Saturday, September 4, 2010

UnSound Decisions

So now that the celebrities have okayed the port expansion project, the whole game changes. Peter Garrett thinks it's alright, as does our very own westy ranga (that would be the state minister for the environment). What's next?

Just one or two questions:

In working the room, the Albany Port Authority sends out media releases and refuses to be interviewed on the subject of the port expansion, thus utterly controlling their media content. (I've been in the room when this is going on. It's true.) Local newspapers and radio are so controlled by the bottom line that they don't have the man hours to chase up dissenters. Fifty percent of the newspapers in Albany are beholden to the advertising dollar of the Albany Port Authority. Now if Brad Williamson got around town wearing Rupert Murdoch's mask maybe I would understand this brand of reverent, unquestioning subservience in the media. But he doesn't. So it's getting close to the time where we start asking questions of the Albany Advertiser and whether they are informing, or simply advertising by rote.

Is the population of Albany willingly seduced by the latest charm offensive run by the Albany Port Authority and Grange Resources? Are we ready for the Walk of Shame in the morning? The Albany Port Authority appears very eager to pimp out our waters to the big miners (as long as they pay cash).

What we are seeing in the newspapers is story after story about the cash sprayed around for artists, museums, kids with disabilities etc etc. One of the TAFE open day's few photo opportunities in the local newspapers was for Grange and APA spruiking for jobs. All from one busted rudder.

Remember the Cove? Gone.

Feeling a bit compromised by your anger with the Albany Port Authority filling in natural coastline and dumping arsenic shit in the Sound -and the money you've received through the Atlantic Eagle Fund? Don't be. Take their money. And then tell them to F .... Off.
If you don't feel you can do that, then have a really good look at what is going on here.

And one final question:
Who elected these guys?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Peter Garrett and Holes in the Ground

I first saw Peter Garrett at the local rec centre. The nightclub boys, whom I shall give the most discreet pseudonym of the Kray Brothers, hosted the bar for the Midnight Oil gig, complete with barmaids in classy Bundy midriffs and all the water fountains taped over. (You can't possibly have free water at a concert of national standing in Albany!)

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, Peter Garrett. Here is a letter from Tony Harrison to Peter Garrett, commenting on the Minister's recent approval of the port expansion project.

Dear Minister,

I found a small article in the West Australian newspaper dated Friday, June the 18th. It was about how you have approved the proposal from the Port of Albany and Grange Resources port development. You have failed to let the people of Albany know what is going to happen to the dredging spoil.

If you have been to Albany you would know how pristine this King George Sound really is. We don't want it destroyed. We have proof that there will be problems.

Even though this mining and export is all in W.A state waters and outside your jurisdiction, then how come you have approved this project. Before you make a decision about this dump site, I would like to invite you to come on a whale watching boat and see for yourself.
Save Our Sound,
Tony Harrison.

It seems that even though Grange have sailed in from a distant shore (47% Chinese owned), the company takes what the company wants and nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground.

What?! A Cheap Shot? Sorry, it was just irresistible.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Save Our Sound Flotilla

Today, at 10.30 am, or perhaps a bit closer to 11, fourteen mariners and passengers converged on waters between Bald Head and Breaksea Island to protest against the Albany Port Authority and Grange Resources dumping their dredging spoils there.

Fourteen boats doesn't sound like many but it was a grand effort getting out there. The maritime origins of Albany were well represented - fishing boats, dive boats, tour boats and a few weekenders came out. There was even a tinny or two, rolling around in the massive swells of the Sound entrance.

These photos are taken from my mobile phone. If anyone has any better, please email them to me at www dot saveoursound6330 dot gmail dot com ...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Bottom Line

A classic example of how the Albany Port Authority works:

Local Save Our Sound campaigner Tony Harrison has a large banner that he pegs out beside his petition table. This banner was sponsored by five businesses, including a sign writing company that has operated in Albany for more than twenty five years.

Yesterday, on his way to present yet another petition to the upper house, Tony stopped in at the sign writing shop to ask for one more signature. The business owner declined, even though she had enthusiastically supported Tony's campaign in the past. "I can't do it," she said.
"Why?" He asked her.
"I've had a call from the Port Authority, regarding our business name being on your banner," she told him.
Apparently the head of the Port Authority rang the sign writing business to gently remind them that they were a client too.
That's all.
Just a reminder.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Democracy is Alive and Well

A Friend of the Sound sent this letter to me recently, as a response to the Albany Advertiser's article, May 6th, 2010; "Offshore Oil, Gas Project Holds Promise."


I'm excited to hear the Albany is set to benefit from the next resource boom. It's fantastic that the state government is supporting actions to mitigate climate change and we are all doing our bit to ramp up the race to peak oil. Future generations? Who gives a damn. While the oil glass is half full, let's drink it down, before the bartender gives it to someone else.

I bet the whales are excited too, about the pollution and seismic disturbances they "won't be exposed to."

And the timing of this announcement couldn't be better, which the daily spewing of 5,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. A company with the pretty name of Arcadia Petroleum is bound to be more accountable than BP, for sure. You can even ask them .... oh they can't be contacted for comment? Nothing has gone wrong yet, has it?

Another benefit is to the democratic process. Mines are famous for their love of public participation and comment. Just look at how excited Grange is about what we've got to say about the dredging of the harbour for iron ore shipments. And we're all pretty glad to get rid of that ugly little cove under the old pea factory, it's the last reminder of natural coastline on the south side of the harbour, after all.

And the astronomical economic benefits! All you renters, wave your eviction notices in the air if you are as excited as I am about rising accommodation and food costs.

Maybe we'll even afford to find, or rebuild, the town jetty that disappeared overnight! Maybe even a new beachfront hotel!

Lucky, lucky us!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Diddums, Russell

It's always nice to hear someone wingeing louder than myself. When I read of the managing director of Grange Resources carrying on like Henny Penny in Albany's Weekender, well, it just makes me feel all warm inside.

Russell Clarke is worried that the sky will fall in. He's also annoyed that the City of Albany has written to the Environment Minister to express its concerns about the dredging of our channel and dumping the spoils in King George Sound. If Grange have to cart the spoils anywhere else, "the huge cost would be detrimental to the project."

"That is outside (the COA's) jurisdiction," he says. "There is actually an appeals process they can go through to do that, which they chose not to do."

Yes, it is outside their jurisdiction but the Council, like any other group of people, have a right to write to any minister they like. It's called a democracy. And they did try to appeal via official channels, Russell. Their submission was rejected for being eight days late.

"Then we have the Federal Government wanting to put in this Super Profits tax that is going to change the economics of the project," he said. "The Council is wanting to dump further out to sea, the Rudd Government is wanting a super tax and other people are wanting everything else." Bloodsucking vampires, the lot of us.

Russell Clark and Grange Resources have promised the people of Albany all sorts of trinkets and lollies in return for what they term a "terrific project." Already Grange has spent millions investing in real estate. This is a prime example of their commitment to the region - they've bought a farm, so they can mine it.
"Money is being spent, assets are being bought, studies are being done." You know that picture of the skeleton sitting on an armchair, the one that real estate agents like to flourish? The picture of the young man waiting for the price of land to come down? Give us a break, Russell.

"The mine will be spending probably upwards of $3 million into the local economy in one way or another," said Russell. Have a good look at that statement, it's pretty vague and it's the whole extent of promises from Grange that you are getting today. The very same Grange Resources that is nearly 47 percent Chinese owned.

In return for these poxed blankets and beads from Russell and the Albany Port Authority (and haven't these guys been quiet), we allow the Cove to be destroyed permanently, we lose fishing, aquaculture and recreational freedom in King George Sound and we shall witness environmental vandalism on a scale we've not yet experienced in this gorgeous corner of the world.

Quotes taken from The Weekender, May 20, 2010, pg. 3.