31 August, 2014


Capertee Valley Alliance invites you to 
Emirates Wolgan Valley
10am Sunday 7th September 2014
Morning tea, tree planting, BBQ lunch
Event to be held at the restored 1832 historic homestead.
Field guides will host an informative tour.

click on the photo to read more

click on image to enlarge

29 August, 2014

Mass media versus social media

In this guest post George Von Waidkuns reflects about the role of the mass media in the creation of public opinion, and the interaction with the social media in terms of political and socio-cultural issues.
Generally, it can be said that mass media plays an important role in the creation of public opinion. Recent studies show that there is a close relationship between mass media and social control.
“The mechanism of control generally exercised by media proprietors is through the appointment of editors, ‘who become the proprietor’s “voice” within the newsroom, ensuring that journalistic “independence” conforms to the preferred editorial line’ (McNair). The power of the media is not just in its editorial line but also in covering some issues rather than others, some views but not others. It is this power that makes politicians so reluctant to cross the large media moguls and regulate the industry in the public interest. So while politicians would like to regulate against concentration of media ownership they are not as tough as they would like to be on this score.
Like earlier periods in the history of mass media communication the rise of radio, and then television, the birth of the Internet era has generated extensive speculation about the potential consequences of this development for older news media, for political campaigns, and for civic society.
As the Internet has taken off, research has explored the consequences for parties, candidates and election campaigns; for new social movements, interest groups and organizational activism; and for the policymaking process and governing in an information age.
We are witnessing a clear competition between mass media and social media in the creation of public opinion and public direct participation in political and social issues.
Mass Media and Social Control
The impact of the mass media on the consumers’ mind cannot be ignored; television, radio and newspapers make this by imposing social trends, informing, forming and misinforming the political opinion of the masses.
According to recent researches we can affirm that the mass media manipulates the mind of its consumers by using subliminal advertising and other techniques serving in the creation of public opinion and their political opinion. Mass media controls the political opinion of the masses constituting by this an invisible “government” of the “democratic” societies.
In essence public opinion is created by mass communication media and as a result of it most people delegates their own vision of the political reality to what the mass media is imposing on them. We are not thinking, the mass media think for us. We are not what we think; we are what they think we are.
Government and Control of Public Opinion, the Australian Case: Public Servants Banned from Political Opinion
The current Australian government threatened its public servants with disciplinary measures including dismissals if they make comments or if they express political opinion on social media.
The government is prepared to spend more than $4.2M to control social media and investigate cases where political opinion is adverse. This is a clear invasion of privacy and a restriction of freedom of speech.
An Australian renown academic, John Lord, said “the government could save that money by asking for my phone number straight away”.
Social Media and Participation
One of the most relevant characteristics of social media is the direct and instant participation of users in the political, social and economical reality. Users are exercising real power by interacting through online comments, blogs and publication of articles on independent websites.
The online participation of common citizens in the social and political issues, balance or to some extent neutralise the power of old means of mass communication, because citizens are now not passive spectators of reality but part of it. Citizens did not have the right to exercise their power by expressing their opinion on social issues. On the contrary they were selectively ignored by mass media.
People today extensively are losing faith in the mass media because they can test reality by their own means online. People are becoming part of reality rather than mere viewers.
Social Media and Hope
There are many hopes and fears surrounding the “virtual” democracy in the emerging of the Internet Age. Much debate revolves around whether the distinctive structure and interactive format of the Internet will provide a genuinely new form of political mobilization, enticing the dissent into public life, producing a more egalitarian democracy, or whether its primary function will be to reinforce those who are already most active through conventional channels like social organizations, community groups and parties.
We believe that public participation on social media is making a more authentic democracy as people can express their political views in a direct way and by making it public.
Social Media and the Church
In front if this new reality, even the Catholic Church has been giving green light to social media, Pope Francis recently confirmed it:
“The digital highway is one of them, a street teeming with people who are often hurting, men and women looking for salvation or hope. By means of the internet, the Christian message can reach “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Keeping the doors of our churches open also means keeping them open in the digital environment so that people, whatever their situation in life, can enter, and so that the Gospel can go out to reach everyone. We are called to show that the Church is the home of all”.
“Are we capable of communicating the image of such a Church? Communication is a means of expressing the missionary vocation of the entire Church; today the social networks are one way to experience this call to discover the beauty of faith, the beauty of encountering Christ. In the area of communications too, we need a Church capable of bringing warmth and of stirring hearts.”
In view of the presented above, social media with the participation of citizens in the social and political reality constitutes a new cultural phenomenon which challenges the other reality presented by the mass media. It is time then to see our socio-political reality in a new way, perhaps in a more democratic and truthful way, free from manipulation.

Regional Rail Trail

A rail trail between Kandos and Gulgong is unlikely to be supported by the State Government, Mid-Western Regional Council was told on Wednesday. 
The State Government announced $110 million in  funding for regional tourism projects such as rail trails in its state budget earlier this year, raising hopes that a trail for pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders could be developed in the Mid-Western Region.
Rail Trails for NSW will hold a workshop in Sydney on Monday, August 25, to compile a submission to the government. 
To read more click here
source Mudgee Guardian

CSG exploration licence refused

Mudgee Guardian Aug. 23, 2014, 4 a.m.

The NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas (OCSG) has rejected an exploration application from coal seam gas hopeful CEEMAC.
The company had applied for three licenses to drill between Dubbo, Narromine and Gulgong, as well as around Binnaway and Coolah and in the Blue Mountains.
Minister for Natural Resources Anthony Roberts said the OCSG refused the applications, deeming CEEMAC had not provided satisfactory evidence of its credentials under Section 15 of the Petroleum (Onshore) Act.

to read the full story click here

28 August, 2014

the Psyfari Festival 2014

Drums and music pulsed through a corner of the Capertee Valley on the weekend as thousands attended the Psyfari Festival near Glen Alice. 
The three-day celebration of camping, art, alternative music and performance encouraged visitors to “get all noisy chicken”, with the help of live bands, electronica and DJs. 
To read the rest of the article and see the 18 photos, click here

source Mudgee Guardian Aug. 24, 2014, 11:33 a.m.

27 August, 2014

Brett Whiteley exhibition


26 September – 30 November 2014
From his formative years as a student at Scots College, Bathurst, to time spent in Sofala, Hill End and Carcoar, throughout his life, Brett Whiteley had an enduring connection with the Central Tablelands country of NSW.
This exhibition, selected by Wendy Whiteley and Alec George, focuses on the enduring connection Whiteley had with the region west of the Great Dividing Range.
Brett Whiteley: West of the Divide features painting, sculpture and drawings spanning three decades of the artist’s career.
A Blue Mountains Cultural Centre exhibition in association with the Brett Whiteley Studio and The Art Gallery of NSW
Image: BRETT WHITELEY Marulan bird with rocks, circa 1980, oil, gouache, collage, rocks on plywood, 96.5 x 77 cm. Brett Whiteley Studio. Photo: AGNSW. © Wendy Whiteley

To view the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, click here

26 August, 2014

Capertee Valley Landcare Group First Annual General Meeting

9.30am Coffee and tea and membership paperwork
10am  Landcare Meeting with guest speakers :
  •  Huw Evans from LLS
  • Dave Crust from NPWS
  • Terrie Wallace from Umbiella
11.30 am Opportunity to join or pay fees Capertee Valley Landcare Inc see note below.
12 noon  Annual General Meeting for Capertee Valley Landcare Inc
ABN 166051047
To be held at Glen Alice Community Hall at 12 noon on 13 September 2014
  • Apologies
  • Reports from treasurer and president
  • Election of committee and office bearers
  • Items
    • Fees
    • Agreement on the objects of Capertee Valley Landcare Incorporated “To promote landcare and sustainable natural resource management within the Capertee valley”
    • General business
Then you are invited to join the Glen Alice Bush Fire Brigade for a sausage sizzle lunch which is part of the statewide Bush Fire Brigades Open Day.
 Note on fees: since we adopted the Model Constitution when we established Capertee Valley Landcare Incorporated we already have a fee structure of $1 for membership and $2 Annual Fees. In order to vote at the AGM all members will have to be financial. There will be an opportunity before the meeting to sort this out as well as to join .

Acting President
Capertee Valley Landcare
02 6379 7317
Mobile: 0412 699 674

25 August, 2014

Community group's bid to protect critically endangered Regent Honeyeater

EDO NSW News and Events
1. Community group's bid to protect critically endangered Regent HoneyeaterEDO NSW was in Court last week on behalf of Friends of Tumblebee, a community group who are challenging Cessnock City Council's approval of a development over land containing habitat for the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater.
The proposal for a steel fabrication workshop facility included the clearing of approximately 3.2 hectares of habitat for the bird. Friends of Tumblebee claims that this clearing is likely to significantly affect the species, and that therefore the development application should have been accompanied by a Species Impact Statement (SIS), which it was not.
The Land and Environment Court hearing commenced last week and has been adjourned until later in the year when further evidence will be put forward by the parties.

Read more about the matter on our website .

Regent Honeyeater

23 August, 2014

Capertee Valley Alliance Inc Annual General Meeting.



23rd August 2014
Glen Alice Hall.

Please help with catering by bringing a small plate of food - thank you

22 August, 2014

Our Country or Their Quarry?

click on image to enlarge
RED - coal exploration
PINK - coal applications and releases
BLUE - petroleum exploration and production titles
LIGHT BLUE - petroleum applications and releases

21 August, 2014

Petroleum exploration licence applications refused in our area

From: "CCH Parliament" <politicalalert@cch.com.au>
Subject: Political Alert - Petroleum exploration licence applications refused (NSW)
Date: 20 August 2014 3:46:26 PM AEST


Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts today said the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas (OCSG) has informed CEEMAC Pty Ltd that it has refused the
company’s three Petroleum Exploration Licence Applications (PELAs). Mr Roberts said the OCSG refused the applications under section 15(3) of the Petroleum
(Onshore) Act 1991 on the basis that CEEMAC has not provided satisfactory evidence of matters required to be provided under the Act.

click to enlarge

abolishing the Renewable Energy Target (RET)

As you may or may not have heard, according to an article in the Australian Financial Review on Monday; “the federal government is moving towards abolishing the Renewable Energy Target (RET).”
The RET funds the solar rebate for homes and businesses.
As a nation with abundant sun and well over 1 million homes and businesses with solar, this is a shock that may potentially result in our progress towards a more sustainable energy future screeching to a halt.
To read the full article click here.
The sad fact of this news, is that axing the RET will not benefit homeowners or business; but rather the fossil fuel generators and utility networks. Fossil fuel companies are set to make an extra $25B in profit if this is axed.
This is not in the interest of Australia.
John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council says why this is an issue that we should all stand up for:
  • Axing the Renewable Energy Target will make it much, much harder for Australian families to reduce their power bills
  • Under the current scheme, families can reduce their power bills by more than 65 per cent with solar, but the Abbott Government wants to make it harder for families to access solar
  • The solar industry employs 18,000 people nationally – more than the coal industry. These jobs are now on the line.
  • $18 billion of new investment, and thousands of new jobs, is being thrown on the scrap heap.
  • This is a clear broken promise. Before the election, the Coalition promised to protect the Renewable Energy Target. The Abbott Government is now trashing this election promise
While developed & developing countries alike, push forward and continually increase their Renewable Energy Targets; Australia is set to become the only country in the entire world to get rid of a Renewable Energy Target. Sounds pretty embarrassing, doesn’t it?
However, there is something that we can do - we need to make our voices heard loudly and clearly that scrapping the RET is not something that Australians want.
You can take action by doing the following:

20 August, 2014

Bylong battler left stranded by miner

FOR two years Korean mining group Kepco sought access to Craig Shaw’s Bylong property – and cost him time, effort, stress and $110,000 in the process – until early June when it won the right to enter his land to explore for coal.

Now Mr Shaw and NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham allege Kepco ran an aggressive access campaign to distract or silence him. 

To read the full story in the Herald, click here

Biodiversity Legislation Review

Dear Members,

As you may be aware, the NSW Government is conducting a wide ranging review of four crucial pieces of conservation legislation, called the Biodiversity Legislation Review. The Government has established the Independent Biodiversity Legislation Review Panel (the Panel) to provide advice regarding the review.

The Panel has released an Issues paper which is now available for public comment until September 5, 2014. Information on the Review is available on the Governments website here.

The Review will encompass the Native Vegetation Act 2003, Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, Nature Conservation Trust Act 2001 and sections of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

NCC is deeply concerned with the motivations behind the review and will be mounting a significant campaign to ensure that decades’ worth of conservation legislation is not lost.

We are producing a submission guide and will have communications materials available throughout the review process to encourage members to engage supporters across the State in defence of our hard fought protections.

We are also working with several other conservation organisations to produce an online survey to feed in information from across NSW regarding what is and isn’t working with the existing legislation. The results will be included in our overall submission and provide very useful information from across the State.

Thank you for all you do to protect nature in NSW. We will be in touch shortly with a submission guide.


Daisy, Cerin and Karl.

12 August, 2014

Invitation to Australasian Bird Fair

Australasian Bird Fair

The Australasian Bird Fair will raise awareness among the public for the conservation of so many of our wild bird populations that are in decline and to raise funds for threatened species recovery programs in line with the ‘BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Program’. The inaugural Australasian Bird Fair will be launched in the first week of June. This will be the first event of its size to be attempted in Australia
Guest speakers, equipment, bird tours, art shows, exibitors and other activities.

October 25-26, 2014


Click here to read more

11 August, 2014

Replies by Centennial Coal to public submissions

Click here to read replies by Centennial Coal to the submissions made by the public to their application for a 12 month extension of time for mining operations at Airly.

Invitation to presentation of the Wollangambe River

Blue Mountains Conservation Society presents

Blue Mountains
Wild River

The Wollangambe

Sunday 17th August, 2pm
Wentworth Falls School of Arts

Our August meeting is about the beauty of this river and the beast that threatens it.

The Wollangambe River is just to the north of Mt. Wilson.

For most of its 57km length it is within the World Heritage Blue Mountains and Wollemi National Parks, and the Wollemi Wilderness.

It rises near Clarence and flows east until it joins the Colo River, which empties into the Hawkesbury River near Lower Portland.

click here to read the full story

News from Lock The Gate

Lock the Gate Alliance

Join us in the Rooftop Revolution by putting words into action and making the choice to go solar.  By joining this movement, you have the potential to reap triple benefits for you, the environment and for Lock the Gate.
We are partnering with innovative solar company, Sungevity Australia, to raise money for Lock the Gate while impacting your bottom line too.  By sending Sungevity Australia a request for an iQuote.
You will immediately get connected with a solar specialist who will help you understand if your house is eligible to be powered by the sun.
It’s actually pretty simple.  Sungevity Australia has created the most affordable way to go solar with no money down and low monthly payments that will replace your current electricity bill and reduce your costs.  You simply go solar for $0 upfront and for every home or business that Lock the Gate helps go solar, we receive a $150 donation from Sungevity Australia.

In the end, you could end up having your home or business powered by solar for less than you were paying in electricity bills before, plus, Sungevity Australia will also give a donation of $150 for Lock the Gate. How’s that for a win-win situation?
Join Lock the Gate in the solar movement.  Send in for an iQuote today and start the process of getting clean, affordable solar energy for your home or business. 

Drew Hutton

Lock the Gate Alliance


Capertee Valley Alliance Inc.



“Centennial Coal’s proposal to expand the Airly Mine in the Capertee Valley by allowing for a 1.8 metre vertical subsidence is a far cry from the current agreed maximum of 125 mm and makes a mockery of the meaning of a State Conservation Area and also of responsible planning and mining laws”, said Dr  Haydn Washington, Secretary of the Colo Committee.

“This proposal has the potential to seriously damage the Mugii Murum-ban State Conservation Area, which due to its internationally recognised geological features, is proposed for addition to the World Heritage Area when responsible mining ceases”, said Dr Washington.

Community groups and NGOs object to Centennial Coal’s Airly Colliery Modification 3 for its failure to:

·         provide an assessment of how the community will benefit economically
·         take into account the lower than forecast demand for domestic coal-fired electricity (The Australia Institute, 2014)
·         consider impacts on tourism – the Capertee Valley is an internationally recognised Important Bird Area. As one of the 50 top birdwatching places in the world it attracts local, interstate and international visitors and is home to the endangered Regent Honeyeater
·         provide plans to prevent visual blight from prominent waste and product heaps in a popular tourist area
·         consider the critical importance of the continued availability of clean, safe groundwater for agricultural enterprises as well as other uses.  To date there has been no baseline study of aquifers.
·         consider downstream impacts of mine effluent including leakage from waste dumps and product dumps on the adjacent Wollemi World Heritage Area
·         see the inappropriateness of continuing to mine low grade coal for one year under the old regulatory framework that permits subsidence of 1.8 metres
·         uphold its commitment to take only half the coal under the whole of the State Conservation Area to protect biodiversity and avoid pagoda and cliff collapses as well as unique areas such as ‘The Grotto’ and heath land supporting endangered plant species. . Subsidence of approximately 1.5 metres in nearby Baal Bone Colliery caused 124 cliff collapses in 2 years (1993 Airly Commission of Inquiry, Department of Mineral Resources)
·         adequately identify or protect heritage listed oil shale ruins in its mining area

“Airly mine was placed in care and maintenance from just before Christmas 2012 to earlier this year and nearby Wallerawang Power Station has recently been placed in care and maintenance so questions have to be asked about the financial viability of Centennial’s proposal for extension,” said Donna Upton, Secretary of the Capertee Valley Alliance.

“The community does not want to see the long standing and viable agricultural industry and the flourishing ecotourism industry of the Capertee Valley negatively impacted by the expansion of a mining operation which is likely to be short term and financially marginal,” she said.

Follows is Capertee Valley Alliance Position Statement regarding the application by Centennial Airly Coal for and extension of time and known as Environmental Assessment (EA)  ‘MOD3’

Capertee Valley Alliance Inc. Position:

In our view, the documents exhibited in support of the MOD 3, namely the EA and the Subsidence Assessment do not provide sufficient certainty for the community that the subsidence predictions will remain at the levels set out in the Subsidence Assessment. Accordingly, it is imperative that if the MOD 3 is approved conditions of consent such as those set out are imposed to make it clear that the maximums currently allowed under the 1993 Consent are no longer acceptable.

Whilst we do not concede that the modification should be granted on any condition, if it is to be, it should be conditional on subsidence not exceeding 125mm, and extraction not exceeding the previously limits, as referred to by Keith Muir.

Monitoring of water usage from surface and groundwater sources, and its return to the environment by an independent company nominated by the Office of Water and paid for by Centennial should be a condition of any company nominated by the Office of Water and paid for by Centennial should be a condition of any approval of the modification application. All monitoring results should be made public.

Capertee Valley Alliance Inc.

Capertee Valley photo blog - http://caperteevalleyphotos.blogspot.com.au/

Photo – Some of the many hundreds of pagoda rocks on Mt Airly and Genowlan Mountain which could be destroyed by subsidence bought about by mining.

August 2014 GAZETTE

click here to download the August 2014 copy of 'The Gazette'