Community Spirit and Amazing Effort from Herons Creek Residents – Petition against mining activity on state forest land

On the 15th February, a second quarry in Herons Creek on State Forest Land was approved, by the Joint Regional Planning Panel, in the face of strong community objection.

The company planning to mine this land at Herons Creek submitted a very poor response to the planning panel’s previous demand for further information, yet the Development Application was approved anyway. The message was clear – it is very difficult to successfully oppose a development.

The chairman of the Panel Gary West referred to a recent amendment to The Local Environment Plan, which was changed days before this application was lodged and permitted extractive industries and agriculture on State Forest Land. He stated that he dealt with the current situation (LEP Amendment) and was not responsible for it (not quite his exact words).

Our State Forests – now at risk of extractive industries and agriculture 

The message from the Council and The Regional Panel is one of legal impotence for the community in opposing developments even on State Forest Land and Crown Land, but it gets worse! In November, a Bill was passed by Niall Blair, Minister for Primary Industries to make the exploitation of State Forest Land and Crown Land by the private sector, easier. It also takes away some Aboriginal rights in the process. The process of putting this into effect will take place this year which can potentially effect between 33% and 42% of our State!

State Forest Land always has been a commercial enterprise, but was intended to sustainably produce forest products forever.

We need a more balanced legal framework which can make commonsense decisions for our community and you can get in touch with us to sign or even get a copy of our petition calling on council to disallow extractive (mining) industry on State Forest Land and you can also get involved by making a submission about these legislative changes via accessing the website of NSW EDO.

It is essential that the community uses political pressure to protect the environment for future generations. The Herons Creek Community have shown amazing spirit and effort so please support them by signing our petition, and writing a submission or even a letter addressed to Niall Blair, and Lesley Williams, expressing concern for the Governance of Crown Lands and State Forests.

Petitions can be collected from and returned to Nadine Rose, 9 Merrigal Road, Port Macquarie, or download here: Herons CreekBlankPetitionTemplate

Media Release: Carol Vernon, Greens candidate for Cowper: A July 2 Election

March 22, 2016

Greens candidate for Cowper, Carol Vernon, says she agrees with Greens’ leader Richard Di Natale that The Prime Minister should go full-term and put a positive agenda forward to the Australian people, rather than running panicked to a double dissolution election.

Carol Vernon said:

“I am ready for an early election if it eventuates. The Australian Greens are ready.

“Turnbull and Joyce will claim they desperately need the ABCC bill to be passed but we can see it is just an excuse to go to an early election.

“The ABCC bill is designed to focus solely on building and construction workers, not to genuinely end widespread corruption.

“I ask why, if the Turnbull-Joyce coalition government is genuinely wanting to stamp out corruption, it refuses to ignore the Greens’ call for a federal ICAC that would examine all sources of corruption.

“The residents of the Mid North Coast deserve a federal government, of any shade of politics, that is above the suspicion of corruption. The NSW ICAC demonstrated the devious influence of corporate lobbyists on our state government. Are we more of a ‘corporatocracy’ than a democracy? Many would say we are.

“The Liberal, National and Labor parties all vote against Greens bills to establish a federal ICAC. Again, I ask why?

“Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker could be concentrating on reducing the extremely high local youth unemployment rather than supporting this government’s rush to an election.”

Background:

“Among other things the ABCC Bills seek to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), along with its previous coercive investigatory powers provided by the BCII Act.[1]” Hansard

“Malcolm Turnbull should walk away from his plan to give construction workers fewer rights than alleged criminals, and instead establish a national, broad-based anti-corruption watchdog. When it comes to allegations of wrongdoing, if you’ve got a blue collar, this Government throws the book at you, but if you’ve got a white collar, they turn the other way. If the Government really wants to tackle corruption, they will get behind the Greens’ plan to establish a national broad-based anti-corruption watchdog.”
— Greens industrial relations spokesman Adam Bandt
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-21/what-are-the-abcc-and-registered-organisations-about/7263500

Mid North Coast Area Profile – January 2016 (Nambucca to Above Nelson Bay)

Working Age Population (15-64) : 125,800  Employment Rate (15-64) : 63.8 %

 Participation Rate (15+) : 51.3 %

 Unemployment Rate (15+) : 8.3 %  Youth Unemployment Rate (15-24) : 19.5 %

PRESS RELEASE – Greens urge community to “Vote for TAFE”

Media release: 4 February 2015

The Liberals and National parties’ savage treatment of TAFE has been utterly rejected by voters in Victoria and Queensland and their NSW colleagues could well be next, according to Greens NSW MP and Education spokesperson John Kaye and Greens candidate Drusi Megget for Port Macquarie.

Dr Kaye said: “Queensland and Victorian voters have overwhelmingly voted against the Liberals and Nationals parties’ destructive and short-sighted agenda of privatising public assets and essential public services like TAFE.

“In NSW the cuts to TAFE’s budget and staff, massive increases in student fee and the ever-increasing flow of public money to dodgy private training providers are also proving to be deeply unpopular with voters.

“The NSW government’s Reskilling NSW package is their first acknowledgement of the appalling damage they have done to TAFE.

“It goes nowhere near restoring TAFE’s viability or recrating the opportunities for education and training that have been lost.

“While $48 million sounds like a lot of money, averaged over 200,000 scholarships, it provides only $240 per student.

“It’s hard to see what TAFE can provide at that rate, given the funding cuts it has already sustained due to the introduction of the Liberals and Nationals’ Smart and Skilled training market.

“NSW Labor’s policy of abolishing Smart and Skilled is a good start but voters should be wary. They are still committed to an historically high 2014 fee schedule and a training market that can eat up 30 per cent of TAFE’s funding.

“When they were in office Labor stripped $1 billion out of TAFE’s budget and it was their federal colleagues under the Gillard government that forced NSW to sign up to the competitive market.

“The Greens restate our commitment to work to end the public funding of all private providers of vocational education and training where a particular course can be offered by TAFE.

“However, our priority must be to stop Smart and Skilled from destroying TAFE.

“Our Plan B is to limit non-TAFE providers to 20% of public funding, to ban any public funds for new non-TAFE providers and prohibit any public funding of for-profit training providers.

“Queensland and Victoria have voted to rescue TAFE from oblivion. On 28 March, NSW will get its turn to vote for TAFE,” said Dr Kaye.

Further information:

Premier Mike Baird’s Reskilling NSW package: http://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases-premier/delivering-skills-growing-economy-free-vocational-scholarships-200000-young

NSW Teachers Federation response: http://www.nswtf.org.au/news/2015/02/02/nsw-tafe-still-under-threat.html

Opposition Leader Luke Foley’s skills reform package: http://www.lukefoley.com.au/nsw_labor_to_rescue_tafe_as_students_hit_with_prohibitive_tafe_fees