OPINION: Absence of impartial planning system

RECENT donation revelations concerning AGL’s Gloucester Gas Project raise deep community concerns about its approval and future operation.
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The project was hurriedly approved under the former Part 3A provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act by an outgoing government that was in caretaker mode.

Such practice, though not illegal under planning law, was highly irregular and caused much criticism at the time.

However, that situation was worsened by the assessment procedure.

The Planning Assessment Commission was supposed to provide an independent assessment made at arm’s-length from the planning pressures of the time but examination of the process shows it was anything but independent.

The Director-General’s 64-page Environmental Assessment Report (November 2010) concluded with the recommendation that the Planning Assessment Commission approve the project and sign the attached instrument of project approval.

The Planning Assessment Commission responded by acknowledging the inadequacy of geological and groundwater assessments but accepted the Department’s position that the project could be satisfactorily developed using the adaptive management process.

Obtaining proper environmental assessment was doomed from this point.

The use of adaptive management overrides the application of the precautionary principal as required by Commonwealth environmental law but the applicant’s mere assertion that the precautionary principle had been considered was sufficient to satisfy the excessively liberal Part 3A planning provisions.

The Planning Assessment Commission accordingly approved the project with 13 operational conditions which, although providing nominal improvement, did not address the critical deficiencies in the assessment and approval process.

We are now aware of the political donations made by AGL at the time.

AGL’s present lack of social licence for the project and the deep community concern are natural developments from the inadequate planning procedure and the recent revelations.

No amount of AGL publicity, promises and propaganda can rectify the problem. In consideration of all the issues we can but regret the absence of an honest and impartial planning system.

Garry Smith


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Symposium: impact of global crises on NSW

The Community Relations Commission for a multicultural NSW ( CRC)) Symposium whichattracts community leaders from all around our State will this week discuss the impact oncommunities in NSW of conflicts and other humanitarian crises in other parts of the world in Parramatta today.
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The Chief Executive Officer of the CRC, Mr. Hakan Harman, said: “This is a difficulttime for many communities in NSW affected by overseas conflicts.

“The conflicts in Gaza, Iraq and Syria and elsewhere clearly have real implicationsfor people with family and community connections in those parts of the world.

“There is a humanitarian crisis unfolding in many parts of the Middle East andacross other parts of the World today, and our thoughts are with the innocent victimsof these conflicts.

“NSW is home to people who have come from every corner of the world. Many havefled places of conflict and strive to find peace and security in this beautiful State”, hesaid.

Asked why Parramatta was chosen as the locaiton,Mr Harman said:“Parramatta is the geographical, commercial and cultural capital of Western Sydney and is the heart of greater Sydney.

“Parramatta represents a diverse multicultural community with 45% of its population being born overseas and over 40% from Non English Speaking Backgrounds”.

On 20 August 2014, the CRC’s annual symposium will carry the theme, The impacton communities in NSW of conflicts in other parts of the world’.

“The symposium is an opportunity for communities to come together anddemonstrate ‘harmony in action’.

“We want NSW to set an example for the world, to show how people can livetogether in peaceful coexistence.

“The NSW Government stood by the cultural and religious communities of NSW intheir united opposition to proposed changes to the federal Racial Discrimination Act.

Now it is more important than ever that we protect all communities from vilificationand extremist hate.

“Whatever happens in other parts of the world, the CRC and the NSW Government willcontinue to work with all of the communities of NSW to uphold and protect our cohesiveand harmonious multicultural society.

“We are hoping that the discussions at the symposium will produce some good ideas andsome practical steps to maintain the harmony we all seek for ourselves and our families.

“We have invited a list of impressive speakers who will examine the state of communityrelations in NSW, in particular the impact of those overseas events.

“We expect this symposium will send some clear messages of calmness to the wholecommunity in New South Wales.

“Issues discussed during the Symposium assist the CRC to confirm and realign priorities andto advocate for change to services and programs as appropriate”, Mr Harman concluded.

“The Symposium is also an opportunity for the Minister for Citizenship andCommunities, Victor Dominello, to launch our new strategic plan, our vision, ourpurpose and our key the deliverables for the next three years”, Mr. Harman said.

Endorsing the CRC’s Strategic Plan, 2014-17, Mr. Dominello, said: “Ourmulticultural society is no longer a small segment of our community. It is a vitalpiece of our collective NSW identity and the time has come for us to revisit who weare and who we want to be.”

The symposium will be held all day on Wednesday 20th August at the Novotel Hotel 3350Church Street, Parramatta.

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Abbott and Hockey: Why poor people don’t matter

GITTINS: SAVING CAPITALISM FROM ITS EXCESSES:We simply cannot take the capitalist system, which produces such plenty and so many solutions, for granted. Ross Gittins comments.
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It doesn’t seem yet to have dawned on Tony Abbott that he was elected because he wasn’t Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd, not because voters thought it was time we made a lurch to the Right.

The man who imagines he has a “mandate” to mistreat the children of boat people, ensure free speech for bigots, give top appointments to big business mates and reintroduce knights and dames, represented himself as a harmless populist before the election.

Illustration: Kerrie Leishman.

The other thing he doesn’t seem to have realised is that just as he has us moving to reduce our commitment to action against climate change and to make the budget much less fair, the rest of the advanced economies are moving the opposite way.

President Obama is taking steps to overcome Congress’s refusal to act on global warming, the Chinese get more concerned about it as each month passes and the International Monetary Fund is chastising us for our apostasy.

And while we use our budget to widen the gap between rich and poor, people in other countries are realising the need to narrow it.

Wayne Swan, former Labor treasurer, noted in a speech on Monday that “centre-right political leaders across the globe are acknowledging the obvious truth that capitalism is facing an existential challenge . . . only last week ratings agency Standard and Poor’s emphasised yet again that high inequality is a drag on growth”.

In Australia, however, an increasing “vocal minority has decided to oppose any reform, no matter how necessary and no matter how obvious in its benefits to the whole nation, if they perceive it is in their short-term interests to do so.

“This is a recipe for unnecessary political division and widening social inequality, and unfortunately permanent reform failure,” he says.

Australians had done much better than the Americans at matching strong economic growth with social equity but, according to Swan, “we’re witnessing the Americanisation of the Right in this country. Obsessed with defending the advantages of the wealthiest in our society”.

In his various efforts to defend rather than correct his first budget’s unfairness, Joe Hockey seems to be doing just that. Meanwhile, the messages coming from international authorities are very different.

In a recent paper on policy challenges for the next 50 years, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warned the growing importance of skill-biasedtechnological progress and the rising demand for skills, will continue to widen the gap between high and low wages.

Unless this was corrected by greater redistribution of income, other OECD countries would end up facing almost the same level of inequality as seen in the US today. “Rising inequalities may backlash on growth, notably if they reduce economic opportunities available to low-income talented individuals,” it warns.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, noted in aspeechthat the 85 richest people in the world control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population – 3.5 billion people.

“With facts like these, it is no wonder that rising inequality has risen to the top of the agenda – not only among groups normally focused on social justice, but also increasingly among politicians, central bankers and business leaders,” she said.

“Many would argue, however, that we should ultimately care about equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.” As it happens, Hockey has defended his budget’s unfairness with just that argument.

“The problem is that opportunities are not equal. Money will always buy better-quality education and health care, for example. But due to current levels of inequality, too many people in too many countries have only the most basic access to these services, if at all. The evidence also shows that social mobility is more stunted in less equal societies.”

Disparity also brings division, she said. “The principles of solidarity and reciprocity that bind societies together are more likely to erode in excessively unequal societies. History also teaches us that democracy begins to fray at the edges once political battles separate the haves against the have-nots.”

Pope Francis put this in stark terms when he called increasing inequality “the root of social evil”.

“It is therefore not surprising that IMF research – which looked at 173 countries over the past 50 years – found that more unequal countries tend to have lower and less durable economic growth,” Legarde also said.

Get that? Until now, the conventional wisdom among economists has been that efforts to reduce inequality come at the expense of economic growth. Now a pillar of economic orthodoxy, the IMF, has found it works the other way round: rising inequality – as is occurring in Australia, the US and almost all advanced economies – seems to lead to slower growth.

Lagarde said other IMF research had found that, in general, budgetary policies had a good record of reducing social disparities. Social security benefits and income taxes “have been able to reduce inequality by about a third, on average, among the advanced economies”.

What can we do? “Some potentially beneficial options can include making income tax systems more progressive without being excessive; making greater use of property taxes; expanding access to education and health; and relying more on active labour market programs and in-work social benefits.”

Perhaps in his efforts to get a modified version of his budget passed by the Senate, Hockey could bring in the IMF as consultants.

Ross Gittins is economics editor.


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Scottish feel to mile

IT’S one of the best fields seen at Hawkesbury Race Club in recent memory, and local trainer Garry Frazer will be out to upstage the big city raiders in tomorrow’s Rowley Mile.
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The $100,000 listed race has attracted the who’s who of Sydney racing with Chris Waller, Gai Waterhouse, Joe Pride and Team Hawkes lining up runners.

Makybe Diva’s little sister, La Amistad, will resume for Team Hawkes after winning her final three starts last campaign including an impressive win in the listed McKell Cup at Randwick.

But Frazer is only concerned about Scottish Border, which has been racing consistently in its past five starts, finishing no worse than fourth.

“He’s going very well,” Frazer said.

“His last start was good and he’s getting in at 54kg and the mile will suit him.”

Frazer admitted he was keen to race his rising eight-year-old in the Taree Cup on Sunday, but the inclement weather changed his mind.

“Running him here was a bit of an afterthought, but when the rain came I decided to stay here,” he said.

“He’s won on a bog track at Randwick so that won’t be a problem.

‘‘The wet track gives him a hope.”

La Amistad won’t be the only star horse Scottish Border will have to overcome as premier trainer Chris Waller lines up four runners.

After winning half the card at Rosehill last weekend he’s looking unstoppable to take out a fifth-straight Sydney trainer’s premiership, despite the season being less than a month old.

“It’s always hard to beat them,’’ Frazer said.

‘‘Especially when Waller has half the field.’’

Frazer will partner with classy young rider Sam Clipperton, who out-rode his claim last month as an apprentice.

“I’ve put Sam on the horse,’’ Frazer said.

‘‘I’ve had a bit of luck with him. He’s a nice, cool rider who listens to instructions.”

The race day starts at 12.45pm and the Rowley Mile will be run at 3.45pm.

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Horsham’s Worrall Dunn named Small Breeder of the Year

DREAM AWARD: Horsham’s Lorraine Dunn, centre, and daughter Celeste Patterson, second from right, accept the Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria’s Small Breeder of the Year award on behalf of Mrs Dunn’s late husband Worrall Dunn. They are pictured with representatives from the award’s sponsor Basinghall Farm, from left, Tim and Lisa Johnson, and TBV president James O’Brien.LATE Horsham racing identity Worrall Dunn was posthumously named Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria’s Small Breeder of the Year on Sunday night.
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Dunn, who died in November last year aged 78, was primarily honoured for the success of his home-bred filly May’s Dream.

The daughter of New Approach and She’s Archie won the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks over 2000 metres at Morphetville, South Australia, in April.

She also enjoyed a successful Melbourne Spring Carnival campaign, finishing second in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas and Group 2 Wakeful Stakes.

She contested the $1 million Crown Oaks in November, but the 2500-metre distance proved too far at the end of her campaign.

The 2013-14 Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria awards were presented at the Victorian racing industry’s night of nights, the Scobie Breasley Medal, which was won by reigning Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver for a record seventh time.

Dunn’s wife Lorraine and daughter Celeste Patterson accepted the award on his behalf.

Mrs Dunn said the night was bittersweet.

“It was happy because we were thrilled with the award, but it was also a little sad,” she said.

“I had a bit of an idea he was going to win it, but I didn’t want to say it aloud, just in case.

“It was very special.”

Mrs Dunn said it was her husband’s first breeding award.

“I really do appreciate it,” she said.

“Worrall put a lot of work into breeding. He was always reading up on horses. He loved it.

“His mother was a Fisher and they were the leading trainers at Yaapeet for years.

“Worrall followed in her footsteps and May’s Dream is named after her.”

May’s Dream scored an eye-catching maiden victory at Swan Hill in July 2013.

Worrall Dunn with She’s Archie’s daughter to Bel Esprit, the sire of champion racehorse Black Caviar in 2013. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

After the race, Dunn told the Mail-Times his filly was special.

“She’s only a small girl, only a baby, but she’s done everything well,” he said.

“I hope things go well because things can go wrong.

“I’m an old man and I’m not very well, but this is my dream horse since She’s Archie.”

She’s Archie was Mr Dunn’s biggest success.

She was the first Group 1 winner for both Dunn and trainer Darren Weir, who also trains May’s Dream.

She’s Archie won the 2002 South Australian Oaks and was runner-up to Makybe Diva in the 2003 Melbourne Cup.

She is due to foal again next week.

“We’re still breeding for now,” Mrs Dunn said.

“Celeste is helping me with the horses – I tell her my plans and she tells me what she thinks and we work it out together.

“This one will be the daughter of Manhattan Rain and after that She’s Archie will go to Dawn Approach.”

Dawn Approach is from the first crop of foals sired by New Approach, which also sired May’s Dream.

Mrs Dunn said May’s Dream would resume in the spring.

“She’s been back in work for a while and trialled at St Arnaud on Friday last week,” she said.

“She should be back in late September.”

Mrs Dunn said the family was targeting the Group 1 weight-for-age Myer Classic on Derby Day.

“We’ve talked about some other options as well, but we’ll see how she goes,” she said.

“It’s pretty exciting.”

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OPINION: Substituting form for substance

LAST Wednesday the Land and Water Commissioner Jock Laurie invited Groundswell Gloucester, the Environment Protection Authority, the Office of Coal Seam Gas and other parties to talk at the Gloucester council chambers.
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Groundswell Gloucester is always interested in gaining more information about the activities of AGL and government agencies in relation to mining in the valley but the purpose of the meeting proposed for today was unclear.

We believe that a genuine desire to communicate in a frank, complete and timely manner is required of both AGL and agencies.

Recently we have seen the advent of the Gloucester Dialogue that purports to do this but is merely a disguised attempt to aid AGL in buying a social licence for their project.

Previous meetings with the Office of Coal Seam Gas (OCSG) have been marred by vagueness, lack of commitment to real communication and undertakings that were not kept.

The proposed meeting appears to be another attempt to substitute the form for the substance.

Instead of constructing more superfluous channels that convey only carefully managed information, supplying real information by any of the many existing methods would be effective.

The OCSG could have replied to our correspondence, regarding the legality of the basis for the decision regarding the Waukivory Pilot Project, as promised.

The OCSG could have agreed to requests from Groundswell to see documents about the process of deciding to frack at Waukivory.

Instead, the OCSG decided to come and try to pour oil on troubled waters.

Groundswell has recently requested to meet with Ministers Pru Goward and Anthony Roberts. We think that it would be appropriate if they responded.

Groundswell Gloucester declined Mr Laurie’s invitation.

David Hare-Scott

Vice President, Groundswell Gloucester

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Loyal mayor bites over fishy photo

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but Bombala Mayor Bob Stewart is adamant that he hasn’t deserted the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs for the Roosters. RUMOURS have been spreading far and wide that die-hard South Sydney supporter Bob Stewart has changed sides to support the Roosters.
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The Bombala Times even received photographic “evidence” – clearly showing Cr Stewart, donned in a Roosters cap, broadly smiling at the camera.

But Cr Stewart wouldn’t have a bar of it,defiantly denying any association with the “glamour club” and stating that his allegiance would always be with the Bunnies.

“No way, especially after how they played last week,” Cr Stewart said.

“I’m a very passionate supporter and I would never switch sides especially for the Roosters,” Cr Stewart told the Times.

Cr Stewart said he had been a supporter of South Sydney since their famous premiership win in 1969.

The game was considered the biggest upset grand final in rugby league history which was played in front of 58,825 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

And Cr Stewart iscertain the Rabbits will make it to the grand final in September.

“ I think they are in with a chance this year,” he said.

“Come September we’ll be there and we deserve it, we’ve been through some hard times.”

Cr Stewart insists the Roosters cap was worn simply in an effort to be sunsmart, adding that he had been tricked into being photograph.

“I knew those boys were up to something,” he said.

“I caught a fish, itwasn’t even big and they wanted to take a photo of it,” he said.

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Jarman visits Far West

SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT: Claude the Crow holding Taylor Hammat and AFL superstar Darren Jarman.
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CLAUDE THE CROW: Claude the Crow with Caleb and Corbin Ballard.

FORTY Far West junior players were treated to a training clinic with former AFL player Darren Jarman when he visited Thevenard Sports Club as part of the Toyota County Footy Drive on August 14.

The local players practiced their ball skills and were shown how to keep even the best player on the field under the pump.

They also had a handball competition and participated in various training drills that focused on marking, tackling and kicking for goals.

Ceduna Machinery was the proud sponsor and the staff hosted Jarman and the Adelaide Crows’ official mascot Claude the Crow.

CEDUNA MACHINERY: The Ceduna Machinery team Leon Veerhuis, Keiran Patterson, Claude the Crow, Linda Bennie, Darren Jarman and Matthew Blums.

Ceduna Machinery sales manager Matthew Blums said it was all about having a bit of fun and meeting the famous footballer.

“Ceduna Machinery were very pleased to see the support and ongoing commitment from Toyota and the Adelaide Crows of local footy in our area,” Mr Blums said.

All of the participants in the clinic received a football signed by Jarman and a sausage sizzle was provided at the end of the training session.

HOW IT’S DONE: Darren Jarman demonstrated a kick.

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Oh la la, it’s cabaret in Windsor

A touchof Paris is a cabaret show featuring song, dance, comedy and magic illusion and it’s at Windsor RSL Club on Saturday night.
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This one-off experience will bring to life all the glitz and glamour of Paris and Hollywood all in one.

It’s been compared to a night at the world famous Moulin Rouge.

You will be mesmerised by the beautiful dancers in exotic costumes and the stunning choreography.

Some of the dancers have appeared at the Moulin Rouge in Paris.

Songs will include I Love Paris, Lady Marmalade, Welcome to Burlesque, Show Me How You Burlesque, Hey Big Spender, Fever and many more.

The show starts at 7pm. Details: 45876900.

■ The Gazette has a double pass to give away. Just tell us why you would like to see the show in 25 words or less and send it to [email protected]南京夜网.au with your name, suburb and contact number by noon on Friday, August 22.

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OPINION: Calmly and wisely

MANY thanks to Penny Drake-Brockman for her wise and sensible letter (Gloucester Advocate, August 6).
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She rightly reminds us that those who criticise someone rather than addressing the quality of that person’s argument or information, quickly lose our respect and do not give us any reason to accept their own views.

It is the quality of Gloucester’s community, not only its stunning natural beauty, that attracts new settlers and visitors to our wonderful valley.

The people I meet all care deeply about this town and are keen to see it continue to prosper, even though they may disagree over how that is best achieved.

We know we are facing big challenges to our economy and the type of future we want but if we drown ourselves in criticism and fail to address the real issues, we may lose what is really important to us all – the quality of life in our community, now and for the future of our children.

Let us resolve to work calmly and honestly together, so we build rather that destroy our strengths and our potentials.

Let us plan wisely, using accurate, objective information. We have many talented and informed people, motivated by community benefit rather than vested self-interest, to help us find our way.

There are plenty of independently collected facts and figures that identify the real sources of our economy and which industries, based on scientific, market and technological evidence, are more likely to be viable, robust and long-term. Who will help me find them?

Penelope Charles


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