Forest Logging Debate Erupts in Eurobodalla

For many years there have been many environmental battles to reduce or halt the logging of State Forests on the South Coast of NSW. They have never ended. The campaigns have been run by dedicated members of the community particularly further south in the Bega Shire, and both ends of Eurobodalla, where the logging has been more concentrated. The conflicts have now moved into the Mogo region.

Mogo State Forest

The Coastwatchers Association has stepped up to organise a Forest Forum meeting later in August in Moruya, to allow members, and the community, to voice their concerns.

NSW Forestry has been increasing logging intensity around Batemans Bay and recently commenced logging in the Mogo State Forest on the eastern side of the Princes Highway. Continue reading

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Obituary – Martyn Phillips – 1947 – 2017

In May this year I notified Coastwatchers members of the death of Martyn Phillips, a long serving member of the Association and an extremely capable past President. Martyn died after losing his second battle with cancer.

Martyn Phillips

Martyn had a critical role in the management of the Association over a 16 year period, and the Association acknowledges that enormous voluntary contribution with extreme gratitude.

He joined the Management Committee in 1991-92, and with his obvious leadership skills, became Vice President the next year. He continued in that role until 1994-95 when he became the Association’s President for 2 years. He stepped back for a year before becoming President again in 1997-98. Martyn stepped up again for the Presidency in 2004-05, and remained on the Management Committee until 2008.

Before moving to the Deua Valley, Martyn had served in the Royal Australian Air Force. He joined in 1970, and this job took him and Jan to Darwin where Kate was born. Later in the 1970’s they were posted to Malaysia where Amy was born. After various postings in Australia, he was seconded to the United States Air Force for three years in the early 1980s.

Around this time, in his mid 30’s Martyn became seriously ill for the first time. He was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma cancer, which spread to other parts of his body. He fought this aggressively, taking every treatment offered, including the removal of most of his right lung.

In 1985 Martyn retired from the Air Force and with his family moved to their property in the Deua Valley, which he and Jan had bought 15 years earlier. The move and change in lifestyle did wonders, and he was cured of his cancer.

He became a member of the Coastwatchers Association as he appreciated deeply the special environmental qualities of the region. He volunteered many hours and much expertise to keeping the environment the way it was for future generations. He was particularly involved in the protection of Deua Old Growth Forests from logging, having areas removed and transferred from NSW Forestry’s control to the Deua National Park. His work on the extension of National Parks in southern NSW was publically acknowledged by the NSW Government in 2000.

Martyn has been described in correspondence to me by members “as a lovely bloke”, “a good man”, “a very fine man”. He was a gentleman.

On behalf of the Association I pass on my deepest condolences to Jan and Martyn’s two daughters, Kate and Amy.

John Perkins, President, The Coastwatchers Association

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Farewell to Maureen and Jim Baker

The Association has farewelled two of its greatest supporters and environmental warriors, with the departure of Maureen and Jim Baker in early July, moving closer to Sydney to be nearer to their family.

Maureen and Jim have been members of the Coastwatchers Association for over 25 years, and both have given unflinching support and service to the Association. Maureen was a Committee member for four years from 1994-95 to 1997-98.

Maureen and Jim at a recent farewell

Maureen was a member of the Coastwatchers Environment Fund Committee for over a decade, and her sound advice and critical approach will be missed.

Jim and Maureen were not only involved with the Coastwatchers Association, but founded the highly successful Tuross Lakes Preservation Group in the early 1990s. The Group became one of the inaugural ‘Landcare’ groups to operate in the Eurobodalla Shire.

Maureen and Jim were also involved with Shire wide Estuary Management Committees as well at with NPWS Committees. Maureen served on the Eurobodalla Shire’s Coastal Management Advisory Committee. In between all these activities, Maureen completed an environmental degree in her retirement.

For over 25 years Jim and Maureen have campaigned strongly to protect community and environmental issues, dedicating thousands of hours of voluntary time towards advocacy and on-ground environmental works.

Maureen received an Order of Australia Medal for her volunteer efforts and her dedicated commitment to the environment.

The Association thanks Maureen and Jim for their enormous voluntary contribution to environmental issues in the South Coast region, and wishes them every success in their second attempt at retirement.

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CEMAC Report July 7th 2017

To date there has been no update on the new coastal management legislation. The following information is on the Planning website:

  • Thank you to all who have taken the time to provide feedback on various aspects of the coastal reform program to date, including the draft Coastal Management SEPP.
  • The Department of Planning and Environment is now giving consideration to the feedback received and is working to finalise the Coastal Management SEPP.
  • The Office of Environment and Heritage is currently finalising the Coastal Management Manual and a Toolkit of technical resources and advice for coastal managers.

The reference to the Wharf Road submerged land was removed and the revised CZMP (Coastal Zone Management Plan) was unanimously adopted by Council on May 9th 2017 with the following recommendation,

THAT:

  1. Council adopts the amended Wharf Road Coastal Zone Management Plan 2017.
  2. Council forwards the Wharf Road Coastal Zone Management Plan to the Minister for Planning for final certification.
  3. Following certification, Council request the NSW Government commences negotiations to purchase land in private owner.

Reina Hill

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Coastwatchers AGM Preliminary Date: Saturday September 23rd 2017

For those members who plan ahead, the Executive is planning to hold the Annual General Meeting this year on Saturday September 23rd at 2:00pm at the Tomakin Community Hall. This will be finalised at the next Committee meeting on Wednesday July 5th 2017.

The Committee is also considering holding a Special General Meeting after the AGM to formally adopt the new NSW model Constitution for Incorporated Associations, which NSW Fair Trading introduced in August 2016.

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Scientists Warn Greater Glider is Near Extinction

Written by Adam Morton, The Age, June 2nd 2017

Greater Glider

Those who know the greater glider have a vivid way of describing it: like a flying possum crossed with a Koala.

About the size of a garden variety possum, but with a looped tail of up to 60 centimetres long and membranes that extend from its elbows to its ankles, it is Australia’s largest marsupial.

Scientists say it may not continue to be: it is headed for extinction. Two decades ago greater gliders were abundant up the east coast, but a combination of land clearing, logging and a rising threat of bushfires linked to climate change has triggered an 80% population crash.

Though they glide up to 100 metres, greater gliders are docile animals. They typically spend their lives within an area of three or four hectares – about the size of a couple of football fields. When danger arrives, as it did catastrophically in the (Victorian) central highland on Black Sunday, they have little capacity to cope. Continue reading

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Experts Review the Findings of the “Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market” (The Finkel Report)

The final report entitled “Independent Review into the Future Stability of the National Electricity Market”, was handed to the Commonwealth Government in the last week. The Review known as the Finkel Report was prepared by the Review Panel of 5 experts and chaired by the Chief Scientist Professor Alan Finkel.

The following reviews of the Report were presented in the Conversation on 9 July 2017.

Review 1.“Security and reliability are first”

Hugh Saddler, Honorary Associate  Professor, Australian National University

With so much focus on the design of a mechanism to support a shift towards lower-emissions generation, it is easy to forget that the primary purpose of the Review, commissioned following the “system black” event in South Australia on September 28, 2016, was “to develop a national reform blueprint to maintain energy security and reliability”. It is thus appropriate that security and reliability are the first topics to be addressed in the main body of the report.Hugh Sadler Continue reading

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Huge 300MW Solar Farm begins construction near Port Augusta

By Giles Parkinson on April 11th 2017 in Renew Economy

The first of two stages of a 300MW solar farm – Australia’s biggest – has begun construction near Port Augusta in South Australia.

The first two stages, totalling 220MW, of the Bungala Project is being built around 12km from Port Augusta, where the state’s last col fired generator closed last May.

Bungala will be built “battery storage ready” and will also likely be the first major solar farm to participate in Australia’s FCAS market (frequency control and ancillary services), using SMA inverter technology to provide voltage control for the grid.

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Wharf Road Coastal Zone Management Plan Back for Final Certification with Minister

The submerged and tidal land at Wharf Road Batemans Bay (400 metres from the bridge) has, indirectly and directly, been on Council Agendas for over 30 years. It is shortly to be progressed when the NSW Minister for Planning and Environment Certifies the Council’s ‘Wharf Road Coastal Zone Management Plan’.

This decision will have implications into the future, both with the surrounding land in Wharf Road, and other land in this Shire and elsewhere, particularly if global warming leads to sea level rise.

In supporting the Plan, the Minister said that the Plan seeks to return this precinct to public ownership and restore unimpeded public beach and foreshore access to these margins, which will be of significant benefit to the local community. Continue reading

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Solar Panel Installations “Skyrocket” in Australia in March

This is an edited report by the ABC’s consumer affairs reporter Amy Bainbridge from ABC News on April 13th 2017.

Key Points:

  • Solar panels were installed on about 15,000 homes and businesses in March 2017
  • Installations have hit their highest level in almost five years
  • Experts say rising electricity bills and recent blackouts in SA are turning people to solar

There has been a big surge in the number of households installing solar panels, with March installations reaching their highest level in almost five years.

An energy consultant said 91 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems were installed during the month.

He said the surge started to build in 2016, and has continued to skyrocket in 2017.

Queensland led the way, installing 25 MW of capacity, which is enough to power about 5.500 homes and businesses.

Installations were also up in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.

Installation figures in Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT were flat.

The recent blackouts in South Australia were a factor in the rising demand for panels, as solar power and storage are used to offset or protect against grid blackouts.

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