Originally published 22Feb2013
LEP E-zones review - whats going on
22 February 2013
REVIEW OF ENVIRONMENTAL ZONES (E-zones) by NSW DEPT PLANNING AND INFRASTRUCTURE
I went to the drop-in and have a chat" session yesterday at the Civic Hall. It wasn"t as cosy as it appeared and I was told by two very professional-looking men at a reception table that I couldn"t see a consultant" because they were too busy. So I filled in the form to register my interest in the mystery of what"s going on, and was given a handout by NSW Planning and Infrastructure (the Minister of which is Brad Hazzard, whom we met in Lismore on 5 Dec 2012; hopefully his new plans for our Environmental Zones will meet with a similar uproar). There were three tables in the main hall of the Civic Centre, each with two consultants. A few residents were waiting in the smaller hall, having a cuppa. The imposing spaciousness of the almost empty hall gave the impression that something serious was going on and that we the people are but Lilliputian. Why isn"t there a big open info session explaining what"s going on? Maybe after Brad"s Lismore experience he"s trying a different tactic.
The handout explains that Community Drop-In sessions will be held in Kyogle, Limore, Ballina, Byron and Tweed (The only one left is next Monday 25 Feb at the Murwillumbah Community Centre, Nullum Street 11 2 pm and 4 7 pm). Further info about the proposed changes to environmental protections: http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/reviews
or email email@example.com or contact departmental officer Stephanie Schofield on 02 9228 6247. Closing date for comments is 5 pm Monday 11 March 2013.
If you find the gov website waffle hard to understand, another viewpoint is from Better Planning Network (BPN) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJfrSqxpmYY
Contact: Betterplanningnetwork(@)gmail.com (remove brackets).
Julie McNamara of Lock the Gate Tweed says: "It is very important we all get actively involved in this. I think we have all seen where the dominant parties are heading in regards to the environment and developments. Remember CSG is a development, just as much as turning our villages into towns, and towns into cities is. To let them take away all avenues for us to have our say locally in our future will be disastrous. Please take whatever time is necessary to have your say now. . . There are some things that just require more than a click on the button, this is one of them.
This from BPN:
Subject: NSW Planning Review: Please forward to everyone you know in NSW
KEEP THE PRESSURE ON! WE NEED MORE LETTERS AND MORE SIGNATURES!
Dear NSW Resident,
In March 2011, prior to the NSW State election, Barry O"Farrell made a contract with NSW .
In this contract he promised to:
Return planning powers to the community
Delete and rewrite the Planning Act to give communities a say again Part 3A
Furthermore in their 2011 planning policy document the NSW Liberals and Nationals stated:
"The NSW Liberals and Nationals are committed to returning local planning powers to local communities through their councils."
It is clear that out of these promises, the only one Barry O"Farrell plans to keep is to re-write the planning act. Sadly indications are that the planned re-write of the planning system will do just the opposite of what was promised taking power away from the local community and empowering developers instead.
In July this year the NSW State government released a Green Paper that outlined their proposed reforms to the Planning Act. Some of the key changes included
Reducing the rights of the community to comment on development proposals in their community
Reducing the power for local councils to assess and approve development applications
Expanded "Fast-tracking" of developments for fast approvals without any neighbour notification or consultation
Removing NSW State Environmental Planning Policies that provide statutory protection for our environment
Establishing Enterprise Zones where development would be subject to only limited controls over areas that could be as large as a local government area
The O"Farrell government is proving no better than the previous Labor government when it comes to listening to the community on planning reform. They are making the same mistakes, favouring developer groups at the expense of the community. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has already raised concerns and these reforms will represent a huge step back in community rights
What Can You Do?
If you care about your local community and how it is developed
If you care about your democratic right to comment on development applications in your street
If you care about developers with deep pockets using their money and influence to lobby the State government at your expense
3;then Let Barry O"Farrell and the NSW State government know!
and let him know how you feel about your rights being taken away Email your local member
and tell them that the community needs appropriate time and opportunity to comment on the proposals. The State government needs to engage with the community and not just listen to the loudest lobbyists or they risk going out the same way the previous government did. Email Barry O"Farrell
Finally forward this email to everyone you know in NSW. The most powerful tool the NSW State government has at this stage is the lack of awareness of the local community.
The government released the Green Paper with very little fanfare in the lead-up to the local government elections, with submissions closing as the elections were held. It is anticipated that the government will try to release a White Paper with a consultation period over the Christmas and summer holiday period with a view towards mid-term legislation by March. They want to get this legislation passed before you even know it is happening.
If you would like to find out more information we have setup a Better Planning Network website Facebook Twitter with information on the proposed changes as well as resources and links to policies and upcoming events. Alternately you can follow on or for regular updates.
The Better Planning Network is an affiliation of over 100 community groups across NSW. The Better Planning Network was established with the aim of advocating for communities and community rights through the NSW planning review process. By uniting the collective voices of community groups across the state we aim to create a voice powerful enough and loud enough to be heard. It is imperative that the State government realises that the community will not give up their rights without a fight.
Better Planning Network http://betterplanningnetwork.good.do/nsw/email-the-premier-2/
website has a sample email to Barry O"Farrell which you can click or use some of the points to make your own email (which will hold more weight).
The Green Paper on Planning Reforms is available through BPN website. The wording of it is described as "crafty" in featured article http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/archives/44195/
"NSW Big Debate on Planning: Why community vows to fight" interviewing Corrine Fisher, environment education consultant who founded BPN out of concern about the Green Paper which could enable developments to be fast tracked, some automatically approved in 10 days with no room for public comment.
O"FARRELL"s 2 k EXCLUSION ZONES
Here is a delightful letter to O"Farrell regarding his mighty csg-free 2k exclusion zones from Cr Duncan Dey.
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: thanks and more please
> G'day Barry
> I am heartened by your move prohibiting CSG activities within 2km of urban areas. That's nice for a lot of people in dense communities.
> I live in a rural area so the scenario hasn't changed for me locally.
> I'd really appreciate it if you could simply stop the lot, like they have in France.
> The cry that the folk of NSW need the gas is a hollow one when you look at the ports that are being built to export such gas from Queensland. Let's buy it from them and save NSW from the same devastation. Otherwise, let's get going on renewables - Spain recently produced half its load from wind energy.
> Please put two and two together and dig us out of the fossil fuel dependence, instead of digging us out of existence.
> I look forward to your representing me and the majority of NSW residents on this matter.
> Cheers, Duncan
DOUBTFUL CREEK BLOCKADE
Media Release: 22nd February 2013
Communities to celebrate three months of sustained peaceful protest
against CSG in the Northern Rivers
Local communities and CSG free groups that have sustained the Doubtful
Ck blockade will scale down the action at the site following
yesterday"s announcement by Metgasco that drilling work has been
completed. The drill rig is expected to leave the Northern Rivers once
the drill hole has been concreted as Metgasco have finished their
current core hole drilling program in the region.
"The imminent departure of the drill rig from Doubtful Creek will mark
the end of more than three months of ongoing and effective peaceful
protest against CSG operations in the region," said Boudicca Cerese,
spokesperson for CSG Free Northern Rivers.
"In that time we have seen Metgasco abandon one drilling site, drastic
falls in Metgasco share prices and the departure of Arrow Energy from
"There can be no doubt that the persistence of our local communities
to resist the gas invasion is having a positive effect," she said.
"It"s not only the companies that are feeling the heat, local federal
politicians of all shades are now responding to community pressure and
coming out in opposition to the unconventional gas industry," said
author and activist Aidan Ricketts of CSG Free Northern Rivers.
"This week the NSW government also started offering exclusions to
politically sensitive areas of the state."
"Unfortunately the government"s new policies will not necessarily
protect rural communities in the Northern Rivers so we expect local
opposition to the industry to continue into the foreseeable future,"
"I commend all the efforts of the thousands of people from all walks
of life who have attended rallies, protests, vigils, concerts,
meetings and other events across the region and congratulate them for
their restraint in difficult circumstances and for maintaining good
relations with local police," said Gordon Fraser of CSG Free Lismore.
"With the return of the drilling rig to Queensland there is time to
pause and consider what the next steps will be in tackling the
insidious invasion of the unconventional gas industry in our region."
"Future action will be necessary to protect our families, land, and
animals from the unconventional gas industry and we will continue to
stand united across the region in our opposition to this industry," he
"A music event will be held in Lismore on Saturday 23 March at
Lismore Workers Club commencing at 7.30PM to celebrate the
achievements of our communities in maintaining persistent opposition
to this unsafe industry," said Mr. Fraser.
More information about future activities can be obtained from
Boudicca Cerese 66 337 196 Gordon Fraser 0414644893
Aidan Ricketts 0417265263
Well done everyone!
Mullum survey results: 95% want to be gasfield-free by our calculations so far, adding up the 7 different area results. This may alter slightly as we get Mullum as a whole entered on Excel.