Money well spent
A NUMBER of Lismore councillors have suggested that council's stand against CSG has cost too much money. Let's look at the facts:
The CSG poll did not cost $20,000. It cost the same amount as the last election, which also included a poll. The poll was already budgeted for, so no new money was spent.
The "87% voted NO to CSG" signs will cost approximately $150 each. By my maths that's about $1000. Not much in a budget of over $110 million.
There has also been the statement that the signs are not "council's core business". Doing everything we can to protect our roads from massive drilling trucks and other heavy vehicles that do not pay for destroying our roads is core council business. Doing everything we can to protect our superb natural environment and its food growing potential and protecting the health and wellbeing of our ratepayers is core council business.
Every councillor in the recent Lismore Council election stated on their election material that they opposed CSG. I wonder how committed some of them really are?
Cr Simon Clough
FRUSTRATED with the current political climate? I definitely am, and I'm tired of all the childish bickering instead of mature intelligent governance of issues that are vital to our future, like stopping all mining for energy, or how we put refugees in detention, or how we dump apples while at the same time import apple juice.
But there is an opportunity for the Lismore community to get together and discuss what we think are the important issues that politicians should have on their agenda for this year's election campaigns, and an opportunity to pass those issues on to GetUp to be considered for their election agenda.
There are several hundred small local groups registered all over the country that are meeting on March 21 between 6-8pm. The aim of these GetTogethers is to have open, lively, friendly and focused debate on the big issues that will shape Australia's future and define us a country. It is an opportunity to have a voice.
Not only will our issues go to GetUp who represent 625,638 Australians - more than all the major political parties combined - and who may just be able to change the national conversation, but they will still be our local community issues to present to our local politicians or media if we choose. Politics start locally and elections are won seat by seat.
If you have something to say, please come and join this community conversation - it may just make a difference. Lismore's local GetTogether is hosted by Lismore Community Sustainability Forum Inc and you can RSVP and post comments at www.getup.org.au/events.
Or simply come along on Thursday, March 21, at 6pm to Red Inc Studios in the laneway off Magellan Street. Contact phone 6688 0031.
WE HAVE been Echo readers for years and have even referred it to friends beyond the Northern Rivers for its accurate and balanced reporting on the coal seam gas issue. We are curious as to why The Echo is allowing the advertising by APPEA of untruthful claims relating to this industry.
APPEA's latest main claim is that CSG will help keep energy costs down. If anything, the CSG industry would contribute to higher domestic gas prices because any NSW coal seam gas production is slated for export.
Two other claims in the advertisement (March 7) seem to contravene Australian Advertising Standards relating to environmental claims. The APPEA ad says that CSG is "cleaner" and "safer". The AANA code of practice states that "environmental claims should be truthful and factual; substantiated and verifiable".
PREMIER O'Farrell, you owe the people of NSW $15 each for the reams of paper you wasted on your so-called exclusion zones and pro-CSG mining propaganda.
That load of political double-speak!
It is not worth the paper wasted on it, not to mention the hours of taxpayer-funded time you and your ministers have used to spruik this meaningless drivel.
If nothing else you owe the people of rural NSW an answer to a few questions raised by your gross misuse of public funds.
1/ What does a 2km exclusion zone actually mean? Two kilometres from where?
2/ What is the definition of a residential zone? What constitutes a village or other residential area as far as CSG mining is concerned?
3/Who draws these lines on the map? Who has the power to change them, and under what conditions?
4/ What rights of redress do people have if this arbitrary line is put in a location not conducive to the ongoing land use and health of residents in affected areas?
So Mr O'Farrell, stop wasting taxpayers' time and money for your own political gains and govern for the people of NSW in the interest of the people of NSW, for future generations and not just quick monetary or political expedience .
Win for community
I PRAISE the decision by Metgasco to suspend its Clarence Moreton program and would like to pay tribute to the NSW Government for its environmental protections.
I think in the wake of community concerns over CSG in the Northern Rivers, Metgasco's decision to suspend its activities is a good outcome for the community.
I am always very sorry for people who have lost their jobs, and for the loss of investment in the region, but I think a suspension is the right thing for the area.
There have been major concerns for the protection of our groundwater and our prime agricultural land and people can rest easier about that now.
I personally acknowledge State Nationals for their push for protections, and to the community for its engagement on the issue. The State Government's 2km exclusion zones were a win for the community.
Nationals' candidate for Page
Common sense defeated
AT LAST week's council meeting Councillor Bennett moved a motion that LCC must "protect and preserve our most valuable farmland and give our agribusiness legislative certainty" when preparing its growth management and biodiversity strategies.
He then spoke about why this should happen. The reasons being that the farming community needs to be viable and not have their agribusiness restricted with further environmental overlays. Seems like common sense that a farmer be able to farm, subject to current rules and restrictions, and have the right to do so for further generations you would think.
Our Labor/Green alliance and their ever obvious voting bloc voted against this simplest request. This alliance should now have every farmer and rural land holder worried and be seen for what and who they represent.
At our next local council election, "farmers" please remember who stood up for your rights and who just gave you "platitudes and lip service".
You might also think about this next time you have a meal and remember who made it possible and who are the real social engineers seeking to destroy the very fabric of rural economic wealth.
Ratepayers Association of Lismore Incorporated
Proud to vote National
FOR over two years now, I have watched as abuse, insults and accusation have been levelled at our State Members of Parliament.
Labor and the Greens have accused them of being pro-mining, pro-CSG and weak as water.
After the State Government delivering a moratorium and two separate rounds of environmental protections, Metgasco has said it is State Government's regulations that have effectively shut them down.
Well done Thomas, Don and Chris. Today I am proud to have voted National.
AFTER hearing of the recent decision by Metgasco to spike its plans in Casino, I thought it may be timely to remind our community that the future of our region's future energy needs can be provided by a proven and renewable source: solar energy.
The solar and renewable energy industry already creates dozens of jobs in our area, invests heavily in our local economy and has huge potential for growth. If our communities, businesses and governments were to invest in solar and renewable energy as they have in coal and coal seam gas, direct and indirect employment opportunities would boom.
In addition, rather than exporting the energy that our industry creates, it is going straight into local homes and businesses, reducing power costs and environmental impacts by off-setting coal-fired energy consumption from the grid.
We certainly do not want to be drawn into pro- or anti-CSG conversations.
Rather, we want to open a new pro-renewables conversation.
As technology that has been used for decades, with an unlimited supply of sunlight and with ever-improving storage options to use your solar energy at night, solar energy and renewable sources are the future for our energy needs without the actual or potential risk and dangers that other sources provide.
After all, when there's a huge solar energy spill, it's just called a nice day.
Director, Nickel Energy
Little Keen Street beat
ON THE occasions I have had to drive down Little Keen Street I always thought what a shame the old properties were not better maintained. It could have been such a pretty heritage street but was always overgrown with weeds, had untidy yards and houses in poor condition.
If the property holders don't demonstrate they appreciate what
they have, then the developers surely won't.
Lismore has an interesting history and some lovely original buildings which could be united to create a tourist attraction, as they do in other regions and countries.
School celebrates 125 years
ON SEPTEMBER 28, Condong School will be celebrating 125 years. We would like ex-pupils to contact us so that invitations can be sent to them. There will be an informal day at the school, starting at 9am, and a dinner at night at the Condong bowls club.
The centenary was held in 1988, and was a wonderful day.
We are hoping that this celebration will be a day to remember. Contact Condong Public School, McLeod Street Condong, 6672 2390.
MAY you never darken our area again. You have turned neighbour against neighbour in your battle to dominate our land. We may have won the battle but we must also win the war by stopping them from returning and fighting to stop other mining companies from moving in.
The Labor Party and the Liberal/Nationals have a lot to answer for. Voters have long memories. Your company is not wanted here by 87% of voters. I'm not scientifically educated but I do know this sort of mining is absolutely wrong. I am sorry for people who have lost jobs because of it, but our waterways and our earth are just too important to lose along with the animal life. They are what sustain us.
I don't understand why people like Ernie Bennett, Stuart and Thomas George support CSG in the Northern Rivers, but really the simple answer is they see big dollars and contracts above the environment and they follow the party line and aren't gutsy enough to stand up for our environment.
My estranged brother has worked in the mining industry for many years in WA so that also put us on opposite sides of the fence. I was 12 when he left to go work in the mine at Kalgoorlie. We must keep the pressure on mining companies to stay out of our area and we must also try and protect other areas around Australia as well.
Sporting too much money
THE controversy over drugs in sport stems from one cause - that sportspeople are paid too much money. Sport is not a profession; players should all have real jobs during the week.
As long as sports people are being paid enormous salaries the question will arise - are they playing to win or are they playing for the money?
As long as they are playing for the money, with so much at stake, there will be players taking money to throw matches and there will be the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
WE HAD a funny feeling of deja vu when we read another letter by Lismore's Deputy Mayor Simon Clough (Echo March 14). It appeared to be a copycat of previous Greens press releases, regarding the Game Council's officially issued Compliance Report for 2012.
But this time it was so very similar as to be remarkable. Even down to exact sentences and "buzz words".
Far from looking towards a sustainable future and bio-diversity, Simon appears to be scribbling off hurried political plagiarism with the intent of pillaging a few extra Green votes for himself. How can it be that such a poisonous and inaccurate rant comes from the mouth of a self-proclaimed expert in conflict resolution?
So to set the record straight, we invite Echo readers to read the complete report themselves.
Contrary to Simon's misinformation, 99.99% of licensed club R hunters are law-abiding. (If only the general community were likewise!) But as usual, enforcement/ compliance successes are gleefully pounced upon by our detractors and used to denigrate and smear us all.
It is no coincidence that compliance with NSW laws as regards the previously endemic illegal hunting on public land is now at a 100-year high.
One extra reason is illegal activity reporting by R licensees. This has upset many "traditional illegal users" (eg. rubbish dumpers, bush vandals, fire bugs, firewood, orchid and elk-horn looters, unrestrained pet owners, drug growers and illegal graziers). So these people are vitriolic in their attacks on Game Council personnel for allowing increased public access and the consequent unwanted scrutiny of their former "private domains".
We know the Game Council's new world-class feral animal management plans for selected public land will have significant benefits for all native wildlife and flora. We believe it also will produce valuable hunting tourism dollars, especially for non-coastal communities.
Secretary Northern Zone Hunting Club (Inc)
Don't always blame PMS
IN A new study published in the journal, Gender Medicine, researchers at the University of Toronto assessed a wealth of research relating to premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
They concluded it "failed to provide clear evidence in support of the existence of a specific premenstrual negative mood syndrome".
The problem is we tend to dismissively blame everything on PMS, disregarding other reasons why women may be angry or upset.
I NOTICE Peter Jeuken's comment that the property at 6 Little Keen Street (Echo, March 14) with exposed asbestos does not pose significant danger if fenced. The property is not fully fenced; a cyclone fence along just one of its four sides does not offer protection and is purely cosmetic. It therefore appears Peter Jeuken is telling us there is a danger.
I am not convinced that the property is safe and we respectfully demand the council protect its residents by insisting on action by the developer Mr Conte. The Conte family has benefited from the Lismore property market and it's time they took a more responsible ethical approach. My wife has lost a cousin and grandfather to asbestos poisoning. I thought we had all learnt from these horrific slow painful deaths but it appears not.
I invite you to read Gideon Haigh's "Asbestos House" and judge for yourself whether the denial and cover-ups so well documented in that book are a thing of the past. If Lismore Council's officers believe it is safe, will they come down and camp on the property overnight to demonstrate their confidence? Will they provide an independent report on the safety of the exposed asbestos at 6 Little Keen Street?
No council can afford the moral and financial risk of exposing its citizens to asbestos without taking all reasonable steps to prevent danger.
We look forward to receiving a detailed report from council and some independent advice that there is no risk to the residents and visitors to Little Keen St.
Playing the long game
DO NOT be conned by Metgasco's "suspension" ploy. The war is not won. Metgasco has not left us, as Mr Henderson himself makes clear, but is simply saving investors' money and waiting until there is "a better environment" (read, "change of Federal Government"?).
Our opposition to CSG must not relax; we must not let down our guard. Days before Metgasco's announcement, a Sydney Morning Herald article, "Public protests put brakes on drilling plans", described how protests "have had a powerful delaying effect on the industry and forced the government to extend lapsed drilling licences in many areas of NSW". The web version shows action at Doubtful Creek! A more detailed SMH Weekend Business follow-up was titled "Explorers free to sit and play the long game on fracking", which says it all about Metgasco's action.
Suspiciously, a shorter web version did not have that title or emphasis. Do not be relaxed by our Federal Environment Minister's latest statements.
The cynical might see them simply as an election ploy to get farmers' votes, particularly since the government's White Paper on Energy is so heavily pro-CSG. Relevant sections read like industry handouts - no reserves that would interfere with investment. A November SMH article ("Reform package pushes gas as new energy leader") summarises the section on governmental regulation as calling "on state and federal governments to put in place regulations to overcome environmental and local objections to the coal seam gas industry so that... reserves can be fully exploited". No folks, don't let the deserved euphoria make you relax your guard, the battle is far from over.
Dr Len Martin
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