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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 18 April 2007
Methane not the only rotten gas from Goulburn mega tip
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: nsw govt

We notice the good intentions of the Sydney Morning Herald with its weekly Eco segment. We would given it echoes our subterranean campaign to promote “ecology action” in a horizontal and even invisible way.

But we almost choked to hear Jeff Angel, of the Total Environment Centre doing his best to get in front of the most recent wave of waste reduction publicity in response to these articles:


All power to the super dump's stench - Environment - smh.com.au 


Rubbish piles up as recycling falters  PLAN to tackle Sydney's rising tide of waste was bound to fail because the State Government was not doing nearly enough to reach its own targets, a critique of NSW's waste strategy says.

Our wasteful use of rubbish - Environment - smh.com.au

Rivers of gold in our recycling bins - National - smh.com.au

The message is good, and the principle is right in the Herald editorial today – we do need a change of attitude. But to get that we need a change in politics and therein is the rub.


None of this is new really. In fact you could say it’s recycled from the Waste Act 1996 targets of a 60% reduction at 1995 levels junked by a progressively browner Bob Carr, with his fat electoral margins, and from 1997 in concert apparently with his handmaidens in the NSW Green movement …. Dr Judy Messer and Jeff Angel.


Harsh but consider the flow of startling correspondence below.


The heroic aging so called "junior officer" Frank Miller, land holder, member of the Goulburn Greens local chapter of that political party, now retired and deaf as a post, had alot to say back in 2000. The measure of Miller is that he was a tank driver in the 2nd World War … for the Germans. I asked him once why did he come to Australia? He said after the war when he heard what his country had done to the Jews he no longer felt anything for his country anymore, and he left.


Frank Miller clashed with Dr Judy Messer of the NSW Nature Conservation Council badly over the conduct of a campaign against the Goulburn land fill. And also Jeff Angel.


This didn’t surprise me. I know a bit about the politics of waste. I was ex officio a co-director of the Waterloo incinerator once in my role in local government. A role I used to close the old monster in 1997. What readers need to understand about reform of waste policies over to natural capitalism of the resource is that its all about closing off escape hatches.


Unless you do that, it’s out of mind out of sight and the pollies don’t have to do anything on their watch. So not rebuilding the waterloo incinerator was crucial to front ending redesign of products, container deposits, composting, waste plans by industry etc etc A thousand progressive policies in fact to be pioneered by the new waste boards. Otherwise it would just be burnt in a big incinerator escape hatch, or some other escape hatch like ...a big hole in the ground fed by city trainloads of waste to Goulburn. Out of sight out of mind. No reason to front end new resource focused policies as per the Herald series of articles above.


But this is where Miller, a strong ally of the Friends of the Earth group and Churchill scholarship winner John Denlay, effectively implies Messer and perhaps Angel pre emptively buckled to their mates in the ALP led by Premier Carr back in 1999/2000. And the correspondence tends to bare this out which I’ve kept 7 years. The faded faxes, the musty leaves of paper.


Not that it should surprise anyone. TEC campaigners pre the Angel exclusive directorship of TEC were champions for rebuilding the Waterloo incincerator opposed by Greenpeace, locals, Green Party, FoE etc. I was the spanner in their works and there was no $40M rebuild, it was closed. Particularly recall one time a media release I had hand delivered to EPA chief Neil Shepherd's desk by his gopher literally while meeting the Mayor of Waverley to get him onside. The old guard really hated that.


After that victory in 1997 I even persuaded Angel now ascendant at TEC to write 29/10/98 to Mayor Pearce at Waverley congratulating him on closing off another escape hatch for waste being “insinkerators”, a ban that this former Greens Councillor promoted.


But when it came to the Goulburn mega tip that Carr needed to green light to avoid delivering real policy reform just like his failures on


- water recycling with the North Shore Sewerage Tunnel,

- native forest woodchipping at same or higher levels,

- public transport decay,

- renewable energy shoved aside by coal mining,


the tenor of the letters flying thick and fast from regionally based and well respected Frank Miller living near Braidwood shows the Nature Conservation Council in thrawl to the ALP and its agents.


And we well remember Frank Miller bitterly complaining he got no help from these Sydney peak green groups while he was our green movement represenative, and official party to proceedings battling the government in the Commission of Inquiry into the Goulburn mega tip. An inquiry the government simply sidestepped with another consultant’s report.


History repeats just as the Port Botany expansion Commission of Inquiry was ignored, and numerous Environment Court decisions over ruled by the government because they didn’t like the umpire’s decision, so they find another decision maker and look for some tame green garnish to add some ethical flavour.






The Manager

Investigative Unit/ICAC

191 Cleveland St.,



Re Woodlawn Megatip Proposal


Dear Sir/Madam,


On behalf of the NCC [Nature Conservation Council of NSW] Waste Crisis Network I submit the enclosed documentation for your scrutiny …obtained while being party to the Commission of Inquiry …Sydney Catchment Authority …reversed its original rejection in its Submission-in-Reply to a reluctant acquiescence of the siting of a ‘major waste facility’ in the Sydney drinking water catchment without solid foundation or substantive reasoning. SCA’s final acceptance breaches the mandate imposed upon it by SEPP 58 as well as by the ‘Sydney Water Catchment Management Act 1998’


…Sincerely, Frank Miller [signed]






I would like to inform you that the NCC wishes to disassociate itself from the intention of that attached letter


Dr Judy Messer

Chairperson [NCC]






Facsimile Message

TO Dr Judy Messer/ NCC Chair

FROM Frank Miller/Waste Crisis Network/FoE

DATE 15.6.2000

Subject WCN submission to ICAC


I shall not attend tomorrow’s meeting.

Your attempt to prevent an ICAC investigation into the highly suspect circumstance surrounding  the SCA’s reversal  … despicable intervention severily [sic] damages the NCC agenda.


Cc Jeff Angel ……Goulburn Post






6 July 2000 draft draft draft


An independent expert has been appointed to assess the need for major landfill sites for Sydney’s waste …independent consultant Mr Tony Wright ….





“Nature Conservation Council of NSW Inc

Media Release

7 July 2000

[NCC] today congratulated the Deputy Premier, and Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning on his decision to further question the need for, and appropriateness of Megatip proposals for Sydney’s Waste.


….Kathy Ridge

Frank Miller






TO Waste Crisis Networker Peter Hopper

FROM Frank Miller/FoE

DATE 7.7.00

SUBJECT Response to Dr Refshauge’s Media Release


FoE can see no reason to ‘rejoice’ in Dr. Refshauge’s announcement  “to assess the need for major landfill sites for Sydney’s waste [via ‘independendent’ consultant Tony Wright]” …. The recently released report, produced by the Alternative Waste Management Inquiry’, chaired by Mr. Tony Wright, does not display any independence of thinking as it is heavily waste industry-dominated ... does not respond to its terms of reference … Ecologically Sustainable Development. …


EPA and the regional Waste Boards have accumulated over the years extensive data …. The alarming signal given by Dr Refshauge’s announcement is that even after 5 years …this gov. can think of nothing more than to continue with well and truly obsolete Mega-tips, while in other parts of the world governments are beginning to accept that that is a dead-end road


[signed] FMiller FoE Waste Campaigner





TO Kathy Ridge

FROM Frank Miller

DATE 10.7.2000

SUBJECT Press release


Please, do no longer put my name and number under NCC press releases. I would not like to be put into the position of having to publicly disagree with anything stated in a NCC press release. The NCC press release on the latest ‘initiative’ by Minister Refshauge was totally unacceptable as far as I am concerned.


[Signed F Miller]”




[NSW Hansard] 52 Parliament …06/08/2000…Hon RSL Jones …





Is it a fact that the Nature Conservation Council has asked the ICAC to investigate the extraordinary about turn by the Sydney Catchment Authority in its vigorous opposition to the Woodlawn mega-tip? …


Does the Minister realise that if this proposal goes ahead that it will lead to the dumping in Sydney’s water catchment of up to 25 million tonnes of rotting putrescible waste, which in any case should be composted?


Will the minister investigate also what pressure was put on the Sydney Water Catchment and by whom? Was it the [EPA] … Collex?”




[NSW Hansard] 52 Parliament Woodlawn Megatip 08/29/2000


….The Minister for Environment … I am aware that a junior officer of the Nature Conservation Council’s  Waste Crisis Network wrote to the [ICAC] …Dr Judy Messer wrote to the ICAC on 14 June 2000. That letter stated ….










Your fax is offensive


I don’t care what you suspect, you obviously don’t know what is being said or what opportunity the interview or announcement offered. And there are a lot of other threats to drinking water quality besides Woodlawn.


Your attitude simply alienates you from the people who thought they were working with you.


Please don’t bother to contact us again.


[signature] Jeff Angel




The suggestion implied from all this correspondence is that the green movement 'leadership' including Jeff Angel in the press and radio today pre emptively buckled to the Goulburn Mega Tip escape hatch way of doing things over 7 years ago under the Carr Govt. That's not very much moral credibility for grandstanding on waste reduction today, so roll on the dominance of the geniunely independent Green Party when it comes to environmental policy and campaigning. A real attitude change as per the newspaper editorial today.


Postscript #1 Echo of the cynical situation above in NSW politics April 19th 2007 by Elizabeth Farrelly Knights of old only added fuel to the ire

Posted by editor at 2:26 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 19 April 2007 1:10 PM NZT

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