Coastal Sun February 7th 2002 – Editorial / Tie a Yellow Ribbon / Letters

Articles published with permission


This week I had planned to skip my editorial but a chance remark during Council’s Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday changed my mind. Cr Vardon tried to shift blame for the charcoal plant onto Mayor Cairney. He inferred that because Mayor Cairney was so outspoken about the factory and in particular the Premier, that he had destroyed the good relationship between council and the state government. Personally I think this theory of Cr Vardon’s is rubbish. I am proud to have a Mayor who is willing to stand up and be counted when he believes a wrong is being done. Mayor Cairney is not afraid to call a spade a spade. He loves his shire and he will do anything to fight for the people’s right to keep their amenity. He may swear occasionally and vent his wrath but then he is passionate about this issue – very passionate. Then I got to thinking about the meaning of ‘good relationship’ on my way back to the office. What good relationship? Can’t see it, can’t hear it, can’t taste it! The state government removed dental services, part of our health services not to mention the bloodbank next door in Bega. It allowed our highways to fall into such a dreadful condition that the Princes Highway won the dubious accolade of the road that causes more deaths than any other in NSW. The Kings Highway is so unstable that it keeps on falling down. Our police station is undermanned. Lack of hazard reduction in the parks appears to have contributed greatly to the worst bushfires this state has ever endured. Now, the state government has removed our democratic rights. This good relation is about to force us to accept an industry that 80 percent of us do not want. If these are the acts of a good relation – god help us if we have a bad one. Solution My answer to all this is simple. Get rid of the State Government. They cost us a fortune and bring us grief. We would do much better by having larger local governments with greater responsibility and a federal government to allocate monies. Think of all the services we would be able to afford if we didn’t have to pay obscene amounts of money to state pollies – better health and dental services – better roads and rail access etc etc. I for one am tired of being ignored by a state government just because I do not live in a marginal seat – and tired of paying the price for state governments to gain a marginal seat.

Tie a Yellow Ribbon

Mogo was awash with colour on Saturday. Close to 2000 people, bedecked in yellow marched up the Princes Highway, carrying signs and chanting slogans, in protest against the proposed charcoal plant. For the first time, the Aboriginal elders turned out in force, anxious that their objections be heard. The Environmental Impact Statement made erroneous claims that the indigenous people were consulted. Georgina Parsons, an elder for the Walbunga made it clear that her people did not want this factory at all. She is very concerned with the health aspect, as many of the young aboriginals suffer from respiratory problems. Georgina also stated that this area is home to many sacred sites, precious to Walabunga culture. “We do not want this plant in the Walbunga region which extends from Narooma to the Shaolhaven River and from several miles out to sea to beyond Braidwood.” Charcoalition reported that there was lots of support from many new recruits to the cause and the day was covered well by the media. Lots of tickets were sold for the bus trip to Sydney ($20) on February 27 to picket NSW Parliament, demanding a meeting with the Premier. Any interested parties phone Col on 4471 7501.

Cairney for Premier! By Brett Mason

“I may not be politically correct – but at least I’m sincere.” This is how Mayor Peter Cairney, affectionately dubbed the ‘Peoples Mayor’, began his address to the 2000 plus crowd at ‘Yellow Ribbon Day’. The mob roared to life when Mayor Cairney mounted the stage, with members of the crowd chanting ‘Cairney for Premier.’ Peter Cairney sincerely apologized for his ignorance regarding the proposal, assuring the community he would have acted sooner if all councillors had been informed of the details Passionately, he avowed to continue the fight against the proposed charcoal factory, assuring NSW Premier, Robert Carr that the Eurobodalla Shire would not be dictated to by stand-over tactics. With this comment, the crowd once again roared to life. “We all saw Bob on the telly last week – he thinks we are a push-over and we don’t count.” “Let’s show him we do count’ Cr Cairney declared. If Bob won’t listen I’ll be lying next to you when the bulldozers come!” Cr. Smellin sent his apologies via the Mayor – it was a working day. Cr Brown, awash with yellow ribbons, let all know his feelings on the matter.

Letters to the Editor

Who pays?

Bob Carr has now stated on National TV that he doesn’t care about what the community thinks about this proposal & that it will go ahead. Now that he has made the decision to put this monstrosity in the “wrong spot” there should be some fundamental questions answered and these are just a few of many.

* Who is going to fund major repair works on the Kings and Princess Hwy due to heavy vehicle movement?

* Who is going to compensate local communities for the potential loss in real estate values?

* Who is going to compensate local tourist businesses in and around the fallout area?

* Who is going to compensate communities when major health issues undoubtedly arise later down the track?

* Has the State Government suddenly become a dictatorship with total disregard to obvious EIS shortcomings just to win a few votes at Lithgow in the next State Election?

May we remind Bob that he is in Government to make decisions on behalf of the people. Bob Carr’s arrogance in this matter seems to outweigh his rational thought process or maybe this is going to be an ongoing scenario where by his government claims no responsibility for any of its actions – which is far from what a democratic society.

David Johnston

Sun shows ‘gusty journalism’

Dear Editor. Not known for his newspapers support for the Charcoalition against an obscene factory at Broulee/Mogo, Editor Chris Graham of ‘The Bay Post’ has belatedly emerged into the debate. However he has done this in what appears to be a very destabilising manner, He criticises the Charcoalition and its choice of ‘MAYORS’. Charcoalition did not choose a mayor – there is only one. Mayor Peter Cairney chose to back the Charcoalition, ex-mayor Chris Vardon did not. The Charcoalition, ably led by Chris Kowal, has been our only bright star shinning through a black charcoal night. Here is a group of unpaid volunteers dedicating every wakeful moment to the community’s concerns about health, environment and the future of our glorious shire. It has taken some rather ‘gutsy’ front-page journalism by ‘The Sun’ newspaper for the past couple of months, to finally bring Chris Graham and the Bay Post out of the closet. Mayor Peter Cairney has become our second shining star. In our hour of need, he has shown great intestinal fortitude to stand up and be counted in this ongoing battle against Premier Bob CHAR and his Charcoal Factory. For this we are all grateful. Shall we see the Ex-Mayor, Councillor Chris Vardon, fulfil his councillor obligations to the ratepayers and ‘take up the cause?’ He chose not to be part of the 3 person Shire Council team to lobby against the Charcoal Factory with premier Bob CHAR. Finally, on one point, I do agree with Chris Graham of ‘The Bay Post’ the debate is too important to loose, so let us all unite, now, for the battle ahead. A united Eurobodalla Shire will WIN this just battle and look forward to a great future.

Peter Dunn


I refer to the letter in the Eurobodalla Sun Thursday 31 January 02 “Red Ribbon Reply” by R. Morley. He states “If the people believe that 107 football fields would fit on the Mogo site they need to go back to school”.

The official size of a rugby league football field, according to the official dimensions stated on a document by the Australian Sports Commission, is 100m x 68m, which equals 6,800 sq metres, or 0.68 hectares.

Prior to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the company stated that the total Mogo plant site size was 73 hectares. 73 divided by 0.68 = 107 football fields.

The EIS (page S.8 and page 3.4) states that the total plant site size is 70 hectares, ie 103 football fields.

John Allen
Malua Bay

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