Friday 8 November 2013


7 November 2013
Di Clark for Blicks River Guardians 
Blicks River Guardians have launched their new website to tell of their love for the Dorrigo Plateau and their pledge to protect it from inappropriate land use. At stake is a clean water supply for communities from Sawtell to Yamba, a clean environment for the flora and fauna of this area and a place for our children and grandchildren to use in a sustainable way. We thank Alan Morden, art director and consultant from Byron Bay, for the donation of his time and expertise in website design.  We also thank local photographers for allowing us to use their beautiful photographs and videos (see Acknowledgements on the website).
The major potential threats to the Blicks River at present are active mineral exploration leases near Tyringham and Dundurrabin operated by Scorpio Resources Pty Ltd, a full subsidiary company of Anchor Resources.  Diamond drilling has recommenced in the area and will consist of up to 8 holes for approximately 2,000m.  Anchor is currently exploring in this area for large intrusion-related gold systems.
In last week’s Don Dorrigo Gazette there was an article on the history of antimony mining at Wild Cattle Creek. This area too is being explored by Anchor Resources. The movement of surface water dropping from the Plateau to lower river systems may contribute to cumulative impacts downstream. Historically the processing of antimony and other minerals has had a negative impact on areas such as Urunga.
Blicks River Guardians are a sub-group of Dorrigo Environment Watch; together we hope to enable a well-informed public to express the beauty and timelessness of this area and protect it for future generations. We invite visitors to our website to make comments, download petition pages for signatures, suggest ways they can help and to advise us if they want to be added to our mailing list.
Dorrigo Environment Watch recently held an information session on the NSW Government Strategic Regional Land Use Policy to advise landholders of recent developments. “Prime Agricultural Land” on the Dorrigo plateau was vastly underestimated due to restrictive criteria such as the slope of the land. One look at those rolling hills, lush from high summer rainfall grown on the famous Dorrigo soil, would tell anyone that their zoning criteria are inadequate.  If these maps are used for mining exclusion areas then they are not good enough.
Visit our websites and join in celebrating this beautiful area – water is more precious than gold (or antimony!).

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Wednesday 10 July 2013

Raiding our northern rivers

Letter to the Editor, The Northern Star, 10 July 2013:

Raiding our rivers

ON June 26 the NSWLC Standing Committee on State Development published a report Adequacy of water storages in New South Wales.

This report recommended that the NSW Government "review the environmental flow allocations for all valleys in New South Wales and make representations to the Commonwealth Government for it to review the environmental flow allocations for all valleys in New South Wales in relation to the Murray Darling Basin Plan" and told the government that "the priority given to environmental needs above water supply to industry and high security needs in regulated rivers under the Water Management Act 2000 is not sufficiently balanced" and recommended that it change this act to prioritise these other needs above environmental needs.

The committee that produced this report was dominated by the Liberal-Nationals Coalition and its oft-times ally, the Christian Democratic Party, so it should come as no surprise that the advice received by the O'Farrell Government heavily favours the interests of both irrigators in the Murray-Darling Basin and the mining industry as it does not rule out damming and diverting water from the Northern Rivers to feed the insatiable water hunger of these two groups.

It is a general rule of thumb that it requires 1 to 2 tonnes of water to process 1 tonne of mined ore (USGS, 2012) and an individual coal seam gas well can require up to 1 million litres of drilling water (Metgasco, January 2013).

Irrigation water for crops can range from 2 to 5.5 million litres per hectare as a minimum to bring a crop to maturity in this state (NSW Dept Primary Industry, 2009).

The amount of water that would have to be drawn from the Clarence River systems to meet even part of what these two groups desire would potentially impact on the health of local rivers, local water security, local agriculture, local economies dependant on the fishing industry and tourism industries and the social and cultural life of local communities.

The Tweed and Richmond valley communities would possibly have similar concerns.
It would be useless to look to the North Coast Nationals to protect Northern Rivers interests, as the NSW National Party has never walked away from its 2008 state conference resolution to "support greater efforts to reduce the amount of eastern water lost to the ocean and campaign for more in-depth investigations into finding ways to turn this water inland" (My Daily News online, June 16, 2008).

It would also be useless to look to the Liberal Party to protect our interests, as the Upper House committee's recommendations echo the 2007 Howard-Turnbull push to dam and divert fresh water from the Clarence River catchment area and, the current Federal Opposition favours a "100 dams" plan according to a leaked draft discussion paper which makes mention of the Clarence and Mann rivers (The Daily Examiner, February 14, 2013).

Once again the Northern Rivers region is going to have to rely on its own community resources and lobbying abilities to combat any attempt to raid our river systems.

Now is the time to organise and act.

Judith M Melville

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Thursday 4 July 2013

Anchor Resources extends its mining exploration footprint within the Clarence River catchment area

Chinese-owned mining exploration company Anchor Resources Limited has extended its mineral tenements within the Dorrigo Plateau-Clarence River catchment area.

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Thursday 28 February 2013

Ibbotson's proposal to dam the Clarence River does not impress

Hot on the heels of an unforgivably uninformed suggestion from NSW Governor Marie Bashir that Clarence River catchment freshwater be diverted into the Darling River system, the Northern Rivers now has this latest attempt to revive the dam debate.
Page One of the Ibbotson advertisement
Click on image to enlarge

On 22 February 2013 The Daily Examiner ran a four-page advertisement by former Murray-Darling Basin resident, self-styled Scientist (metallurgy & computing) - who also happens to be a US Heartland Institute endorsed climate change denying, enthusiastic supporter of damming and diverting the Clarence River to inland NSW – John Ibbotson of Gulmarrad.

Mr. Ibbotson has obviously decided that media reports of Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s ‘100 Dams’ draft document (which includes the Clarence and Mann rivers) gives him the opportunity to push his own dam plan once more.

This time the self-named Ibbo’s Dam still includes a hydro-electric scheme as part of the dam infrastructure, but is without the option to divert water into the Murray-Darling river systems.

However, Ibbotson happily suggests that placing a throttle on the flow regime of three major rivers (Clarence, Mann and Nymboida) by placing a dam at the top of the Clarence River Gorge (thereby also effectively destroying this gorge), permanently flooding the lower reaches of the Mann River, potentially compromising the last known wild population of Eastern (Freshwater) Cod, changing the water temperature in a section of the river below the proposed dam/hydro scheme, reducing annual inflows into the lower river and reducing the frequency of ‘freshes’ reaching the estuary (relied on by a local commercial fishing industry worth an estimated $92 million annually) are great ideas.

In this advertisement he fails to consider the impact his hydroelectric scheme would have on Essential Energy's existing hydroelectric plant on the Nymboida River or on existing tourism and farming businesses in the areas his scheme intends to flood.

Additionally, he entirely fails to explain how such a dam would help mitigate Clarence Valley flooding beyond wishfully asserting that it will.

This is a mock-up of a Clarence River dam posted on A Clarence Valley Protest in 2007:

This is the Clarence River Gorge in 2011:

And here are letters to the editor published in The Daily Examiner on 25 and 27 February 2013:

Ads are 'light relief'
On 18 September 2012 I had a letter to the editor published in The Daily Examiner on the subject of a "specific call to dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment area" and "general calls to harvest water from east coast rivers for use in the Murray Darling Basin" in submissions before the NSW Legislative Council Standing Committee on State Development's Inquiry Into The Adequacy Of Water Storages in NSW.
On February 22, 2013 I was amused to find this letter selectively quoted in an expensive four-page advertisement created by that ardent climate change denier and supporter of damming and diverting freshwater from the Clarence River catchment into the Murray-Darling Basin, John Ibbotson (Senate Standing Committee of Regional Australia, Water Proofing the Murray-Darling Basin, Submission No. 158, dated received 7 December 2010).
I chortled when I discovered Mr Ibbotson obviously believed that I read transcripts with my ears and was impressed by the contortions involved in trying to make it appear that my letter ignored the subject of inter-basin water transfer.
I thank Mr Ibbotson for pointing out to Clarence Valley residents that the O'Farrell Government has no policy to protect the Clarence River from being dammed, even if at the inquiry's 20 August 2012 hearing it was demonstrated that David Harriss of the NSW Office of Water was not in favour of building expensive new dams:
"The Hon. Dr Peter Phelps: Is there any need for new dam building or simply perhaps raising storage capacities of the existing catchments?
Mr Harriss: I think the issues we have tried to raise in our submission are the billions of dollars invested in major infrastructure now, with both public infrastructure and on-farm infrastructure. I think (the) priority (for) New South Wales is to use that infrastructure as effectively and efficiently as possible in the first instance rather than investing further in up to millions of dollars in capital expenditure."
In the middle of all that wind and rain, Mr Ibbotson offered some welcome light relief and I'll gratefully use his advertisement to wrap my kitchen scraps later today.

No need for stirring
I am writing in response to John Ibbotson's 4 page "story" in the Examiner (22/02/13). I replied directly to his email (provided in the story), expressing my concern that his story was lacking figures of the dam capacity and flood flows to demonstrate how much a major flood could be minimised. I also expressed my environmental concerns.
John replied with, "I find that facts and figures in an article tend to result in people's eyes glazing over. This story was meant to be more of an emotive story..."
When reading his story, I found my own eyes "glazing over", as the "emotive" often tended to overshadow the substance. This issue has often been an emotional one, with people on both sides having strong opinions without many facts. The last thing it needs is another "emotional stirring" to cause people to feel they must be either for or against a dam. The issue needs an objective presentation of clear factual data addressing public concerns.
My concerns include the effects of the cold water releases on the ecosystem of the river below the dam, and all the way to the ocean.
John addressed environmental concerns in his story with "But it would ruin the river! I doubt it". Then he was sidetracked discussing Alaska and barbed wire.
With the help of Landcare, I had a flora and fauna survey conducted on our property (just below the Gorge), which demonstrated a diverse range of species including endangered and threatened species. John included a photo of one of our young cows with her vealer heifer calf in his story. He sarcastically referred to them as "rare native cowroos", attempting (I think?) to devalue the importance of the native wildlife, or to prove that the presence of cattle dramatically reduces the environmental value of the area?
Another concern is how a hydro-electric dam and a flood mitigation dam can operate at this site without being in conflict with each other. As locals know, we also have "dry periods'' where rain events contribute little to the river system. Electricity generation would require contracts to guarantee supply to the grid, and therefore need a minimum level in the dam to ensure this (and allow for dry weather). Calculations need to be made to show a flood event would not simply top the dam and flood anyway, like Wivenhoe dam did in 2011 in Brisbane. A dam could also turn floods into longer drawn out events, possibly impacting on lower areas (including Yamba) and beaches for longer. My great grandfather, Sir Earle Page, had detailed plans drawn up for a "Clarence river hydro-electric scheme" in the 1940s, but it calculated that many dams were needed to manage the flows and to guarantee supply.
"Heifer Station"

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Wednesday 24 October 2012

Another gold mining company exploring within the Clarence River catchment in 2012

RENISON CONSOLIDATED MINES (formerly known as Sirocco Resources NL, Kakadu Resources Ltd, Gerrod Ltd and Avillion No 4 Ltd) a Brisbane-based corporation first registered in 1986 and primarily involved in gold and coal exploration, has been granted an exploration license in the Timbarra Plateau region on the NSW North Coast.
The plateau is detached from the Great Dividing Range, apart from a narrow connecting ridge in the north, and has hence been able to provide a significant refuge for wildlife from human impacts and feral predation. The plateau falls away steeply into the valleys of the Timbarra River and Demon Creek.
The area is a biodiversity hot spot. In the forests of the western sector of the nominated area, 29 endangered species are known to occur. These include: mammals (Hastings River Mouse, Yellow-bellied Glider, Tiger Quoll, Rufous Bettong, Golden-tipped Bat, Greater Broad-nosed Bat and Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby); birds (Glossy Black Cockatoo, Powerful Owl and Sooty Owl); and amphibians (Stuttering Frog, Glandular Frog and recently discovered Peppered Frog). The wilderness contains a major overlap of biogoegraphic zones, with faunal representations of coastal, inland, temperate and sub tropical regions converging. The area is the only single site able to provide key habitat for the threatened Hastings River Mouse, Eastern Chestnut Mouse and Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby.
The 98 blocks in this license surround the old Timbarra Gold Mine which was permanently closed in 2001-02 due to persistent cyanide contamination from mine tailing dams which overflowed after rain.
The licence also covers part of the Timbarra River catchment which falls within the larger Clarence River Catchment Area.
In 2011 the Clarence River catchment supplied fresh water to an estimated 52,816 residents living in the Clarence Valley local government area and, to another 73, 296 residents in the Coffs Harbour local government area which is located outside the catchment and historically is provided with a significant measure of water security by the Clarence Valley [Clarence Valley Council,Clarence Valley Economic Monitor,June 2012 and Coffs Harbour City Council,Community Profile,June 2011].
Rennison’s current chair, Stephen Grant Bissell, is also a director of Bizzell Capital Partners, Renaissance Uranium, Armour Energy Ltd, Titan Energy Services Ltd, Dart Energy, Diversa Ltd, Stanmore Coal, Hot Rock Ltd, Bow Energy, Celamin Limited, Apollo Gas Limited, a former director of Arrow Energy and a member of the Queensland Coal Seam Gas forum.

Click on map to enlarge

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Tuesday 9 October 2012

Page MP Janelle Saffin urges late submissions to state inquiry into the adequacy of water storages in New South Wales

Letter to the Editor in The Daily Examiner 6 October 2012:

Not A Drop still holds water

I have noticed a growing number of correspondents expressing concern about the Clarence River, specifically about those who would dam it and divert our water inland or to Queensland.

I reiterate my rock solid commitment to 'Not A Drop', the slogan we all adopted from The Daily Examiner's highly successful 2007 campaign against such moves.

I simply will not allow it, and the Australian Government, as expressed many times through the Leader of the House Anthony Albanese in Federal Parliament, will not allow it.

I wanted to put this firm policy stance on the public record again, for the benefit of people among us who have moved to the Clarence Valley in recent times.

I am sure that these new residents will be surprised and shocked to hear that many vested interests have tried this on for years.

I have urged locals to make submissions to the NSW Legislative Council's Standing Committee on State Developments' current inquiry into the adequacy of water storages in New South Wales.

While the closing date for submissions was August 31, the inquiry is prepared to take late submissions for another six weeks. They can be emailed to

The primary contact is Cathryn Cummins on 02 9230 3528. I understand the inquiry will hold further publics hearings in Wagga Wagga and Sydney in November and possibly more hearings early next year.

One thing I can be sure of is that there will be some of the regulars who want to raid our water supply - the mighty Clarence.

I call them the River Raiders; they seek every and all opportunity to lay claim to our river.

I thought it was a big worry when the NSW National Party's 2008 State Conference resolved to "support greater efforts to reduce the amount of eastern water lost to the ocean and campaign for more in-depth investigations into finding ways to turn this water inland." - Tweed Daily News, June 16, 2008.

I urge Clarence Valley residents to be watchful of anyone who would have designs on tampering with our most precious natural resource - water.

Janelle Saffin MP
Federal Member for Page

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Thursday 6 September 2012

NSWLC Standing Committee On State Development's Inquiry Into The Adequacy Of Water Storages In NSW, 20 August 2012 hearing

The Play:

The future of water storage in New South Wales

The Sub-Plot:

That National Party fixation with the Clarence River

The Scene:

Enter from stage right NSW Nationals MLC PETER R. PHELPS. Followed by DAVID ANDREW HARRISS, Commissioner, NSW Office of Water, Department of Primary Industries and, STEWART RICHARD WEBSTER, Principal Director, Investment Appraisal, Statistical Analysis and Economic Research, NSW Trade and Investment

From the hearing transcript:

The Hon. Dr PETER PHELPS: Are there any rivers in northern New South Wales which sow significant outflows of fresh water to the sea which could be used for damming purposes?

Mr HARRISS: The only one that has been investigated over many years was the Clarence River and that has been shown that it would be both uneconomic and have significant environmental impacts as a consequence. One of the things that have been demonstrated for years is coastal diversions. It is all right in the Snarly because you have quite a substantial catchment area and you have a number of sites for dams—Jindabyne, Eucumbene, Talbingo, Bowen. In the coastal ranges further north around the Clarence to get that catchment area to fill the dam you have to have the dam located further down to get enough water so it cannot be at the top. Further down you locate that dam, the higher the pumping cost to get the water back over the top or the tunnelling cost to get it through the dam. For that reason it has shown that it would not be economically beneficial to construct a dam to divert water from the coastal side into the western side because there would be no activity currently which would generate revenue on the megalitre of water……..

The Hon. Dr PETER PHELPS: Presumably, given what Mr Harriss said earlier about us having dammed every river in New South Wales that it is economically viable to dam, those proposals would be only catchment augmentation.

Mr WEBSTER: What was economically viable 30 years ago might not be now because the value of water changes as an input into various primary production processes. While it appears that the large storage sites have been taken, there may be opportunities.

The Hon. Dr PETER PHELPS: Just not on the Clarence River.

Mr HARRISS: There are opportunities on the Clarence River. What was proposed during the drought—and Malcolm Turnbull promoted it—was to build that dam but then to pipe the water up to south-west Queensland, not to move it into western New South Wales, which was the original proposal. That might have been a bit more economically viable if we were recovering the cost through urban population charges as opposed to the rate charged per kilolitre. However, Queensland was not remotely interested in that. There are some sites, and we mentioned Birrell Creek dam, which is not a big site. There is also the Welcome Reef site near Braidwood. That proposal has been around for about 40 or 50 years. There are some sites. However, the point was made that where it was easy to build a dam 50 or 60—

The Hon. Dr PETER PHELPS: So the low hanging fruit is gone.


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Thursday 26 July 2012

Metgasco CSG waste water contaminated with salt and heavy metals

Coal Seam Gas News 26 July 2012

Lock the Gate Northern Rivers has today revealed that a sample of wastewater from a Metgasco coal seam gas wastewater storage pond has been found to contain high levels of a range of heavy metals toxic to humans and wildlife. The sample was analysed at the NATA accredited EAL laboratory in Lismore (sample results and comparison with Drinking Water and ANZECC Environmental Guidelines attached).

This finding follows on from repeated claims by Metgasco that their CSG produced water is just ‘salty’ and the release of company data last week suggesting that, apart from the salt levels, the water meets drinking water standards.

‘These pond sample results confirm that there are indeed a range of toxic substances in addition to salts in the wastewater produced in Metgasco’s coal seam gas operations and stored in ponds around Casino,’ said Boudicca Cerese, spokesperson for Lock the Gate Northern Rivers.

‘The tests found 13 elements present in the sample at levels above the Drinking Water Standards, the majority of them heavy metals. Ten of these substances were also above the allowable limits for maintenance of healthy freshwater ecosystems.’

‘Many of these substances are well known for their toxicity and their release into local waterways via the sewage treatment plant or onto agricultural lands poses a serious threat to humans, domestic stock and wildlife.’

‘Aluminium, a neurotoxic linked with the onset of dementia and Alzheimers, was detected at 440 times drinking water standards and 800 times the allowable environmental limits. At elevated concentrations aluminium can be lethal to fish and other aquatic organisms and the animals that consume them,’ said Ms. Cerese.

‘Lead, a cumulative poison that can severely affect the central nervous system, was measured at 7 times drinking water standards and 20 times the safe environmental limit. Lead is renowned for its effects on children’s development and has been shown to cause cancer in animals.’

‘The sampling found levels of hexavalent chromium 50 times the guideline level required to protect waterways. Hexavalent chromium is known to cause lung cancer in humans and also adversely affects aquatic and marine life,’ she said.

‘The sample results clearly show that the community cannot rely on the water quality results provided by Metgasco and that there is an urgent need for state government authorities to undertake rigorous independent testing of all Metgasco’s ponds prior to any further actions regarding treatment and disposal of this wastewater,’ said Ms. Cerese.

‘In addition, these results sound a warning bell for the future, as the treatment and disposal of the vast quantities of water extracted in future CSG production will mean the accumulation of thousands of tonnes of chemical laden salts, potentially severely impacting ground and surface water quality, and putting at risk public, livestock and wildlife health.

‘Plans to use this water in agriculture or to reinject produced water back into the ground are a dangerous notion, one which will backfire on future generations,’ she said

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Thursday 12 July 2012

Clarence River catchment under threat from greedy miners endorsed by NSW O'Farrell Government

Coffs Coast Independent 12 July 2012:

ACCORDING to the Mid North Coast Greens, five mining exploration licences cover the headwaters of the Orara and the Nymboida Rivers - which are the drinking water catchments for approximately 150,000 people between Yamba and Sawtell.

"Minerals known to occur in the ore bodies being targeted include mercury, antimony, arsenic and lead. All are highly toxic minerals that pose a great contamination risk to the water supply for the region," the MNC Greens said in a statement......

"The Dorrigo Plateau is renowned as the highest rainfall district in NSW. From Ulong and Lowanna to Dundurrabin these headwaters provide most of the flow to the mighty Clarence River," Dr Sally Townley, mayoral candidate for Coffs Harbour City Council said.

"These catchments not only supply drinking water, they are the lifeblood of the tourism industry, the fishing industry and the cane industry. In the tourism industry alone there are more than 3500 permanent jobs completely dependent upon the health of the Clarence River." ......

"Mineral exploration leases and exploration activities occurring across the catchments pose a real and present danger of mercury and lead contamination if urgent action is not taken," Dr Kaye said.

"The catchment is already carrying the legacy of a history of inappropriate mining at Wild Cattle Creek. The entire Macleay River is heavily contaminated with arsenic and antimony from mining at Hillgrove east of Armidale.

"Contamination is a one way street. Once heavy metals have poisoned a supply, it is almost impossible to protect the health of future users.

"The Dorrigo Plateau must be declared off-limits to mining and mineral exploration." ......

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Thursday 5 July 2012

Is Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott building a case to dam NSW coastal rivers?

The Coalition will invest in new and upgraded dams

The Coalition will invest in Australia's future water security. Australia has been let down by a failure to plan for Australia's long-term water needs.

 State Labor governments have made poor investment decisions, deciding to pour billions of dollars into desalination plants which have contributed to the 60 per cent rise in water prices since Labor came to power in 2007.

 As a result, the long-term planning to secure Australia's water future has not been done. Crucial infrastructure in water assets takes decades to plan for.

The Coalition will invest in the water supply options that Labor has ignored during its time in government.

 Dams can provide reliable water supplies for cities, underpin the economic development of the agriculture, manufacturing and mining sectors, provide a low-emission source of electricity and mitigate the effects of flood.

Australia has not built a large dam for over 20 years. If we don't start planning for new investments now, then our water storage capacity will fall considerably over the next 20 years. That's why the Coalition's Dams Taskforce is looking at potential investments in Dam capacity across the country.

 Compared to 20 years ago, the amount of water we can store per person has fallen considerably. In 1990 Australia could store in its dams over 4.5 ML per person. Due to a lack of investment in dams, we can now only store 3.5 ML per person. By 2050, if no more dams are built, it will fall below 2.5 ML per person.

[COALITION SPEAKER'S NOTES Current as at 1 July 2012]

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Monday 2 July 2012

Clarence Valley comes a step closer to locking the gate against coal seam gas mining

CLARENCE VALLEY COUNCIL RESOLUTION – 14.005/12 at the Ordinary Monthly Meeting on 26 June 2012:

That :

1. Further to its resolution of 12 July 2011 and 21 February 2012, Clarence Valley Council calls on the NSW State Government to immediately place a moratorium on all coal seam gas (CSG) exploration including all forms of unconventional gas extraction within the Clarence Valley local government area until appropriate State Legislation is enacted.
2. The State Government is urged to adopt appropriate policies and implement land use legislation which will effectively control and regulate the CSG industry and safeguard water, food and environmental security for future generations.
3. Development of such policy and legislation be predicated on:-
a) Gaining accurate scientific data on CSG extraction impacts;
b) The Government’s prompt and diligent consideration and implementation of the 35Recommendations contained in the 1 May 2012 CSG Report of the Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No 5; and
c) Appropriate consideration of submissions received to the Draft Strategic Regional Land Use Plans for the Upper Hunter and North West of NSW.
4. Council notes the list of roads handed to Mayor Williamson at the regional rally on 12 May 2012 in Lismore by residents of the Ewingar district declaring the road reserves CSG free viz a viz Japara Road, Valley View Road, Bulldog Road, Grand View Road, Hunters Road, Peckham Road, Ewingar Road and Plains Station Road.

Voting recorded as follows:
For: Councillors Williamson, Comben, Dinham, Howe, Hughes, McKenna, Simmons, Tiley and Toms
Against: Nil

The Daily Examiner 2 July 2012:

ROSS Wilkinson, a fourth-generation farmer in the South Tabulam-Ewingar area of the Clarence Valley Shire and son of Isabel Wilkinson, renowned historian and author of "The Forgotten Country", has locked his gate against coal-seam gas mining.
At a community celebration on Saturday, June 16, a Gas Field-Free Road sign was erected on Plain Station Rd at the northern end of the Clarence Valley Shire where Ross lives.
"I've lived beside the Clarence River all my life; that's my life: the land and the river," he said.
"Without good water you've got nothing."
"You can't grow anything, you can't live. You'd have to walk off your place.
"There are hundreds of tonnes of cereal and leguminous crops grown in the area as well as thousands of head of cattle.
"We went through 12 years when it never rained and we had to irrigate all through it."
"Without being able to irrigate we've got nothing."
Mr Wilkinson is also worried about his grandkids' future, saying: "We don't own the land, we only look after it for the next generation and we've got to make sure it's in better order for them."
And he won't accept that this form of mining is safe until the mining companies prove it beyond reasonable doubt.…

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Wednesday 13 June 2012

The Clarence Valley does its bit to protect the Northern Rivers region from coal seam gas mining