Mullumbimby Community Action Newsletters

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Originally published 24Jan2009



NEWSLETTER 31 – 24 January 2009 –

WOOLWORTHS APPROVED - Despite all odds, the Minister Hon Kristina Keneally, has approved the Woolworths supermarket & bottleshop in Mullumbimby. Byron Shire Council"s submission has been ignored, the Environmental Consultants Whitehead & Associates have been ignored, 1500 community letters to ex-Premier Iemma and ex-Minister Sartor have been ignored, and 150 recent clicks on our campaign button have been ignored. Is this a symptom of rot in the system? Does something need to change?

OBAMA"S CHANGE - "The world is changing – and we need to change too" said Barack Obama in his inauguration speech. On his first day of office he shut down Guantanamo Bay, other CIA "ghost prisons" as well as freeing up Bush"s secrecy over records. Obama"s orders will create transparency around political prisoners and transparency about records from the Bush, Bush Snr and Regan eras

TRANSPARENCY - Where do we in NSW need political transparency? My initial suggestions are as follows:

• Transparency about the Woolworths current proposals, plans and the Environmental Consultants Whitehead Associates Review – none of which were made available to the public despite our repeated requests. (We have seen nothing new from Wws or DoP for nine months – since the public meeting in BSC council chambers).

• Transparency about political donations made by private individuals, developers etc to political parties. In particular, any Woolworths donations to the current State Labour party.

• Transparency about why State Labour Planning Dept has swiped power of consent authority from local governments. Byron Shire Council appears powerless to reject inappropriate development in our Shire, likewise all NSW local councils. Our Environmental Protection (EPA) Act (1970) has been undermined by "25 years of concerted determination to strip away our rights" (see Sylvia Hale Greens MP & Spokesperson on Planning's inspirational speech on movie "RAID Rally a Resounding Success" on where she explains why the EPA Act is now ineffectual, discusses developer donations, etc.) Also search Sue Higginson, EDO on our website for her paper on Climate Change Issues and explanation of Part 3A of EPA Act.

UNHOLY ALLIANCE - The new Minister for Planning, The Hon Kristine Keneally"s allegiance with Woolworths appears more important than the fact that Byron Shire Council (BSC) condemned the current Woolworths plans as "unacceptable" and said that if BSC were the consent authority, consent would not be forthcoming.

Furthermore, according to the BSC submission of 8.12.08 to DoP, the Environmental Consultants Whitehead Associates did not endorse the Woolworths proposals and said that "We stress the design stretches the land capability of this constrained site to its limits". Have these "environmental experts" taken climate change into account?

CLIMATE CHANGE - The Woolworths site was selected for a local supermarket some 6 years ago, and since then climate change has become a no 1 issue. For example the King Tide last week was half a metre higher than usual and the Woolworths on-site sewage and wastewater disposal is just 500 metres from the tidal river. Furthermore Wws floor level is just 18 cm higher than the Mothers Day flood of 1987.

UNITED NATIONS stated last Thursday 22/1/09 that in 2008 there was a "dramatic increase in worldwide disasters" and that floods and weather disasters were the most frequent disaster events.

CLIMATE RISK HOTSPOT Just over the border, SE Queensland has been identified as a "climate risk hotspot" and the Qld Government has embedded climate change as its no. 1 issue in its draft Regional Plan for S E Qld - see "latest news" on

Given the above, we can confidently expect that the Wws development, just 3.5m above sea level and 500m from the tidal Brunswick River, is going to be affected by climate change and in particular their on-site sewage disposal may well be dispersed around the town in the event of a flood.

WWS STORAGE OF FLOODWATERS ONSITE!!! The Department of Planning"s News Release of Thurs 22/1/09 p2 states:

"The design also mitigates flood impacts by ensuring that the development does not reduce the area available on the site for the storage of floodwaters".

(Are they joking?) I will happily send copies of Dept Planning (DoP)"s News Release and Byron Shire Council"s submission to DoP on the Woolworths proposal to anyone that wants it. Contact me via

MCAN FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY will be on Australia Day 26.1.09 at Heritage Park at end of Stuart Street, by the river from 5 pm. Bring a picnic to share. We will be brainstorming our next strategy and welcome input from community. Entertainment will be community based – have you got a song or a poem? Come and perform your party piece!

We are not fazed: this is just the next phase. As George W Bush said "The future will be better tomorrow".
In solidarity

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