What the F**K

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Gold Coast Council plans to fill in Black Swan Lake

Wild Bird Rescues GOLD COAST on Facebook

Here's the full text of the posting -
Many will be shocked by this mornings announcement that Gold Coast Council plans to fill in beautiful Black Swan Lake in Bundall and turn it into a car park.
Last year the Council voted to preserve and clean up the lake; a project that is well advanced.
The call to fill in Black Swan Lake and displace all wildlife came from Cr.Gary Baildon, supported by the Mayor (of course) and others.
The Bulletin reports that Cr.Baildon claimed the nearby Gold Coast Show Society faced an uncertain future and needs a car park.
Staunch objector Cr.Bob La Castra said 'I've never heard such utter and complete rubbish in my time in Council'.
So much for Cr.Baildon's claim. Cr.Young and others voiced concern over the way this proposal had been presented with no prior warning.

Below are the email addresses of the mayor and those councillors who voted to fill in Black Swan Lake. The mayor is reported to have said that displaced birdlife will just relocate to the nearby Botanic Gardens, which shows what little he knows.
The resident swans in the Botanic Gardens will not tolerate incursion by any other swans.
Nor will many of the other birds.

Please take a moment to send Cr.Baildon and others an email telling them respectfully
what you think of their plan to destroy the lake and kick out the wildlife.
Unless you make your feelings known this kind of skulduggery will continue.

Cr. Baildon division7@goldcoast.qld.gov.au
Mayor Tate mayor@goldcoast.qld.gov.au
Cr. Vorster division11@goldcoast.qld.gov.au
Cr.Caldwell division3@goldcoast.qld.gov.au
Cr. Critchlow division6@goldcoast.qld.gov.au

Jackie Trad strikes again ...

Wednesday July 20th 2016

Palaszczuk Government introduces greater protection for Queensland’s heritage

The above titled media statement issued by Deputy Premier, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Trade and Investment The Honourable Jackie Trad -
"... the Government would reintroduce a state trigger for proposed developments which share a common boundary with a Queensland heritage place, to prevent a repeat of the controversial development next to Customs House approved late last year."

A couple paragraphs -
"We know Queensland communities care deeply about protecting local heritage sites, but recently we’ve seen far too many significant places jeopardised with the stroke of a pen."
"Introducing this new trigger is a further step the government is taking to ensure there is greater scrutiny in the development assessment process, after giving the Queensland Heritage Council a stronger consultative role earlier this year."

Friday Jul 22nd 2016 from ABC News -

High-rise tower next to Brisbane's Customs House one step closer after UQ lose court case

from the above title story -
"The University of Queensland (UQ) has lost an appeal to block the construction of a high-rise tower next to Customs House in the Brisbane CBD."
"Brisbane City Council approved the development on December 22 last year, deeming it was "code assessable" and did not require public submissions."

Customs House Brisbane 1898

Photo from John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Customs House and 443 Queen construction site

Customs House and demolition / construction site

An artist's impression of the hideous monstrosity of a building being erected next to Customs House can be seen here

If not for anything else the Queensland Deputy Premier, The Honourable Jackie Trad should be famous for espousing the virtues of her boss Annastacia Palaszczuk. This despite many carefully crafted statements both preceded and followed by seemingly endless examples of apparent contradiction, blame shifting and ineffectiveness.
This latest example is typical ...
Can we assume that Ms. Trad Minister for ( among other things ) Local Government and Planning was blissfully unaware of the proposal to erect a thumping great monstrosity of a building right next to one of Brisbane's priceless heritage treasures, Customs House. Presumably we're supposed to accept that she was also unaware that Brisbane City Council can rubber stamp approval for such a major building project as " code assessable " obviating the need to call for public submissions !!
Has it escaped everyone's attention that part of the appeal of places like Customs House is the setting not just the building itself FFS !
In fact there is official heritage recognition of this in as much as heritage building listings will often include a curtilage area surrounding the building, monument, etc.
Curtilage is typically defined as the surrounding land area / gardens / pathways / minor buildings which are considered to be an integral part of the main structure.
Australia ICOMOS Incorporated refer to "setting" in their publication "Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance" AKA The-Burra-Charter-2013
Article 1.12 -
"Setting means the immediate and extended environment of a place that is part of or contributes to its cultural significance and distinctive character."
associated margin notes -
"Setting may include: structures, spaces, land, water and sky; the visual setting including views to and from the place, and along a cultural route; and other sensory aspects of the setting such as smells and sounds. Setting may also include historical and contemporary relationships, such as use and activities, social and spiritual practices, and relationships with other places, both tangible and intangible."
Australia ICOMOS Incorporated, 'The Burra Charter: The Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance, 2013', pp. 3 (pdf page 5), viewed 3rd January 2018, http://australia.icomos.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Burra-Charter-2013-Adopted-31.10.2013.pdf

As you can see from the street view below the existing low-rise nature of this small part of Queen Street right on the edge of the Brisbane River remains light and open amid the surrounding high rise " jungle ". The construction of a huge 47-storey tower albeit on " stilts " will over shadow this small oasis in more ways than one.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act

The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP was sworn in as Minister for the Environment and Energy on 19 July 2016

Much hoo-ha surrounds the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, so what protection exists under the EPBC Act ?

Nine matters of national environmental significance are protected under the EPBC Act

  1. A water resource, in relation to coal seam gas development and large coal mining development
  2. Commonwealth marine areas
  3. Listed threatened species and ecological communities
  4. Migratory species protected under international agreements
  5. National heritage places
  6. Nuclear actions (including uranium mines)
  7. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
  8. Wetlands of international importance (listed under the Ramsar Convention)
  9. World heritage properties

The same list appears on this page -
Significant Impact Guidelines 1.1 - Matters of National Environmental Significance

There is provision for exemptions -

Under s158 or s303A the Minister for the Environment may only grant an exemption if he ( she ) is satisfied that it is in the national interest to do so.

Toondah Harbour includes 3., 4. and 8. above. So in order to obtain an exemption from the protection provided by the act the constuction of the Toondah Harbour development must be in the national interest !!

Significant here is the fact that the Minister for the Environment has delegated environmental assessment and approval to the Queensland Government. This bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and the State of Queensland relates to environmental assessment allowing the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment to rely on specified environmental impact assessment processes of the State of Queensland in assessing actions under the EPBC Act.
What isn't clear is whether that delegation extends to exemptions ( in the national interest ).

Asbestos found in building products imported from China !

Headlines regarding illegal material imports from China have been showing up on and off since February this year following a noticeable lull since the Great Wall and Cherry vehicle asbestos exposé which began back in 2012 and amid safety concerns ended in 2014.
On the face of it one could be forgiven for thinking that this re-emergence of asbestos runs a close parallel to the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) which came into force on 20 December 2015 !

Here's a few headlines from the ABC -

Dozens of Australian building sites contaminated by illegal Chinese asbestos imports, authorities say
Asbestos illegally imported from China provokes questions and anger in SA
Fears over asbestos imports spark call for better border controls for building products

The articles referred to above are Copyright © 2016 ABC

The Queensland Government has published a number of web pages on this subject on the old Dept. of Employment and Industrial Relations website marked "© The State of Queensland (Dept. of Justice and Attorney-General) 2012-2016" !

The federal government have created the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency and on July 1st 2015 amalgamated Dept. of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service into the Australian Border Force (ABF).

I grow weary of this ... here we have yet another serious ongoing problem.
There's a mountain of information, advice, precautions, etc, etc yet the problem persists.
The use of all forms of asbestos has been banned in Australia since the end of 2003. This means that the import, manufacture, supply, sale and use or reuse of asbestos and asbestos-containing products is no longer permitted.
This suggests that the magnitude of the task of preventing illegal importation is way beyond the resources of the ABF.
To put it another way they're way under funded and under manned at the coal face ( so to speak ) so there simply isn't enough people to do the work required.

Just for some amusement here's a few restricted ( ie: not prohibited ) imports, see the whole list here.

Coalition MPs put tax-free donations for green groups in the gun

The headline above refers to an article by Tom Arup in the brisbane times today Wed 4th May 2016.
Wilderness Society and Friends of the Earth could be stripped of their tax deductible status under sweeping changes put forward by members of the Turnbull government.

It would appear that the successes / failures with great annoyance / major delays / stringent environmental considerations and consequent tedium resulting from the actions of a number of environmental defence / education / advocacy groups are really starting to hurt.
This is self-evident by the proposal clearly aimed at reining in the financial backing such groups receive by way of tax-free donations.
It is ( of course ) feebly disguised as an attempt to ensure that the funds donated are used for practical environmental purposes ( which don't annoy the government ) such as planting trees, all the while massive tree clearings are happening across vast areas !!!! WTF !!!!!

Report - Inquiry into the Register of Environmental Organisations

Queensland Nationals senator Matt Canavan has previously declared about 100 to 150 groups on the registry were "engaged in activities which seem to have their purpose at stopping industrial development".
He's had the odd word or two to say about the Adani mine also ...

Coming as no surprise at all from the man with the Brownest nose in politics ( and that's saying something ). The above should remove any lingering doubt in anyone's mind as to the federal and various state governments' attitude towards the environment.
It is becoming increasingly obvious from the virtual torrent of environmental and ecological protection rhetoric and hyperbole emanating from all levels of government of all political persuasions that where big business is involved in any project with a potential for dire environmental consequences approval is a fait accompli !

The article referred to above is Copyright © 2016 Fairfax Media