Sep 25 2012
Delegates of the Northwest Alliance, including David Quince, Anne Kennedy, Jane and Milton Judd, Phil Laird, Nicky Chirlian, Carmel Flint and Naomi Hogan, visited NSW Parliament from Tuesday 11th to Thursday 13th September. They attended 20 meetings in three days, briefing 37 politicians, ministers, advisors and high level bureaucrats, with several more politicians hoping to meet with the Alliance in future.
It was evident that many politicians live in a bubble and hear only from entrenched political apparatchiks or mining industry lobbyists. It was apparent that it made a big difference for them to hear from real people from the regions about their experiences on the ground. As a result, we considered it a very worthwhile and useful exercise.
Many politicians clearly had their eyes opened to the mining threats facing the northwest region, the damage already being done by coal and gas, the many limitations and failures of the Strategic Land Use plans and the need for proper health assessments to be conducted.
There was a clear ask by many of the politicians for more information, particularly peer reviewed health reports of the health impacts from coal and gas mining, on-ground evidence of mining damage in the region, pollution to water, negative economic impacts and other community impacts.
The Alliance requested key Ministers (including the Robyn Parker and Katrina Hodgkinson) visit the Northwest to see the impacts first hand. Paul Green of the Christian Democrats committed to visiting the NW region early in the new year.
Deputy opposition leader Linda Burney and the Labor party representatives are very keen to keep in touch and have asked we send them key data we collect and suggestions for pertinent questions to be asked in Parliament.
A number of specific follow up tasks from the meetings, related to finding reports, chasing specific legal advice or being a contact for ongoing dialogue were taken on by members of the delegation.
The attached briefer and map was presented to all politicians and advisers, and was also included in the ‘Northwest showbag’ to all members of Parliament.
The showbags delivered to all members of parliament were a big hit and conversation starter, as beautiful little trees poked through politicians’ pigeon holes – a rare treat for them no doubt. The bags included:
1. Bellata Gold award winning, family owned pasta from the Northwest
2. Iconic flowering tree from Northwest NSW
3. Northwest Alliance Newsletter
4. Liverpool Plains – critical for food security pamphlet
5. Protect the Pilliga Forest pamphlet
6. No Mines on the Liverpool Plains sticker
7. Bushland not Gasland sticker
8. No Gas badge
9. Mullaley Gas Pipeline Accord leaflet
10. Northwest Alliance briefing note with Northwest regional coal and gas map
Jeremy Buckingham’s launch of the Responsible Mining Bill and report back from his ‘Frack Finding Tour’ of the US was a great way to end the first day of lobbying (despite the distinct lack of alcoholic beverages on offer as noted by Quincy). See more information on the Bill or photos from the Frack tour.
A few highlights from the week:
Quincy’s great quote, “It’s not a gateway, it’s a drive through.”
Carmel grabbing lime light as the Northwest team stormed the SRLUP press conference, covered on ABC news.
The Speaker of the House Shelley Hancock, had her personal assistant email all MPs: “The Speaker has recently met with the delegation and found the meeting to be productive, interesting and informative. She is encouraging all Members to make the time to meet with the delegation.”
List of Politicians and staffers the Northwest Alliance met with:
Clayton Barr, Labor
Tim Owen, Libs
Adviser to Robyn Parker, Environment Minister
Paul Green, Christian Democrats
Robert Brown, Shooters and Fishers
Richard Torbay, Independent
David Shoebridge, Greens
John Kaye, Greens
Jeremy Buckingham, Greens
Jan Barham, Greens
Shelley Hancock, Liberal
Peter Primrose, Labor
Linda Burney, Labor
Greg Piper, Independent
Fred Nile, Christian Democrats
Chris Holstein, Liberals
Chris Spence, Liberals
Darren Webber, Liberals
Kevin Humphries, Nats
Matthew Cooper (from Hazzard’s office)
Kevin Anderson, Nats
Katrina Hodgkinson, Natural Resources Minister, Nationals
Adam Achterstraat, Advisor to Mike Baird, Office of the Treasurer, plus a representative from NSW Treasury
Nooreen Hay, Labor
Melinda Pavey, Nats
Cherie Burton, Labor
Jillian Skinner, Health Minister, Liberals
Dr Andrew MacDonald, Labor
Rob Stokes, Liberals Pittwater
Catherine Cusack, Liberals
Tim Scott (Hodgkinson Cheif of Staff)
Andrew Humpherson (Hartcher COS)
Professor Wayne Smith, Director, Environmental Health Branch, NSW Health