The community feedback on the council’s strategy was overwhelmingly in favour of the Dunoon Dam project with more than 10,000 of the 13,000 submissions received supporting the dam being investigated as a future water project. It is outrageous that the majority of elected councillors have completely ignored the community consultation process and Rous County Council staff recommendations”: NSW parliamentary secretary for Water Infrastructure, Sam Farraway.

Council

Business holdups – expansions, potential jobs lost

Chris Oldfield. Millions of dollars of development and jobs are being held up by Naracoorte Lucindale Council, according to several of the district's leading businesses. Alternatively, traditional businesses are being charged up to hundreds of thousands of dollars to expand with council demands for costly stormwater and drainage reports – and works. Most believe the council is deliberately holding up long-term businesses, particularly those servicing agriculture, the rural community and outlying districts. And they believe council is giving preferential treatment to some developments, even using ratepayers’ funds in court action.

Covid-19 response

Cancer patients and carers “denied basic human rights”

There is no exemption on Service NSW for people to access cancer treatment outside the border bubble. This means people will have to isolate for 14 days when they return to NSW – if Victoria lets them in. Even if they seek treatment in an area of ZERO positive PCR tests.

Forestry leader backs call for border commissioner

Eliza Berlage. The head of the local forestry industry group has added his voice to calls for the South Australian government to establish a dedicated cross-border commissioner. Forestry was missed in the initial list of essential work provided by SA Health, with clarification only received at 11am on the first day of lockdown that it was included as primary industry. Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub chair Ian McDonnell said a commissioner could have ensured more preparedness in these situations, rather than the “scramble” that occurred.

Many small WA businesses miss out on lockdown grants

About half the number of small metropolitan businesses the McGowan Government said would be eligible for assistance due to the Anzac weekend lockdown have missed out on financial assistance ... In a statement on July 19 the government said more than 15,400 businesses in Perth and Peel and 2300 businesses in regional WA could be eligible for support for the lockdown between June 29 and July 2 and the associated restriction period from July 3 to July 6. But Dr Thomas said the government’s small business Covid compensation eligibility criteria were too restrictive and not consistent.

Opinion

More of the carrot, less of the stick

There has been much tut-tutting and pursed lip condemnation of the recent anti-lockdown protests in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane but almost no analysis of why the protests occurred ... Where is the politician prepared to come out, listen to and discuss their problems with the protestors? Sending pontificating condemnatory "statements" from afar only creates more anger. Rather than quenching the fires of dissent, the response being suggested by the NSW Government may indeed fan further flames of rebellion.

Council elections

NSW local government elections postponed

The NSW Government today announced a new date for the Local Government elections has been set, Saturday 4 December 2021.

Opinion

100% is not always the only answer

In 1809, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. On 24 July 2021, in Sydney, the NSW Deputy Health Officer, Jeremy McNulty, was asked at a press conference why approved rapid antigen Covid-19 tests were not used.

FNQ

Entsch is blown away by Cape York communities

Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said he was blown away by the progress of a number of Cape York communities during last week’s trip across the Peninsula ... He said he was particularly impressed with the work being done by the Lockhart River and Mapoon councils. “I was very, very encouraged to see what they are doing.” ... While in Weipa, Mr Entsch said he had a positive sit down with Rio Tinto to discuss normalisation.

Covid-19 response

Lockdown #5

Kirstin Nicholson. The negative effects of lockdown are widespread with people and organisations having to cancel events, celebrations, travel and appointments ... “It is a concern both financially and mentally. This is what happens, it’s not just the financial side of things, it’s the mental strain on our staff and on ourselves. Every time you stop, you lose your momentum; you lose your drive. "

Sheep and Wool Show a “no–go”

Kendall Jennings. The annual Australian Sheep and Wool Show (ASWS) that was to be held in Bendigo was cancelled on the eve of the competition last Thursday due to the Victorian snap five-day lockdown. The largest event of its type in the world, stallholders, visitors and organisers were forced into turmoil refunding tickets, returning stock, cancelling accommodation and throwing out food produced for the event. Organisers appealed to the Victorian State Government to allow the event to run without crowds; however, that attempt was rejected.

Park

People power saves park

Chris Oldfield. Hailed as “a win for the people”, deputy premier and local government minister Vickie Chapman has refused the Naracoorte Lucindale Council permission to change the community land status of the Janz St parkland. Without Ms Chapman’s permission for a change of status, the council cannot sell the parkland. Last April a 5-4 vote enabled council to seek ministerial permission and sell the park. Retired senior research scientist Mick Deland – who led a petition against the sale with his son Brian – has praised Ms Chapman, Member for MacKillop Nick McBride and their office staff.

Covid-19 response

Covid free regional communities must be given green light for re-opening: Wendy Lovell

The Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Region Wendy Lovell has called for the green light to re-open regional communities that do not have a single case of COVID-19 or an exposure site in the municipality.

Call for border communities to become Victorian ‘green zones’

Member for Eden-Monaro, Kristy McBain, has called on the Victorian government to carefully consider the livelihoods of people living in border communities when making travel permit decisions.

Health

Minister silent as doctors pull out of negotiations

Chris Oldfield. The SA Government can spend up to 10 times more on each locum it employs in the Naracoorte Hospital than it pays a local GP for the same 24-hour shift. Around the State it does the same, spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars on locums and fly in fly out doctors rather than finalising contracts which enable local GPs to work at their home town country hospitals.

Council

Council to take over Jondaryan Woolshed operations

Operations of the Jondaryan Woolshed will transition to Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) following a decision at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 20 July.

Gas

NSW Government Future of Gas Statement delivers clarity on PELs and land use

The NSW Government has today released its Future of Gas Statement, outlining plans for the gas industry in NSW, while ruling out gas production under the majority of Petroleum Exploration Licences (zombie PELs), with the exception of those which support the future of the Narrabri Gas Project.

Landholder certainty vapourised with gas plan

NSW Farmers is extremely disappointed with the NSW Government’s decision to identify the Liverpool Plains as appropriate for gas exploration.

Housing - SA

Councils take housing issue to Canberra

Eliza Berlage. Leaders from some Limestone Coast councils say they have come away “feeling positive” after a recent meeting with the Federal Government Housing Minister ... Said Tatiara District Council CEO Anne Champness, “The minister was well informed about our housing challenges and we discussed the contributing factors and possible responses. From our perspective, responses could include changes to the National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF) which would make it more accessible to small/regional councils or help close the finance gap for private developers committing to the development of affordable rental accommodation ... "

Opinion

“We’re not sheep”

We are blessed with the quality and talent of our local business operators, and the current treatment is, frankly, cruel. We have seen multinational chain stores, who seldom pay tax, operate almost without impunity throughout the COVID-19 fiasco and yet, the beating heart of our country, small and medium business are wearing the impacts.

Opinion

Health and economy – time to invest in management strategies not in elimination strategies

Sadly, it has become painfully clear that our political leaders have lost the capacity, and even, it would seem, the willingness, to compare the impacts of varying public policy positions. The evidence of this is in the crude lockdowns which provide an opportunity for politicians and bureaucrats to look like they are 'doing something' and that they are 'in control' when in fact neither proposition is correct.

Stranded Australians

“Just let us come home”

Kirstin Nicholson. “I’d like to say I was elated, but the reality is, with everything that’s been going on, even after we had booked them, I still wasn’t necessarily sure that we would end up on a flight. You try not to get your hopes up because in this whole thing there is no guarantee,” says Kate Slater.

Opinion

Looking to history to secure our future

History is a fascinating subject. But it takes work and extended recall. It contains lessons. Particularly about humans and States. George Santayana wrote: “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (1905) and from Winston Churchill in the House of Commons: “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” (1948). These two were not the only people to muse on history, supposedly repeating itself.

Elections

Nominations open for Council elections

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Local Government Elections. Barkly Mayor Jeffrey McLaughlin will be standing to retain the role while word about town Councillor Hal Ruger may also throw his hat in the ring. Cr Ruger has a long history with Council, with his father Paul elected as Tennant Creek Mayor in 1999.

Opinion

National Park declaration is easy – real management needs long-term thinking, people and budgets: Institute of Foresters of Australia

The Victorian Government’s long-deferred decision to announce more National Parks in the West of Victoria last week dodges the real challenges of managing and conserving these forests. The Mt Cole – Pyrenees, Wombat, and Wellsford forests have all been re-assigned after an investigation by the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) completed in June 2019.

Poultry

Aussie chicken growers envy Biden’s poultry reform

The National Farmers’ Federation welcomes the courageous moves by the United States Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy that will prohibit unfair practices perpetrated on chicken growers by American chicken meat processors, practices that are also rife in Australia’s poultry sector.

President Biden acknowledges competition failure, why can’t we?

NSW Farmers is urging the Australian Government to take note of their counterparts across the Pacific Ocean after President of the United States Joe Biden issued orders to protect US chicken growers from powerful poultry processors.

Opinion

Ivermectin: Snake oil, propaganda and trials

Mention Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment and often the conversation could go two ways: The torches may be lit and the pitchforks gathered ready for a burning at the stake; or, “I’ve seen that too.” In a world littered with propaganda, censorship and ‘fake news’ how do you find good information? ... Ivermectin, along with at least 12 other treatments, now have a significant volume of data, research trials, and in the case of Ivermectin, has been used in the human body for decades.

Letter to the Editor – “best medical advice” and Covid-19 restrictions

David Landini, Wakool. The “best medical advice” that various politicians are using to justify their actions should be made public so that Australians can see why this advice is more credible than the research that shows their actions are actually not credible.

Timber

The NSW Government is looking after its big end of town mates

In July 2021, timber mills in NSW have or are running out of timber in the middle of an Australian and international timber shortage, where timber supply comes from the NSW State Government. People have or are about to lose their jobs. These are real people. The little people or the battlers. Not the high paid executives of multinational companies. On 2 July 2021, one of these battlers in desperation called the ABC in Tamworth. The company for whom he worked had run out of wood and could not get any from the State supplier, because it was all going to one big company, the mate of the Government. Boral.

Murray-Darling

Now there’s water in Menindee Lakes, what can we do to keep it there?

Maryanne Slattery. At long last, the big lakes at Menindee are more than cracked dirt and emu prints. Flows into Menindee have subsided after the March rains in the north this year. The reflection of blue skies and thousands of ducks on the Lakes are a welcome sight for locals and all of us watching from afar.

Tatiara Council withdraws Murray Darling support

Tatiara District Council has voted to stop providing funding and councillor representation for an organisation that supports the sustainability of Keith’s water supply. Councillor Miles Hannemann made a recommendation that council cease to attend monthly MDA meetings and stop paying the $2,200 annual subscription fee. “They keep saying we’re ‘paying a fee so we might as well be at the table’,” Cr Hanneman said. “I recommend we stop paying money and let them know we’re not coming.”

Opinion

Landscape SA defends basket weaving

Chris Oldfield. Basket weaving and learning about Aboriginal culture are “the right thing to do” for Landscape SA Limestone Coast board members and staff, according to chair Penny Schulz. And a creekbed used by Landscape SA board members, staff and an Aboriginal focus group for a training day was a revegetated “centrepiece” of the day.

Childcare

Mothers push for childcare shortage solutions

Eliza Berlage. Mothers in Kingston and Edenhope have channelled their frustration about the local childcare shortage into action by working with councils and government to find solutions. With existing services at or close to capacity and waiting lists up to 12 months, many parents have been unable to work or study, and some have considered leaving altogether.

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