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Wollombi Valley Online
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News

Local news is also available from the Singleton Argus and occasionally the Cessnock Advertiser and NSW farming news is available from The Land. Other Hunter Valley News is available on the Newcastle Herald, Newcastle Star, Hunter Valley News, Maitland Mercury, Muswellbrook Chronicle and Scone Advocate websites.

An archive of OON (Our Own News) is now available here, along with Wollombi Valley Landcare Group newsletters.

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El Nino to make for hotter and drier 2016

Date: Sun 04-Oct-15
Author: Sky News
El Nino climate pattern to bring higher temperatures and higher risk of droughts and bushfires.

New restraurant

Date: Thu 30-Apr-15
Author: Don Spencer
Open every fri and sat Nights now.

Paynes Crossing Road Closure

Date: Thu 27-Nov-14
Author: Cessnock City Council (Ben Lovell)
Cessnock City Council wishes to advise that a 50m section of Paynes Crossing Road will be closed for essential road works from Tuesday 9 Dec to Friday 19 Dec 2014, on weekdays between 9:30AM and 2:30PM, weather permitting.

Council joins the fight to save Wollombi school

Date: Wed 10-Sep-14
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
Cessnock City Council has joined the fight to save Wollombi Public School and will seek an urgent meeting with the NSW Minister for Education to urge him not to close the school.

Tree of Heaven, Landcare, Wollombi Brook and You

Date: Fri 05-Sep-14
Author: Chris Jackson
Wollombi Landcare is preparing a grant application to target Tree of Heaven along the Wollombi Brook.

We NEED to show that landholders along the Brook and its tributaries are supportive of this effort and want to be involved, so as to improve our prospects of a successful grant application.

10/50 vegetation clearing

Date: Fri 01-Aug-14
Author: NSW RFS
New laws are now in place which help people prepare their homes for bush fires in NSW.

You can now find out if your property is in a 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Entitlement Area using our online tool.

Solar Power Update - 2014 - What Has Changed?

Date: Wed 09-Jul-14
Author: Graham Kinnear
Quite a number of people in the valley have asked me about solar power. Well, things have changed, and what we may have understood about solar power a few years ago is now very different.

Wollombi Landcare Meeting - Laguna Hall 2PM Sat 21st Jun

Date: Sun 15-Jun-14
Author: Graham Taylor
Come along and learn from Dick Clarke's 35 years experience in sustainability in the build environment.

Hunter Landcare Scholarship extended until 30 May

Date: Fri 23-May-14
Author: Graham Taylor
I have received the email below with attachments concerning two scholarships, each worth $5,000, being offered to assist third year or post graduate degree students to advance their research into natural resource and agricultural outcomes.

Review: Educating Rita

Date: Tue 13-May-14
Author: Tony Palfreeman
We have seen Alan Glover in a wide variety of roles, from the stand up comical to the tragi-comical to the simply tragic. But none of these labels fits this pas de deux, featuring Cath Patterson as Rita and Alan as Frank.

Play reaches across time

Date: Sun 20-Oct-13
Author: Ken Longworth (The Herald)
A FRIENDSHIP that began when two men were acting students at the National Institute of Dramatic Art has led to Wollombi's Valley Artists staging the world premiere of a play called Across the Water.

Wollombi actor-director Bob Philippe obtained a copy of Noel Hodda's play when it was published last year and his enthusiasm for it was matched by other Valley Artists members.

Wollombi fires

Date: Wed 11-Sep-13
Author: Caroline Maul
The chopper and fire trucks were very busy for past the 2 days!

Cessnock City Council and AGL Energy

Date: Thu 18-Jul-13
Author: Sean Gough
As residents of the Cessnock LGA community, the members of WAGE are deeply concerned by Cessnock Council's reluctance to maintain their stated opposition to the development of a CSG industry within this shire.

Cessnock Council wavers on Coal Seam Gas

Date: Thu 18-Jul-13
Author: James Ryan
Last night Cessnock Council voted to defer making a statement that coal seam gas was not welcome in Cessnock.

Greens Councillors James Ryan says he is concerned that the Coal Seam Gas industry has lobbied Cessnock Councillors and convinced them to defer making a statement. AGL wrote to Cessnock Councillors on the day of the vote offering to take them on a bus tour of AGL's Camden wells on August 10th.

AGL & NSW Govt pushing for CSG development around Wollombi

Date: Thu 04-Jul-13
Author: Sean Gough
AGL and the NSW State Govt have made presentations to Cessnock Council in trying to persuade them to withdraw their opposition to the exploration for CSG and allow them to conduct a seismic survey along the Broken Back Road through the Pokolbin State Forest.

Cessnock Councillors will be meeting next month to vote on a broad CSG position statement.

From the Mayor's Desk - 14 June 2013

Date: Fri 14-Jun-13
Author: Bob Pynsent - Mayor of Cessnock
Congratulations to Mrs Myra Hill who recently was awarded an OAM for service to the community of Cessnock, particularly through music. In 2012 Myra was awarded Freeman of the City another magnificent achievement and well deserved. To be nominated by the community for these prestigious awards is an honour and a privilege. Congratulations Myra.

Have your say on CSG and mining exclusion zones: deadline this Friday

Date: Fri 12-Apr-13
Author: Sean Gough
The proposed changes provide welcome protection for zoned residential areas and mapped critical viticulture and thoroughbred industry clusters.

However, they do nothing to protect those living on farms and rural properties and fail to provide protection for other vital food growing lands, water catchments and sensitive environmental areas.

Other shortcomings of these amendments are that they allow council's to exempt an area from the protections, while failing to give councils the right to include additional areas for protection; they don't cover other types of unconventional gas; and they don't cover coal mining.

Please take a moment to have your say on this policy and tell the government that these protections don't go far enough.

The Cow Shed Cafe

Date: Mon 04-Feb-13
Author: Peter Firminger
Big thanks to (in no particular order) Phillip Crump, Peter Migan, Tony O'Donohue, Steve Sullivan, Glen McNamara for the work done in the Sale Yards putting in concrete flooring and making benches and installing a sink!

Waste Compactors

Date: Tue 29-Jan-13
Author: Luis Anjos
Elephants Foot Waste Compactors Pty Ltd deliver custom waste management solutions throughout Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania.

Cricket Report 03/11/2012

Date: Wed 07-Nov-12
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
After two weeks of close finishes, a number of Laguna's players were still able to shine in a rather one-sided encounter against Wine Country at Laguna.

With only seven players from Wine Country available to play, it was agreed to allow Wine Country to bat first in the hope of more players turning up. It was revealed to us later, that a number of Wine Country players were attending a Matchbox Twenty concert, where are their priorities I ask?

Cricket report 20 October 2012 - The Thriller at Laguna

Date: Mon 22-Oct-12
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
It doesn't quite have the same ring as Al's fight, but the feeling was there. The Laguna Village People held out to win by six runs against Bellbird, in an enthralling game of cricket at Laguna Cricket Ground on Saturday 20th October. Our resident philosopher, Kenny Barnett has often said that cricket is a metaphor for life, well as far as metaphors go this one had it all. Outstanding individual performances from both sides, ebbs and flow of fortune and defining individual moments of brilliance.

Laguna Village People Cricket Team to Play First home Game

Date: Fri 19-Oct-12
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
Still smarting after a huge loss to Supporters the week before Laguna arrived at Miller Park in Branxton eager to put that behind them. Rain the day before had left the wicket a little spongy and Greta-Branxton won the toss and elected to bat.

Mayor's Message - 18 October 2012

Date: Thu 18-Oct-12
Author: Bob Pynsent - Mayor of Cessnock
Great news for our City, approval has been given to almost $15 million worth of developments in the last five weeks which demonstrates that the mum and dad investors are investing and have confidence in our future.

Mayor's Message - 4 October 2012

Date: Thu 04-Oct-12
Author: Bob Pynsent - Mayor of Cessnock
It is a privilege and an honour to have been elected as Mayor of this great City and I thank you for your support.

Letter to Barry O'Farrell

Date: Thu 27-Sep-12
Author: Karyne Gough
You have totally betrayed many communities in this state by unleashing the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy which is in breach of your election commitment to the people of NSW. Many voted for you because of your stance on coal-seam-gas mining before the state election...

Developer seeking $400m over failed Hunter projects

Date: Wed 26-Sep-12
Author: Giselle Wakatama (ABC News)
A developer that was once behind the state's biggest housing project in the Hunter is suing the New South Wales Government over failed developments.

Hardie Holdings and 12 associated companies allege negligent misrepresentation, breach of implied contractual obligation, negligent exercise of statutory power and breach of agreement.

The plaintiffs say the state "made it clear" it would ensure the rezoning of several Hardie development sites, including the massive Sweetwater development now known as Huntlee near Branxton.

Laguna Village People vs Newcastle Lords Taverners

Date: Thu 13-Sep-12
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
The opening of the 2012/13 of the Wollombi Valley cricket season was played out under glorious conditions at the "Field of Dreams", Laguna Cricket Ground on Sunday 9th of September. The Laguna Village People (LVP) hosted the Newcastle Lords Taverners (NLT) led by ex Australian Test player Robert Holland.

Meet Cessnock Carpet Court's Storybook Challenge winner

Date: Wed 12-Sep-12
Author: Georgina Dawson
A class from Cessnock East Public School is now the proud owner of $1,000 worth of new books and a colourful reading mat after grade 4 student, Jacinta Lidwinski, won the inaugural Cessnock Carpet Court Storybook Challenge.

Jacinta submitted a story about what she loves the most in her community, winning the prize for her classroom, as well as a book package worth $250 for herself. Jacinta's story talked about the fantastic features of Cessnock and the unlimited activities both children and adults can do.

Bob Pynsent declared new Cessnock Mayor

Date: Wed 12-Sep-12
Author: ABC Newcastle
The newly-elected Mayor of Cessnock, Bob Pynsent, says he is committed to improving the pot-hole ridden roads in the Hunter's wine country.

The Country Labor candidate won more than a quarter of the primary vote in the 10-way race, but claimed 58 per cent of the vote after preferences, beating Liberal, Cordelia Burcham.

Hunter 'betrayed' by land use policy

Date: Wed 12-Sep-12
Author: ABC Newcastle
There is mixed reaction in the Hunter in response to the release of the State Government's final Strategic Land Use Policy.

A clause allowing cabinet to override an independent panel's assessment of mining proposals has been removed from the final policy.

The size of an Equine Critical Industry Cluster has also increased.

Vineyards, horse studs unprotected

Date: Tue 11-Sep-12
Author: Frances Thompson and Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
HUNTER thoroughbred breeders, vignerons and farmers say the NSW strategic regional land use policy revealed yesterday supports the resource industry and offers no protection for primary producers.

Hunter Valley Vineyard Association president Andrew Margan said his industry had no more protection under the final policy than it did under the draft policy.

He said existing exploration licences, which covered large areas of the Hunter, created uncertainty and the final policy report did nothing to solve the problem.

"This is what this [policy] was supposed to fix," Mr Margan said.

No areas off limits to mining

Date: Tue 11-Sep-12
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
TWENTY-TWO coal seam gas exploration licences across NSW, including two of the region's most controversial, are set to be renewed after the release of the state government's final strategic land use plan.

More than 2 million hectares of land in the Upper Hunter and New England regions have been deemed prime agricultural land or viticulture and equine industry clusters, but no areas will be off limits to mining under the final version of the policy, which was released yesterday.

The exploration licences, which had been on hold pending the plan's completion, include two of the region's most controversial - AGL's 267, originally granted over the Hunter's vineyards, and Dart Energy's 458 over Fullerton Cove and Newcastle suburbs.

Blair and Fay win the 2012 Wollombi Wild Ride

Date: Sat 01-Sep-12
Author: Mike Blewitt
The Real Insurance XCM Series has greatly increased the excitement around the cross country marathon (XCM) discipline in Australia over the past two years. With a series of stand alone events now united into a series, all of the included events are benefiting from the greater exposure and higher levels of participation. The Elite fields are deeper, and the general participation is higher as well.

The Wollombi Wild Ride stands apart from the rest of the series, with a shorter 75km course that is predominantly fire trail. With all Real Insurance XCM Series races except the Convict 100 coming down to a sprint finish in 2012 - talk amongst the elite racers was of a fast moving small group coming in for a sprint into the tight finish at Wollombi pub.

Greens propose protection for vineyards and historic Wollombi

Date: Thu 30-Aug-12
Author: David Atwell
Cessnock Greens Mayoral candidate James Ryan has announced that his party would be seeking NSW government support for new legislation to protect the Hunter Valley Vineyards and the historic area of Wollombi.

Don't Smash Your Guitar Before Wollombi

Date: Fri 24-Aug-12
Author: Tim Sheedy (Cyclenation)
The 2012 Real Insurance XCM Series heads to Wollombi on September 1 for 75km of fast open racing and an afternoon of live music performances

With two races to run in the 2012 Real Insurance XCM Series the guitars are being tuned for the thrill of a relatively unknown course out at Wollombi.

Cessnock election process a 'shambles'

Date: Fri 10-Aug-12
Author: ABC Newcastle
A Cessnock Independent Mayoral candidate says he is relieved his concerns about the nomination process have been resolved but he is still not happy with the process.
John Harvey this week described the nomination process as a shambles, saying vital documents had been lost by the private contractor running the election for the council.

Cessnock Council's midnight finish

Date: Wed 08-Aug-12
Author: The Advertiser
On the stroke of midnight the remnants of a packed public gallery, councillors and council officers started to depart the Cessnock City Council Chambers after a hard day's night.


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The meeting last Wednesday night had been in session a marathon five and a half hours.

It was a night of high drama with a vote of no confidence in Mayor Alison Davey gaining support nine votes to three, a vote of no confidence in the general manager Lea Rosser failing eight votes to four and Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism having its annual allocation assured and locked in at $470,000.

Caretaker mode for Cessnock city council

Date: Wed 01-Aug-12
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock City Council will enter caretaker mode from Friday, August 10 in the lead-up to the election.


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Pursuant to the Local Government Act 1993 and the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005, Council is required to go into caretaker role during the four weeks prior to the election to ensure that major decisions are not made which would limit the actions of an incoming council.

Cessnock local election may be delayed

Date: Tue 31-Jul-12
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
LOCAL Government Minister Don Page may soon be called on to defer the September local government election in Cessnock.

At a council meeting tomorrow night, Cr Ian Olsen will call for Mr Page to appoint an administrator and defer the election for at least one month after the findings of an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation into some councillors have been released.

He said this would allow time for every candidate to go to the polls with "no slurs" hanging over their heads.

Cessnock ratepayers' protest meeting

Date: Wed 25-Jul-12
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
Minister for Local Government Don Page will be invited to attend a protest rally against Cessnock City Council in Vincent Street on September 3.
The suggestion arose from a ratepayers' protest meeting attended by about 80 people in the TAFE grounds on Saturday afternoon.

Cessnock resident and United Services Union northern branch manager Stephen Hughes, who was asked by organisers to address the meeting, called council's current situation "uncceptable".

Nine running for Mayor of Cessnock

Date: Wed 18-Jul-12
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
The lineup for Cessnock's mayoral race has grown to nine, including eight current councillors.

Mayor Alison Davey, Deputy Mayor Cordelia Burcham, Labor's Bob Pynsent, The Greens' James Ryan and independents Rachel Main, Neil Gorman, Ian Olsen and Allan McCudden are all in the running for the city's top job, along with Cessnock dentist and hotel owner John Harvey.

Opinion Piece - Infrastructure in Hunter

Date: Mon 16-Jul-12
Author: Michael Johnsen - The Nationals (Federal) Candidate for Hunter
Politics has no place in nation building.

It may be obvious to most of us in the community however, unfortunately the message seems completely lost to the members of the federal government, particularly those in the Hunter.

Hunter faces 'wasteland' future

Date: Thu 12-Jul-12
Author: ABC News
An Upper Hunter author is warning communities in the region, they risk becoming wastelands, if coal mines and coal seam gas companies continue to expand their operations.

Sharyn Munro is in Merriwa today, addressing the Country Women's Association, before speaking at a public meeting of the Merriwa Healthy Environment Group.

Dale Troy quits Cessnock Council

Date: Wed 11-Jul-12
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
Ward B councillor Dale Troy has resigned from Cessnock City Council and will not contest the upcoming local government election.
Mr. Troy said the current council's situation, including the recent Supreme Court battle, had "revved up his stress levels" and he quit on medical advice.

Ratepayers protest meeting in Cessnock next Saturday

Date: Wed 11-Jul-12
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
Momentum is gathering for a ratepayers' protest meeting to be held in Cessnock on Saturday, July 21.
The protest has been organised by a group of disgruntled residents who feel council's spending is "mismanaged".

From the Mayor's Desk - 10 July 2012

Date: Tue 10-Jul-12
Author: Alison Davey
Celebrations were held for NAIDOC Week during the 1 to 8 July. NAIDOC Week is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and provides an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields. A NAIDOC Ceremony was held on Saturday 30 June hosted by the Black Creek Aboriginal Corporation at Cessnock TAFE grounds and further celebrations were held on Friday 6 July at Rotary Park in Kurri Kurri to celebrate the Week.

Search is on for 'Hidden Treasures' - recognising Women Volunteers in rural NSW

Date: Mon 09-Jul-12
Author: Katrina Hodgkinson via Su Morley
The NSW Government is calling for rural communities to nominate women volunteers for the 2012 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll, Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson and Minister for Women, Pru Goward said today.

Ms Hodgkinson said Hidden Treasures is a great way to formally acknowledge the efforts of rural women and celebrate volunteering as an important community value.

Abernethy father Mal Bagnall killed by tree

Date: Wed 04-Jul-12
Author: Dan Proudman (The Herald)
MAL Bagnall spent decades building massive movie sets for some of Hollywood's biggest stars.
But it was a rotting tree in a lonely paddock and a bizarre chain of events that cost the Abernethy father of three his life.

Mr Bagnall, 64, was about to set up camp on a mate's Wollombi property when his fateful decision to push the rotting tree left his family and friends devastated.

Cessnock councillor quits

Date: Mon 02-Jul-12
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
NEARLY 10 years after entering local government, and only months from an election, Cessnock councillor Dale Troy has resigned before the council's internal struggles take a more tragic toll.
"I'm not dying, but I've been hooked up to machines in hospital a couple of times recently because of chest pains, and my doctor says I've got to get stress out of my life," he said.

"It's been incredibly stressful trying to represent the community in the situation councillors find themselves in, and when it starts affecting your health and family it's pretty clear what you have to do."

School holidays at the Libraries

Date: Wed 27-Jun-12
Author: Cessnock City Council
It's on again - the great Cessnock Library Lego Building Competition! Once again, Lego has kindly lent the Library two enormous barrels of bricks for all you Lego enthusiasts out there to create your masterpieces! Places are limited, so hurry into Cessnock or Kurri Kurri Library to book yourself a spot!

Other highlights of the Library's holiday activities include an Aboriginal Art workshop during NAIDOC Week, run by local Aboriginal artist Les Elvin and a two-hour art techniques session run by Sandii Walker from Casscar Art Studios.

From the Mayor's Desk - 27 June 2012

Date: Wed 27-Jun-12
Author: Alison Davey
The Regional Youth Development Officers Network (RYDON) recently held its annual conference and I am pleased to advise that Council's Will Doran, CYCOS Co-ordinator, was announced the Cessnock/Kurri Kurri Youth Sector Worker of the Year for working with young people. Will was presented with his award by the Minister for Communities and Citizenship and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs the Hon. Victor Dominello MP. Good news continues as Youthfest was announced the winner of RYDON Youth event of the Year from across the region. Congratulations personally to Will and to the Council staff that planned and delivered the event on the day these include Will, Kate Warner, Emily Cant and Sandy Ryan.

Kurri Chamber hosts candidates for Cessnock local government election

Date: Wed 27-Jun-12
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
Kurri District Business Chamber should be looking to a packed house when it hosts its "Meet the Mayoral Candidates" forum at its July dinner meeting at Kurri Golf Club on Monday night, July 9.
Business chamber president, Rod Doherty, said that at least six people have nominated for the position of mayor at this year's September council elections. Candidates for Mayor and nominees for the Ward C and D are invited to attend the dinner. Each candidate for Mayor will be given 10 minutes to explain their policies and opinions on what they see as the big issues facing the Cessnock Local Government area over the next four years.

Vineyards tourism 'at risk'

Date: Wed 27-Jun-12
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
HUNTER Valley Wine Country Tourism says its future is at risk if Cessnock City Council adopts its draft operational plan tonight, which fails to include much needed funding for the area's peak tourist body.
The financial viability of the organisation could crumble with all four options of the draft budget failing to include $470,000 in crucial funding.

The omission has flabbergasted Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism executive manager Dean Gorddard, who said the lack of funding could tear the heart out of his organisation and compromise tourism.

Letter from the Deputy Mayor - Councillor Cordelia Burcham

Date: Mon 25-Jun-12
Author: Councillor Cordelia Burcham Deputy Mayor
Dear Fellow Residents,

I am the endorsed Liberal Party candidate for Mayor in the upcoming Council election. I have been a proud Councillor of Cessnock since September 2008. I now write to you to provide you with my perspective on recent events surrounding Supreme Court litigation in which 6 of my fellow Councillors and I are defendants. These events cross the usual political divide in that my fellow Liberal Councillor Dale Troy and my Labor Councillor colleagues led by Bob Pynsent, (Clrs. Maybury, Hawkins) and 2 Independent councillors (Clrs. McCudden, Gorman) are also defendants.

UNSUNG HERO: Wendy Lawson

Date: Mon 25-Jun-12
Author: Josh Bennett (The Herald)
WHEN Wendy Lawson purchased a vineyard with her husband in 1988, she didn't know a single thing about grapes.
She is the first to admit that they didn't realise just how much hard work it would be.

But for Mr and Mrs Lawson, the hard work has certainly paid off with the success of their Catherine Vale Vineyard in the Hunter Valley.

Cessnock Carpet Court Storybook Challenge

Date: Wed 20-Jun-12
Author: Morgan Bailey
Children's author Aleesah Darlison will launch Cessnock Carpet Court's new literacy competition, the Storybook Challenge, with a special reading event at Cessnock East Public School on 27 June.

Huntlee goes on public exhibition

Date: Wed 20-Jun-12
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
The public is being invited to comment on a draft plan to promote housing diversity, walkable villages and a vibrant town centre across the 1702 hectare Huntlee site in near Branxton.
The draft development control plan (DCP) for the Huntlee site is being publicly exhibited by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure from now until Friday, July 13.

Cessnock City in election mode: seven councillors running for Mayor

Date: Wed 20-Jun-12
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
Fasten your seat belts because the race is on for the Cessnock City Council elections on Saturday, September 8.
That's just in 80 days time and already there is a huge groundswell with candidates named to contest the four wards.

Already seven sitting councillors have indicated they will be running for mayor, including the incumbent Cr. Alison Davey and three of her independent team at the 2008 elections, Councillors Rachel Main, Ian Olsen and Neil Gorman, Labor's Cr. Bob Pynsent, Liberal candidate Cr. Cordelia Burcham and the Greens, Cr. James Ryan.

From the Mayor's Desk - 15 June 2012

Date: Fri 15-Jun-12
Author: Alison Davey
Congratulations to Mrs Myra Hill who was bestowed the title of Freeman of the City at a Civic Reception held on Wednesday 6 June 2012. Over 300 guests attended the afternoon celebrations.

Paxton Hotel Courtesy Bus

Date: Thu 14-Jun-12
Author: Michelle Bowen
Paxton Hotel Courtesy Bus now picks up in Wollombi

Huntlee vision for self-contained villages

Date: Thu 14-Jun-12
Author: ABC Newcastle
The developer behind the state's largest housing project in the Hunter Valley says the design returns to "traditional neighbourhood planning".

Huntlee at Branxton includes more than 7,000 housing lots, catering for about 20,000 people.

A draft Development Control Plan now on display outlines plans for four separate villages, each with its own primary school, retail area and park.

Have your say on latest Huntlee development

Date: Thu 14-Jun-12
Author: Elle Watson (Maitland Mercury)
A proposed development to include four villages and 7500 homes accommodating 20,000 new residents south of Branxton is on display.
The draft development control plan for the 1702 hectare Huntlee site proposed four "distinct" villages, each with shops and facilities within walking distance for most residents, and a town centre uniting the four.

The Huntlee site includes 200 hectares of employment land and 624 hectares of conservation land and open space with a framework for parks and recreation facilities.

Greens launch council elections team

Date: Wed 13-Jun-12
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
Cessnock-Kurri Greens have announced their lead candidates for the September 8 Cessnock City Local Government elections.
David Atwell (Ward A), Greg Astill (Ward B), Chris Parker (Ward C) and James Ryan (Ward D) have been pre-selected as a team to represent the sound principles and values of the Greens to restore transparent representation for the residents of Cessnock, said Cr. Parker when the candidates were announced last Thursday.

Liberal Party contesting all wards in Cessnock local government elections

Date: Wed 13-Jun-12
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
Cessnock will experience a local government first for the area when the Liberal Party contests all seats at the September 8 local government elections.
With just three months remaining to the elections, the NSW Liberal Party has endorsed a full ticket for Cessnock.

Endorsed as the party's mayoral candidate is sitting councillor and Liberal Deputy Mayor, Cordelia Burcham.

Wollombi Valley Landcare Newsletter - June 2012

Date: Fri 08-Jun-12
Author: Graham Taylor
The newsletter for Wollombi Valley Landcare including details of a meeting with the Environmental Defenders Office on June 16

From the Mayor's Desk - 30 May 2012

Date: Wed 30-May-12
Author: Alison Davey
The NSW Government buildings in Cessnock are to get energy makeovers to boost efficiency and save money. This is the first phase of a $6.4 million program to improve energy efficiency and cut costs in NSW Government buildings. The NSW Government buildings to benefit from the upgrades are Cessnock Fire Station, Cessnock Motor Registry, Kurri Kurri Ambulance Station and Kurri Kurri Fire Station.

James Ryan on Greens Senate ticket

Date: Sun 20-May-12
Author: Damon Cronshaw (The Herald)
THE Greens have preselected Cessnock City councillor James Ryan as its number two candidate on its Senate ticket at the next federal election in 2013.
A party spokesman said Greens NSW MP Cate Faehrmann would be the party's first candidate on the ballot.

From the Mayor's Desk - 18 May 2012

Date: Fri 18-May-12
Author: Alison Davey
On Friday 4 May at Parliament House the Annual Jean Arnot Memorial Luncheon was held which honours ladies over 90 years old for service to the community. Cessnock Business and Professional Women's Association invited three ladies from our LGA, these being Mary Campbell, Joy Manning and Margaret Agnes Munro for their great service to our community.

From the Mayor's Desk - 1 May 2012

Date: Tue 01-May-12
Author: Alison Davey
Anzac Day this year was well attended by the community and I have noticed the crowds are growing stronger attending in larger numbers. It is good to see that many of our youth attend this special occasion and they do not forget the contribution that our servicemen and women have made over the years to ensure the safety and well being of our Country and its people.

Rich Land, Wasteland by Sharyn Munro is now available

Date: Fri 27-Apr-12
Author: Carlie Harris
The book on how coal is killing Australia

From the Mayor's Desk - 9 March 2012

Date: Fri 09-Mar-12
Author: Alison Davey
A delegation from Cessnock Council and Singleton Council to see The Minister for Planning, the Hon Brad Hazzard MP, re opposition to Coal Seam Gas will take place on Thursday 5 April. Our members of the delegation are the General Manager, Group Leader, Strategy and Sustainability, Mayor, a Councillor, representative from the Wine Industry Association and a member from Wollombi WAGE.

Labor announces candidates for Cessnock Council elections

Date: Thu 08-Mar-12
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
Cr. Bob Pynsent has been announced as Labor's candidate for Mayor in the September Cessnock local government elections.
Cr. Pynsent was elected with the overwhelming support of Labor members at a pre-selection ballot held on Saturday, February 18.

Gas protesters join coal debate

Date: Wed 15-Feb-12
Author: Singleton Argus
REGIONAL coal seam gas opponents have joined the fight to save the Bulga and Milbrodale communities from open-cut coalmining.
Spokesman Graeme Gibson confirmed yesterday that the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance would do all it could to support communities opposed to the $600million expansion of the Mount Thorley Warkworth pit.

The state government's planning assessment commission approved the open-cut expansion last week despite widespread opposition from the residents and Singleton Council having unanimously rejected it four times.

The Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association immediately responded by briefing Environmental Defenders Office solicitors for a Land and Environment Court appeal.

Mr Gibson said: "The protection alliance made a written submission against the Warkworth expansion to Planning Minister Brad Hazzard, and members of our group also made individual representations.

Bulga women want out

Date: Wed 15-Feb-12
Author: Singleton Argus
NOT everyone in Bulga wants to fight the $600million Warkworth open-cut coalmine expansion.
Three residents told The Argus yesterday, they wanted compensation now for "horrendous" impacts they've endured for years.

Danielle Hanson, Nerida Lepisto and Toni Silk said coalmining had divided the Bulga community, some people wanted to get out immediately, some wanted to fight on and some accepted the situation.

"We're sick of it, we've complained for more than two years about noise, dust and blasting vibrations from current operations and it just continues," said Mrs Hanson.

"It's mainly Coal and Allied's Warkworth open-cut, but there's also Peabody's Wambo and Xstrata's Bulga mine.

Council considers vineyard CSG ban

Date: Wed 15-Feb-12
Author: ABC Newcastle
Cessnock Councillors are being asked to support moves to have coal seam gas exploration banned in the vineyard district of the Lower Hunter.

A report to tonight's council meeting says the operations of gas company AGL in the Broke and Bulga area have illustrated the close proximity of the industry to the local government area.

The report recommends writing to the Minister for Resources and Energy and asking that the vineyard district be excluded from CSG exploration by gazettal.

Public's chance to comment on exploration too slow

Date: Mon 13-Feb-12
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
THE state government says guidelines for public comment on exploration licence applications will be available later this month, but it has been criticised for not moving faster to give communities a promised say.
As well, it has emerged a ban on the use of a controversial coal seam gas drilling process called fracking that the government announced in July has not been formally extended to pre-approved activities.

Twenty-one petroleum exploration licences, required for coal seam gas exploration, are awaiting renewal, including three lodged before last year's state election, but remain in effect.

Among the recent renewal applications are those for AGL Energy's licences 267 and 4, which cover from Lake Macquarie to the Upper Hunter and take in the vineyards.

Bulga residents vow to battle mine

Date: Fri 10-Feb-12
Author: Paul Maguire (Singleton Argus)
THE Bulga and Milbrodale communities feel betrayed by this week's approval of the $600million Warkworth open-cut coalmine expansion.
Residents who spoke to The Argus said the state government assessment appeared to be "a done deal" and planning assessment commission appraisal was just "public window dressing".

Despite this, residents are not only determined to fight on, they have an underlying confidence of success.

On the other hand, a spokesman for the development company Graham Witherspoon of Rio Tinto, said: "This project has been subject to a rigorous two and a half year assessment, taking into account both its impacts and significant benefits.

"We recognise that members of the community have ongoing concerns and we will continue to work with them to minimise our impacts as much as possible."

From the Mayor's Desk - 8 February 2012

Date: Wed 08-Feb-12
Author: Alison Davey
A Mayoral Minute was carried at the Council Meeting on 1 February on Coal Seam Gas Exploration and Mining Activities in the Local Government Area. The resolution reads:-

Tenders called for Broke Road work

Date: Wed 08-Feb-12
Author: The Advertiser
Work is progressing well on plans to upgrade roads in the Hunter wine region, as part of the NSW Government's commitment to provide $20 million across four years.
Nationals Duty MLC for Cessnock, Trevor Khan, said this financial year the NSW Government has allocated $5 million to start work.

"Cessnock City Council will invite tenders this week to upgrade a 700 metre section of Broke Road about 400 metres west of Wine Country Drive at Pokolbin," Mr. Khan said.

"This project will complete the upgrade of Broke Road between Wine Country Drive and McDonalds Road.

Why the rush

Date: Tue 07-Feb-12
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
ONLY a week ago the federal government announced the appointment of a highly qualified expert scientific committee to investigate coal seam gas and large coalmining applications.
This appointment clearly recognised the need to independently analyse the impact of expansive open-cut mining.

Within days we hear the Mount Thorley-Warkworth expansion has been approved. This mine was sanctioned by the state government but because of community concern, was referred to a planning assessment commission for final determination.

Yesterday the commission said yes in news that came as a shock, especially on the back of last year's refusal of the Ashton expansion on grounds of noise and dust impacts.

Gas moves in on Army land

Date: Tue 07-Feb-12
Author: Paul Maguire (Singleton Argus)
OFFICIALS of the coal seam gas company AGL Energy have been slammed for applying to explore Singleton army base for methane mining.
Hunter Valley Protection Alliance spokesman, Graeme Gibson, said; "It's exploration by stealth.

"Trying to explore on Commonwealth land, such as the army base, is excluded under the company's licence and there's been no community consultation about it.

"Either there is a secret understanding between AGL officials and the state government or they're willing to bet millions of dollars that government ministers were bald-faced liars when they made pre-election promises to protect the Hunter Valley's wine growing region from coal seam gas mining."

Mr Gibson said his group found out about AGL's army base application by accident when a member of the community went to the defence department's internet website looking for information on another subject.

Warkworth mining expansion approved

Date: Mon 06-Feb-12
Author: Singleton Argus
COAL & Allieds Warkworth coal mine extension has been approved by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC).

Already the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association has indicated it will appeal the decision in the Land and Environment Court.

A meeting later this week will determine if class action will be taken against the minister for planning and Coal & Allied for allegedly dishonouring the deed of agreement from 2003 which protected the area.


Coal & Allied has welcomed the approval. Mount Thorley Warkworth General Manager Operations Cam Halfpenny said the extension is critical to ongoing operations at the mine, which has been an important part of the region's economy since 1981.

LEP Limbo for Wollombi Valley

Date: Wed 01-Feb-12
Author: Paul Flemming
As Mark Twain famously said, "the reports of my death are grossly exaggerated". So too, it transpires, was the comment in a WVPA Executive Committee article in last month's OON, when we said - "Happily, the new Local Environmental Plan is about to be behind us?.

By press release on 23 December, Cessnock Council and NSW Planning & Infrastructure jointly announced gazettal of Cessnock LEP 2011, and Council's General Manager, Lea Rosser, stated "the gazettal of the LEP would provide certainty for the community in relation to future planning in Cessnock."

(Video) Cessnock Council 'Learnt a Lesson' : NBN News

Date: Thu 26-Jan-12
Author: NBN News
Cessnock Council has welcomed the state government's decision to return its planning powers, saying it's learnt a lesson.

But the local Labor MP says it's too early to scrap the interim planning panel, claiming council is yet to prove itself.

Cessnock Councillors back in the drivers seat

Date: Thu 26-Jan-12
Author: ABC Newcastle
Cessnock Council has its full planning powers back, around 18 months after they were taken away.

The previous Labor Minister for Planning Tony Kelly stripped the council of its powers in August 2010 after concerns were raised about lengthy delays in determining development applications.

A Planning Panel that was put in place was yesterday disbanded.

Greens Councillor James Ryan says the move is long overdue.

Cessnock council has the power

Date: Thu 26-Jan-12
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
PLANNING powers will be returned to Cessnock City Council tomorrow after the state government announced it will scrap the council's planning panel which was appointed in August 2010.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard said yesterday that the government was disbanding three panels established by the former Labor government at Ku-ring-gai, Wagga Wagga and Cessnock.

Mr Hazzard said the government promised to ensure a new focus by returning local planning powers to communities through their councils.

Cessnock council was stripped of its authority to determine major development applications after former planning minister Tony Kelly appointed a three-person planning panel to assess projects with a value of more than $1 million.

Woeful Wollombi Road (Video)

Date: Wed 25-Jan-12
Author: NBN News
The state of roads in the Hunter has again been thrown into the spotlight by concerned locals.

Wollombi Road is the latest said to be in desperate need of attention.

Hunter gas plans to go public

Date: Tue 24-Jan-12
Author: Frances Thompson (The Herald)
GAS explorer AGL's Hunter Gas Project will be be under public scrutiny today when the company reveals is latest exploration plans.
AGL proposes two-dimensional seismic exploration in sections of two large licence areas extending from Raymond Terrace and Lake Macquarie to Merriwa in the Upper Hunter.

The chosen sites are concentrated between Cessnock, Broke and Singleton and around Scone.

AGL said seismic exploration used sound waves to create a map of the structures beneath the earth's surface. Geologists and geophysicists interpret the data for possible gas reserves and develop a plan for exploration drilling.

AGL said it was"non-intrusive" and planned to start in autumn.

The public information session will begin at midday and will be held at AGL offices in John Street, Singleton.

Coal hard facts

Date: Fri 20-Jan-12
Author: Briony Snedden (Maitland Mercury)
Lee Rhiannon has no doubt the side effects of coal mining are floating downstream to Maitland farmers.
But the Greens Senator from NSW is calling for a study to measure how coal mining impacts on the Hunter River.

And she wants it done before any new coal mines are approved for the region.

Senator Rhiannon embarked on a two-day tour of the mid-Hunter on Thursday to meet with landholders affected by coal mining around Singleton, Camberwell, Bulga and Jerrys Plains. She said when it came to coal mining and the Hunter River, the issues were not confined to one area.

"One thing we've been asked about, and what we'll be calling for, is a regional water study for the current mines," she said.

(Video) Coal Seam Gas Concerns

Date: Wed 18-Jan-12
Author: NBN News
The state government remains open to AGL exploring for gas in the Hunter Valley, despite desperate calls from farmers.

AGL's current exploration licence expires tomorrow, and agriculturalists want MPs to come good, on a pre-election promise.

Cessnock LEP approved: Planning controls updated

Date: Wed 18-Jan-12
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
The Cessnock Local Environmental Plan 2011 has been approved by the NSW Government, updating planning controls that have been in place for more than 20 years.
The Cessnock Development Control Plan (2010) also came into force on December 23, 2011, meaning that all development applications submitted on or after that date will be assessed under the new Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (2010) controls.

Development applications that were submitted prior to that date will continue to be assessed under the old LEP 1989 provisions and the old DCP, with due consideration of the new LEP.

"Like all NSW councils, Cessnock was required to prepare a new comprehensive Local Environmental Plan in accordance with a standard format set by the NSW Government," Mayor of Cessnock, Cr. Alison Davey said.

"The preparation of this new LEP involved an extensive consultation process and has taken almost five years to reach gazettal. Its finalisation is most welcome."

Gas's seep recognised

Date: Tue 17-Jan-12
Author: Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
ENERGY Minister Chris Hartcher has acknowledged coal seam gas exploration is a potentially divisive issue for some Hunter communities.
''The NSW government recognises the concerns of some communities affected by coal seam gas exploration and would encourage concerned parties to work together,'' he said yesterday. Mr Hartcher's comments follow a report in Saturday's Newcastle Herald highlighting the rifts that are appearing in Hunter communities affected by the coal seam gas industry.

Some individuals have reported malicious property damage after signing gas exploration agreements. Many are looking to the government's forthcoming strategic Hunter land use policy to clarify which areas will be open to future gas and mining activity.

Tinkler tailors French ties

Date: Tue 17-Jan-12
Author: Huon Hooke (SMH)
This Hunter Valley winemaker is proving that exploration can bring big discoveries.

The death of David Clarke in April was a great loss to the Hunter Valley wine industry, where his Poole's Rock Winery was a leader. The winery was sold to the Agnew family, owners of Hunter vineyard Audrey Wilkinson, while its original vineyard, in the Hunter's Broke-Fordwich sub-region, was sold to AGL. The gas company is controversially exploring for coal seam gas in the area.

Winemakers put heat on O'Farrell

Date: Mon 16-Jan-12
Author: Frances Thompson (The Herald)
HUNTER wine industry leaders say they hold Premier Barry O'Farrell accountable for a "promise" they said he made before the 2011 election to protect vineyards by removing them from coal seam gas exploration areas.
Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association president Andrew Margan said the verbal assurance was made during a formal meeting with Mr O'Farrell, Nationals leader Andrew Stoner, present Planning Minister Brad Hazzard and Environment Minister Robyn Parker in November 2010.

"A number of promises were made at the meeting; money to fix Broke and McDonald roads [in the vineyards] . . . and to excise coal seam gas out of declared areas of viticulture in the Lower Hunter," Mr Margan said.

Channel 7 star Chris Bath marries sports reporter Jim Wilson in a secret wedding ceremony

Date: Sat 14-Jan-12
Author: Debbie Schipp (The Sunday Telegraph)
WEARING a secret smile and pre-loved Armani, Channel 7's star newsreader Chris Bath has married sports reporter Jim Wilson.
And as The Sunday Telegraph's exclusive pictures show, the bride got just what she wanted - an intimate, fuss-free wedding, "without any hoo-ha".

After a three-year romance, Chris Bath and Jim Wilson tied the knot late on Thursday at an ultra-private family gathering at Wollombi in the Hunter Valley, keeping the news secret from even close friends until late yesterday. Just 19 guests attended the nuptials.

Attend the AGL meeting

Date: Fri 13-Jan-12
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
AGL will hold public meetings to outline its plans for seismic studies and exploration in the Hunter Valley.
Given Singleton is within this area of exploration, any resident who is concerned about the impacts should attend these meetings and keep informed.

Much is being said and written about coal seam gas exploration.

The process is complicated and controversial. Reports of the impacts and experiences from other areas in Australia and throughout the world are adding to the debate.

Meetings will reveal all on gas

Date: Fri 13-Jan-12
Author: Louise Nichols (Singleton Argus)
THE gas company, AGL, will hold a series of information sessions in coming months to provide the public with information about its proposed two dimensional (2D) seismic exploration in the Hunter region.
The information sessions, which begin on Tuesday January 24, at AGL's Singleton Information Centre in John Street, starting from noon, will be attended by AGL staff who will explain what the 2D process involves and answer questions about 2D seismic activities, and in particular what AGL was proposing.

As part of the company's Hunter gas project, investigating coal seam gas production, AGL will be seeking government approval to conduct 2D seismic exploration.

The timing and location of the 2D seismic exploration would be partly determined from public feedback said AGL's media manger, Karen Winsbury.

Putting the zing into Branxton

Date: Wed 11-Jan-12
Author: Frances Sacco (Maitland Mercury)
Making Branxton an attraction in its own right is vital to the town's survival when it is bypassed by the Hunter Expressway, according to the business chamber president.
The town has 18 months before the expressway is opened and Branxton Greta Community Business Chamber president Mick Starkey said it would be a big year for the town.

New Year Resolution - Improved Roads!

Date: Sat 31-Dec-11
Author: Frederic Aubineau
The New Year is upon us. With a New Year, we all expect some improvement on what the previous year had to offer. It just seems to be the nature of human kind!

Our bureaucracy seems to be getting involved more and more in areas where our 'species' (homo sapiens) is no longer able to be accountable for its own actions. In doing so, it is neglecting its own responsibilities of maintaining a standard of infrastructure that our exorbitant rates should reflect.

It is time we (the community and rate payers) gave our Council and State Government representatives a wakeup call and demanded better service. Our roads are a disgrace, we all know that! We are a tourism destination and rather than getting a reputation for what our region has to offer from our vineyards, attractions, local produce, holiday destinations and friendly hospitality, we are known for our "roads"; our BAD roads, that is!

Pothole danger on Cessnock roads

Date: Sat 31-Dec-11
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
SEVERAL weeks of persistent rain has taken its toll on the already debilitated Cessnock road network, prompting councillor Ian Olsen to warn motorists of dangers, particularly in Pokolbin.
Cr Olsen was concerned that roads in the vineyard area were especially hazardous and posed a threat to motorists and their vehicles if caution was not exercised.

Cessnock council's group leader community services, Waid Crockett, said the rain had exacerbated the city's road problems and said more staff had been put on to cope with the growing problems.

Mr Crockett said the council would spend $5million a year of state government money for the next four years to fix Broke and McDonalds roads at Pokolbin, with the work starting in April.

''Wet weather always causes problems with our road network,'' Mr Crockett said.

Public school will stay open

Date: Fri 16-Dec-11
Author: Singleton Argus
MILBRODALE Public School has had a closure reprieve.
Parents and citizens association secretary Narelle Harris said it was a fantastic early Christmas present to hear that the school would remain open next year.

New South Wales Education Department officials were considering closing the school when student numbers dropped to three earlier this year.

"In term four the numbers significantly increased, to seven, and we'll have another kindergarten pupil next year," she said.

"The future is looking very positive, with a healthy playgroup and the promise of the mobile preschool in 2012.

Labor councillors pleased with Huntlee decision

Date: Wed 14-Dec-11
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
Cessnock Labor councillors have applauded the Court of Appeal's decision to overturn the Land and Environment Court's rejection of the Huntlee development.
"This is all about economic development for the region, this is not just houses, this is about jobs for our kids," said Cr. Bob Pynsent.

"This is precisely what the Labor councillors were arguing for this week with the re-activation of the Major Projects committee," said Cr. Graham Smith, who moved the urgency motion to reactivate the Major Projects committee of Cessnock Council that had not met since the last council election.

Court decision gives green light for Huntlee New Town

Date: Wed 14-Dec-11
Author: Cessnock Advertiser
LWP Property Group, which is developing the Huntlee New Town project near Branxton has welcomed the recent decision in the NSW Court of Appeal that gives the project the green light to go ahead.
The Court of Appeal's judgment overturns the decision of the NSW Land and Environment Court, which held that the Major Development SEPP amendment that had the effect of rezoning the Huntlee land was invalid.

The successful appeal upholds Huntlee's State Significant Site rezoning and the project will now progress to the next stage, which will include progressing the assessment of Huntlee's Project Application for the first stage of the project.

Mine cops fine for creek pollution

Date: Wed 14-Dec-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
The Environment Protection Authority says the polluting of a Cessnock creek could have been avoided by a Hunter Valley coal mine.

The Austar mine has been fined more than $115,000 after wastewater from an onsite septic system seeped into Bellbird Creek in July last year.

The EPA says the incident could have been prevented if Austar had an appropriate system in place to inspect, monitor and maintain the 90 year old septic system.

EPA Regional Manager Graham Clarke says it was not a minor incident.

Austar coalmine fined

Date: Wed 14-Dec-11
Author: Ian Kirkwood (The Herald)
THE Chinese-backed Austar underground coalmine near Cessnock has been fined more than $115,000 for a septic tank spill into nearby Bellbird Creek in July last year.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority took Austar to the Land and Environment Court, where the company pleaded guilty.

Fire badly damages historic family bakery

Date: Tue 13-Dec-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
Fire has engulfed a family-owned bakery operating in the Hunter Valley for almost 100 years, severely damaging the building and destroying most of its stock.

The fire broke out at the Sylvester Brothers bakery at Cessnock just before 7pm last night (AEDT)

A gas leak then forced more than 150 surrounding residents out of their homes and it took firefighters more than three hours to get the blaze under control.

Fire investigators sift through remains of Sylvester Bros

Date: Tue 13-Dec-11
Author: Matt Kelly (The Herald)
FIRE investigators will spend today combing through the remains of Sylvester Bros Bakery at Cessnock.

Central Hunter Duty Officer Inspector Glenn Blaine said the incident would be considered suspicious until the cause of the blaze was known.

"Fire investigators have to go through it, detectives have to make further inquires," he said.

"We need to do sample testing from the fire for traces of accelerant. Those results can take weeks to come back."

The fire broke out at 6.50pm last night.

Residents in AGL blockade told to move or be removed

Date: Mon 12-Dec-11
Author: Frances Thomson (The Herald)
RESIDENTS blockading a road near Gloucester in opposition to AGL's coal seam gas operations should move immediately or be removed by police, Gloucester Shire mayor Geoff Slack said yesterday.
The blockade by the Barrington-Gloucester-Stroud Preservation Alliance was established last Monday on a public road at Forbesdale.

The road was the access to AGL's pilot well-drilling site.

Cr Slack, a solicitor, said the protesters were breaking the law and he had asked the police late last week to remove them.

AGL expelled from Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association

Date: Sat 10-Dec-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
The Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association has moved to expel gas giant AGL from its ranks because of its plans for coal seam gas exploration.

Association President Andrew Margan says AGL was accepted as a member in 2010 on the understanding it wanted to work towards the betterment of the Hunter Valley wine industry.

But Mr Margan says that is clearly not the case and coal seam gas mining does not belong in an iconic wine growing region like the Hunter.

Vignerons boot AGL

Date: Sat 10-Dec-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
GAS company AGL says it is disappointed the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association has moved to expel it as a member over its coal seam gas exploration in Pokolbin and Broke.
The company, which bought the Spring Mountain vineyard from former premier Nick Greiner, said yesterday it had been ''strongly supportive of the wine industry'' and had joined the association ''to demonstrate that our industry can coexist with viticulture, agriculture and other land uses''.

But top Hunter vignerons said they had had enough of the company's activities and voted recently to kick it out of the association, about a year after it joined.

Green light for Huntlee

Date: Thu 08-Dec-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
The $1.5 billion Huntlee project near Branxton is back on the agenda after a win by the developers in the New South Wales Court of Appeal today.

The ruling overturns an earlier judgement of the Land and Environment Court that invalidated the rezoning of land for seven thousand homes.

The decision upholds Huntlee's State Significant zoning.

Greenlight for Huntlee near Branxton

Date: Thu 08-Dec-11
Author: Maitland Mercury
The Court of Appeal's judgment overturns the decision of the NSW Land and Environment Court, which held that the Major Development SEPP amendment that had the effect of rezoning the Huntlee land was invalid.
The successful appeal upholds Huntlee's State Significant Site rezoning and the project will now progress to the next stage, which will include progressing the assessment of Huntlee's Project

Application for the first stage of the project.

The $1.5 billion proposal involves more than 7000 homes.

$1.5 billion Huntlee proposal back on the map

Date: Thu 08-Dec-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
THE $1.5 billion Huntlee new town proposal is back, with a court this morning effectively reinstating its rezoning for more than 7000 homes and employment lands.
The NSW Court of Appeal has today upheld an appeal by the project's developers against the earlier decision of the NSW Land and Environment Court, which invalidated the rezoning of land near Branxton.

The project site was gazetted in December last year as state significant under the former Labor state government, but the Sweetwater Action Group challenged the rezoning in the Land and Environment Court.

Today's decision overturns the earlier ruling in favour of the Sweetwater group.

Huntlee developers LWP Property Group has welcomed the latest decision and said it would enable the assessment of the project's first stage to proceed.

More to come

Huntlee approved

Date: Thu 08-Dec-11
Author: Singleton Argus
THE NSW Court of Appeal has approved the Huntlee New Town project near Branxton.
The Court of Appeal's judgement overturns the decision of the NSW Land and Environment Court, which held that the Major Development SEPP amendment that had the effect of rezoning the Huntlee land was invalid.

The successful appeal upholds Huntlee's State Significant Site rezoning and the project will now progress to the next stage.

Huntlee decision expected today

Date: Thu 08-Dec-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
The developers of the $1.5 billion dollar Huntlee project at Branxton will know today if their court appeal to reinstate the development, has been successful.

LWP Property Group is challenging a Land and Environment Court ruling that overturned Huntlee's rezoning of land for 7,000 new homes.

Councillor Chris Parker from the Sweetwater Action Group says even if today's Court of Appeal ruling favours the developer, there will be other legal battles ahead.

Blast dust plume shadows Bulga

Date: Tue 06-Dec-11
Author: Paul Maguire (Singleton Argus)
STATE government officials watched an open-cut coalmine explosive blast that sent black smoke and an orange plume about 200 metres into the air near Bulga.
The incident, last Friday, alarmed many residents.

Bulga resident Graeme O'Brien said he was concerned about pollutants that were in the fallout and the fact that the explosion was detonated even though company and government officials believed it was likely to send up an orange cloud.

Representatives of the pit, Bulga Coal, and New South Wales Department of Planning and Infrastructure officials told The Argus yesterday the blast was safe and that the pollution fell back onto the minesite.

Mr O'Brien said: "I can sum that up in one word, 'rubbish'.

Bullying the blind?

Date: Sat 03-Dec-11
Author: Sharyn Munro - The Woman on the Mountain
Last Tuesday I and a bunch of other people from all walks of life and areas stood in hot sun outside Singleton Court House, or retreated to the shade behind for respite.

We held up home-made signs and chanted ourselves dry while the media recorded our anger and frustration: 'No NuCoal!' - 'Save our Water, Save our Land!' - 'Enough is enough!'

And at one stage, a spontaneous 'Where's George Souris?' chant arose, George being the sitting State National Party MP. (In case you don't remember, the Nationals used to be the party who looked after rural interests.)

State government could over rule on Wallaby Scrub council decision

Date: Fri 02-Dec-11
Author: Paul Maguire (Singleton Argus)
IT seems Singleton Council's ownership of Wallaby Scrub Road may not stop a $600million expansion of Warkworth open-cut coalmine.
This view is believed to be part of independent legal advice which the council has received from the Sydney firm Marsdens Law.

It is understood that the advice goes on to say that whether the council maintains its opposition to the pit or not, a state government "significant project" declaration would enable the government to take the road and allow it to be mined.

At this stage, details of the advice are not public.

Clarence by-election: Q&A with candidate Clinton Mead

Date: Thu 17-Nov-11
Author: Clarence Valley Daily Examiner
I would support statehood in Northern NSW, so that the people of Northern NSW can have their own say on mining... Again, locals and the region should be able to prioritise these issues with their own revenue raising and spending powers. This is why I support more local control and statehood for Northern NSW.

Public meeting not a hearing

Date: Fri 11-Nov-11
Author: Di Snedden (Singleton Argus)
DR Neil Shepherd made the specific point yesterday that the planning assessment commission process for the Warkworth mine expansion was not a hearing.
He said it was a public meeting and that it was important for people to know that if it was a hearing and a determination was made, that the public or the coal company would have no avenue for appeal.

This statement makes this planning assessment commission process even more unclear.

Does this mean that if the commission supports the Department of Planning's recommendation for approval then the public can appeal the mine's approval?

Land use focus of workshop

Date: Fri 11-Nov-11
Author: Singleton Argus
LOCAL residents will have an opportunity to direct future land use at a workshop in Singleton next week.
The workshop is part of the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue process instigated by NSW Minerals Council.

Resources and Energy Division of Department of Planning and Infrastructure will outline the 1999 synoptic plan on land use and explain lessons learned and possible avenues for development of a new plan.

The forum will discuss how a new plan should be developed.

Dust levels peak again

Date: Fri 11-Nov-11
Author: Singleton Argus
DUST thrown up by strong westerly winds is believed to have caused the air around Maison Dieu to fail national health standards at 7am on Wednesday.
The state environment department's air pollution monitor detects significant levels of fine suspended particles, known as PM10s, which damage people's respiratory tracts.

Wednesday morning's reading was based on a 24-hour rolling average of dust particles rather than pollution peaks throughout the day.

Hourly pollution readings show Maison Dieu's air quality was in the "poor", "very poor" and "hazardous" range for four hours from 7pm on Tuesday.

Hearing begins

Date: Fri 11-Nov-11
Author: Paul Maguire (Singleton Argus)
ENOUGH is enough.
These three words sum up what was clearly, and repeatedly, expressed about open-cut coalmining in the opening session of a state government planning and assessment commission meeting in Singleton yesterday.

Three commissioners began hearing two days of submissions into a proposed $600million Warkworth open-cut expansion.

An audience of about 150 people heard that the project was a potentially toxic business which a broad cross-section of shire residents opposed.

During the morning tea-break 50 placate waving protesters drove home their opinion to media assembled outside the meeting by chanting slogans such as "Don't bugger Bulga" and "Rack off Rio".

Farmer takes mining company to court

Date: Thu 10-Nov-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
An Upper Hunter farmer has lodged an appeal in the Land and Environment Court to block a mining company from drilling on his property.

Australian company NuCoal Resources have approval to begin exploratory drilling on Ian Moore's property in preparation for its Doyles Creek mine, which will potentially access 500 million tonnes of coal.

But Mr Moore says the mine will disturb the water table, threatening the agricultural viability of his Jerrys Plains property.

AGL fails to allay fears on coal seam gas exploration

Date: Thu 10-Nov-11
Author: Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
AGL has defended its coal seam gas exploration work near Gloucester in response to criticism from residents that the industry will ruin the pristine landscape.
The company will start drilling four pilot wells on private property in the Forbesdale area next month. They are part of 110 wells that the company has permission to drill in the area as part of its current exploration licence.

Resident Robin Besier said some locals were less than impressed with information sessions about the new wells held on Monday.

To What End!

Date: Wed 09-Nov-11
Author: Benny's Blog (Exisle Publishing)
It is not often that I use my own blog to discuss events outside the book industry, but please indulge me today as this is about a very serious and pressing matter. It's one that affects all of us. It affects the water we drink and the food we eat. I'm talking about COAL SEAM GAS extraction.

I am no scientist - actually biology was as good as it got, for me - but I do know one thing: in this country, the most precious commodity we have is water. We don't have much of it and what we do have we need to use wisely. So why is it that our governments are allowing this precious commodity to be potentially contaminated by the extraction of coal seam gas?

Winemaker threatens to leave industry over CSG

Date: Wed 09-Nov-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
The Hunter Valley Vineyard Association President says he will quit the region if the State Government renews AGL's licence to explore for coal seam gas in the wine growing area.

Andrew Margan says at the end of this week the Government will decide whether to renew AGL's exploration permit.

Yesterday a petition containing 11,000 signatures was presented to State Parliament, calling for the industry to be locked-out of the wine region.

Winemaker Bruce Tyrrell brings his coal gas mining concerns to big smoke

Date: Wed 09-Nov-11
Author: Nathan Klein (The Daily Telegraph)
VIGNERON Bruce Tyrrell has taken the first step in a bid to stop controversial coal seam gas mining in his backyard.
Opposing AGL's proposed expansion into the Hunter Valley, Mr Tyrrell yesterday took a petition from 11,000 residents to parliament.

Fearing AGL's plans could harm both the hydrological environment and tourism industry, Mr Tyrrell presented Tourism Minister George Souris with the petition.

"We have no certainty of the impact of coal seam gas on our area," Mr Tyrrell said.

"If proven conclusively there would be no damage, I'd be in support of it. But it could kill the industry in 50 or 60 years and I'd like my family to be here in 300."

Hunter Valley demands protection from CSG

Date: Tue 08-Nov-11
Author: ABC Lateline
One of New South Wales's top tourism destinations, the Hunter Valley, is the latest front in the fight against coal seam gas mining.

Winemakers and residents are stepping up their campaign to stop any drilling in the area.

High profile environmentalist Tim Flannery has also weighed in, telling the industry its alienated communities.

Conor Duffy reports

Coal-seam gas fears raised in Hunter petition (Video)

Date: Tue 08-Nov-11
Author: ABC News
Opponents of coal-seam gas exploration and mining in the Hunter Valley have presented a petition with thousands of signatures to the New South Wales Parliament.

Wine maker Bruce Tyrell presented the 11,000 signatures to Upper Hunter MP and Coalition frontbencher George Souris on the steps of Parliament this morning

Mr Tyrell says CSG puts the Hunter's wine industry and the tourism dollars it brings to the region at risk.

Wine Producers Battle Coal Seam Gas Project in Hunter Valley

Date: Tue 08-Nov-11
Author: Vittorio Hernandez (International Business Times)
A battle is brewing between wine producers and proponents of a coal seam gas project in Hunter Valley as vintners seek to stop AGL Energy from exploring and putting in gas wells through their vineyards.

On Tuesday, the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association submitted a petition from residents of New South Wales to the state's legislative assembly to halt the gas well project which would pass through Broke, Fordwich, Pokolbin, Lovedale and other defined vineyard areas.

Wine industry icon Bruce Tyrrell, who delivered the petition with 11,000 signatures, cited documented risks to the environment, tourism, vineyards and wine industries as well as the coal seam project's impact on property owners.

Bruce Tyrrell presents anti coal seam gas petition

Date: Tue 08-Nov-11
Author: Josephine Tovey (The Herald)
A call to ban coal seam gas mining in the Hunter Valley is set to be debated in the NSW Parliament after a petition was presented to the O'Farrell government this morning.

Prominent winemaker Bruce Tyrrell presented a petition with 11,000 signatures from fellow residents of the Hunter Valley to the member for the Upper Hunter, George Souris, on the steps of Parliament House this morning.


Mr Tyrrell, of Tyrrell's Wines, called on the government to put a "ring fence" around the wine, farming and tourism region of the Hunter Valley and prevent the further exploration and development of mineral and coal seam gas mining.


Mr Tyrrell said the wine and tourism industries were at risk.

Huntlee process questions law

Date: Tue 08-Nov-11
Author: Singleton Argus
A COURT of Appeal case, aimed to revive a massive housing subdivision on the Singleton shire boundary, has ignited a dispute over New South Wales development laws.
LWP Property Group, has appealed against a Land and Environment Court decision which overturned state government approval for its $1.2billion Huntlee proposal, a 7500-lot subdivision near Branxton.

Three Supreme Court judges heard appeal evidence on Friday and are expected to take up to two months to decide the issue.

In a press release to coincide with the appeal, LWP's managing director Danny Murphy said: "It's important to remember the merits of the Huntlee project have never been questioned."

Petition against CSG

Date: Tue 08-Nov-11
Author: ABC Sydney
A petition containing 11,000 signatures will be handed to State Parliament today calling for a stop to coal seam gas exploration in the Hunter Valley wine region.

Winemaker Bruce Tyrrell will deliver the petition to Upper Hunter MP George Souris who will present it to Parliament.

The Hunter Valley Protection Alliance's Graham Gibson says the petition puts extra pressure on the O'Farrell Government to protect the vineyards from coal seam gas extraction.

Hunter Valley businesses petition for exclusion from CSG

Date: Tue 08-Nov-11
Author: Amos Aikman (The Australian)
A CONSORTIUM of winemakers and businessmen have gathered more than 11,000 signatures to force the NSW government to debate plans to ring-fence part of the Hunter Valley from further coal-seam gas extraction.

$ubscription required

Bylong won't be bygone

Date: Sun 06-Nov-11
Author: Sharyn Munro - The Woman on the Mountain
Between the Hunter and Goulburn River regions, there's a lush green valley called Bylong. Spectacularly edged by the steep escarpments of the Wollemi National Park, it's home to horses and cattle and a few people. The village itself has a one-stop shop and a population of six, but the greater Bylong area is home to about 60.

Bylong was famous for its annual Mouse Races and for Tarwyn Park, where Peter Andrews OAM developed his revolutionary 'natural sequence farming' methods. Now it's also becoming famous for its strong stand against the coal and coal seam gas companies that threaten its future; they also face a precious metals exploration licence and a geothermal application.

Thirty to address coal mine hearing

Date: Fri 04-Nov-11
Author: Paul Maguire (Singleton Argus)
WARKWORTH open-cut coalmine appears to be operating in breach of its development consent and should either comply or be closed down, the state government's planning assessment commission will be told next week.
A 2003 pre-mining consent condition for the pit, requiring a rezoning deed of agreement to protect land near Wallaby Scrub Road, Bulga, was signed but never carried out.

This is the thrust of a submission Bulga resident John Krey will make to the commission when it visits Singleton next Thursday for a public hearing on a controversial $600million expansion.of the Coal and Allied mine.

Mood change to anger over coal seam gas mining

Date: Fri 04-Nov-11
Author: Di Snedden (Singleton Argus)
DEBATE over coal seam gas mining has hit the national headlines in recent months but for some locals, this battle has already disrupted five years of their lives.
The Hunter Bulga Gas Action Group began in 2006. It changed its name to the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance two years ago which subsequently gave birth to the national Lock the Gate protest group that now has a quickly growing membership with 116 individual groups involved as of Tuesday.

Graeme Gibson was one of those founding members.

He remembers a time when he and a few other residents of the quiet village of Broke noticed an unusual piece of equipment in a paddock near the local school.

Enquiries revealed it was a drill searching for coal seam gas.

AGL apology over CSG protest signs

Date: Wed 02-Nov-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
AGL has come under fire for removing anti coal seam gas signs from outside a property it controversially acquired in the New South Wales Hunter Valley this year.

The Hunter Valley Protection Alliance placed the signs opposite the Poole's Rock Vineyard, near Broke, which used to be owned by outspoken coal seam gas critic, the late David Clarke.

Chair of the Alliance Graeme Gibson says AGL returned the signs last week but the company's actions had already worked to further galvanise the community.

AGL employee removes protest signs

Date: Wed 02-Nov-11
Author: Frances Thomson (The Herald)
AN employee of AGL removed coal seam gas protest signs from private property near Broke.
Hunter Valley Protection Alliance chairman Stewart Ewen said about four signs and a large banner were removed from a property opposite the site of a coal seam gas protest last month.

Mr Ewen said the signs were removed the day after the protest, which was held outside Poole's Rock Estate.

The estate was owned by late financier David Clarke, a strong critic of the coal seam gas industry, but was acquired recently by AGL.

AGL removes anti-CSG signs

Date: Wed 02-Nov-11
Author: Andrew Duffy (Australian Mining)
AGL has been criticised for removing anti coal seam gas signs from outside a vineyard it controversially acquired earlier this year.

According to the ABC the signs belonged to the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance and were placed opposite the Pooles Rock vineyard.

The vineyard belonged to prominent merchant banker and coal seam gas critic the late David Clarke but was recently sold to AGL.

Mines in focus

Date: Wed 26-Oct-11
Author: Dale Hilly (Hunter Valley News)
Fifteen public complaints about dust and blasting at mines were received by the Singleton compliance office last month.
This is the average received since three Hunter compliance officers were put in place by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure a year ago.

Upper Hunter MP George Souris has been a strong supporter of their work. "The ability of the office to immediately attend to complaints is of great benefit to the community," he said.

Meanwhile, three Upper Hunter mines are among the first in the state to take part in a NSW pollution cutting scheme. Mount Arthur, Liddell and Bengalla were among nine mines in NSW put on legally binding Pollution Reduction Programs in August.

Vignerons warn Huntlee will scar the Valley

Date: Wed 26-Oct-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
Hunter Valley vignerons say New South Wales' largest housing development proposed for the region will be a visual scar on the local landscape.

The $1.5 billion dollar Huntlee development at Branxton would include thousands of new homes.

But the project is currently the subject of a Supreme Court appeal, after the Land and Environment court overturned its state significance status.

Singleton dust spike

Date: Tue 25-Oct-11
Author: Singleton Argus
SINGLETON'S air quality failed daily average national health standards yesterday morning.
The New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage issued a health alert saying one of Singleton's two air monitors had recorded a 71.5 PM10 reading at 7am.

PM10 is a description of fine particles suspended in air that damage people's respiratory tracts and a 71.5 reading is in the upper reaches of the environment department's "poor" air quality scale which runs from 51 to 75.

Regular complaints about Upper Hunter mines

Date: Tue 25-Oct-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
State Government figures reveal there were complaints about dust, noise and blasting relating to Upper Hunter mines every second day on average during September.

15 complaints were received by the Planning Department's Singleton office in September.

It carried out 42 inspections, surveillances and meetings, issuing four orders or advisory letters.

Huntlee director to persevere

Date: Mon 24-Oct-11
Author: Briony Snedden (Maitland Mercury)
The developer behind the proposed $1.5 billion Huntlee New Town near Branxton will persevere with the project, regardless of the outcome of an appeal in the Land and Environment Court.
LWP Property Group managing director Danny Murphy reaffirmed the company's commitment to the project at a meeting of Branxton businesses on Friday, ahead of the court appeal on November 4.

The Sweetwater Action Group celebrated a second win in July when the Land and Environment Court quashed the rezoning of the land.

AGL to forge ahead with coal seam gas plans in the vineyards

Date: Tue 18-Oct-11
Author: Kate Ausburn
The latest from AGL on its plans for the Hunter Valley wine-growing region, emphasis my own:

AGL announces property purchases in Hunter
Media release: 17 October 2011

AGL Energy has today confirmed the purchase of two properties in the Hunter as part of its Hunter Gas Project.

Broke rallies against coal seam gas in the vineyards

Date: Tue 18-Oct-11
Author: Kate Ausburn
Over 400 people turned out to rally against AGL's coal seam gas plans in Broke on Sunday 16 October as part of a national day of action to defend water from mining.

This follows AGL's recent decision to purchase the Poole's Rock vineyard property that was owned by the late David Clarke, former Macquarie Bank chairman and anti-CSG advocate.

Quiet rage is mounting

Date: Tue 18-Oct-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
THERE was no screaming or yelling. No swearing or abuse and certainly no one chaining themselves up to equipment or fencing, not yet anyway.
Sunday's protest at Broke against coal seam gas mining was one of many across the country.

The event at Broke was controlled. Guest speakers simply stated their experiences with AGL and the coal seam gas industry and comforted those in fear of their future with a promise that they were not alone and would have the support they needed.

It was anger at its controlled best.

Warkworth mine extension

Date: Tue 18-Oct-11
Author: Singleton Argus
THE Planning Assessment Commission will meet in Singleton on Thursday, November 10, to discuss the contraversial extension of the Warkworth coal mine.
Due to the level of public interest in the project, the commission will meet to hear submitter's views on the assessment report and recommendation, prior to determining the project.

Huntlee push

Date: Tue 18-Oct-11
Author: Paul Maguire (Singleton Argus)
THE company behind a massive housing subdivision, on the Singleton and Cessnock shire boundaries, has begun an advertising campaign in the lead up to a crucial court case.
LWP Property Group has spent thousands of dollars on full page advertisements in at least four Hunter Valley newspapers extolling the "sustainable" virtues of "Huntlee New Town", near Branxton.

The move coincides with a campaign by a group of businessmen calling themselves Friends of Huntlee.

Hundreds gather to protest gas

Date: Tue 18-Oct-11
Author: Paul Maguire (Singleton Argus)
WHILE hundreds of Hunter residents have voiced an emphatic "no coal seam gas" message it's obvious that representatives of the New South Wales Government and at least one gas company are yet to be convinced.
On Sunday, more than 400 people at Broke and 55 at Putty were among thousands throughout New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia who attended "lock the gate" rallies.

Hunter Valley protests were also held at Newcastle, Maitland, Wollombi and Gloucester.

AGL confirms Hunter wineries will continue

Date: Tue 18-Oct-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
AGL says it bought a Hunter Valley property belonging to the estate of the late coal seam gas critic David Clarke, to prove the industry could co-exist with agriculture.

AGL has major C-S-G exploration licenses across the Hunter and has formally announced it has purchased Poole's Rock Vineyard from the Clarke family, along with the adjacent Yellow Rock Estate from James Smiley.

Camberwell Common case lost

Date: Tue 18-Oct-11
Author: Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
CAMBERWELL resident Deidre Olofsson has lost her court challenge to former Lands Minister Tony Kelly's decision to revoke control of the village common.
Ms Olofsson, represented by the Environmental Defenders Office, challenged the legitimacy of the minister's removal of the common from the Camberwell Common Trust's control in April last year.

The 90-hectare common, which had been controlled by a community trust since 1876, was resumed and its control given to Ashton Coal.

AGL buys up wine area land

Date: Tue 18-Oct-11
Author: Ian Kirkwood (The Herald)
GAS company AGL Energy confirmed yesterday its rumoured purchase of two well-known properties near Broke for its coal seam gas project.
AGL manager Mike Moraza said the company had bought Poole's Rock, at 229 Wollombi Road, and a neighbouring property, Yellow Rock Estate, at 121 Wollombi Road.

Poole's Rock had been owned by former Macquarie Bank chairman David Clarke, a leading critic of coal seam gas who died of cancer in April this year.

Rich soils that make fine wine

Date: Sat 15-Oct-11
Author: The Herald
Known as the tranquil side of the Hunter Valley, the charming Broke Fordwich wine region boasts a picturesque rural ambience that is proving irresistible to visitors.
Located 15 minutes from the centre of Pokolbin, the region accounts for 11 per cent of the vineyard area planted in the Hunter Valley.

Secretary of the Broke Fordwich Wine Tourism Association Mike Wilson said the key was the variety of soils.

Gravelly, sandy soils of the banks of Wollombi Brook are highly sought after for the mineral quality it gives to white wines such as semillon and verdelho, while rich volcanic basalt soils produce the finest reds.

Communities unite against coal seam gas

Date: Wed 12-Oct-11
Author: Matthew Kelly and Michelle Harris (The Herald)
FROM Catherine Hill Bay to Gloucester and Murrurundi, communities across the Hunter will rally on Sunday to voice their concerns about the rapidly expanding coal seam gas industry.

Under the banner of "Defend Our Water", events have been planned throughout region as part of a national day of action.

"This is shaping up to be the biggest social movement of our time, it is certainly not just a green issue, organiser and Lake Macquarie City councillor Phillipa Parsons said.

"It has galvanised farmers, vignerons, tourism operators and environmentalists alike."

Residents rally to oppose coal seam gas mining project

Date: Wed 12-Oct-11
Author: Emma Swain (Maitland Mercury)
Maitland will join a nationwide protest to stop delivery of gas from Narrabri to Kooragang Island through the region.
Residents will gather at Minister's Park, Maitland, on Sunday, for a national day of action opposing the coal seam gas mining project.

"This rally is part of an awareness campaign to let people know what could happen, but also we want people to know that we are very much against this project because we just don't need the gas," rally organiser and Maitland Greens' member Wendy White said.

Residents v coal mine over road

Date: Wed 12-Oct-11
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
THE battle to save a road that could stop one of the state's biggest open cut coal mines has tipped in the community's favour after advice from two NSW Government departments.
The departments of planning and roads confirmed power to close Wallaby Scrub Road was in Singleton Council's hands, despite legal advice to councillors if they did not close the road so Mount Thorley Warkworth coal mine could expand, a government authority such as the Roads and Traffic Authority could do so.

Councillors have resolved not to close the road.

Coal mining company pressures blind farmer for access to property

Date: Tue 11-Oct-11
Author: Kate Ausburn
Last night Nine news ran an important story about how one farmer has ended up in court in a last-bid attempt to keep a coal mining company off his cattle farming property.

Nine reporter Kevin Wilde explains that Ian Moore, 62, is a farmer who is "now legally blind having lost his site progressively since the age of 8."

Government planners have it all wrong.. (video)

Date: Tue 11-Oct-11
Author: Prime 7 News
Bylong Valley: When it comes to land, farmers and mining companies seldom see eye to eye. But the state government is trying to change that with a new set of rules and guidelines.
Problem is, some farmers at least, believe the government planners have it all wrong..
Those farmers, claim the first batch of land use plans, will actually make things worse.

AGL plans for gas field in Wollombi Valley

Date: Tue 11-Oct-11
Author: Sean Gough
AGL has confirmed their intention to develop a major coal seam gas field south from Broke toward Wollombi.

AGL has purchased the Pooles Rock vineyard at Broke, is said to be in negotiation to purchase a further 1,000 acres along Broke Road just north of Paynes Crossing and is rumoured to be purchasing a property at Paynes Crossing itself.

Concerns Hunter aquifers under threat from coal seam gas extraction

Date: Mon 10-Oct-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
A government-funded Catchment Authority is warning of dire consequences for Hunter Valley aquifers if there are not stringent safeguards to protect them from coal seam gas extraction.

The Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority has told a State Parliamentary inquiry that the region's alluvial aquifers are already under stress and coal seam gas projects could make things worse.

It says there needs to be a buffer zone for drilling and fracturing using chemicals must be banned.

Concerns rejection leaves a bad taste

Date: Mon 10-Oct-11
Author: Frances Thomson (The Herald)
KEY residents' objections to an expansion of Coal & Allied's operations at Bulga have been rejected by NSW planning officials, leaving a Hunter community feeling let down and ignored.
A Department of Planning assessment, which this week recommended the project be approved, said there was no technical merit to resident claims Saddleback Ridge, between the Mount Thorley Warkworth mine and the village, protected them from the effects of mining.

The company plans to remove the ridge, leaving the village exposed to views of overburden areas and within about 2.6 kilometres of the open-cut operation.

Newcastle residents not happy with coal seam gas

Date: Sat 08-Oct-11
Author: Niko Leka (Green Left Weekly)
Just about every passerby stopped at a recent Green Left Weekly stall in Hamilton, Newcastle, to sign a Lock the Gate Alliance petition for a moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) mining.

All those who stopped were concerned about plans to mine CSG at nearby Fullerton Cove.

The Newcastle Herald reported on a recent community consultation held by Dart Energy, where Fullerton Cove residents' spokesperson Sue Walker said: "The environmental concerns over the water table, salinity, subsidence - regardless of what Dart says - remain real, but on top of that, if they end up building a spider's web of drilling rigs out behind our houses, we won't able to live in them and nobody is going to want to buy them."

AGL and the race for coal seam gas: how bad can Public Relations get!!

Date: Fri 07-Oct-11
Author: Peter Wilkinson (Wilkinson Group)
It's hard to believe that after all the angry words exchanged over coal seam gas exploration, AGL's 'community relations' effort amounts to so crudely buying the property belonging to anti gas mining campaigner David Clarke, who died earlier this year. Please read the Daily Telegraph story below. If I was living in the Hunter Valley village of Broke I would be as upset as the locals. They have every right.

Our position is this: we believe that we are going to need all the gas we can get our hands on, and any other sources of energy, because there is a growing shortage of Australian fuel. But it has to be done in a way that works for most people in the community.

Council has control

Date: Fri 07-Oct-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
FOR years Singleton Council has had virtually no control, or say, in surrounding mining developments.
Any submission council staff write on any development is given no more, and no less, consideration than a submission written by the person in the street.

Now, for the first time in very many years, council does have a say over a mining development and it will either allow the mine to go ahead ot not.

Sale is the start

Date: Fri 07-Oct-11
Author: Paul Maguire (Singleton Argus)
A COAL seam gas mining company has bought an "iconic" Singleton area vineyard and its officials may be planning thousands of wells between Broke and Wollombi, opponents say.
Hunter Valley Protection Alliance spokesman Graeme Gibson said AGL Energy had bought Poole's Rock Vineyard, at Broke, and was believed to have bought an adjoining 2000 hectare property which runs from Poole's Rock to Wollombi Road.

Mr Gibson fears the company could now use horizontal drilling technology under Wollombi Brook and other vineyards, putting groundwater, vineyard jobs and the environment at risk.

AGL officials have declined to comment on the situation.

AGL media spokeswoman Karen Winsbury said: "AGL is currently in confidential discussions with a number of landowners in the Hunter project area to settle land access arrangements and land purchase arrangements.

"To respect the confidentiality of these landowners AGL will not comment on speculation.

National Day of Action update

Date: Fri 07-Oct-11
Author: Sean Gough
Here are details of some events taking place in our region on the 16th October, the National Day of Action.

Those from Wollombi may want to arrange to attend, if not organising a local event. In which case we could look to book a bus if a few register their intent to go. Please let me know if this interests you.

Call to remove road, ridge for Bulga coalmine

Date: Fri 07-Oct-11
Author: Frances Thomson (The Herald)
AN Upper Hunter road should be eliminated and a supposedly "protected ridge" should be completely removed to allow a coalmine extension near Bulga village, the planning department has recommended.
Approving the Warkworth Extension project for Coal & Allied also means the loss of 764.7 hectares of woodland, affects 114 Aboriginal sites and significant noise and dust for 16 private residences.

Broken by gas mining - villagers declare war after AGL buys exploration site

Date: Fri 07-Oct-11
Author: Neil Keene (The Daily Telegraph)
A TINY NSW township has declared war on energy giant AGL after the company bought a vineyard that could become a base for coal seam gas exploration.
Property owners in Broke in the Hunter Valley were upset yesterday after reports the property, once owned by Macquarie Bank co-founder and anti-coal seam gas campaigner David Clarke, had been sold to the very company he was fighting before his death.

Fight to stop coal seam gas mine withers on the vine

Date: Thu 06-Oct-11
Author: Malcolm Holland (The Daily Telegraph)
IN life he was a passionate and vocal opponent of coal seam gas drilling in the Hunter Valley.
Macquarie Bank Chairman David Clarke funded anti-mining campaigns, spoke at a feisty rally outside gas mining giant AGL's annual general meeting and littered his Pooles Rock Vineyard with signs rejecting coal seam gas.

Miners, stakeholders agree to actions in Upper Hunter Valley

Date: Wed 05-Oct-11
Author: Rachel Alembakis (The Sustainability Report)
Miners and community stakeholders in the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales have agreed to a list of actions to address the impacts of coal mining on a range of issues from mine rehabilitation to water assessments, long term health impacts to local employment and skills training.

AGL grabs Hunter vineyard

Date: Wed 05-Oct-11
Author: Andrew Duffy (Australian Mining)
The vineyard of prominent merchant banker and coal seam gas objector, the late David Clarke, is set to be sold to AGL, the company whose exploration he opposed.

Clarke provided financial support to the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance's campaign against AGL, and also supported the Hunter Wine Industry Association's move to have vineyards removed from AGL's exploration areas.

The Newcastle Herald reported today that the executors of Clarke's estate had signed the contracts to hand over the Poole's Rock vineyard.

Vineyard sold to gas firm

Date: Wed 05-Oct-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
THE Hunter vineyard of prominent coal seam gas objector and merchant banker, the late David Clarke, is set to be sold to AGL, the very company whose exploration activities he opposed.
Contracts are said to have been exchanged last week between the executors of Mr Clarke's estate and the gas company for the original Poole's Rock vineyard.

Mr Clarke, the former chairman of Macquarie Bank, founded the vineyard in 1988 in the Broke-Fordwich area.

Coal & Coal Seam Gas Community Forum

Date: Tue 04-Oct-11
Author: Upper Hunter Shire Council
On 5 and 6 September, Upper Hunter Shire Council hosted a community forum to investigate issues relating to coal and coal seam gas extraction within the Shire. During the course of the two day forum representatives from the community, industry and government made presentations, participated in panel discussions and public question answer sessions.


Contributors were asked to make copies of their formal presentation available for the broader public.

We thank all presenters for their contribution during the forum and for making this information available.

Wollombi markets October 2011 Long Weekend

Date: Mon 03-Oct-11
Author: Caroline Maul
Wollombi markets October 2011

Noise top of hit list

Date: Fri 30-Sep-11
Author: Singleton Argus
NOISE complaints dominated the Singleton Compliance office last month.
Eleven of the 14 complaints received in August were for noise compliance issues.

A NSW department of planning and infrastructure spokesperson told The Singleton Argus the majority of the noise complaints related to operational activities of mines such as truck and machinery operations at sections of mines sites near residences.

The spokesperson said Glendell mine volunteered to double their attendant noise monitoring in Camberwell in response to noise complaints. This will see attendant monitoring occur eight times a year instead of four. This is in addition to a separate noise review being undertaken in the village at the request of a resident.

2nd National Food Security Forum

Date: Fri 30-Sep-11
Author: Sean Gough
There is a farmer at Jerrys Plains called Ian Moore who, despite being blind, grows lucerne amongst other things and is where some of us get our hay from including Anthony Bailey. Ian is being taken to court by a company called Nucoal who have a murky past involving Labor mates and union bosses as well as the interests of the otherwise wholesome Nick Farr-Jones

AGL definitely coming into the Wollombi Valley

Date: Thu 29-Sep-11
Author: Sean Gough
I have received information that AGL are definitely planning to develop their gas field coming south from Broke at least as far as Paynes Crossing and they intend mining under the Pokolbin State Forest.

New era for planning law

Date: Wed 28-Sep-11
Author: The Herald
ONE of the first things the O'Farrell government did after rolling Labor at the March state election was to get rid of the ALP's disliked and distrusted "Part 3A" planning laws.
The Coalition's replacement legislation, which was voted into law in June, comes into force on Saturday.

The Environmental Defender's Office - a not-for-profit community legal centre that has run various high-profile test cases in the Hunter and across NSW - says the new laws are an improvement on the old system.

This, in itself, should not be difficult. The controversies that raged back and forth over the Catherine Hill Bay and Huntlee housing estates - not to mention the approval of just about every coalmining project put to the government - steadily sapped public confidence in the planning system.

Rezoning reforms awaited

Date: Wed 28-Sep-11
Author: Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
NEW planning laws should prevent a repeat of Catherine Hill Bay and Huntlee style developments, the Environmental Defenders Office said.
The long-awaited reforms, in effect from Saturday, replace the Part 3A system, which allowed the former Labor government to override local councils and approve projects deemed to be of ''state significance''.

Under the changes, a new Part 4 of the planning laws will deal with private state-significant developments. Public state significant infrastructure will be dealt with by a new Part 5.

Artwork in the vineyards

Date: Tue 27-Sep-11
Author: Singleton Argus
THE works of 60 artists will be displayed around Wollombi from Sunday until January 22.
A preformance by dancers from the Ngurra Bu Aboriginal Community will be a feature of the annual Sculpture in the Vineyards exhibition opening, at Noyce Brothers Wines, Wollombi, at 4.30pm.

The 60 exhibitors were chosen from applications by almost 100 artists from throughout Australia.

More job cuts at Ashton mine

Date: Tue 27-Sep-11
Author: ABC News
Ashton Coal has retrenched another 15 miners from its open cut operation near Singleton, as it awaits a decision on its application to extend the mine.

In July this year, 18 mineworkers were made redundant due to a lack of work.

Ashton Coal says the open-cut operation ceased last Friday, but the remaining 70 employees will work on the Bowman's Creek diversion, while they await a decision on the South East Open cut.

Imminent Threat - Wollombi Valley

Date: Mon 26-Sep-11
Author: Sean Gough
Rumours are swirling around the valley that AGL are set to expand their coal seam methane gas field operation southward from Broke into the Wollombi Valley and are in negotiations with landholders including someone at Stockyard Creek by Paynes Crossing.

If true and having already drilled an exploration well on one property at Stockyard Creek, the company would probably now be looking to establish a test well which is run for period of time to check the quality and rate of flow of the gas coming up from the coal seam to the wellhead. This would involve removing very large amounts of water from the aquifer and, possibly, fraccing the coal seam with all the inherent risks.

Firefighters battle Upper Hunter blaze

Date: Tue 20-Sep-11
Author: Jacqui Jones (The Herald)
FIREFIGHTERS are working to contain a bushfire near Singleton and emergency services are being deployed in Cessnock where trees and powerlines have fallen in strong winds.
A 30-hectare fire is burning off Putty Road in Howes Valley approximately 60 kilometres south of Singleton.

The NSW Rural Fire Service is protecting properties in the path of the fire and has called in aircraft to assist.

Conversation should be open

Date: Fri 16-Sep-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
THERE is much more to the battle over Wallaby Scrub Road than initially meets the eye.
Wallaby Scrub Road is part of the Great North Road and the proposed mining site includes an area of endangered woodland and native habitat that should be protected by a 2003 state government "never to be mined" ministerial guarantee.

That guarantee gave peace of mind to those affected by the development, specifically people living in Warkworth and Bulga.

All assumed that the state government determining it should never be mined meant precisely that.

Fine for pollution

Date: Fri 16-Sep-11
Author: Singleton Argus
A MINING company has been ordered to pay $113,000 for polluting Middle Brook at the head of the Hunter River.
Land and Environment Court Justice Nicola Pain made the ruling against Sibelco for allowing up to five million litres of sediment laden water from its bentonite mine, near Parkville, to run into the waterway in May last year.

The pollution reduced aquatic life, temporarily damaged habitat along 2.8 kilometres of the brook and made downstream water undrinkable for at least a month.

Bentonite is a type of clay used for drilling oil and gas wells plus geological investigations.

New filters to expose contents

Date: Fri 16-Sep-11
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
INVESTIGATIONS into what exactly is in the air Singleton residents breathe is continuing with the placement of new filters in the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitors.
High quality Teflon filters have been installed in the monitors by NSW Health to allow for speciation of small airborne particles.

NSW Health expert advisory committee spokesperson Dr David Durrheim said the filters will allow for speciation in addition to verifying the PM2.5 and PM1 distribution in the Hunter Valley airshed.

"They are installed in the monitors purchased by NSW Health to provide better understanding of the contributions by various air pollution sources including industry, agriculture and the environment," he told The Singleton Argus.

Wallaby Scrub Road causes concerns

Date: Fri 16-Sep-11
Author: Paul Maguire (Singleton Argus)
NEW South Wales planning department officials appear to be acting as agents for a coalmining company to close Wallaby Scrub Road, near Singleton, according to the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association.
But departmental spokesman Paul Searle told The Argus yesterday that department officials completely rejected the allegation.

Progress association president Stewart Mitchell told The Argus that association members had grave concerns about planning department officials speaking with Singleton Council's assistant general manager Gary Thomson and planning director Mark Ihlein about a proposed $600million expansion of Warkworth open-cut coalmine.

Ulan church goes for Broke

Date: Fri 16-Sep-11
Author: Sam Paine (Mudgee Guardian)
Ulan's decommissioned Anglican Church is on its way to a new home in the Hunter Valley and a new life as a music studio.
Folk musician Clive Webb, from Broke in the Hunter Valley, noticed St Cuthbert's Anglican Church as he drove through from Orange in June.

The deconsecrated church was set to be demolished until it caught the eye of the man now known to friends as "the Reverend".

Prime Minister to visit Singleton Saturday

Date: Tue 06-Sep-11
Author: Singleton Argus
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard will be in Singleton on Saturday to meet the public.
Ms Gillard will be at Singleton High School from 4pm for a civic reception.

The reception is open to anyone in the community who would like to attend.

RSVP is requested for catering purposes. To attend phone of office of Federal Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon on 1300 301 753.

Cessnock mayor Alison Davey seeks second term

Date: Wed 31-Aug-11
Author: The Advertiser
Mayor of Cessnock, Cr. Alison Davey, will be a candidate for mayor at the 2012 Cessnock City Council elections.
Cr. Davey told The Advertiser she has a "lot of useful years" to offer and is confident she could comfortably handle the city's number one citizen's job for a further four-year term.

Cr. Davey stood as an independent at the last election and won a close contest against Labor's Cr. Bob Pynsent.

Putting country NSW in the picture

Date: Tue 30-Aug-11
Author: The Land
NSW Primary Industries Minister, Katrina Hodgkinson, has announced 21 rural communities will receive funding to develop community websites promoting their towns and villages to the travelling public.
The funding is part of the NSW Government's $85 million Building the Country initiative to help small communities in rural and remote NSW to supplement or establish an internet website promoting their town and tourism attractions.

"Grants of up to $5000 from round three of the Small Communities Awareness Fund have been awarded to help communities put their town or village, on the map," Ms Hodgkinson said.

Massive train collection a headache for Huntlee

Date: Tue 30-Aug-11
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
A SELF-CONFESSED railway ''fanatic'' with 200 carriages and a looming deadline is at the centre of yet another headache for the Huntlee New Town residential development.
Chris Richards' collection on part of the Huntlee site includes complete Southern Aurora and Newcastle Flyer trains, heritage-listed steam locomotives, General Douglas MacArthur's Australian rail carriage from World War II and a ''haunted'' carriage from an unsolved murder.

But the Hunter Valley Railway Trust collection does not rate a mention in a number of key reports linked to the Huntlee development, including a Department of Planning report in September last year to former planning minister Tony Kelly recommending Huntlee's approval.

Meeting on Huntlee site suitability

Date: Tue 30-Aug-11
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
HUNTLEE developer, the LWP Property Group, will meet with Chris Richards in the next week after conceding there were outstanding issues at the North Rothbury site.
''There are issues and the company is discussing those issues with him,'' a spokesman for LWP chief executive Danny Murphy said.

''Unfortunately, everything has been caught up by the appeal process.''

Plans for the Huntlee New Town development are on hold pending an LWP appeal after the Land and Environment Court quashed a rezoning of the site.

Department questions court decision on Huntlee

Date: Tue 30-Aug-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
A COURT decision to overturn the rezoning of the $1.5billion Huntlee site has ''major ramifications'' for the state's planning system with potential effects for housing affordability.
The Department of Planning has made that assessment, ahead of an appeal lodged by Huntlee Pty Ltd for the proponent LWP Property, which is expected to be heard in November.

The implications extend beyond the fate of the Huntlee development, the department says.

Huntlee heads to NSW Court of Appeal

Date: Wed 24-Aug-11
Author: The Advertiser
LWP Property Group is moving ahead with its appeal to the NSW Court of Appeal against the NSW Land and Environment Court's judgment declaring the rezoning of the $1.5 billion Huntlee New Town development near Branxton invalid.
The NSW Court of Appeal has made orders expediting the hearing of proceedings, which will take place on Friday, November 4.

LWP Property Group Managing Director, Danny Murphy, said: "We are pleased the appeal will be heard before the end of the year.

Draft LEP and your DA

Date: Thu 18-Aug-11
Author: Cessnock Council
How does the Draft Cessnock Local Environmental Plan 2010 (Draft LEP) affect a development application (DA) that is currently lodged with Council for consideration?

Huntlee developer returns

Date: Wed 17-Aug-11
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
THE man behind the $1.5billion Huntlee New Town development has visited the Hunter, letting councils and supporters know that the 7500 housing project is back in the game.
LWP Property Group managing director Danny Murphy visited the region this week to explain that his company was moving ahead with its appeal against the NSW Land and Environment Court's judgment declaring the rezoning of the development near Branxton invalid.

Huntlee Developers Met With Supporters

Date: Tue 16-Aug-11
Author: NBN News
A date has been set for the latest legal action over the controversial Huntlee New Town project.
Developers will head to court on November 4 in a bid to get the proposal off the ground, saying it's exactly what the Hunter needs

Huntlee heads to appeals court

Date: Tue 16-Aug-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
The group behind New South Wales' largest housing development has met the mayors of Cessnock and Singleton councils as it moves ahead with a Supreme Court appeal.

Last month, the Sweetwater Action Group had a 'state significance' status given to the $1.5 billion Huntlee project overturned in the Land and Environment Court.

Developer LWP Property Group is taking the matter to the Court of Appeal.

Good move to stop the dust

Date: Fri 12-Aug-11
Author: Di Snedden (Singleton Argus)
THE legally binding pollution reduction program can't come quick enough. This newspaper has been reporting for years about the need for improved dust control, especially now when there are so many mines and such massive areas of exposed land.
The report identifies that many mines already use best practice measures and when there are exceedances, they move mining further within the pit.

Verbal threats over Ashton mine delays

Date: Fri 12-Aug-11
Author: Singleton Argus
MINERS from Ashton Coal operations, near Camberwell, have allegedly made abusive phone calls to members of Singleton area Aboriginal groups.
Aboriginal activist Scott Franks said calls to three Aboriginal organisations followed an August 2 Argus report that said 18 Ashton open-cut workers were made redundant and the remaining 90 workers also faced the chop because the state government had not approved expansion plans.

In the Argus report an advocate with the Indigenous Justice Advocacy Network, Al Oshlack, said Ashton officials were using workers as pawns in a bullyboy move to expand the open-cut.

Putty residents against gas

Date: Fri 12-Aug-11
Author: Singleton Argus
PUTTY residents have planned a protest on Sunday on the eve of the area's first exploration borehole for coal seam gas (CSG).
Dart Energy was granted approval last month by the state government to explore for coal seam gas just 500 metres from the world heritage Yengo and Wollemi National parks.

The site is located on private land some 6km south of the Putty Valley Road turnoff with work expected to start on Wednesday.

Inquiry to investigate coal seam gas

Date: Fri 12-Aug-11
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
A PARLIAMENTARY committee inquiry into coal seam gas will see committee members visit the Hunter in a matter of weeks to take evidence from witnesses.
The parlimentary committee inquiry into coal seam gas mining in New South Wales has been initiated by widespread concerns raised by landholders, farmers and environmentalists.

The Legislative Council's general purpose standing committee No. 5 will be investgating the environmental, economic and social impacts of CSG mining in NSW after the Greens' Jeremy Buckingham approached committee chair Robert Brown about putting forward terms of reference (TOR) for an inquiry.

Coal mining dust

Date: Fri 12-Aug-11
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
MINES throughout New South Wales will be placed on legally binding pollution reduction programs (PRPs) in a state government bid to reduce dust emissions.
A 'dust stop' program was announced on Tuesday by Environment and Heritage Minister Robyn Parker.

The move will see all 68 NSW coalmines on the program by April 2012.

Of the first nine mines chosen to be issued with PRPs, only Liddell is located in the Singleton area.

From the Mayor's desk - 12 August 2011

Date: Fri 12-Aug-11
Author: Alison Davey
On Wednesday 3 August I officially launched the 125th anniversary of the discovery of the Greta Coal Seam by Professor TW Edgeworth David in 1886 at Edgeworth David Park in Abermain. The launch was the beginning of a month long celebration of the River of Black Gold Festival to acknowledge this significant occasion.

Developer Duncan Hardie leaves town

Date: Thu 11-Aug-11
Author: Fran Thompson (The Herald)
DUNCAN Hardie, one of the most controversial developers in the Hunter, has left Australia for his native New Zealand and put his Hunter lands, possibly worth tens of millions of dollars, on the market.
Mr Hardie told the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday from New Zealand he had ''departed'' Australia but would not elaborate.

Mr Hardie lives in Wellington, from where his Hardie Resources now explores for coal, coal seam gas and oil in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

He holds an estimated 10,000 hectares of land in the Hunter and around Gunnedah through his Bio Lands Pty Ltd.

When asked if all these lands were up for sale, Mr Hardie replied: ''Some.''

Mr Hardie developed projects such as the failed Hunter Economic Zone at Kurri Kurri and Huntlee near Branxton....

Developer Duncan Hardie leaves town

Date: Thu 11-Aug-11
Author: Fran Thompson (The Herald)
DUNCAN Hardie, one of the most controversial developers in the Hunter, has left Australia for his native New Zealand and put his Hunter lands, possibly worth tens of millions of dollars, on the market.
Mr Hardie told the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday from New Zealand he had ''departed'' Australia but would not elaborate.

Mr Hardie lives in Wellington, from where his Hardie Resources now explores for coal, coal seam gas and oil in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Noise, dust and now smell, it's all too much

Date: Tue 09-Aug-11
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
MT Olive resident Chris Craven calls her 130 acre property a sanctuary - but one she hasn't been able to enjoy for two years because of mining operations from Integra Coal's North open cut pit.
Mrs Craven has lived on her Mt Olive property for 11 years and says the past two years have been unbearable.

Noise, dust, vibration and lights from the mine impact her day-to-day life to the point that she has been hospitalised for stress and is now on anxiety medication.

Health study to look at broader impacts

Date: Tue 09-Aug-11
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
BROKE children will be the first to be involved in the second stage of a health study facilitated by Dr Tuan Au.
Dr Au began an investigation into the incidence of asthma across the Singleton population 12 months ago. This study will be undertaken over five years.

This latest second stage involves collecting additional information about children's health and medical history.

Top Liberal moves to gas company

Date: Tue 09-Aug-11
Author: Sean Nicholls (SMH)
THE deputy director of the NSW Liberals, Richard Shields, has taken a job as a lobbyist with a coal seam gas company as the O'Farrell government considers its response to increasing community concern over the rapid expansion of the sector.

Mr Shields, who has served as deputy director for close to four years, has accepted a position with the listed mining company Metgasco as its manager of external relations.

The role involves liaising with the state government and community groups as well as investor relations.

Sleep lost over Greta coal train project

Date: Fri 05-Aug-11
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
GRETA residents facing "unacceptable" sleep disturbance from a coal train project, controversially approved in the dying days of the Keneally government, have a question for NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard.
"We've been sold a duck by the last government, so who's looking after us now?" asked Chris Osman about the Pacific National train support facility adjoining residential areas.

Community Split over Huntlee Rejection

Date: Wed 03-Aug-11
Author: NBN News
News that a developer will appeal the Land and Environment Court's decision not to approve the Huntlee New Town development near Branxton, has received mixed reactions.
One community group has embraced the appeal, while another is nothing short of frustrated.

Huntlee housing fight continues

Date: Wed 03-Aug-11
Author: ABC News
The Sweetwater Action Group (SWAG) says it will vigorously defend an appeal lodged by the developer of New South Wales' largest housing development, Huntlee.

SWAG was successful last month in having a land rezoning decision for the project overturned in the Land and Environment Court.

The developer, LWP Property Group, is now seeking to challenge that decision in the NSW Court of Appeal.

Developer to appeal over Huntlee

Date: Wed 03-Aug-11
Author: Alison Branley (The Herald)
The developer behind the state's biggest proposed housing development, Huntlee, said it would appeal against the court decision that threatened to derail its plans.
LWP Property Group said it would appeal against last month's Land and Environment court decision to quash the rezoning of the land near Branxton where it wants to build the region's first new town for 50 years.

The court overturned the project's state significant site status, declared under the former Labor government.

Huntlee project heads back to court

Date: Wed 03-Aug-11
Author: Briony Snedden (Maitland Mercury)
The controversial $1.5 billion Huntlee New Town development is headed back to court.
And this time battle lines have been drawn in the community.

Only days after the Sweetwater Action Group (SWAG) celebrated its second Land and Environment Court win with a barbecue at the weekend, LWP Property Group announced yesterday it had lodged an appeal against the ruling to quash the rezoning of the site near Branxton

Media Release: Sweetwater Action Group Will Defend Appeal

Date: Tue 02-Aug-11
Author: Sweetwater Action Group
The Sweet Water Action Group based in North Rothbury and Branxton will vigorously defend an appeal lodged by the developer of NSW Largest single residential development for 7,500 dwellings.

The residents group have twice defeated the huge development proposal in the Land and Environment Court.

Developer to continue fighting for Huntlee housing project

Date: Tue 02-Aug-11
Author: ABC News
The group behind New South Wales' largest housing development in the Hunter Valley will appeal against a court ruling that has stopped it going ahead.

In 2009 the $1.5 billion Huntlee project planned for land near Branxton was deemed invalid because of a land swap deal with the State Government.

Chinese interest in Hunter vineyards

Date: Tue 02-Aug-11
Author: Fran Thompson (The Herald)
A SECOND prominent Hunter wine tourism property has been sold to Chinese business interests in as many weeks.
Veteran vignerons welcomed the investment and hoped wine production and prime agricultural land would be maintained.

Windsor's Edge, at Lovedale, was sold for an undisclosed sum that was more than the asking price of $2.6 million, said Jurds Real Estate director Cain Beckett who negotiated the sale.

Further action wanted on Hunter air quality

Date: Tue 02-Aug-11
Author: The Herald
UPPER Hunter residents are calling for more action to improve air quality following another health alert for particulate matter concentrations on the weekend.
There have also been renewed calls for a population health study into the cumulative effects of mining and power station pollutants.

The Upper Hunter Air Quality network's Muswellbrook monitor issued an alert for size 2.5 particulate matter early on Sunday morning.

From the Mayors Desk - 29 July 2011

Date: Fri 29-Jul-11
Author: Alison Davey
I recently met with members of Weston Aluminium to discuss their new business venture in developing a new industry and a world leader in recycling with their proposed $400milllion recycling plant planned for the Lower Hunter. Congratulations to Weston Aluminium on this great initiative.

Barnaby fans the flames back home

Date: Fri 29-Jul-11
Author: James Bell (Armidale Express)
"The people of New England have always been (because they wanted their own state in 1967) a very partisan and proud people and they have a very clear view of the way they see the world," he said.

Broke Village Fair

Date: Sat 23-Jul-11
Author: Mike Wilson
The annual Broke Village Fair is only seven weeks away (Sunday 11th September), and preparations are well under way. The Broke Fordwich Wine Tourism Association will be taking a major display at this year's event, and as a result there are some opportunities for our members:

(Audio) Beauty in Sound and Colours

Date: Wed 20-Jul-11
Author: Jill Emberson (1233 ABC Newcastle)
Harley Tait, a classical pianist and absract artist hears music as colours. Whe he decided to get tatoos on his hands, he knew he was making a committment to himself: that he would be an artist for the rest of his life. From Geneva to the Australian bush, Harley has lived an incredible life. Almost as incredible as the life of his piano, the Lion's Head Concert Grand made by Carl Bechstein in 1879.

Listen to Harley share his music and his story.

Hunter Valley vineyards becoming a Mecca for the stars

Date: Wed 20-Jul-11
Author: Krystal Sellars (The Advertiser)
The Hunter Valley has firmly entrenched its reputation as one of Australia's premier entertainment destinations, with another stellar line up of international performers set to appear here in coming months.

Is Your Home Winter Fire Safe?

Date: Tue 19-Jul-11
Author: Glenn O'Rourke
As the temperatures start to drop throughout the Wollombi Valley, local residents are advised to prepare their home to be Firewise this winter. The Rural Fire Service recommends this simple safety checklist to help keep homes fire safe this winter:

Huntlee sparks talk

Date: Tue 19-Jul-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
Like it or lump Huntlee, people need somewhere to live.
Demand for housing continues to remain strong and an inflated real estate market in Singleton makes it really hard for any young person to get a step into property ownership.

Many are turning to nearby Maitland, snapping up house and land packages on offer. It is no wonder this city has one of the fastest growing populations in the country.

Huntlee

Date: Tue 19-Jul-11
Author: Paul Maguire (Singleton Argus)
A HORNET'S nest of public opinion has been stirred by the $1.5billion Huntlee residential development being rejected a second time in the NSW Land and Environment Court.
The proposal, which comprises about 7500 homes for a site near Branxton on the Cessnock and Singleton local government boundary, was rejected earlier this month due to a challenge by the Sweetwater Action Group.

Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association

Date: Tue 19-Jul-11
Author: Singleton Argus
THE Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association (BMPA) has withdrawn from the NSW Mineral's Council Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue with the belief that it will not see an impact on issues locally.
The association chose not to attend the workshop in Singleton on July 1 as it is their belief that the problems in the Hunter Valley caused by the mining industry can only be resolved at a state or federal government level.

A state of confidence up north as NT moves towards adulthood

Date: Tue 19-Jul-11
Author: George Williams (SMH)
The Northern Territory is again on the road to becoming Australia's seventh state and there is every chance it will succeed. Statehood has strong support among Territorians and the bipartisan backing of their leaders. Federal ministers from both sides of politics have also said that if Territorians vote for change, Parliament should bring this about.

Memorial Service for Annie Adams

Date: Mon 18-Jul-11
Author: Graham Jackson
Annie had many friends, especially in the Valley so it is likely that the two distribution lists will not catch everyone who may wish to know about the Service. So please feel free to send it on in any email lists that you may have, or to any one you know who may wish to be present, or print it off and hand it around.

From the Mayor's desk - 15 July 2011

Date: Fri 15-Jul-11
Author: Alison Davey
Council has now all of its Group Leaders on board. We welcome to Cessnock, Louise Gee, Group Leader Strategy and Sustainability, Gareth Curtis, Group Leader Built and Natural Environment, Michael Brady, Group Leader Customer Services and Waid Crockett, Group Leader Community Services. General Manager, Lea Rosser and I look forward to working with these new officers for the betterment of this great City.

The Cockfighter - July 2011

Date: Thu 14-Jul-11
Author: The Cockfighter
Volume 9 Issue 6 - From the Editor - Whispering Brook Olive Long Table Luncheon
- Our Community - Time Out - Letter to the Editor - Wine News - Motoring - Petition seeks to right the wrong - Centenary Celebrations Planned For 2012
- Ethics and shareholders - Community Consultation - is it real?
Community Markets - Our Wildlife

Man who robbed Costas committed for sentence

Date: Wed 13-Jul-11
Author: The Herald
The man who tied up and robbed the wife of former police minister Michael Costa has been committed for sentence.
Mark Noel Sheehan, 38, of Sundowner Avenue, Kincumber, pleaded guilty in Newcastle Local Court this morning to aggravated break and enter.

Huntlee overturned for second time

Date: Wed 13-Jul-11
Author: The Advertiser
The Sweetwater Action Group (SWAG) was celebrating last Thursday after the 7500-dwelling development, Huntlee, was overturned a second time by the Land and Environment Court.
The Environmental Defenders Office acted on behalf of the residents' group to challenge former planning minister Tony Kelly's state significant site declaration for the $1.5 billion project near Branxton.

Wollombi Valley Update - 11 July 2011

Date: Mon 11-Jul-11
Author: Peter Firminger
It's great to welcome two new retail businesses to Wollombi Village - in fact to the same building - the olde Wollombi Cottage (opposite Gray's Inn)

(Video) Huntlee On Hold

Date: Fri 08-Jul-11
Author: NBN News
LWP Property Group says it will decide the future of the proposed Huntlee development over the next two weeks.
The housing project is back at square one for the second time in six years, after a community group again took on the state government, and won.

Fears developers will be scared off by Huntlee court decision

Date: Fri 08-Jul-11
Author: ABC News
A developer lobby group is worried investors will be scared off by a Court's decision to quash approval for a massive Hunter Valley housing development.

The Sweetwater Action Group has successfully challenged approval of the $1.5 billion Huntlee project in the Land and Environment Court.

The group argued a Voluntary Planning Agreement for the development was not enforceable.

Testing time for Huntlee

Date: Fri 08-Jul-11
Author: Newcastle Herald Editorial
When approval for the Huntlee New Town residential estate near Branxton was overturned by a court in October 2009, it was widely believed that the decision was more of a comment on Labor's ''land bribe'' planning laws than it was on the project itself.
The expectation at the time was that the developers would resubmit their plans under amended planning laws, with approval more likely than not somewhere down the track.

Now, nearly two years later, Huntlee has found itself on the end of another defeat in the NSW Land and Environment Court, and again the court has taken aim at the former Labor government's planning laws, which were overhauled - and the controversial Part 3A regime repealed - last month by the new government.

Huntlee sent back to drawing board

Date: Fri 08-Jul-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
THE state's biggest housing development, the controversial $1.5 billion Huntlee New Town proposed near Branxton, has been dealt another major setback following a successful legal challenge.
The NSW Land and Environment Court overturned yesterday the project's state significant site status and rezoning for more than 7000 homes and employment lands that was gazetted in December last year under the former Labor state government.

Victory is sweet

Date: Fri 08-Jul-11
Author: Briony Sneddon (Maitland Mercury)
Court action has killed off the controversial Huntlee New Town development near Branxton for a second time.
Sweetwater Action Group members and Cessnock Greens councillors Chris Parker and James Ryan celebrated another win on Thursday afternoon when Justice Peter

Biscoe upheld the group's appeal against

the development in the Land and

Environment Court.

Government planning powers invalid, Environment Court rules

Date: Fri 08-Jul-11
Author: The Daily Telegraph
A MAJOR development project will not proceed after the Land and Environment Court ruled that the planning powers of the state government are void.
Justice Peter Biscoe yesterday said amendments to state planning laws, made in December last year by the former Labor government, were invalid, effectively stopping the massive $1.8 billion Huntlee residential project in the Hunter Valley.

Justice Biscoe ruled that the government had failed to satisfy conditions of its own planning law.

'Sweetest victory' bitter pill for big developer

Date: Fri 08-Jul-11
Author: Kelsey Munro (SMH)
A COURT has thrown out for the second time the controversial plan to build the state's biggest residential development, Huntlee, in the Hunter Valley.

Chris Parker, from the Sweetwater Action Group, which led both court challenges, was "ecstatic" at yesterday's decision, calling it "one of the sweetest victories".

Court blocks Huntlee development

Date: Thu 07-Jul-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
The New South Wales Land and Environment Court has overturned the approval of the state's largest housing development in the Hunter Valley.

Plans for the massive Huntlee development were withdrawn in 2009, after a court ruling declaring land swap deals invalid.

But plans for the $1.5 billion project were reactivated last year, with the State Government declaring it "state significant".

Judgment stops NSW's largest development

Date: Thu 07-Jul-11
Author: World News (SBS)
The largest development project in NSW can't go ahead after the NSW Land and Environment Court ruled that the planning powers of the state government are void.

.Justice Peter Biscoe on Thursday said amendments to state planning laws, made in December last year by the former Labor government, were invalid, effectively stopping the massive $1.8 billion Huntlee residential project in the Hunter Valley.

Massive Hunter Valley Housing project quashed

Date: Thu 07-Jul-11
Author: ABC News
The Land and Environment Court has overturned the approval of the state's largest housing development planned for the Hunter Valley.

Plans for the massive Huntlee development were withdrawn in 2009 after a Court ruling declaring land swap deals invalid.

But plans for the $1.5 billion project were reactivated last year with the State Government declaring it 'state significant'.

$1.5bn Huntlee project quashed

Date: Thu 07-Jul-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
The rezoning of land for the controversial $1.5 billion Huntlee New Town project at Branxton has been quashed for a second time.
The NSW Land and Environment Court has overturned Huntlee's gazettal as a ''state significant site''.

Justice Peter Biscoe upheld the Sweetwater Action Group's challenge to the state's biggest housing development for up to 20,000 people.

Sweetwater wins appeal against Huntlee New Town

Date: Thu 07-Jul-11
Author: Maitland Mercury
The Sweetwater Action Group has won its NSW Land and Environment Court appeal against the $1.5 billion Huntlee New Town project near Branxton.
LWP Property Group, developers behind the Huntlee New Town project, expressed disappointment at the decision handed down today by Justice Peter Biscoe.

Media Alert: Huntlee judgement expected today (Thursday 7th July)

Date: Thu 07-Jul-11
Author: SWAG
Sweetwater Action Group (SWAG) President, Chris Parker, and Cessnock Greens Councillor James Ryan, will travel to Sydney today to hear the judgment handed down on the challenge to NSW's largest single residential development.

Judgement will be delivered in the Land and Environment Court, Court 10B at 4pm.

Keeping Newcastle Herald Local

Date: Wed 06-Jul-11
Author: Damon Cronshaw
Just a reminder for those who haven't already to please support the Newcastle Herald's campaign to retain quality journalism. Well-paid Fairfax-Rural Press corporate executives are trying to strip hard-working journalists of their rights and conditions. An industrial battle is imminent.

Some sad news today

Date: Tue 05-Jul-11
Author: Graham Jackson
A good friend of many of us, Annie Adams, died this morning at 6am.

Petition call to ban coal seam gas exploration in Hunter Valley vineyards

Date: Fri 01-Jul-11
Author: Singleton Argus
AT least 10,000 signatures are being sought for a petition calling on the State Government to ban methane gas exploration and extraction in the Hunter Valley's vineyard areas.
A spokesman for the petition organisers, Graeme Gibson said: "Western Australia is legislating to protect the Margaret River and South Australia is legislating to protect McLaren Vale and Barossa.

Heaters likely source of dust

Date: Fri 01-Jul-11
Author: Muswellbrook Chronicle
Wood heater use was the likely cause of higher concentrations of dust particles measured at Muswellbrook and Singleton last weekend, according to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
Environment protection and regulation deputy chief executive Greg Sullivan said smoke from domestic wood heaters can impact on air quality during winter.

From the Mayor's desk - 30 June 2011

Date: Thu 30-Jun-11
Author: Alison Davey
The Salvation Army is marking its 100th year in Cessnock with a weekend of celebration on 16 and 17 July. On Saturday, the Parramatta Band will march down Vincent Street at 10am and that night, you will have the opportunity to see the Band together with the East Cessnock Choir and tenor soloist Murry Mayday at the Performing Arts Centre, starting at 7pm...

Wollombi Valley Update - 29 June 2011 (already?)

Date: Wed 29-Jun-11
Author: Peter Firminger
Call to be vigilant as strangers prowl around - AGL Update and Events... Andy's Birthday Jam at Laguna!

Call to be vigilant as strangers prowl around

Date: Tue 28-Jun-11
Author: Graham Jackson
Hopefully everyone has heard the news from Monday the 27th of June. There was a burglary on the main road around Laguna way. The worrying thing is that there was a young child home from school on that day and the burglar (male) tried to con his way into the house then when that was unsuccessful barged in through the door and past the child and performed the burglary...

AGL Community Update - Hunter Gas Project - 22 June 2011

Date: Mon 27-Jun-11
Author: Peter Firminger
From the Cessnock Advertiser - not available from AGL's Website... What are they trying to hide?

Informal Alert: Attempted Breakin Laguna Area

Date: Mon 27-Jun-11
Author: Nick Mason
It is believed by a MACS subscriber that four Cessnock police cars attended an attempted breakin in the Laguna area at midday on Monday at a house next to the main road.

No Coal Seam Gas Mining in Hunter Valley Vineyards Petition

Date: Mon 27-Jun-11
Author: Stewart Ewen (Hunter Valley Protection Alliance)
We are attempting to gather a min of 10,000 signatures to have the petition put to the NSW Government to ban Coal Seam Gas mining in and around the beautiful Hunter Valley Vineyards .

Swift Judgement expected on $1.8bn Huntlee Development

Date: Mon 27-Jun-11
Author: Briony Sneddon (Maitland Mercury)
Residents who launched a challenge in the Land and Environment Court against the controversial $1.8bn Huntlee development near Branxton expect a speedy determination.
Sweetwater Action group Spokesperson and Cessnock Councillor Chris Parker said the group was optimistic about the outxome of court proceedings after a three day hearing wrapped up on Friday.

The siege of Camberwell

Date: Mon 27-Jun-11
Author: The Herald
ALLEGED remarks by a state planning bureaucrat, suggesting that Hunter people should get used to thinking of the area between Singleton and Muswellbrook as "an industrial zone", sent a shudder through some valley communities.
That was last August, shortly after the release by then Labor planning minister, Tony Kelly, of a long-awaited study on the cumulative effects of mining on the village of Camberwell. The study had declared that overall mining impacts weren't significant, and disappointed community representatives predicted a new wave of mining applications and approvals.

(Video) Vignerons Fight Coal Seam Gas Exploration

Date: Sat 25-Jun-11
Author: NBN News
Hunter vignerons are marshalling their forces, to prevent coal seam gas exploration licences being granted in wine country.
The Hunter Valley Protection Alliance has distributed petitions, in an effort to lobby the state government.

Sweetwater argues case in fight against Huntlee

Date: Thu 23-Jun-11
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
Sweetwater Action Group members, fighting to overturn approval of the state's biggest residential development, Huntlee, say their legal team has put forward a strong case during the first day of their Land and Environment Court hearing.
Cessnock Greens councillor and group member James Ryan said the first day "went well".

Protestors slam satellite city plan

Date: Wed 22-Jun-11
Author: Sky News
A major residential project in the NSW Hunter Valley is too far away from the coal mining job hubs to be practical, Green protestors say.

The group of about 10 protestors gathered outside Sydney's land and environment court at about 8am (AEST) on Wednesday ahead of a three-day hearing on the massive $1.8 billion Huntlee residential project, near Branxton.

The largest residential project in the state, Huntlee is expected to house 20,000 people.

Wollombi tourists evacuated by helicopter

Date: Wed 22-Jun-11
Author: Krystal Sellars (The Advertiser)
More than 40 holiday makers were evacuated from the Wollombi area by helicopter after their accommodation was cut off during last week's heavy rainfalls.
Cessnock SES local controller Trevor Milgate said a number of creeks in the area had risen, making the resorts inaccessible by road.

Community group hoping to overturn major housing development

Date: Wed 22-Jun-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
A Hunter Valley community group is hoping to overturn the approval of a major housing development for a second time in the Land and Environment Court.

Approval of the Huntlee project at Branxton was overturned by the court in 2009 and the Sweetwater Action Group claims the second approval in 2010 was also biased.

Coal Seam Gas Lock the Gate Alliance - 21/06/2011 - ADJ (Proof) - NSW Parliament

Date: Tue 21-Jun-11
Author: NSW Parliament HANSARD
Jeremy Buckingham addressing Parliament on the Lock The Gate Alliance AGM

Huntlee: NSW's biggest Residential Development Challenged Again

Date: Mon 20-Jun-11
Author: James Ryan
18 months after the NSW Land and Environment Court overturned NSW' largest residential development for 7500 houses at Branxton in the Hunter Valley the issue will come before the court again on 22-24 June.

Gas committee decided

Date: Tue 07-Jun-11
Author: Singleton Argus
IT looks as if the appointment of representatives for the Hunter Gas Community Consultative Committee will be sooner rather than later. A Bulga resident has received a letter notifying him that he has not been successful in his application for the CCC.

No coal seam gas in Singleton vineyards

Date: Tue 07-Jun-11
Author: Paul Maguire (Singleton Argus)
MOVES for a 12 month moratorium on coal seam methane gas mining may lead to the industry being permanently banned in Hunter Valley vineyard areas, according to gas extraction opponent Graeme Gibson. His community group, The Hunter Valley Protection Alliance, intends calling for the ban in a submission to a public inquiry which would be part of the moratorium.

The Cockfighter - June 2011

Date: Tue 07-Jun-11
Author: The Cockfighter
Volume 9 Issue 5 - From the Editor - All Spokes Festival - Wine News - Our Schools - Time Out - Our Community - Horsing Around - Our Wildlife - Wildlife Aid - AGL Update

Go for Broke

Date: Fri 03-Jun-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
THE tenacity of the people of Singleton never ceases to amaze.
The decision by the people of Broke and Bulga to form their own coal seam gas consultative committee isn't the first time the people of Singleton have taken charge of an unsatisfactory situation.

Not so long ago, after years of refusing a health study for the people of Singleton, Dr Tuan Au said he would conduct his own respiratory study.

From the Mayor's desk - 2 June 2011

Date: Thu 02-Jun-11
Author: Alison Davey
After several weeks of recuperation, I have returned to my Mayoral duties this week with enormous gratitude to those of you who sent best wishes and to the many, many people who took time out of their busy schedules to visit me in hospital. I thank you all sincerely.

Zumba with Emma is here!

Date: Sun 29-May-11
Author: Emma Pogonoski
Well it took longer than I thought to get sorted but zumba with Emma is finally here. We will get started shaking our booty's into shape this week!

At this stage the schedule is:
Wollombi hall Thursday 10 am
Laguna hall Saturday 10 am

It is possible I will add more classes or change the schedule as required.

From the Deputy Mayor - 20 May 2011

Date: Fri 20-May-11
Author: Rachel Main
I would like to take this opportunity to wish Mayor Alison Davey all the best for her continued speedy recovery and to thank all the many community members and groups who have welcomed me so graciously in place of the mayor over the last few weeks.

2011 - Not the Year of the Hunter

Date: Wed 18-May-11
Author: Michael Johnsen - The Nationals Spokesperson for Hunter
The recent federal budget handed down by the Gillard government is nothing but a slap in the face for the Hunter.

Instead of advocating on behalf of the Hunter electorate, the local Member and Chief Government Whimp, Joel Fitzgibbon is a lame duck in this parliament.

Hunting temporarily halted in Hunter state forests

Date: Tue 17-May-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
Game hunting has been halted in 13 Hunter Valley state forests until new declarations for the next decade are introduced by the NSW Government.

In the Lower Hunter, the plan includes the Awaba, Watagan, Olney, Corrabare, Pokolbin and Myall River state forests.

Mobile Centrelink goes to Broke

Date: Fri 13-May-11
Author: Singleton Argus
AN AUSTRALIAN government mobile office is coming to Broke to offer easier access to a wide range of government payments and services for rural communities.

The mobile office will be at Stewart McTaggart Park on Thursday, May 26, from 9am to 2pm.

Opera in town

Date: Fri 13-May-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
SACRED Spaces, known for its quality music events, is about to reach new heights.
Amelia Farrugia, star of Opera Australia's Manon, Fledermaus and upcoming production of The Merry Widow, will perform with Newcastle Festival Opera's 30 piece orchestra in Singleton for one night only on May 28.

Ms Farrugia told The Singleton Argus she was looking forward to the experience of performing in such a spectacular venue.

New Cessnock MP won't speak in open council

Date: Fri 13-May-11
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
RELATIONS appear to be strained between some Cessnock councillors and member for Cessnock Clayton Barr, after the state MP rejected an invitation to address the council on his intentions for the electorate following the March state election.
In a letter to the council Mr Barr said he considered the invitation but would not address an open council meeting.

"I believe that it is not an environment conducive to open conversation," Mr Barr said in the letter.

Open meeting for BFWTA members

Date: Tue 10-May-11
Author: Mike Wilson
This is to remind everybody that there will be an open meeting of the BFWTA committee this coming Sunday - 15th May at 5.30pm. This will be held at the new Conference Room at Starline Alpaca Resort.

Broke among top tourist spots

Date: Tue 10-May-11
Author: Singleton Argus
THE Hunter was a popular spot for holiday makers over the Easter and Anzac Day break with record numbers visiting the Valley.
According to the Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre more than 8900 visitors came to the Hunter over the five-day break, up 51 per cent from last year.

Pokolbin and Broke were the top of Sydneysiders list of places to visit over the break with accommodation snapped up.

Impact of mining

Date: Tue 10-May-11
Author: Singleton Argus
A DIVERSE group of people concerned about the impacts of mining have joined forces.
Around 40 people concerned about the various issues and impacts from coal mining, gas exploration and power industries met last week for the gathering organised by Upper Hunter resident Bev Smiles.

Mrs Smiles wanted to bring the many groups together to get a better picture of the broad concerns.

Gas well head at Broke

Date: Tue 10-May-11
Author: Singleton Argus
A MOCK methane gas well head (pictured) has been built at Broke by AGL Energy to demonstrate the visual impact of a well head.
Local residents and environmental group Hunter Valley Protection Alliance believe the mock well has been built in vain saying that while one well head may look unobtrusive a field of them has a completely different impact.

Joel Fitzgibbon Column for The Advertiser - 10 May 2011

Date: Tue 10-May-11
Author: Joel Fitzgibbon
Last Thursday I officially opened multiple projects, which were funded through the Labor Government's Economic Stimulus Plan.

The Government provided $40,000 to upgrade facilities at Bluey Frame Park and Weston Memorial Park, $138,000 for the construction of Disabled Access Facilities at bus stops in Cessnock, $88,000 to upgrade the Tourism Signage System and $123,000 for construction of a playground at Slack's Park in Wollombi - as part of our investment to support jobs in the local economy, and deliver long-lasting benefits to the local community. Many more projects were funded in earlier rounds of the scheme.

Joel Fitzgibbon Column for The Singleton Argus - 10 May 2011

Date: Tue 10-May-11
Author: Joel Fitzgibbon
A representative from the Immigration Department will be visiting the Singleton Neighbourhood Centre on Friday 13th May between 11am and 2pm. If anyone needs some information or advice on Immigration matters please phone 02 8861 4130 to book an appointment.

AGL's Hunter Customer Service and Information Centre opens today in Singleton

Date: Mon 09-May-11
Author: Nathan Vass (AGL Energy)
AGL is pleased to announce the opening today of its Hunter Customer Service and Information Centre in Singleton, an AGL shop front that will encourage the local community to learn about its offerings and operations in the Hunter region.

Full steam ahead at Richmond Vale

Date: Sat 07-May-11
Author: Maitland Mercury
She's the only one of her kind still going and she'll be ferrying model train and vintage truck enthusiasts on joy rides at Richmond Vale Railway Museum next weekend.
The museum is holding its annual model exhibition in conjunction with the biennial Hunter Valley Vintage Truck muster and, as an added attraction; two trains will be offering free rides to visitors.

From the (Deputy) Mayors Desk - 6 May 2011

Date: Fri 06-May-11
Author: Alison Davey and Rachel Main
During my absence the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rachel Main, has been performing many of my Mayoral functions and has been doing a great job and this column is written by Rachel about some of the functions she attended.

Round up time again

Date: Thu 05-May-11
Author: Cessnock City Council
Cessnock Council is reminding local farmers, spraying contractors and other farm chemical users that the May drumMUSTER collection period has begun.

Council will accept empty, cleaned, triple rinsed, non-returnable farm chemical containers under the drumMUSTER program.

Coal Mining and the Community Forum 20 May 2011 - Singleton NSW

Date: Thu 05-May-11
Author: Hunter Environment Lobby
A strategy for coal mining in NSW is currently under consideration by the NSW Government. Come to the Coal Mining and the Community forum and help set the agenda for effective policies and governance of coal mining.

The forum will be held on Friday 20 May 2011, between 9.00 am and 4.00 pm at the Singleton Senior Citizen's Centre, Bathurst St, Singleton.

AGL 'model' to help explain Hunter Gas project

Date: Thu 05-May-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
Energy company, AGL, is stepping up efforts to change community perceptions about the Hunter Gas Project.

The company has built a model wellhead on a vineyard it purchased at Broke, south of Singleton.

Residents of Broke and Bulga have vigorously opposed AGL's exploration for coal seam gas because of potential impacts on water supplies, vineyards and tourism.

Revealed: Hunter coalmines' poor record on pollution

Date: Thu 05-May-11
Author: Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
MOST Hunter coalmines frequently fail to fully comply with the conditions of their environmental protection licences but few suffer penalties.
The most common areas of non-compliance involve the discharge of saline water into local waterways and broken or faulty pollution monitoring equipment, a Newcastle Herald analysis of Hunter mines' annual returns has discovered.

Supporters of Camberwell mine not entitled to comment

Date: Wed 04-May-11
Author: Jessica Burke (Australian Mining)
A native title claimant has hit back at what he says are people unqualified to make comments or decisions about the proposed Ashton Coal mine in the Hunter Valley.

Last week it was reported that a rift inside the Indigenous community where the mine is being proposed are the result of different groups representing the issues.

Hunter Valley coal mine fined over blasting

Date: Wed 04-May-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
NSW Planning's Hunter Valley-based compliance inspectors have issued only their second penalty notice, fining Xstrata over a blast at one of its open cut mines.

The $3,000 fine followed a blast at the Mount Owen complex at Ravensworth on March 11th.

Broke Public School - dedicated to students

Date: Tue 03-May-11
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
Broke Public School was established in 1871 and has a rich history. Principals at the small school have had many influences and new principal Mrs Kathy Nott hopes to be another. Sarah Lee spoke with the new principal on her second day at the school on Friday.
BROKE Public School has been operating since 1871 and has had many dedicated principals and Kathy Nott intends to be one of them.

Broke students showcase new room

Date: Tue 03-May-11
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
BROKE Public School officially had their new Building the Education Revolution (BER) building opened on Friday.
Federal Member for the Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon congratulated the students and staff on a wonderful school, comparing the new facilities to what he had as a student.

Mine fined $3000 for noise

Date: Tue 03-May-11
Author: Singleton Argus
SINGLETON compliance officers have been following through with complaints with a local mine fined $3000 for a noise exceedence and another mine issued with a warning letter to improve dust control.
The department was notified by Ravensworth East pit at Mt Owen complex on March 11 of a noise exceedence. Compliance officers' investigation into the blast found it recorded 129.9dBL and exceeded the 120dBL noise limit at three blast monitors at Camberwell village, Camberwell Church and the Green Acres property.

Coal strategy must continue as industry grows

Date: Tue 03-May-11
Author: Singleton Argus
THE NSW Government must continue working with the community, industry and stakeholders as it develops the NSW Coal and Gas Strategy to ensure that the future growth of the State's coal mining industry, a cornerstone of the NSW economy, is appropriately managed.
As coal demand is forecast to grow over coming years, the State's coal industry is already its number one merchandise export earner, worth $11.2 billion in 2009-10, comprising 35 per cent of total NSW exports by value. It employs 19,000 people directly, 82,000 indirectly and along with other minerals is expected to contribute $6.8 billion in royalties to the NSW Government over the next four years.

Fighter pilots dominate sky

Date: Tue 03-May-11
Author: Singleton Argus
F/A-18 HORNETS will dominate the skies next week.
A month-long military exercise will dominate Singleton air space from May 11 to 13 from 6pm to 10pm when the Singleton army range will be the pilots' focus.

Lavender grows where love goes

Date: Mon 02-May-11
Author: Stephen Williams (The Herald)
Kathryn and Richard Davies were looking for a tree change in 1999 after living in Sydney for 20 years.

They bought their 27-hectare Laguna property in the Wollombi Valley after first scouting around the Gloucester area.

After visiting their property on Watagan Creek, I can see why they fell in love with it.

Questions on payouts

Date: Mon 02-May-11
Author: Ian Kirkwood (The Herald)
CESSNOCK councillor James Ryan says the council still needs to tell ratepayers how it intends to budget for $462,000 in redundancy payments triggered by a restructure at the top of the organisation.
Cr Ryan said the council had voted on April 20 for ''an urgent report'' on the effect of the restructure on the annual budget, taking salaries and redundancy payments into account.

Group protests for Valley protection

Date: Wed 27-Apr-11
Author: Singleton Argus
A PEACEFUL but loud demonstration was held at NSW Parliment yesterday calling for better protection of the Hunter Valley environment's Aboriginal sacred sites from coal mining.
The Plains Clan of the Wonnarua people were joined by members of the Hunter community to fight against Ashton Coal's realignment of Bowman's Creek, approval for which was given on Christmas Eve last year.

Famous set designer to visit ADFAS

Date: Wed 27-Apr-11
Author: The Advertiser
The Association of Decorative and Fine Arts (ADFAS) will present a lecture by Michael Scott-Mitchell on the design of theatre sets at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre on Monday.
In this lecture, which starts at 7pm, Michael will be specifically telling the group about his award winning set designs for "Ying Tong, a Walk with the Goons", the Cauldron and Ceremonial Stage for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Adelaide's Ring Cycle and the Opening Ceremony for the 2006 Asian Games. Michael's current set design project is for the new musical "Doctor Zhivago" at the Lyric Theatre, Sydney.

From the Mayors Desk - 22 April 2011

Date: Fri 22-Apr-11
Author: Alison Davey
I was recently accompanied by Council's Economic Development Manager representing Council at the Launch of the 2011 Landcom Lower Hunter Civic Design Awards in Port Stephens. The Awards commenced in 1989.

Festival goes for Broke

Date: Thu 21-Apr-11
Author: Hunter Valley News
Planning is under way for Folk in Broke 2011 under the theme "Connecting people, music and community".
The boutique not-for-profit event has donated its surplus funds to four community groups: the Samaritans, the Broke Community Hall, the Rural Fire Service and Landcare.

Fifth time lucky for Hunter artist

Date: Thu 21-Apr-11
Author: Amy Edwards (The Herald)
Hunter Valley artist Hadyn Wilson has won the $20,000 Gallipoli Art Prize for a painting honouring sacrifice in war.
It was a case of fifth time lucky for Wilson, who had been a finalist almost every year of the competition but never secured the major prize.

"It's an endorsement to keep doing what you do and not give up," Wilson said.

Small school, great opportunities

Date: Wed 20-Apr-11
Author: The Principal and parents in The Advertiser
Wollombi is a small school offering great opportunities to all students.
Our grounds are quite beautiful. There has been a School at Wollombi since 1852, however Wollombi School as it now stands was opened in 1881.

The beautiful sandstone building has remained largely structurally the same with two massive hardwood roof trusses supporting the steep gabled roof creating a large airy space in our library and classroom, making it a great learning environment. Set amongst our leafy grounds, it is regarded by many as the most beautiful school in the Hunter Valley.

Putty road upgrades

Date: Tue 19-Apr-11
Author: Singleton Argus
WORK has started on roadside improvements to Putty Road.
Member for Upper Hunter George Souris said $750,00 has been provided for the safety work on Putty Road, between Milbrodale and Putty.

Landcare Newsletter April 2011

Date: Fri 15-Apr-11
Author: Graham Taylor
Please find attached a copy of the April issue of the Wollombi Valley Landcare Newsletter.

Council gives Huntlee DCP poor review

Date: Fri 15-Apr-11
Author: Singleton Argus
SINGLETON Council has highlighted a number of issues with the Huntlee Holdings Pty Ltd Development Control Plan included in the project application for Huntlee New Town.
A report written by Gary Pearson for Monday night's meeting, comments that the draft DCP is poorly worded and structured such that the provisions would be difficult to enforce by the consent authority.

He recommends the draft DCP be completely revised in consultation with Singleton Council and Cessnock City Council.

More than 200 horse riders expected at Sandy Hollow

Date: Fri 15-Apr-11
Author: Muswellbrook Chronicle
The small town of Sandy Hollow will spring to life this weekend for one of the year's biggest events.
The Sandy Hollow Horse Ride is in its 16th year and is set to attract more than 200 riders.

The ride will consist of cross country riding, which will cater for both experienced riders and those who are a little less confident.

Costa's little girl, 4, is a hero: police

Date: Fri 15-Apr-11
Author: Alan Hardie (Maitland Mercury)
The four-year-old daughter of former NSW treasurer Michael Costa was hailed a hero by Central Hunter police on Thursday for the gutsy way she dialled triple-0 on the family phone for help - as Ms Costa lay tied up by a burglar.
After ringing for help, the brave little girl held the phone to her mother's ear - while the knife-wielding bandit sped from their Millfield home in the family's Honda Civic car.

Shock as Cessnock council pulls tourism funding

Date: Fri 15-Apr-11
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
AS two of the region's leading tourism bodies joined to celebrate a combined marketing campaign yesterday, Cessnock City Council announced plans to pull more than $260,000 in annual funding from one of the organisations.
The council held a briefing session for councillors on Wednesday night, outlining plans for its 2011-12 draft budget, which included a proposal to axe its $266,000 funding package to Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism, a plan that will sever an alliance forged more than 25 years ago.

I feared I would be stabbed and raped: Costa's wife tells of home invasion ordeal

Date: Thu 14-Apr-11
Author: AAP/Herald via SMH
Deborah Costa said her greatest fear was "that I would be stabbed to death, that my children would be stabbed to death or that I would be raped in front of my children" after she was the victim of a violent home invasion at their Hunter Valley property this morning.

Former NSW police minister Michael Costa said he believed the attack on his wife in their Millfield home was not politically motivated.

Michael Costa's wife tied up in armed robbery

Date: Thu 14-Apr-11
Author: The Herald
DEBORAH Costa, the wife of former NSW minister Michael Costa, is believed to have been tied up in an armed robbery this morning.
The robbery occured this morning in the family home near Cessnock.

About 8.40 this morning, police were called to a house on Wollombi Road in Millfield after a balaclava-clad man entered the premises.

Equine illness claims two

Date: Thu 14-Apr-11
Author: Caitlin Andrews (Scone Advocate)
The fatal neurological equine virus that has recently swept over the country has claimed two horses in the Hunter.
Due to the severity of the illness causing the horses to be unable to get up; they were euthanased.

Another nine cases have been treated in the Upper Hunter.

Conservationists set sights on shooters

Date: Thu 14-Apr-11
Author: Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
CONSERVATIONISTS have vowed to prevent recreational hunting in the Hunter's national parks, including the Barrington Tops wilderness area.
The response follows revelations that the Shooters Party is pressuring the state government to open up the areas to recreational shooters.

Going Broke has a future

Date: Tue 12-Apr-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
BROKE is to be commended for its fifth annual A Little Taste of Italy festival on the weekend.
It's a theme that resonates in this area, with its fresh foods and fine wines.

Add to that the cultural zest that an Italian flavour offers, and the village festival seems assured of a future.

Broke goes Italian

Date: Tue 12-Apr-11
Author: Singleton Argus
SUNSHINE, good food and great wine were the successful ingredients for a perfect weekend at Broke for the fifth annual A Little Bit of Italy festival.
Crowds took the chance to indulge in la dolce vita, Italian for the sweet life.

Across Broke, the red, white and green flags flew with the Italian spirit in full swing as visitors tasted the mouth-watering food and wine and the many activities.

Putty gas exploration causes downstream concern

Date: Tue 12-Apr-11
Author: ABC News Sydney
New plans for Hunter Valley coal seam gas exploration are causing concern for farmers at Upper Colo, north-west of Sydney.

Dart Energy has used a public meeting at Putty, south of Singleton, to outline its proposal to drill a test hole after gaining approval from a local landholder.

Developer says community wants Huntlee to go ahead

Date: Mon 11-Apr-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
The developer behind the Huntlee housing project at Branxton says the positive feedback it received during yesterday's open day shows the development is gaining strong community support.

After successfully overturning the original development, residents are gearing up for another court battle, with new plans for the one-and-a-half billion dollar project now on public exhibition.

Putty Community meeting with Dart Energy

Date: Sun 10-Apr-11
Author: Peter Firminger
My reading of the meeting with Dart Energy at Putty Hall was that this outfit is even less professional than the incompetent staff of Sydney Gas were at meetings in Wollombi and Broke a few years ago. Nothing has changed in this industry.

Fertile areas face open-cut threat

Date: Sat 09-Apr-11
Author: Paul Cleary (The Australian)
WEDGED between the coalfields of Singleton and Mudgee in NSW is a gentle spread of productive farm land called the Bylong Valley.
It is the home of thoroughbred horse-breeders and Tarwyn Park, one of Australia's best-known example of sustainable agriculture.

Beneath the valley floor are rich and shallow coal deposits that can easily be extracted with open-cut mining, which is made all the more attractive because already there is a railway line running along the edge of the valley that links a coal mine to the Newcastle export hub.

Putty residents 'anxious' about gas exploration

Date: Fri 08-Apr-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
Plans for new coal seam gas exploration in the Hunter Valley will be the subject of a public meeting tomorrow (Saturday) evening.

Dart Energy has agreed to meet with the community after a request from the Putty Community Association.

The company is currently negotiating with a landholder at Putty, south of Singleton, to carry out drilling for its exploration program.

Wollombi Valley Update - 8 April 2011

Date: Fri 08-Apr-11
Author: Peter Firminger
News and events from Wollombi Valley Online

There's the law, then there's justice

Date: Fri 08-Apr-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
A legal challenge to the former state government's transfer of the Camberwell Common for the exploitation of the adjacent Ashton Coal mine will answer the issue in the technical and legal jargon that inevitably resolves these matters through the law.
But there is a fundamental moral issue that seems stark to even the casual observer.

It is that the former state government exhibited in the transfer of the site an arrogance and indifference that was the central theme of its demise two weeks ago.

Common fight to get day in court

Date: Fri 08-Apr-11
Author: Singleton Argus
THE fight for the Camberwell Common never rested and last Friday it picked up pace with the Environmental Defenders Office filing summons in the Land and Environment Court.
The two-part 90-hectare common had been controlled by a community trust since 1876 until it was taken from them in April last year at short notice.

Stop order on mine

Date: Fri 08-Apr-11
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
ASHTON Coal could be fined as much as $1.1million for the possible disturbance of Aboriginal objects at its mine in Camberwell.
An investigation was launched last Wednesday after the Office of Environment and Heritage (formerly DECCW) were notified of a possible disturbance of Aboriginal objects on March 23.

Calls for 'no go' areas for mining exploration

Date: Fri 08-Apr-11
Author: ABC Central West NSW
The State Government is being urged to classify the Bylong Valley as a 'no go' area for mining exploration.

The Mid-Western Regional Council has finished its submission on the Coal and Coal Seam Gas Strategy, which has been introduced by the former Labor government.

Farmers fight mine for common

Date: Fri 08-Apr-11
Author: Matt Carr (The Herald)
RESIDENTS hope a legal stoush over Camberwell Common could prove a test case.
Camberwell dairy farmer Tracey Maytom said the legal battle through the Environmental Defenders' Office was an unpleasant but necessary fight.

Mrs Maytom said losing the common to mining had the potential to force her family off the land by reducing its profitability as a business.

From the Mayors Desk - 8 April 2011

Date: Fri 08-Apr-11
Author: Alison Davey
I have been advised by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure that it is now compulsory for people to install smoke alarms in caravans, campervans and other moveable dwellings where people sleep.

Wollombi Flood Risk Management

Date: Thu 07-Apr-11
Author: Cessnock City Council
As a part of the community consultation process, a Public Workshop is planned from 10:00am Saturday 16 April 2011, at Wollombi Community Hall.

The workshop objectives are to: Present the key findings of the Flood Study and existing flood risk in Wollombi; Present potential options for managing this flood risk; and Provide a forum for the local community to discuss potential floodplain management options.

A draft report on preliminary options assessment is available for viewing at Wollombi Village store and the Old Northern Trading Post Laguna, and available for download at Council's website. For further information or to provide feedback on the study, please contact Darren Lyons (BMT WBM) ph: (02) 4940 8882

The 2011 Champions of the Catchment Awards

Date: Thu 07-Apr-11
Author: Susan Morley
In case you missed it the first round, here's a last-minute reminder for these easy-to-enter awards.

The 2011 Champions of the Catchment Awards are currently open and close on Monday 11th April.

Hunter town launches legal battle over mining

Date: Thu 07-Apr-11
Author: Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
Residents of the Hunter Valley township of Camberwell will take on the might of the mining industry and the state government in a classic David and Goliath battle to win back control of their village common.
In an unprecedented legal challenge, notices of legal proceedings have been served on the NSW Lands Minister, Ashton Coal and White Mining.

Calls for Shires Association to help secure coal royalties for regions

Date: Wed 06-Apr-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
The New South Wales Shires Association will be asked to support Hunter Valley Councils to secure a share of coal royalties and infrastructure funding from the State Government.

Singleton councillor, John Martin will put the motion before next month's annual conference of the association in Sydney.

He says the move aims to get the Coalition Government to honour its election promises.

Cessnock analysis offends

Date: Wed 06-Apr-11
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
A REPORT that has found Cessnock is the Hunter's most disadvantaged region has sparked outrage in the blue-collar Coalfields town, particularly among the area's tradespeople and business operators.
A report in yesterday's Newcastle Herald said Cessnock's prosperity from mining has "papered over cracks" in locals' education levels and a lack of education was the main contributing factor with only 5.5 per cent of people in the area holding a university degree compared with 16 per cent across NSW.

Anzac Day Music and the Community Choir

Date: Tue 05-Apr-11
Author: Graham Jackson
Some of you will have already received this email. However, to those who haven't you may be interested in joining in on the Community Choir for the Anzac Dawn Service.

Mayor wants Upper Hunter mine plan done first

Date: Tue 05-Apr-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
Muswellbrook Mayor, Martin Rush says he is eager to make a start on the Upper Hunter regional strategic plan for coal mining now the Coalition has its first ministry in place.

The Liberal and National parties promised to have at least one of the plans completed within a year of coming into government.

It will address the conflict between the coal and gas industries and neighbouring land users, especially Hunter Valley farmers, vignerons and thoroughbred breeders.

Newcastle Port continues to diversify

Date: Tue 05-Apr-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
Newcastle Port Corporation says its efforts to diversify trade through the port are proving successful.

Fuel retailer, Shell yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with terminal operator, Marstel Terminals for new diesel import and storage facilities on portside land at Mayfield.

Cessnock tops disadvantaged list

Date: Tue 05-Apr-11
Author: Tim Connell (The Herald)
DEMOGRAPHER's report has found Cessnock is the Hunter's most disadvantaged region, and that prosperity from mining has papered over cracks in locals' education levels.
Cessnock and its surrounds top a Hunter disadvantage index in profiles by demographics company .id - and a lack of education is the main contributing factor.

Pat on the back for enviro work

Date: Tue 05-Apr-11
Author: Hayley Williams (Manning River Times)
CALLING all people with a passion for conservation.

The Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and the Hunter Region Landcare Network Inc (HRLN) want all groups and individuals interested in sustainable natural resource management and environmental conservation to share their ideas and nominate for the 2011 Champions of the Catchments Awards.

Hunter Valley horse owners warned about mosquitos

Date: Mon 04-Apr-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
The death of a horse in the Upper Hunter from an usual neurological disease has prompted a Scone vet to urge horse owners to take precautions against mosquito bites.

Dr Deb Racklyeft has treated about ten cases of the mosquito borne disease in the past month with a number of horses around Maitland also affected.

There has been one local horse death as a result on the disease.

Ravensworth modifications approved with air assessment

Date: Fri 01-Apr-11
Author: Singleton Argus
MODIFICATIONS of the Ravensworth coal mine were approved by the NSW Department of Planning (DoP) this month.
The modifications involve the incorporation of the open cut and underground operations of the three coal mine locations at Ravensworth West, Narama and Cumnock No 1 Colliery as well as the surface facilities associated with the Ravensworth underground mine.

Coal mine expansion ready to roll

Date: Fri 01-Apr-11
Author: Dayarne Smith (Muswellbrook Chronicle)
Mt Arthur Coal will ramp up production with the first stage of its mine expansion about to start.
BHP Billiton last week approved a $400 million investment in the Muswellbrook mine, which is expected to create hundreds of jobs.

Annual run-of-mine coal production will increase by four million tonnes to 24 million tonnes a year.

From the Mayors Desk - 1 April 2011

Date: Fri 01-Apr-11
Author: Alison Davey
Congratulations to the 18 scholarship winners from Monday 28 March presentation evening which was held at Cessnock Community Performing Arts Centre.

Coal seam gas exploration

Date: Thu 31-Mar-11
Author: Dennis White in Scone Advocate
On behalf of Save Bunnan I thank the Upper Hunter Shire councillors for the opportunity to address Council on our concerns about coal seam gas exploration in Bunnan.
The presentation by Councillor Ian Shaw (Gloucester Council), who is employed by AGL, stated most of the problems experienced in Queensland were caused by the operators.

Coal seam gas exploration in the local area is being done by Santos QLD.

Council reviews gas position

Date: Thu 31-Mar-11
Author: Caitlin Andrews (Scone Advocate)
After lengthy discussion and debate the Upper Hunter Shire Council has identified its concerns about the potential land use conflicts between traditional industries of agriculture and thoroughbred breeding and the newer innovation of coal seam gas mining.
While time is ticking on the contentious issue, coal seam gas companies are acquiring more land to carry out exploration drilling.

Licence concern on mine dust

Date: Thu 31-Mar-11
Author: Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
The NSW Minerals Council has rejected claims that the introduction of load-based licensing at Upper Hunter mine sites would reduce dust pollution.
It follows the revelation in yesterday's Newcastle Herald by former environment minister Frank Sartor that he tried to introduce the system to the region's mining industry.

Coalition test on Hunter mine

Date: Thu 31-Mar-11
Author: Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
The proposed expansion of Coal & Allied's Carrington West mine could be the first test of the Coalition government's strategic land use policy.
The project, 24 kilometres north-west of Singleton, would involve mining on ecologically fragile alluvial river flats.

Hunter Valley land and water users have warned of potentially disastrous environmental consequences if the project is approved.

High reading sparks procedure change for Upper Hunter air quality procedures

Date: Wed 30-Mar-11
Author: Jessica Burke (Australian Mining)
A review into the procedures for checking equipment in the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network is underway, following a false reading that sparked a health warning.

The Muswellbrook PM2.5 monitor posted a high reading over the weekend and is currently being investigated by the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW).

Candidate polls well on no gas

Date: Wed 30-Mar-11
Author: Briony Snedden (Maitland Mercury)
A farmer who ran as an independent candidate on a no mining and no coal seam gas exploration platform drew 21 per cent of the vote in the Upper Hunter electorate of the National’s George Souris at the state election.
And the incoming Coalition government should take note, the Hunter Environment Lobby warns.

Group spokeswoman Jan Davis said the election result, combined with a forum on the NSW Coal and Gas Strategy and Scoping Paper held earlier this month that attracted 500 people, sent a clear message about this issue’s importance.

Mining blast felt in china

Date: Wed 30-Mar-11
Author: Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
COAL giant Xstrata has paid for new crockery for Camberwell resident Deidre Olofsson after a massive mining blast smashed her old plates. The blast, which exceeded approved limits, occurred at the Glendell mine on December 21.

A Department of Planning investigation into the blast confirmed its scale but no action was taken against the mine.

Denman to hear progress of coal mine

Date: Wed 30-Mar-11
Author: Hunter Valley News
The progress of a coal exploration licence at Denman will be the focus of a public meeting tomorrow. Representatives from mining companies Coalworks and Boardwalk Resources will be at the information session to update residents on the Ferndale Exploration Project at Yarrawa, near Denman.

The project involves an exploration licence over a 3742 hectare-area located eight kilometres south-west of Denman.

Media ban at Gloucester gas meeting

Date: Wed 30-Mar-11
Author: Ken Warren (Manning River Times)
A CAPACITY audience of more than 200 people filled the Gloucester Soldiers Club to put their questions and concerns about the recently approved Gloucester coal seam gas project directly to natural gas and electricity company AGL.


The Barrington-Gloucester-Stroud Preservation Alliance convened the meeting and engaged an independent moderator to ensure the impartiality of proceedings.

While the majority of the audience was from the Gloucester Valley, people came from as far as Taree, Clarence Town and Broke.

Cocatoo makes moves to begin mining at Belanglo

Date: Wed 30-Mar-11
Author: Ben McClellan (Southern Highland News)
COCKATOO COAL told a packed gallery at Wingecarribee Council last week it had plans to start exploratory drilling in Belanglo State Forest.

It has a State Forest "occupation permit" but the Department of Investment and Industry (DII) was yet to give approval to start drilling.

The mining firm, which recently bought a lease covering Berrima and Sutton Forest, has been unable to gain access to landowners' properties for exploration and was relying on the government to help it fulfil its lease requirements.

Renewed calls for locations for Aboriginal burial sites

Date: Wed 30-Mar-11
Author: Lauren Green (Manning River Times)
THE Taree Family History Group has renewed its call for information about any burial sites of Aboriginal people in the Manning Valley.


The group is compiling a new book recording the names and locations of burial sites of Aboriginal people and needs the community's help.

Spokesman Ian Macleod said Taree Family History is a new group and the book would be one of its first projects.

Tocal field day April 19

Date: Tue 29-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
FARMERS will be able to judge the benefits of poultry litter as a fertiliser at a field day at Tocal in April.
Industry and Investment NSW has worked with Hunter Dairy Development Group and poultry farmers to test for nutrients and heavy metals in poultry litter used as a fertiliser.

They set out to see if changes in the way chickens are housed and fed made any difference to the fertiliser value of manure.

More gas vents requested at Hunter mine

Date: Tue 29-Mar-11
Author: Coal Mining
Yancoal, the owner of the Ashton coal mine in the Hunter Valley, is calling on the state government to approve the installation of more gas wells to vent methane from the underground mine.

The New South Wales mine is located near the Blakefield South coal mine, where a fire caused by a methane explosion saw 55 men evacuated from the underground mine.

Last year Yancoal installed three gas draining wells at the Ashton mine, and has requested an additional 15 wells be build on the surface.

Souris hoping for a place in O'Farrell ministry

Date: Mon 28-Mar-11
Author: ABC News
Upper Hunter M-P, George Souris, is hoping to be a member of the first O'Farrell ministry after comfortably retaining his seat in the NSW Election.

The long serving, senior National Party member received 16,044 first preference votes from the 30,607 ballot papers counted so far.

Independent Tim Duddy has 6,064 votes followed by Labor's Michael Gibbons on 5,142.

Good result for the Greens - Cessnock on a knife Edge

Date: Sun 27-Mar-11
Author: Cessnocki-Kurri Greens
Greens Candidate for Cessnock said the NSW Election had seen yet another strengthening of votes for the Greens. At 8.5% we are pleased to have a good result for the Greens in Cessnock in an election in which many voters just wanted to vote for the Coalition.

The Ultimate Paradigm of Science

Date: Sun 27-Mar-11
Author: Stephen Mooney
The Ultimate Paradigm of Science specifies how everything is constructed across Cosmology and Biology.

Broke will get Singleton's first olive processing plant

Date: Fri 25-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
BROKE will be home to the district's first olive processing facility as part of a new tourist facility in Hill Street.
A warehouse, cafe, shop and six self-contained two bedroom cottages will be built on the site already home to 1668 olive trees. The processing facility will primarily be built to convert the property's olives to olive oil.

Hemp opportunities expand

Date: Fri 25-Mar-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
IT'S a growing industry and the Hunter Valley is leading the way.
Last Friday around 50 people gathered on a Singleton farm to hear the industrial hemp opportunities and the results of a trial of the crop on local farms.

Ecofibre's managing director Phil Warner spoke to an audience of farmers, interest and investment groups and CSIRO representatives and had it not rained, they would have witnessed the ease in which the crop is harvested.

Singleton Health Study

Date: Fri 25-Mar-11
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
SINGLETON will be part of a health study for the Upper Hunter that will investigate the potential health impacts of coal mining.

The announcement on Wednesday that funding has been secured for the first phase of the study is marvellous news for Singleton and those who have been campaigning for a study for over a decade.

Independent candidate for the seat of the Upper Hunter Tim Duddy made the announcement and regardless of what happens tomorrow the study is going ahead.

Human Health Impacts of Open-cut Coal Mining & Coal Seam Gas Mining

Date: Fri 25-Mar-11
Author: Peter Firminger
Letter to Peter Dutton, Carmel Tebbutt, Jillian Skinner, Nicola Roxon, Cate Faehrmann, Lee Rhiannon and Rachel Siewert
asking them to take a very close look at the video segments of the Forum that Lock The Gate organised in Sydney on 9 March 2011.

Labor rushed approvals: MP

Date: Fri 25-Mar-11
Author: Muswellbrook Chronicle
The Nationals candidate George Souris has accused the state government of approving a "rush" of coal and coal seam gas exploration licences over the past two years.
Mr Souris said 26 licences had been approved in that time.

If elected, the Coalition will review licences granted in recent years for process correctness, Mr Souris said.

Land use is key issue in poll

Date: Fri 25-Mar-11
Author: Dayarne Smith (Muswellbrook Chronicle)
Land use has emerged as a key election issue in the Upper Hunter, with the electorate's candidates agreeing a better balance is needed between mining and agriculture.

Coalition vows to axe 'hated' planning laws

Date: Fri 25-Mar-11
Author: Matthew Moore (SMH)
UP TO 500 of the state's most controversial developments, including high-rise towers, shopping centres and marinas, would be determined by a revamped planning commission instead of the planning minister, the opposition has promised.

Among the controversial projects approved under Part 3A are coalmines, wind farms and the $6 billion Barangaroo redevelopment. Those awaiting approval including a 1900-lot housing development at Huntlee in the Hunter Valley, 556 housing lots at Catherine Hill Bay, the Kendall Bay marina, and 60 gas wells in Narrabri.

Gloucester farmers unhappy with CSG plans - Graeme Healy talks to ABC Rural

Date: Thu 24-Mar-11
Author: ABC Rural
Gloucester farmers unhappy with CSG plans by AGL to sink 110 wells in the region and met with the company last night from which media were banned.

Putty gas drilling creates angst

Date: Thu 24-Mar-11
Author: Justine Geake (Hawkesbury Gazette)
A GROUP of Putty residents is opposing an energy company's plan to do an exploratory drill in their pristine area to look for coal seam gas.
Resident Kathy McKenzie is very concerned that if the exploratory drill by Macquarie Energy is successful, the resulting coal seam gas mining will impact on the groundwater in the area due to the chemicals used in the extraction process, and the naturally-occurring chemicals which can be released into the environment by the extraction process.

Impact of mines under microscope

Date: Thu 24-Mar-11
Author: Hunter Valley News
Independent candidate for Upper Hunter Tim Duddy has secured funding for a health study into the impacts of coal dust and heavy particulates on human health in the Upper Hunter.
The Faculty of Health at the University of Sydney will conduct the study thanks to funding arranged by non-profit group Beyond Zero Emissions.

"It is a pleasure to have been involved in bringing Beyond Zero Emissions, the University of Sydney and the Singleton Healthy Environment Group together to kick-start this project," Mr Duddy said.

Email pursuit the final straw for councillor

Date: Thu 24-Mar-11
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
SINGLETON councillor Alison Howlett will resign after failed appeals to Local Government Minister Barbara Perry over legal battles with Singleton Council, including attempts to access her personal emails involving a relative's murder.
Cr Howlett said the council's pursuit of her private emails because of a NSW Supreme Court fight with deputy mayor Paul Nichols - including some relating to her mother-in-law Margaret Howlett's murder - was "the final straw that broke me" and a "fishing expedition".

Lock The Gate : Good News Update

Date: Wed 23-Mar-11
Author: John C. Thomson
Lock The Gate Alliance is spreading far and wide. Our message is resonating, our plan for action is being heard, the combined voices of communities across Australia are having an enormous impact...

Cessnock District Cricket report - March 23, 2011

Date: Wed 23-Mar-11
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
Fourth Grade: Pedens Hotel 8/114 (G. Thorley 43, S. Tyne 20, S. Sullivan 3-25 off 10, G. Kelso 2-40 off 10, D. Jackson 2-15 off 6) defeated Paxton (Laguna) 105 (T. Williams 31no, G. Kelso 13, R. Hindmarsh 4-8 off 10, A. Sadler 4-36 off 8).

Huntlee New Town a step closer with plan on display

Date: Wed 23-Mar-11
Author: The Advertiser
The largest residential project in regional NSW, the Huntlee New Town project near Branxton moved one step closer last Wednesday with the Project Application for Stage 1 placed on public display by the NSW Department of Planning.
The Stage 1 Project Application incorporates up to 2020 dwellings and up to 60 ha of employment lands.

Health study funding secured for community

Date: Wed 23-Mar-11
Author: Tim Duddy
Independent candidate for Upper Hunter Tim Duddy today announced a private funding arrangement that will kick-start a health study for the Upper Hunter to investigate the potential health impacts of local coal mining.

Mr Duddy said, "It is a pleasure to have been involved in bringing Beyond Zero Emissions, the University of Sydney and the Singleton Healthy Environment Group together to kick start this project.

Huntlee court challenge

Date: Wed 23-Mar-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
A Hunter residents group is confident it can overturn plans for a massive housing project near Branxton for a second time, based on environmental concerns.

Just one week after new plans went on display for the first stage of the $1.5 billion Huntlee project, the Sweetwater action group has lodged a challenge against it in the Land and Environment court.

The candiates for Upper Hunter

Date: Wed 23-Mar-11
Author: Gloucester Advocate
The Gloucester Advocate invited each of the candiates standing for the seat of Upper Hunter to to submit their views in 300 words or less on "What are the most important issues facing the people of the Upper Hunter electorate, in particular the Gloucester Shire, and what is your policy to address these issues".

Coal-loader expansion may squeeze out wind turbine

Date: Wed 23-Mar-11
Author: Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
NEWCASTLE'S renewable energy beacon, the Kooragang Island wind turbine, could be removed to make way for the expansion of the port's coal-loading infrastructure.
A preliminary environmental assessment for the multibillion-dollar Terminal 4 coal-loader project reveals an option to load coal on the north and south sides of the Hunter River.

State Election - who will you vote for

Date: Tue 22-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
The Singleton Argus has put a number of questions to the candidates for the seat of the Upper Hunter at this Saturday's State Election. The last question our five candidates have to respond to is If it was in your power, what steps would you take to manage the strategic management of coal mining in New South Wales?

Huntlee stage one is on exhibition

Date: Tue 22-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
PUBLIC comment is being sought on the proposed Huntlee New Town stage 1 subdivision and works proposal.
The environmental assessment report went on public display on Wednesday and includes the plans to develop stage 1 of Huntlee New Town.

Stage 1 of the project includes an application for subdivision for the first residential village which will accommodate up to 1,700 dwellings, open space and community facilities.

Mine blast investigation

Date: Tue 22-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
A MINE blast at Coal & Allied's Hunter Valley Operations resulted in an orange fume that could be seen from as far as Maison Dieu.
One Jerrys Plains resident also told The Singleton Argus they watched for 20 minutes as the cloud drifted over the village at around 5pm last Tuesday.

A Coal & Allied spokesperson said the fume was unavoidable for safety reasons and that wind speed and direction were considered to favour dissipation of the fume over Hunter Valley Operations.

Action on mine sites

Date: Tue 22-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
A MINE was required to shut down equipment after surveillance activities by Singleton's Compliance unit led the team to an on-site inspection without notice.
The monthly audit of the Singleton Compliance office shows 21 complaints were received about mining practices in February.

Twelve inspections were conducted, 12 surveillance were conducted and 10 meetings with mining operators were held. Four advisory letters and one warning letter were sent out.

Australian Broadband Guarantee

Date: Tue 22-Mar-11
Author: Brian Woodward
I understand the Australian Broadband Guarantee, which pays for installation costs for Satellite Broadband internet connection for residences which cannot get broadband internet any other way, is to end in May.

Huntlee project heads to court

Date: Tue 22-Mar-11
Author: Briony Snedden (Maitland Mercury)
Opponents of the $1.5 billion Huntlee New Town development near Branxton are headed back to the court room.
The Sweetwater Action Group (SWAG) lodged a challenge against PlanningNSW and the developer, LWP Property Group, in relation to the revived proposal in the Land and Environment Court yesterday.

Group spokesman and Cessnock councillor Chris Parker said SWAG was still "unhappy with bias, and we have quite a few other issues as well".

From the Mayors Desk - 22 March 2011

Date: Tue 22-Mar-11
Author: Alison Davey
On the evening of Monday 21 March at East Cessnock Bowling Club we celebrated the night with good food, great music and the special announcement of our Senior Citizen of the Year...

Land use the big issue in Upper Hunter

Date: Tue 22-Mar-11
Author: Matt Carr (The Herald)
MANAGING the Upper Hunter's mineral resources alongside its agricultural ones looms as the major prospect for the area's candidates.
Important issues affecting the Upper Hunter community in particular in recent years include mining approval processes and heavy industry's effect on public health.

The seat spans Quirindi, Gloucester, Dungog, Singleton and Muswellbrook and includes vast swathes of farmland alongside numerous mines, wineries, horse studs and power stations.

Cafe Wollombi Takeaway Menu

Date: Fri 18-Mar-11
Author: Cafe Wollombi
Cafe Wollombi is now offering a takeaway option for visitors in self contained accommodation in the area (and for the locals to take advantage of as well!). Simply call the Cafe in the morning on 4998 3220 and collect from us in the afternoon.

Huntlee on exhibition

Date: Fri 18-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
PUBLIC comment is being sought on the proposed Huntlee New Town stage 1 subdivison and works proposal.

The environmental assessment report went on public display on Wednesday and includes the plans to develop stage 1 of Huntlee New Town.

Stage 1 of the project includes an application for subdivision for the first residential village which will accommodate up to 1,700 dwellings, open space and community facilities.

See full story in Tueday's Argus.

Ill Macquarie chairman bows out

Date: Fri 18-Mar-11
Author: Geoff Easdown (Herald Sun)
INVESTMENT bank Macquarie Group surprised the business community yesterday by announcing the sudden resignation of founder and long-serving chairman David Clarke.
Recurring ill health forced Mr Clarke's departure from a business that is now under earnings pressure and battling opposition from the giants of Wall Street as it expands through North and South America.

More recently, he has taken part in street protests against coal seam gas mining in the Hunter.

Hunter Valley mines told improve or expect action

Date: Fri 18-Mar-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
The senior environment protection officer in NSW has warned Hunter Valley coal mines to improve their performance or his department will act.

Deputy Director-General of Environment, Climate Change and Water, Greg Sullivan, believes the miners have been put on notice by the community through the State Government's Coal and Gas strategy consultation process.

He is warning the industry to listen to the concerns about its environmental performance. "The community's making it very apparent that they want to be listened too," he said.

The Cockfighter - March 2011

Date: Fri 18-Mar-11
Author: The Cockfighter
Volume 9 Issue 2 - From the Editor - Wine News - Elections - Time Out - 100% Knights - Horsing Around - New Signs - Milbrodale School - Our Community - Our Wildlife

Cessnock far from certain

Date: Fri 18-Mar-11
Author: Alison Branley (The Herald)
The departure of long-time sitting member Kerry Hickey from politics has left the race for Cessnock wide open.
Nationals candidate and popularly elected Cessnock mayor Alison Davey is widely considered to be the front runner but could be tainted by turmoil at Cessnock City Council under her watch.

Schools need more funds

Date: Fri 18-Mar-11
Author: Dayarne Smith (Muswellbrook Chronicle)
Class sizes, increased funding and seatbelts on school buses have emerged as priority education issues for the electorate's state government candidates. Greens candidate Chris Parker said regional schools should not have to compete with city schools for funding.

Independent Tim Duddy has called for more support for Upper Hunter teachers.

Candidates face voters' at forum

Date: Fri 18-Mar-11
Author: Muswellbrook Chronicle
Muswellbrook voters had the chance to hear firsthand from state election candidates at a public forum on Tuesday night.
All five hopefuls for the seat of Upper Hunter - Country Labor's Michael Gibbons, the Nationals' George Souris, the Greens' Chris Parker, the Christian Democratic Party's Fred Cowley and independent Tim Duddy - were present at the event, hosted by Unions NSW.

Wollombi Valley Update - 17 March 2011

Date: Thu 17-Mar-11
Author: Peter Firminger
Events for the coming week or so, details of the NSW Election Rally against Coal and Coal Seam Gas in Sydney and a story about a 70 year old legend in Queensland.

Coal mining talks continue

Date: Thu 17-Mar-11
Author: Scone Advocate
Coal mining and coal seam gas exploration continue to be dominant issues at both the local and state government levels with local councillors attending a community forum last week and the Labor Government announcing a 10 point plan on Tuesday.
Upper Hunter Shire councillor Lea Carter, former Upper Hunter Shire Council environmental services director David Casson and fellow staff members attended a public meeting with the NSW planning department to learn about the government's coal and gas strategy scoping paper.

Pre-election project approval fastlane for NSW

Date: Thu 17-Mar-11
Author: ABC News
The New South Wales Government has long faced criticism over its planning record, but recently major project approvals in the state have reached unprecedented levels.

Some of the more controversial ones include an application for 60 coal seam gas wells south of Narrabri, near the Pilliga state forest, or the Catherine Hill Bay residential development, and the enormous Huntlee town development near Singleton.

Cessnock Councillors rescind a censure motion

Date: Thu 17-Mar-11
Author: ABC News
Cessnock Greens Councillor, Chris Parker says he feels vindicated by Council's decision to rescind a censure motion against him.

Last month, ALP and National Party Councillors voted to censure him while he was arguing for a review into the process used to recruit the Council's new General Manager, Lea Rosser.

Concerns over Huntlee community infrastructure

Date: Thu 17-Mar-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
A Hunter Valley residents group, opposed to the massive Huntlee housing development near Branxton, fear community infrastructure will be significantly lacking when the first residents move in.

Plans for stage one have gone on public display this week after the Government last year made the $1.5 billion project State Significant, paving the way for more than 7,000 homes.

Laguna School Newsletter - 16 Mar 2011 (5MB PDF)

Date: Wed 16-Mar-11
Author: Laguna Public School
Issue 1 - Term 1 - Week 7

Cessnock District Cricket report - March 16, 2011

Date: Wed 16-Mar-11
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
Fourth Grade: Railway Hotel vs Paxton (Laguna) at Turner Park washed out.

The Cessnock District Cricket Association completed the final round on the weekend, with only a handful of matches completed due to rain.

Cessnock candidates pledge for Better State Plan

Date: Wed 16-Mar-11
Author: The Advertiser
All seven of Cessnock's State election candidates have declared their support for the Better State Five-Point Plan.
The candidates attended a public meeting, along with workers including nurses, paramedics and administration staff, at Kurri Hospital last Wednesday.

Epenarra Artists visit Cessnock art gallery

Date: Wed 16-Mar-11
Author: The Advertiser
The 100th anniversary of International Women's Day was celebrated at Cessnock Regional Art Gallery with a visit by two women from Epenarra Artists, a remote Aboriginal art group in the Northern Territory

Local planner critical of state planning system

Date: Wed 16-Mar-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
A senior planner in the Hunter says the Lower Hunter Regional Strategy needs to be re-done because it fails to address several planning issues.

David Broyd believes the state's planning policies need to be overhauled and he will present his thoughts about the future of the planning system at a seminar in Sydney tonight.

Mining giant fined over creek pollution

Date: Wed 16-Mar-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
Mining giant, Coal and Allied has revealed it was fined for polluting a creek in the Hunter Valley last year.

The company's just released its 2010 Annual Report which says the fine for $1,500 from the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water was its only penalty infringement notice in the past year.

It was issued over a leak of diesel from a pump on a dam at its Mount Thorley Warkworth super pit into nearby Loders Creek.

Call for full staffing

Date: Wed 16-Mar-11
Author: Tash Holden (Hunter Valley News)
Upper Hunter independent candidate Tim Duddy has raised concerns ambulance services may be left to volunteer drivers if more state funding is not forthcoming after the state election.
Mr Duddy said Murrurundi, Stroud and Gloucester should have fully staffed ambulance stations with at least two paramedics rostered on at all times to respond to local emergencies.

Premier targets the Hunter again

Date: Tue 15-Mar-11
Author: NBN News
The Premier's visit to the Hunter wasn't just about sampling our famous wine at Millbrook Estate, but to shore up support in Labor held electorates.

The big ticket announcement, changes to the granting of coal exploration licences.

Not Fraccing - Stimulating - with 'frac fluids'!

Date: Tue 15-Mar-11
Author: Peter Firminger
It pays to tell the truth... even if it's only because it's the easiest thing to remember.

Keneally mines Hunter votes while it's good sport for O'Farrell

Date: Tue 15-Mar-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally has promised to ban hazardous chemicals used in a controversial mining technique to extract coal seam gas.

Ms Keneally made the election promise during her second visit to the Hunter Valley is little more than a week.

The Premier released a 10-point plan to deal with mining concerns.

Labor coal and gas mining plan fails to address the most serious risks - Greens

Date: Tue 15-Mar-11
Author: Cate Faehrmann (NSW Greens)
Greens MP and mining spokesperson Cate Faehrmann says the government's coal and gas plan announced today will fail to protect the state's water supply and farming lands from the most serious risks.

"This policy is a cynical attempt to claw back support from those worried about the environmental and health impacts of dangerous coal and coal seam gas mining," said Ms Faehrmann.

BTEX fracking may be banned in state

Date: Tue 15-Mar-11
Author: AAP via SMH
The NSW government plans to ban the use of "BTEX" chemicals in the hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - process to extract coal seam gas, if it is re-elected.

Under Labor's 10-point coal and coal seam gas plan announced on Tuesday, Premier Kristina Keneally said the use of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes - BTEX chemicals - would be outlawed across the state.

Greens want full moratorium on Coal Seam Gas

Date: Tue 15-Mar-11
Author: James Ryan
Cessnock Greens Candidate for Cessnock James Ryan said the NSW Premiers announcement in Cessnock this morning that exploration for Coal Seam Gas in waterways adjoining National Parks and in 'sensitive areas' would be banned did not go far enough.

Premier moves for 'exclusion zones' around mines

Date: Tue 15-Mar-11
Author: The Herald
PREMIER Kristina Keneally has used a visit to Cessnock today to announce her government would, if re-elected, move to implement 'exclusion zones' to protect industries such as horse breeding and vineyards from mining and coal seam gas extraction.

Unveiling a 10-point plan to deal with coalmining and coal seam gas she said was shaped by recent consultation in communities including the Hunter, Ms Keneally pledged to appoint a 'Coal and Gas Ombudsman' to investigate and respond to complaints.

Unions, Greens apply pressure on NSW Coalition

Date: Tue 15-Mar-11
Author: ABC News
The New South Wales Greens and trade unions are already putting pressure on the Coalition, 11 days out from the state election.

"Alison Davey in Cessnock, the National Party candidate in Cessnock, has signed," Mr Lennon said.

"We thank her and Clayton Barr, the Labor candidate in Cessnock, for supporting the campaign"

Cockfighter Creek Tavern

Date: Mon 14-Mar-11
Author: Mike Wilson
The Cockfighter Creek Tavern at Bulga has new owners as of today, 14th March.

Expert fears for Hunter's health

Date: Mon 14-Mar-11
Author: Emma Swain (Maitland Mercury)
Hunter residents will encounter a cocktail of health problems including cancer, asthma and heart disease if the coal mining industry continues to expand across the region, a leading researcher has warned.
World-renowned health expert Dr Dick van Steenis spoke about the impacts of open cut mining and coal-fired power stations during a public meeting at Maitland Leagues Club yesterday hosted by the Hunter Environment Lobby.

"I visited the Hunter Valley 15 months ago and things are getting much worse," Dr van Steenis said.

Plan to fix planning still a mystery

Date: Fri 11-Mar-11
Author: ABC Stateline NSW
It has been revealed that New South Wales' Opposition has no plan to fix the state's problematic development projects if they win the 2011 election.

Greens Announce 'Healthy Hospitals' Plan

Date: Fri 11-Mar-11
Author: James Ryan
Greens candidate for Cessnock said the Greens plan for healthy hospitals shows the Greens are serious about proper funding for Kurri and Cessnock Hospitals.

Great response to coal forum

Date: Fri 11-Mar-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
ANY assumption that the Singleton community may be complacent about its future was crushed by the incredible turn out at the coal and gas strategy forum on Wednesday.
The start of the forum was delayed as auditorium staff scrambled to get out more chairs and the long line of attendees waited in line to sign in.

Who will you vote for?

Date: Fri 11-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
A feature in the Singleton Argus featuring comments from four of the five Upper Hunter candidates who care more about the election than working at Woolies (this comment by Peter Firminger).

Upper Hunter MP will attend candidates forum

Date: Fri 11-Mar-11
Author: ABC New England North West
Member for Upper Hunter, George Souris, has confirmed he will attend a candidates forum in Muswellbrook next week.

Independent, Tim Duddy, challenged the MP to participate claiming Mr Souris had not attended up-to-ten candidate forums and major public election meetings during the campaign so far.

Hospital a priority

Date: Fri 11-Mar-11
Author: Dayarne Smith (Muswellbrook Chronicle)
Independent Upper Hunter candidate Tim Duddy has criticised the major parties for ignoring the health needs of the electorate.
Mr Duddy said Labor and the Coalition had made a number of health commitments in the lead-up to the March 26 state government election, but the Upper Hunter had been "largely left out".

Coal mining and gas exclusion zones in Hunter Valley

Date: Thu 10-Mar-11
Author: Cole Latimer (Australian Mining)
State Planning Minister Tony Kelly will put forward coal and gas mining exclusion zones as part of Labor's land use strategy.

Following a forum on land use in Singleton, Kelly says he will ask Premier Kristina Keneally to consider exclusion zones on coal mining in the Hunter region, according to the ABC.

Kelly believes that excluding areas from coal mining needs to be considered.

Minerals strategy enrages

Date: Thu 10-Mar-11
Author: Naomi Davidson (The Herald)
THE NSW government will hold an extra community forum in the region next month after an outpouring of "incredible emotion" by more than 500 Upper Hunter residents affected by "the minerals rush".
A forum was held yesterday in Singleton to gain community input into a proposed coal and gas strategy for NSW.

Seam gas forum input

Date: Thu 10-Mar-11
Author: Maitland Mercury
Maitland people are being invited to provide input on the NSW Government's future coal and gas strategy.
An online forum will give people the chance to suggest directions and have input on issues to be addressed by the strategy.

The forum is part of public consultation on the NSW Coal and Gas Strategy scoping paper on exhibition until April 15.

Govt listening tour cops an earful at Singleton

Date: Wed 09-Mar-11
Author: Tim Duddy
Independent candidate for Upper Hunter Tim Duddy has blasted state planning minister Tony Kelly and his scoping paper for failing the Upper Hunter community.

The recent decision by the government to approve the AGL Gloucester coal seam gas project and the lodgement of a development application by Shenhua to mine coal on the Liverpool Plains are two recent cases that have once again brought the issue of land-use planning to the fore.

Attending the government's coal and gas stakeholder forum in Singleton Mr Duddy said, "A decision like AGL Gloucester in the middle of a so called consultation process shows the contempt this government has for the Upper Hunter community."

Landuse and Mining Policy Statement

Date: Wed 09-Mar-11
Author: Tim Duddy
There is an imbalance in NSW that has seen the coal mining industry given priority over sustainable local industries such as agriculture as well as the rights of local communities and the protection of the environment.


To date, there has been no strategic plan or cumulative impact assessment conducted by government to guide the development of this region and inform the planning assessment process in regard to mining activities.

Laguna School Newsletter - 9 Mar 2011 (104kb PDF)

Date: Wed 09-Mar-11
Author: Laguna Public School
Issue 1 - Term 1 - Week 6

Cessnock District Cricket Report - March 9, 2011

Date: Wed 09-Mar-11
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
Forth Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 5/209 (E. Smith 42no, A. Taylor 41, D. Jackson 28, S. Sullivan 26, P. Toohey 22, C. Howe 20, M. Wilkinson 3-46 off 10) defeated Greta/Branxton 113 (S. Wilkinson 52, D. Holz 28, D. Jackson 4-24 off 6, G. Kelso 3-9 off 4, S. Sullivan 2-24 off 10).

POINTS TABLES

Fourth Grade Paxton (Laguna) 114, Supporters 94, Supporters Gold 92, Pedens Hotel 86, Greta/Branxton 75, Railway Hotel 66.

Dr Au to talk on mining health impacts

Date: Tue 08-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
SINGLETON general practitioner, Tuan Au, will address an
experts forum in Sydney tomorrow on the topic 'Human

health impacts of opencut coal mining and coal seam gas mining'.

The experts presenting also include: Dr Linda Selvey, Dr Dick van

Steenis, and Dr Helen.

Royalties for regions

Date: Tue 08-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
ROYALITIES for regions was discussed at Parliament House recently when it hosted the NSW Association of Mining Related Councils meeting.
The council met at Parliament House on February 23 to have a number of representatives from mining related departments and companies discuss the issues facing mining communities.

Coal forum

Date: Tue 08-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
NSW Minister for Planning Tony Kelly will be in Singleton tomorrow to address the community and stakeholder forum on the new NSW Coal and Gas Strategy.
Yesterday Mr Kelly agreed there should be some locations off limits to coal mining.

Agriculture in the Sydney basin, the thoroughbred industry and Pokolbin and its vineyards are just three Mr Kelly suggested when speaking with The Singleton Argus on Monday.

RAAF: Increase in Activities on Singleton Training Area 7 to 15 March 2011

Date: Sun 06-Mar-11
Author: Maj. Denny Grezdo
I am giving you an update on the activities over the coming weeks as we will busier than normal. The main activity that will be conducted will be the one involving the RAAF Jets. I will give an expected breakdown of their activities:

From the Mayors Desk - 4 March 2011

Date: Fri 04-Mar-11
Author: Alison Davey
Seniors Week commences on Sunday 20 March through to Sunday 27 March. An exciting week of entertainment has been organised by the Seniors Week Advisory Committee.

Attend the meeting

Date: Fri 04-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
The importance of Wednesday's meeting with the Department of Planning cannot be overstated.
Planning Minister Tony Kelly is coming to Singleton to hear what this community has to say about the future of coal mining in Singleton and New South Wales.

The Hunter region contributes over 70 per cent of coal royalty revenue and employs around 68 per cent (over 10,000) of people in the NSW mining sector.

NSW Firies endorse Greens candidate

Date: Fri 04-Mar-11
Author: NSW Greens
The Fire Brigade Employees Union has today announced its endorsement of serving firefighter and Greens member, James Ryan in his bid for the state seat of Cessnock in this month's State election

Singleton coal compliance

Date: Fri 04-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
THE dusty conditions that faced residents in January and gave Singleton's air quality monitor is first exceedence were monitored by the compliance officers.
Fourteen complaints were received at the Singleton office in January and due to the hot conditions additional resources were allocated to undertake 18 dust inspections of coal mines.

More unrest for Cessnock Council

Date: Fri 04-Mar-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
A Cessnock Councillor says a restructure plan which has prompted the departure of two directors is akin to 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater".

Cessnock Council is again in turmoil with two directors quitting over the restructure which saw their positions downgraded.

AGL defends Gloucester coal seam gas project

Date: Fri 04-Mar-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
An Australian gas company has rejected claims a coal seam gas project on the mid north coast poses risks to the community's health and water supply.

The State government has given AGL the go-ahead to drill about 90 coal seam gas wells, a processing centre and pipeline near Gloucester. It is the first stage of a $200 million project.

The Greens say the approval was 'snuck' through with little consultation, and that it will threaten the community's health and the region's water supply. An AGL spokesman says such claims are 'insulting', because the industry is tightly controlled.

Mayor attacks mine over pollution

Date: Fri 04-Mar-11
Author: Dayarne Smith (Muswellbrook Chronicle)
Muswellbrook Shire mayor Martin Rush has launched a scathing attack on Xstrata and the NSW environment department over the handling of a mine pollution incident last month.
The Xstrata Mangoola mine was fined $100,000 after 46 megalitres of sediment-laden water washed from the mine site into Wybong Creek in early February.

"There will be a real suspicion in the community that the reason the matter was not prosecuted was because the offender was a multi-billion dollar company that makes royalty payments to the state," Cr Rush said.

Cessnock council staff 'disaffected'

Date: Fri 04-Mar-11
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
Councillors were advised in a confidential session on Wednesday night that director of planning Darryl Fitzgerald and director of corporate and community services Craig Bennett would be leaving after a council restructure.

They did not apply for new positions of "team leaders" under the council restructure and are "leaving without looking back", the Newcastle Herald was told.

Councillors were advised both men would leave with redundancy payments.

Labor in Gas Rush

Date: Thu 03-Mar-11
Author: George Souris
The State Government must not approve any more Development Applications for gas or coal in the few days remaining before the Governor of NSW issues the Writ for the General Election which places the Government into official Caretaker mode," said Member for Upper Hunter George Souris.

Labor in Gas Rush

Date: Thu 03-Mar-11
Author: George Souris
The State Government must not approve any more Development Applications for gas or coal in the few days remaining before the Governor of NSW issues the Writ for the General Election which places the Government into official Caretaker mode," said Member for Upper Hunter George Souris.

Wollombi Valley Update - 3 March 2011

Date: Thu 03-Mar-11
Author: Peter Firminger
A list of events for Wollombi Valley and Broke Fordwich residents in the coming weeks.

Public 'left in dark' about project approval

Date: Thu 03-Mar-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
Labor's political opponents say Gloucester residents were left in the dark about approval of a major coal seam gas project in the area.
A decision on the AGL Gloucester Gas project was delegated to the Planning Assessment Commission.

It approved the project on February 22 after imposing a number of conditions but the decision was not made public for about six days.

NSW Govt approves AGL Gloucester gas project under the cover of night

Date: Wed 02-Mar-11
Author: Tim Duddy
Independent candidate for Upper Hunter Tim Duddy has branded the NSW Labor Government's covert decision to approve AGL's Coal Seam Gas project in Gloucester a disgrace.

Mr Duddy said, "This decision has been made in the dying days of a disgraceful government and caps off 16 years of Labor abuse of regional NSW.

"The Gloucester Valley is unique with its pristine waters flowing down to Port Stephens. This decision puts the local water supply and sustainable agricultural industries at risk.

Laguna School Newsletter - 2 Mar 2011 (4MB PDF)

Date: Wed 02-Mar-11
Author: Laguna Public School
Black and White Fundraiser - Junior Room Parent interviews - Art Exhibition Meeting...

Cessnock state election candidates to front Pokolbin forum

Date: Wed 02-Mar-11
Author: The Advertiser
Candidates for the March 26 State election for the seat of Cessnock have been invited to speak at a "town hall" style meeting at Pokolbin Hall on Monday, March 14.
The meeting has been organised by the presidents of the Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism and Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association.

Coalition pledges $20 million for Hunter Valley wine country roads

Date: Wed 02-Mar-11
Author: The Advertiser
The battle for Seat of Cessnock at the March 26 State election went up a gear last week with a $20 million promise to fix major roads in the Pokolbin area.
NSW Nationals Leader, Andrew Stoner and Member for Hunter George Souris met with The Nationals Cessnock candidate, Cr. Alison Davey to announce the package.

They said that a NSW Liberals and Nationals Government would provide $20 million for the upgrade of roads in the Hunter Wine region. They are Broke Road and McDonalds Road.

Cessnock District Cricket Report - March 2, 2011

Date: Wed 02-Mar-11
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
Fourth Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 8/162 (D. Jackson 44, S. Gibson 32 ret.hurt, W. Kowaluk 30, D. Fletcher 4-21off 10, Z. Tyne 3-29 off 6) defeated Pedens Hotel 133 (D. Freebairn 38, B. Butler 20, D. Fletcher 14, A. Sadler 14, S. Sullivan 3-19 off 10, D. Jackson 3-41 off 10, T. Williams 2-35 off 10, G. Kelso 2-35 off 9.1)

Labor candidate named

Date: Wed 02-Mar-11
Author: Gloucester Advocate
Country Labor has announced Michael Gibbons as the candidate for Upper Hunter. Twenty-seven-year-oldMichael was born in Newcastle, Michael moved to Singleton with his family in 2000 and attended St Catherine's Catholic College and later Singleton High School before moving back to Newcastle at the beginning of 2005 for family reasons.

Merriwa airs concerns

Date: Wed 02-Mar-11
Author: Tash Holden (Hunter Valley News)
Fourteen air quality monitors will be installed across the Upper Hunter over the coming months, but for some local residents these monitors just aren't enough to guarantee good, clean air.
Forty Merriwa residents came together last Wednesday to listen to three air quality campaigners, Dr John Drinan, Lyn McBain and Carol Russell from the Singleton Healthy Environment Group.

Funds for mining-affected communities

Date: Tue 01-Mar-11
Author: The Herald
The NSW Coalition says the Hunter would benefit from a stake in $160 million over four years and a new program for returning a "fair share" to regions affected by mining.
It would need to first do a review to work out what and where to spend the money on under a Resources for Regions program.

Upper Hunter Labor Candidate

Date: Tue 01-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
FORMER Singleton lad Michael Gibbons will be the Labor candidate for Upper Hunter. Mr Gibbons signed the paperwork at a meeting in Singleton on Thursday night.

Resources to Regions

Date: Tue 01-Mar-11
Author: Singleton Argus
The NSW Liberal Nationals Coalition will commit a $160 million fund over four years to a "Resources for Regions" programme which will provide a much needed boost in mining affected regions and communities, said Member for Upper Hunter George Souris.

Mr Souris said the fund was modelled on the highly successful National Party "Royalties for Regions" programme in Western Australia.

Upper Hunter Electorate and Candidate details

Date: Tue 01-Mar-11
Author: Peter Firminger
Details of the candidates for Upper Hunter (and Cessnock) are available on the sister website - Wollombi Valley Online.

Revisiting regional strategy on agenda

Date: Tue 01-Mar-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
The Coalition has stopped short of committing to an overhaul of the controversial Lower Hunter Regional Strategy but has said it holds concerns about the blueprint and would look ''very closely'' at some elements.

Both the Greens and the Coalition would scrap Labor's 'part 3A' planning laws, but the Greens said they would introduce legislation to overturn state significant site rezonings of Catherine Hill Bay, Gwandalan and Huntlee for residential developmet.

Revisiting regional strategy on agenda

Date: Tue 01-Mar-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
The Coalition has stopped short of committing to an overhaul of the controversial Lower Hunter Regional Strategy but has said it holds concerns about the blueprint and would look ''very closely'' at some elements.
But the Greens have stepped up pressure for widespread changes, laying out an election platform for planning in the Hunter that argues for a complete review of the strategy, which the party calls a complete farce.

Let them eat coal? Time to talk about food security

Date: Tue 01-Mar-11
Author: Debra Jopson (SMH)
The government has a choice: let mining, climate change and urban sprawl overrun agriculture, or devise a plan to protect the lands that nourish the state.

IT is beyond strange for this long-time indigenous affairs reporter to hear a retired Sydney lawyer-turned-farmer complaining that his land rights are being trampled on by a coal seam gas company.

Two centuries ago, it was pastoralists like himself who surged into the lands of the Kamilaroi people where he now farms, taking over their waterholes, hunting grounds and hideouts.

Coalition must rule out volunteer paramedics for Upper Hunter stations

Date: Mon 28-Feb-11
Author: Tim Duddy
Independent candidate for Upper Hunter Tim Duddy has called on Nationals MP George Souris to assure local residents a coalition government will fully staff local ambulance stations.

Mr Duddy said, "Murrurundi, Stroud and Gloucester should have fully staffed ambulance stations with two paramedics rostered on at all times to be able to quickly respond to emergencies.

AJ Lucas reports first-half net loss

Date: Mon 28-Feb-11
Author: AAP via SMH
Infrastructure and mining services group AJ Lucas has reported a first half net loss of $17.87 million, but says the outlook for the group is "encouraging", subject to better weather and the global recovery.

AJ Lucas reported a 65.2 per cent loss in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $10.92 million for the six months to December 31, compared to $28.9 million.

Merger won't cost local jobs: MP

Date: Fri 25-Feb-11
Author: Dayarne Smith (Muswellbrook Chronicle)
Mr Souris told the Muswellbrook Chronicle yesterday that if elected, a Liberal-National government would merge the corporate head offices of Energy Australia and Intregral Energy in Sydney.

Independent candidate for Upper Hunter Tim Duddy raised concerns jobs would be cut in the region as a result of the plan but Mr Souris denied this.

Broke accommodation

Date: Fri 25-Feb-11
Author: Singleton Argus
SINGLETON Council has given the green light for a house at Broke to become tourist accommodation.
The proposal to change the two-bedroom house in Cochrane Street to tourist accommodation was passed at Singleton Council's ordinary meeting on Monday night.

Singleton streets to be paved

Date: Fri 25-Feb-11
Author: Singleton Argus
THIRTY-three streets in Singleton and Broke will be resealed under Singleton Council's Urban Roads bitumen resealing program to begin soon.

Streets at Broke to be resealed will include Adair Street, Archer Street, Cochrane Street, Howe Street, Nelson Street and Rogers Street.

Broke road money

Date: Fri 25-Feb-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
THE coalition has promised $20 million to upgrade Broke Road between Pokolbin and the Wollombi Road intersection at Broke.
Yesterday's announcement is part of $40 million in funding from the new Hunter Infrastructure Fund, funded by consolidated revenue and is not a diversion of any other money.

Winemakers welcome Opposition promise on road funding

Date: Fri 25-Feb-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
The Hunter Valley wine industry says Labor deserves to lose the Hunter purely on the issue of neglect of the region's roads.

The industry has welcomed a pledge of $20-million over four years from the New South Wales Opposition to upgrade Broke and McDonald Roads.

Confirmed coal seam gas leak in NSW

Date: Thu 24-Feb-11
Author: Cate Faehrmann (NSW Greens)
Leaks cannot be fixed, wells cannot be safely capped - Greens

Greens MP and mining spokesperson Cate Faehrmann says the confirmed coal seam gas leaks from two drilling wells near Casino demonstrates the urgent need for a moratorium

Community's opinions considered on NSW coal and gas strategy plans

Date: Thu 24-Feb-11
Author: Caitlin Andrews (Scone Advocate)
The draft plan released by the NSW Department of Planning for a unified NSW Coal and Gas Strategy in the future could be a step in the right direction.
The scoping paper was released earlier this month with the aim of ensuring the coal mining and gas industries can be developed alongside development and sustainability of existing industries.

The strategy was introduced to some local residents at a community forum in Gunnedah on February 10, however another community forum will be held in Singleton next month.

Fred Cowley CDP Candidate for Upper Hunter

Date: Thu 24-Feb-11
Author: Fred Cowley
Fred Cowley CDP Candidate for Upper Hunter - Expanded Profile.

Laguna School Newsletter - 23 Feb 2011 (2MB PDF)

Date: Wed 23-Feb-11
Author: Laguna Public School
Zone swinning - Autumb Ball - Marimba Workshop - University of Newcastle - ANZAC Day

Protect Jerrys Plains joins forces...

Date: Wed 23-Feb-11
Author: Protect Jerrys Plains
We've had a gutful of the lack of balanced & equitable mining laws made by shonky governments that have encouraged unconstrained growth of mining industries.

We've joined the Lock The Gate Alliance, a national alliance of community, industry and environmental groups.

Coalition promises Cessnock and Kurri hospitals are safe

Date: Wed 23-Feb-11
Author: Krystal Sellers (The Advertiser)
Cessnock and Kurri hospitals will not close under a NSW Liberals and Nationals Government, according to shadow health minister Jillian Skinner.
Mrs. Skinner was in Cessnock last Thursday following the Coalition's announcement of a $33 million boost to Hunter health services.

Cessnock District Cricket Report - February 23, 2011

Date: Wed 23-Feb-11
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 5/108 (S. Gibson 36, A. Taylor 27, E. Smith 12no, S. Hooker-Connell 2-16 off 7, J. Lindner 2-26 off 6) defeated Supporters 104 (N. Conroy 18, J. Lindner 16, B. Good 14, D. Jackson 4-33 off 8, G. Kelso 3-18 off 10).

Points Tables: Fourth Grade Paxton (Laguna) 100, Supporters Gold 86, Supporters 80, Pedens Hotel 76, Greta/Branxton 69, Railway Hotel 56.

Rural issues at heart of campaign

Date: Wed 23-Feb-11
Author: Gloucester Advocate
Independent candidate for the seat of Upper Hunter Tim Duddy was in Gloucester for a two day visit last week.
Mr Duddy was in town to attend the NSW Farmers Association's Mining Taskforce meeting last Thursday (a full report on that meeting appears on Page 5), and to met with other community groups including the chamber of commerce and the Barrington Gloucester Stroud Preservation Alliance in the lead up to the March state election.

Policy Statement on Coal Seam Gas

Date: Tue 22-Feb-11
Author: Tim Duddy
In the last few years there has been a surge of coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and production plans across NSW. These projects have been approved with little regard to the international experience that has shown coal seam gas mining to be socially and environmentally destructive to local communities.
The Upper Hunter is the target of many exploration and gas companies with no fewer than eight Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELs) covering approximately 70-80% of the district.

Gas committee was a new concept

Date: Tue 22-Feb-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
According to the Department of Planning a community consultative committee will generally be required for all major new mines in NSW under the conditions of the approval by the Minister for Planning.
For these mines, the conditions of approval will provide for a committee to be established and operated generally in accordance with this guideline and any other relevant provisions in the conditions of approval.

Singleton coal seam gas

Date: Tue 22-Feb-11
Author: Emily Angwin (Singleton Argus)
RESIDENTS seeking nomination to the Hunter Gas Project Community Consultative Committee (CCC) were surprised the receiving address was that of AGL. AGL is currently behind extensive gas exploration in the Broke Bulga district. Milbrodale resident Stuart Ewen said a number of residents had contacted him over the weekend concerned about the apparent relationship and control of the CCC by AGL.

Easy land-use solution

Date: Tue 22-Feb-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
The Coalition should have seized the ''simple solution'' and immediately ruled out coal seam gas exploration in winegrowing areas of the Hunter in its new land-use policy, the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance says.

Independent Upper Hunter candidate Tim Duddy said yesterday he believed coal seam gas exploration should be stopped until further research into the industry's impacts was done.

Coalition electricity plan could cost Upper Hunter jobs

Date: Mon 21-Feb-11
Author: Tim Duddy
Independent candidate for Upper Hunter Tim Duddy has called on the coalition to reassure Upper Hunter residents that jobs and services will not be cut under its electricity distribution merger plans.

Responding to the coalition's proposal to merge the distribution arms of Energy Australia and Integral Energy, Mr Duddy said, "if jobs are cut to offer a rebate to families suffering from soaring electricity bills it is an unacceptable and short sighted response. It is robbing Peter to pay Peter and is grossly unfair.

VIDEO: Greens inspect Coal Seam Gas drill site in Bentley

Date: Sat 19-Feb-11
Author: Northern Rivers Greens
NSW Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann and Greens Candidate for Lismore Susan Stock inspect a coal seam gas exploration drill site in Bentley Northern NSW.

Candidate calls for major development in Cessnock

Date: Sat 19-Feb-11
Author: ABC News
The Labor candidate for the New South Wales seat of Cessnock says more development is needed in the electorate to provide more job opportunities for young people.

Clayton Barr is hoping to replace current Labor member for Cessnock, Kerry Hickey, who is standing down at the coming NSW election.

Paint me happy, says thrifty city councillor

Date: Sat 19-Feb-11
Author: The Herald
Cessnock independent candidate Dale Troy hopes to airbrush Labor out of government at the state election.
But for now, the Cessnock councillor has resorted to using a paint and brush to redecorate his campaign office in a barter-deal with the landlord.

It has saved him money on rent that he can use for his campaign.

Wollombi Valley Update - 18 February 2011

Date: Fri 18-Feb-11
Author: Peter Firminger et al
The Gas Rush on Four Corners - Cessnock City Council Special Rate Variation - Events in and around the valley - The Dog Logs schedule

Singleton's top poets

Date: Fri 18-Feb-11
Author: Singleton Argus
THE talents of Singleton Bush Poets have been recognised once again. At the Tamworth Country Music Festival, Heather Searles entered the prestigious Golden Damper Poetry Competition.

Singleton state election

Date: Fri 18-Feb-11
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
CHRISTIAN Democratic Party's Fred Cowley is the latest candidate vying for the seat of Upper Hunter at the March state election.

Mr Cowley joins three other candidates including Independent Tim Duddy, current Upper Hunter MP and National George Souris and Greens' Chris Parker in the Upper Hunter race.

From the Mayors Desk - 18 February 2011

Date: Fri 18-Feb-11
Author: Alison Davey
Mayoral Academic Scholarships - Seniors Week - NSW Police Medals for service to the community - Area Supervisors to help conduct the Census - Who are the great women in our community?

Hydro smelter rejects Premier on jobs

Date: Fri 18-Feb-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
THE operators of the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter have publicly contradicted Premier Kristina Keneally's assurances that her government is working to protect its workers.
The operators say the smelter's future, and that of thousands of jobs, remains in doubt.

Labor close to collapse, Brown says

Date: Thu 17-Feb-11
Author: Ian Kirkwood (The Herald)
FORMER federal Labor MP Bob Brown has renewed his attack on his former party, blaming Newcastle state MP Jodi McKay for some of its parlous position.
Mr Brown, who was one of more than 30 Labor members expelled by the party executive when Ms McKay replaced Bryce Gaudry, said it aggrieved him deeply to witness the total collapse of the party.

"Jodi McKay is reported as saying she wants to complete what she started," Mr Brown said.

Cessnock Councillor Censured in Heated Debate

Date: Thu 17-Feb-11
Author: Cessnock-Kurri Greens
Greens Councillor Chris Parker was censured last night while supporting a motion to have an inquiry into the process which was used to recruit the Councils' new General Manager.

Devastating swing would cull ALP MPs

Date: Thu 17-Feb-11
Author: Michelle Harris and AAP (The Herald)
NOT one Labor state MP would be left in the Hunter if a devastating predicted swing of 18 per cent against the party materialises across NSW at next month's election.
The latest Nielsen poll for the Sydney Morning Herald shows a two-party preferred swing of 18 per cent against the ALP that would leave it with as few as 13 seats in the lower house of parliament.

That would sweep away its six Hunter seats.

Coalition land use policy short on detail

Date: Wed 16-Feb-11
Author: Tim Duddy
Independent candidate for Upper Hunter Tim Duddy is dubious about the coalition's regional land use policy, concerned it lacks the detail the community expects from an opposition trying to take government.

Mr Duddy said, "While the sentiments are encouraging, it is disappointing that Duncan Gay seems to have walked away from his promise to draft the necessary legislation to deliver a meaningful outcome.

"The communities across the Liverpool Plains, Bylong, Gloucester, and the Upper Hunter Valley have worked tirelessly with NSW farmers, Hunter Valley thoroughbred breeders and wine growers to protect their environments, productive agricultural land, local water supplies and livelihoods. They deserve the credit for getting the Coalition this far.

Don't forget Maitland Show this weekend

Date: Wed 16-Feb-11
Author: Singleton Argus
YES, it's that time of year again... and this time it's a special anniversary.
The Maitland Mercury Hunter River Super Show turns 150 this year.

Maitland Show is one of the oldest events of its kind in Australia. It starts on Friday with a bang as youngsters from the Hunter and beyond celebrate Schoolies Day at the show.

Jill Emberson interviews Member for Upper Hunter, Mr George Souris about NSW Liberals & Nationals Strategic Regional Land Use Policy

Date: Wed 16-Feb-11
Author: Gloucester Residents in Partnership
The attached audio is an interview between Jill Emberson of ABC Radio Newcastle and Member for Upper Hunter, Mr George Souris talking about NSW Liberals & Nationals Strategic Regional Land Use Policy.

Cessnock City Council Special Rate Variation

Date: Wed 16-Feb-11
Author: Peter Firminger
Cessnock City Council has issued a request for community feedback on four options that will allow for a reduction in rates of $31pa, or for an increase in rates, up to $62 extra pa, to allow more roadworks to take place.

Laguna School Newsletter - 16 Feb 2011 (1MB PDF)

Date: Wed 16-Feb-11
Author: Laguna Public School
Autumn Ball
The date has been set - thank you Steve!
Mark it in your calendars, tell your friends -
Saturday night 26th March.
Donations for raffle gratefully accepted.
Please pass the items onto Steve or Cath
in the car park.

Cessnock District Cricket Report - February 16, 2011

Date: Wed 16-Feb-11
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 5/101 (G. Kelso 25, D. Jackson 19, K. Barnett 14no, S. Sullivan 14no, C. Renfrew 3-30 off 7) defeated Supporters Gold 96 (P. Thurlow 38, D. Davey 18, S. Sullivan 5-34 off 10, D. Jackson 3-6 off 3, G. Kelso 2-16 off 5).

POINTS TABLES

Fourth Grade Paxton 93, Supporters Gold 83, Supporters 77, Pedens Hotel 69, Greta/Branxton 62, Railway Hotel 53.

Cessnock Country Music Festival on in May

Date: Wed 16-Feb-11
Author: The Advertiser
The countdown is on for the fifth annual Cessnock Country Music Festival.
The fun focuses on East Cessnock Bowling Club for three days from May 27.

Festival spokesperson, Rhonda Astill, said: 'We are delighted to be presenting an outstanding line-up of artists over the three days'.

Independent planning review says areas are working well

Date: Wed 16-Feb-11
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock councillors were briefed on the result of an independent review of the council's planning functions last Wednesday night.
Council's independent review, conducted by City Plan Services and Morrison Low consultants, identified numerous areas which are working well.

The Dog Logs

Date: Wed 16-Feb-11
Author: Pub Plays Australia
Upcoming dates for The Dog Logs around NSW including Singleton on March 13

Food security still under threat from mining in NSW

Date: Wed 16-Feb-11
Author: NSW Greens
Greens MP and mining spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has welcomed a new Coalition mining policy which allows for agricultural impact statements and better assessment of new exploration licences with a one year moratorium. However, Ms Faehrmann says this will be too little to deal with the mining onslaught that is impacting on communities across NSW.

Cessnock District Cricket Report - February 9, 2011

Date: Wed 16-Feb-11
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 9/136 (A. Taylor 26, G. Kelso 17no, W. Kowaluk 17, T. Williams 15, M. Dixon 14, L. Gibson 5-29 off 10, I. Fitzpatrick 2-54 off 10) defeated Railway Hotel 135 (N. Reid 75, M. Livingstone 28, G. Edgell 19no, T. Williams 4-43 off 8, S. Sullivan 2-39 off 10, G. Kelso 2-23 off 7).

Coalition promise on planning powers lacks punch, say Greens

Date: Wed 16-Feb-11
Author: Alexandra Smith (SMH)
THE Greens criticised the Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell, for failing to outline his plans to overhaul planning laws for major developments as they began their push to secure two lower house seats.

Launching the party's election plan yesterday, the Greens' lead upper house candidate, David Shoebridge, said they were determined to see the abolition of the 'obnoxious part 3A' planning laws.

Oh $@#* Not Again! Cessnock LEP back on the agenda...

Date: Tue 15-Feb-11
Author: Peter Firminger
Recommendation (2): That Council authorise the General Manager to discuss the implications of withdrawing the Draft LEP with the Department of Planning.

Singleton coal forum

Date: Tue 15-Feb-11
Author: Singleton Argus
SINGLETON is one of four venues across the state to host a coal forum to discuss the contents of the coal and gas strategy for New South Wales.

Singleton air monitoring expands

Date: Tue 15-Feb-11
Author: Singleton Argus
THE new air quality monitoring network website will provide hourly average figures, not the existing 24 hour averages.

Lake Council looks to coal-free future

Date: Tue 15-Feb-11
Author: Damon Cronshaw (The Herald)
Lake Macquarie City Council can see an end to the city's coal-fired power stations and coal mines, but the industries beg to differ and expect to be around for a long time.
A council report that looks ahead to 2030 said the industries faced "dramatic changes" from government responses to climate change and increasing energy prices. "Power generation and coalmining occupy considerable areas of land in Lake Macquarie," the report said.

Brockovich launches environmental guardian

Date: Mon 14-Feb-11
Author: AAP via Yahoo7
Erin Brockovich has placed her huge international profile behind fixing Australia's environmental woes, launching a body called the Environmental Justice Society (EJS).

"This country is at the beginning of a period of huge growth that will continue for decades to come and it's all driven by resources in the ground," the environmental crusader and human rights activist said at a launch in Brisbane on Friday.

Landcare Newsletter February 2011

Date: Mon 14-Feb-11
Author: Graham Taylor
Please find attached a copy of the February issue of the Wollombi Valley Landcare Newsletter.

Concern over appointment process of new Cessnock GM

Date: Mon 14-Feb-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
Questions are being asked about the appointment of a new General Manager at Cessnock Council just four months into her five-year term.

Lea Rosser started in October last year just weeks after Cessnock Council was controversially stripped of its planning powers.

Greens Councillor, James Ryan is now calling for a review of the appointment process, saying there is a 'fair amount of disquiet' among staff and Councillors.

ARTS NEWS - Wollombi Valley Arts Council's Feb/March 2011 events at the Wollombi Cultural Centre

Date: Sun 13-Feb-11
Author: WVAC
STRUCTURAL Harley Tait
CREATION Laurance Dennis (Traditional name MillMullian)
2011 Adult Jewelery Saturday Workshops
AGM of the Wollombi Valley Arts Council Sunday 6th March

Call to return Cessnock council powers

Date: Sat 12-Feb-11
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
LESS than a week after receiving the tick of approval from the Department of Local Government, Cessnock councillors said it was high time they had their planning power reinstated.
Councillors contacted by the Newcastle Herald said it was time to lobby both the Coalition and the ALP to obtain a commitment that the council's planning panel would be dismissed after the March 26 election.

Artist, raconteur and firefighter

Date: Sat 12-Feb-11
Author: Nancy Gray in SMH Timelines
Trevor Winn, 1947-2010

The towns of Wollombi and Laguna, 150 kilometres north-west of Sydney, have a combined population of nearly 1000 people. Police estimate about 800 of these attended the funeral of Trevor Winn of the Rural Fire Service last month.

Wollombi Valley Update - 11 February 2011

Date: Fri 11-Feb-11
Author: Peter Firminger et al
Notices and events for Wollombi Valley

Locals will add value to debate

Date: Fri 11-Feb-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
SINGLETON residents are well informed when it comes to the coal and coal gas debate.
Most are also quite balanced in their view as well because they fully comprehend the enormous wealth and opportunity coal mining brings to this community, state and nation.

They can see both sides of the debate because they experience it every day.

Kurri smelter in talks about new power contract

Date: Fri 11-Feb-11
Author: ABC News
Management at the Hydro Aluminium smelter at Kurri Kurri, in the Hunter, have begun talks with Macquarie Generation on a new power contract, amid concern for the plant's future.

Hydro's managing director Alberto Fabrini yesterday told a parliamentary inquiry the Treasurer Eric Roozendaal's scrapping of a power contract with Delta Electricity has forced the smelter to defer millions of dollars in investment.

Hydro sent jobs letter

Date: Fri 11-Feb-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
PREMIER Kristina Keneally was directly warned that thousands of Hunter jobs were in jeopardy because the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter needed a new power contract, but her government did nothing for three months, an inquiry has heard.

Coalition must commit to a land-use strategy for NSW

Date: Thu 10-Feb-11
Author: Tim Duddy
Independent candidate for the Upper Hunter and Liverpool Plains farmer Tim Duddy has called on the Coalition to commit to developing a land-use strategy for NSW should they become the next government.

Attending the current government's community and stakeholder forum in Gunnedah Mr Duddy said, "Labor's coal and gas strategy development process is about five years late and currently misdirected, but the process offers a chance to resolve land-use issues associated with mining development across the state.

Labor's Pathetic 11th Hour Attempt To Win Back Favour On Kurri Kurri Smelter Issue

Date: Thu 10-Feb-11
Author: Mike Baird (NSW Liberals)
Shadow Treasurer Mike Baird, NSW Liberal Candidate for Maitland Robyn Parker and NSW Nationals Candidate for Cessnock Alison Davey today slammed Kristina Keneally's continued appalling treatment of workers at Hydro Aluminum Smelter in the Hunter Valley town of Kurri Kurri.

Lukewarm response to state's coal, gas consultation

Date: Wed 09-Feb-11
Author: Bronwyn Farr (The Land)
THE NSW Government's eleventh hour public consultation on a proposed NSW coal and gas strategy has received a lukewarm response at best, while the Opposition has pledged to toss out the controversial laws that allow the Planning Minister to have the ultimate say on whether mines get the green light.

Opposition leader Barry O'Farrell this week reaffirmed his commitment to throw out the contentious 'Part3A' legislation and overhaul 30-year-old laws.

Caroona Coal Action Group spokesman Tim Duddy said a 'land use strategy', not a 'coal and gas strategy' had been promised, and NSW documents released ahead of the whistle-stop tour of country areas proved that "the government has no intention of protecting the water and soils of the Liverpool Plains".

Laguna School Newsletter - 9 Feb 2011 (53kb PDF)

Date: Wed 09-Feb-11
Author: Laguna Public School
School Vegetable Garden - Workshop for Parents - Swimming Carnival

Chance to have your say on rates

Date: Wed 09-Feb-11
Author: The Advertiser
Ratepayers will get the chance to comment on rates they will pay for the 2011-12 financial year.
Meetings will be held at up to five venues across the city with council receiving a report on the consultations on March 16.

No fracking worries, says minister

Date: Tue 08-Feb-11
Author: ABC Rural
The Minister for Mining says there is very little "fracking" for coal seam gas in NSW at the moment and no-one is using the chemical, banned in Queensland, called B-TEX.

The Environmental Defenders Office has raised a number of concerns about the hydraulic fracturing technique used to extract the gas. In particular, it's concerned about the cumulative effect of so many exploration and production holes.

Minister Steve Whan says he's not clear just how many holes are being drilled in NSW.

Strategy has to be diverse

Date: Tue 08-Feb-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
PEOPLE, water, environment and food should be considered before anything else and that includes coal.
The release on Thursday of the scoping plan for a NSW coal and Gas Strategy clearly outlined just how valuable the coal and gas resources are in New South Wales.

Planning Minister Kelly Wrong Again

Date: Tue 08-Feb-11
Author: James Ryan
Cessnock Greens Councillor James Ryan says Planning Minister Kelly is wrong to say the latest figures justify his taking away of Cessnocks planning powers, the Planning Panel is taking longer to assess Development Applications than Councillors did.

Report card on council DA efficiency

Date: Tue 08-Feb-11
Author: Ben Smee (The Herald)
CESSNOCK Council's planning staff are among the most efficient in NSW, according to a council report card that Planning Minister Tony Kelly has used to justify the decision last year to strip the council's planning powers.

Will Australia become the next Gasland?

Date: Mon 07-Feb-11
Author: Crikey
Crikey intern Sophie Cousins writes: Drilling for coal seam gas (CSG) is thriving along Australia's east coast amid community backlash over the risks involved with the industry.

The Greens have called for a moratorium on mining activities throughout NSW until an independent investigation is conducted, but Greens MP David Shoebridge told Crikey that the closure of parliament until after the election meant the issue was being put on the backburner.

The True Cost of Mining - Greens MP launches tour of NSW

Date: Mon 07-Feb-11
Author: Peter Stahel (NSW Greens)
Greens MP and mining spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has begun the first leg of a tour of mining communities in New South Wales. The 'The True Cost of Mining' tour begins in the Hunter and will tour areas heavily impacted by mining over the coming weeks.

Singleton Council meeting tonight at 5.30 pm

Date: Mon 07-Feb-11
Author: Graeme Gibson
Councillor Alison Howlett is to introduce an urgency motion to the Council meeting tonight. The basic reason was that Council was left off the new Gas Exploration Community Consultative Committee and the new Chair will be seeking applications for representation shortly.

Report says dust can be reduced by half

Date: Mon 07-Feb-11
Author: Singleton Argus
DUST emissions could be reduced by 49 per cent if best practice particulate emission control was put in place at local coal mines.
The controls are both technically and economically possible according to a report on public exhibition until Monday.

Devoted firie and grandad will be missed

Date: Mon 07-Feb-11
Author: Maitland Mercury
A NSW firefighter who died after a tree fell on him in a remote bushfire zone was a devoted grandfather and a champion of workplace safety.
The death of National Parks and Wildlife Service officer John Garland, 65, on Friday has devastated his fire service colleagues, who praised his professionalism

NT bids to become seventh state

Date: Mon 07-Feb-11
Author: AAP via SMH
Support is being mustered to turn the Northern Territory into Australia's seventh state.

But the federal government has tried to distance itself from the proposal, saying it has not formally received a blueprint for change.

Oakeshott supports NSW independents

Date: Sat 05-Feb-11
Author: AAP via NineMSN
Federal MP Rob Oakeshott has thrown his support behind three fellow independents standing in safe National Party seats at the NSW state election.

The electorates of Upper Hunter, Myall Lakes and Oxley have all been held comfortably by the Nationals for decades.

Independents take on mid north coast seats in NSW election

Date: Sat 05-Feb-11
Author: Nine News
Federal MP Rob Oakeshott has thrown his support behind three fellow independents standing in safe National Party seats at the NSW state election.

Three die in twin tragedies in the Hunter Valley

Date: Sat 05-Feb-11
Author: Jodie Minus, Amos Aikman (The Australian)
THE NSW Hunter Valley was the scene of twin tragedies yesterday after two men died in a chopper crash and a firefighter was killed by a falling tree.

From the Mayors Desk - 4 February 2011

Date: Fri 04-Feb-11
Author: Alison Davey
Welcome to 2011. The New Year is set before us like an unwritten volume-all its pages blank. Let us write upon each day's page things that at the end of the year we will look upon with rejoicing rather than regret.

New gas committee appoints chair

Date: Fri 04-Feb-11
Author: Singleton Argus
THE new community consultative committee (CCC) to replace the Bulga Gas Committee will include an additional two community members.
Instead of focussing just on coal seam gas exploration in the Broke Bulga district, the new CCC will encompass mineral and petroleum exploration projects in the State.

Dust levels exceed national standards

Date: Fri 04-Feb-11
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
SINGLETON PM10 readings exceeded national health standards for the first time at midnight on Tuesday.
The 24 average rolling reading for the 7am to 8am period was 111 (very poor) and was above that of any other reading on the Department of Environment Climate Change and Water's (DECCW) Air quality index (AQI), including Sydney.

State Government's coal and gas scoping study under fire

Date: Fri 04-Feb-11
Author: ABC News
Criticism of the State Government's coal and gas scoping study continues, with the lack of Hunter Valley representation on the stakeholder reference group under fire.

The region's thoroughbred breeders are disappointed with the Government's long-awaited response to land use conflicts, arguing it fails to address sustainable solutions for the region.

Improved mine information for Upper Hunter residents

Date: Fri 04-Feb-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
Upper Hunter residents appear set to have access to better quality information from the region's coal mines.

The websites operated by Hunter Valley coal mines have been under scrutiny recently from the Department of Planning's Singleton mining inspectors.

Cessnock Green Councillors Oppose $2.5m Rate Increase Proposal

Date: Thu 03-Feb-11
Author: James Ryan
Green Councillors James Ryan and Chris Parker have condemned Cessnock Council for asking the community to support a rate increase of up to $2.5m to pay for roadworks when the Council is yet release an independent report detailing the council's performance in relation to the roads in the LGA.

Coal and Gas Strategy gets mixed reaction

Date: Thu 03-Feb-11
Author: ABC News
The New South Wales Minerals Council has welcomed the state government's plans to develop a Coal and Gas strategy.

Liverpool Plains farmer, Tim Duddy, is running as an Independent on an anti-mining platform in next month's state election.

New art prize in Murrurundi

Date: Thu 03-Feb-11
Author: Scone Advocate
Excitement and anticipation is being launched in Murrurundi's world of art once again with the announcement of the inaugural Murrurundi Art Prize.
The new prize will be officially opened during the 2011 Scone and Upper Hunter Horse Festival from May 12 to May 15 at the Murrurundi RSL Hall with an opening night on May 11.

Maitland lad takes out art prize

Date: Thu 03-Feb-11
Author: Anna Yeo (Maitland Mercury)
Maitland-born artist Michael Bell has won the $20,000 annual Cricket Art Prize, with a painting that depicts life in and around the game and sport of cricket.
His work, Last Ball, is making its way around different exhibitions held at Australia's most iconic cricket stadiums, including Sydney and Melbourne cricket grounds.

The Cockfighter - Jan-Feb 2011

Date: Wed 02-Feb-11
Author: The Cockfighter
Volume 9 Issue 1 - From the Editor - Wine News - Broke Flood Appeal - George Souris - Wild Dogs - Time Out - Our Community - Milbrodale School - Technology - Our Wildlife

NSW Govt Coal Strategy Paper breaks its repeated promises on protecting the Liverpool Plains

Date: Wed 02-Feb-11
Author: Tim Duddy
Independent candidate for the Upper Hunter Tim Duddy says the NSW Premier must immediately explain a Department of Planning document which says mining is likely ?on and under the black soils of the Liverpool Plains? - directly contradicting repeated assurances given to the community.

Scoping paper - too little, too late?

Date: Wed 02-Feb-11
Author: Bronwyn Farr (The Land)
NSW FARMERS questioned where the NSW Government was heading with its "scoping paper seeking input from the public and key stakeholder groups to guide the preparation of a NSW Coal and Gas Strategy".

Laguna School Newsletter - 2 Feb 2011 (56kb PDF)

Date: Wed 02-Feb-11
Author: Laguna Public School
Our start of the year has been very smooth! Our students are already working towards their outcomes.
Welcome to our clever and grown up Kinder students: Jaimie, Harry, Flynn and Rudi.
Welcome to our new Year 1 student Ryder and his mum Skye. Staff are looking forward to working with all students K-6.

Cessnock District Cricket report - February 2, 2011

Date: Wed 02-Feb-11
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
Paxton (Laguna) 9/139 (D. Jackson 37, M. Dickson 21, G. Kelso 17, S. Sullivan 16, R. Hindmarsh 5-27 off 10, A. Sadler 2-31 off 8, Z. Tyne 2-14 off 5) defeated Pedens Hotel 125 (D. Fletcher 80, T. Williams 2-23 off 10, S. Sullivan 2-40 off 10, G. Kelso 2-27 off 9, D. Jackson 2-29 off 9).

Souris slams AGL in email

Date: Wed 02-Feb-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
COALITION MP George Souris is said to have toughened his stance on coal seam gas, telling AGL representatives it could "save a lot of time for everyone in the future" by surrendering its exploration licences in the Hunter.
The Hunter Valley Protection Alliance has circulated excerpts of an email it says Mr Souris sent to the representatives last week after its lobbyists offered him a briefing on their exploration in his Upper Hunter electorate.

Camberwell Church

Date: Tue 01-Feb-11
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
THE campaign to save St Clement's was delivered a knockout blow on Thursday night with the Singleton parish council casting their vote not to spend $375,000 of insurance money on the restoration of the church.

Funeral arrangements for Nigel

Date: Tue 01-Feb-11
Author: Graham Jackson
I have seen the family today and spent some time with them. The arrangements are that the Funeral will be at the Rose Chapel of the Palmdale Crematorium at 11am next Thursday 3 Feb 2011.

Minister trumpets regional value of Part 3A: ignores community pain

Date: Tue 01-Feb-11
Author: NSW Greens
"Planning Minister Tony Kelly's assertions today about the vaue of Part 3A of the planning system for regional NSW shows just how out of touch his government is with public opinion," Greens MP and lead Upper House candidate David Shoebridge said while touring Northern NSW. Read Minister Kelly's release.

"Communities across regional NSW are involved in battling Part 3A developments. The laws are emblematic of all that is wrong with NSW's planning system.They allow the approval of developments without community consultation or adherence to local planning or environmental regulations.

Lunch box safety

Date: Tue 01-Feb-11
Author: Laguna Public School
Students are returning to school in one of the hottest months of the year and summer temperatures provide an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.

It's important to keep your child's food cool in order to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Survey reveals Hunter's sick rivers

Date: Tue 01-Feb-11
Author: ABC Newcastle
A survey of the Hunter's waterways has revealed the health of some is so poor they could be at risk of dying completely.

The Catchment Management Authority's recent Waterwatch Survey recorded high phosphorus levels at two-thirds of the 200 rivers and creeks that were monitored in the Upper and Lower Hunter.

Nigel Webber

Date: Mon 31-Jan-11
Author: Graham Jackson
I wanted to let everyone know that Nigel died today about 1pm. It was a very calm and comfortable release....what I would call a good death. Ros said that he went into hospital yesterday after getting his steam train off and running. He was feeling very weak. When he arrived at the hospital he settled down immediately and seemed to lose all his worries.

Jack Mundey, National Trust, Leichhardt Council, Sydney Councillors & Greens start new campaign against Barangaroo

Date: Mon 31-Jan-11
Author: Street Corner (Sydney City)
The AfSD alliance will push for a reversal of what they call 'some of the worst planning decisions made by the NSW Labor Government' including; the current development plan for Barangaroo, White Bay cruise ship terminal, Huntlee New Town development near Braxton, Chatswood residential development and the Newcastle City Redevelopment.

Air quality control needed, say Rutherford residents

Date: Mon 31-Jan-11
Author: Briony Snedden (Maitland Mercury)
Up to 30 residents from the Rutherford anti-stink campaign and those with concerns about uncovered coal wagons traversing the city presented a "compelling case" for air monitoring in Maitland.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said a meeting between himself, Greens Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon, the party's candidate for Maitland John Brown and residents on Saturday, reinforced the case for an air quality control system for the region.

Nationals in campaign for Cessnock

Date: Mon 31-Jan-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
THE parliamentary wing of the NSW Nationals will visit Cessnock today to bolster its campaign for the previously safe Labor seat where the government is facing a mounting backlash over its sale of electricity assets.

Threat to murder NSW Labor MP Clayton Barr's children and pregnant wife

Date: Sat 29-Jan-11
Author: Andrew Clennell (Daily Telegraph)
A LABOR candidate for the state election has gone to police over a death threat his pregnant wife received in the mail which threatened his children.

The Daily Telegraph understands the wife of Clayton Barr, the candidate for Cessnock, received a letter addressed to her which contained the words: "Clay pulls out or I start shooting kids".

Nationals will battle for Coalition cabinet seats

Date: Sat 29-Jan-11
Author: Alexandra Smith (SMH)
At 72, Alison Davey will be the oldest new MP in Macquarie Street if she manages to win herself a seat. The retired school principal is the National Party's candidate in Cessnock, the blue-collar town that has been safely in Labor hands since the 1920s, except for a brief Liberal interlude in 1988.

George Souris response to a request for an AGL Briefing

Date: Fri 28-Jan-11
Author: George Souris
Upper Hunter sitting member George Souris was asked for a meeting with AGL by Government Relations Australia Advisory Pty Ltd - this was his great response (posted with permission)...

Wollombi Valley Update - 27 January 2011

Date: Thu 27-Jan-11
Author: Peter Firminger et al
For those of you hoping for Foggy Mountain Jam on 19 March, unfortunately it will not be happening at this time due to many artists now having fund-raising commitments in Queensland. A date later in the year is still being looked at. We'll let you know as soon as something firms up.

Duddy eyes State seat

Date: Thu 27-Jan-11
Author: Alan Dick (The Land)
CAROONA district farmer and activist against coal exploration on the Liver-pool Plains, Tim Duddy, will stand as an Independent for the seat of Upper Hunter in the March State election.
He will have a formidable task to beat the sitting member, The Nationals' George Souris, who won with 64.7 per cent of the two-party preferred vote in the 2007 election.

Cessnock District Cricket report - January 26, 2011

Date: Wed 26-Jan-11
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Greta/Branxton 7/146 (C. Bonar 62, S. Wilkinson 32 no, K. Wilkinson 21, N. Lawrence 7 no, S. Sullivan 4-47 off 10, C. Howe 2-35 off 10) defeated Paxton (Laguna) 8/143 (A. Taylor 41, W. Kowaluk 30, D. Jackson 28, M. Priest 2-29 off 6, J. Wilkinson 2-16 off 4, M. Wilkinson 2-8 off 2).

Duddy calls for mine moratorium

Date: Wed 26-Jan-11
Author: Don Mahony (Mudgee Guardian)
Liverpool Plains farmer and agricultural advocate Tim Duddy launched his campaign for the seat of Upper Hunter with a vow to represent the people of the Bylong Valley in their campaign to save the valley from coal miners.
Mr Duddy, who chairman of the Caroona Coal Action Group, said he had spoken to the people of Bylong before the current push to mine the valley for coal became a public issue.

Dumb response

Date: Tue 25-Jan-11
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
The Department of Planning's stunning response to the blast at a local coal mine only adds to the element of frustration between industry and community.
On one hand we are told the blasts are unacceptable and on the other we are told that these blasts comply.

But then, the department goes on to say that it will remind the mine of the need to minimise fume in mine blasts.

Duddy launch

Date: Tue 25-Jan-11
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
INDEPENDENT candidate for the seat of Upper Hunter Tim Duddy officially launched his campaign in Singleton yesterday with a strong turnout.
Thirty-three people turned out to hear from Mr Duddy with the crowd keen to quiz him on party politics and preferences. At the top of the list however was industry including mining and the environment.

Mine told to minimise blast fumes

Date: Tue 25-Jan-11
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
XSTRATA Coal has advised the Department of Planning (DoP)they are trialing new blast products with the aim of reducing fumes in wet conditions.
The department’s own inquiry into the blast on January 11 at Bulga Coal that emitted orange fumes into the immediate atmosphere found that the blast complied with requirements but have reminded the mine of the need to minimise fume in mine blasts.

Gloves are off

Date: Tue 25-Jan-11
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
SINGLETON has entered campaign mode with the two candidates vying for the state seat for Upper Hunter already making election promises.
Yesterday, incumbent state member George Souris said a full investigation into Singleton's highway by-pass, or at least a heavy vehicle by-pass, would be conducted if his party was to win at the March election.

Education tax refund

Date: Mon 24-Jan-11
Author: Laguna Public School
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to keep their receipts from education related expenses to take advantage of a federal government tax initiative.

The Education Tax Refund (ETR) gives you refunds of 50% on a range of primary and secondary school education expenses.

Local farmer to stand as independent in state election

Date: Mon 24-Jan-11
Author: ABC Upper Hunter
Liverpool Plains farmer Tim Duddy says he has plenty of experience to help guide government policy when it comes to conflicting land-use in the Upper Hunter.

Cessnock Councillor Chris Parker will stand as the Greens candidate in the Upper Hunter seat.

Campaigner runs for office

Date: Fri 21-Jan-11
Author: Prime News (Tamworth)
Caroona Coal campaigner Tim Duddy is preparing to wrestle the National Party for the Upper Hunter. The Liverpool Plains farmer will stand as independent for the state seat at the March election. Fighting to become an advocate for regional Australia in just nine weeks.

Report on Cessnock roadwork held back

Date: Fri 21-Jan-11
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
Cessnock City Council has been accused of sitting on an independent report into the council's roadworks performance and quality of work since late last year.
Greens councillor James Ryan accused the council of hiding or doctoring the report after he was advised by a spokeswoman for mayor Alison Davey that the independent report was "in draft form and the review is yet to be completed".

Wollombi Valley Update - 20 January 2011

Date: Thu 20-Jan-11
Author: Peter Firminger et al
It's nice to be able to post to this list again without it being bad news. Please feel free to post news and events listings on the Wollombi Website, the Wollombi NSW Facebook group or just send them to me and I'll take care of it for you

Hunter hemp hub: closer to commercial viability

Date: Thu 20-Jan-11
Author: Lyric Anderson (Hunter Valley News)
And given another season the Hunter is touted to become the hub of hemp growing in NSW.
Queensland company Ecofibre, headed by managing director Phil Warner, has leased a property at Jerrys Plains where it plans to process the hemp.

Fraud Alert

Date: Wed 19-Jan-11
Author: Mike Wilson
Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism have alerted us to a fraudster using local accommodation and services. Cessnock Police have been notified of this man and have notified the public in today's Cessnock Advertiser.

Go For Broke - Queensland Flood Appeal

Date: Wed 19-Jan-11
Author: Mechelina Inzitari and Graeme Gibson
The Broke Village Store and the Broke Rural Fire Brigade are collaborating to hold a fundraising event in aid of the QLD floods. Our night will include a BBQ, raffles and auctions.

Cessnock District Cricket Report - January 19, 2011

Date: Wed 19-Jan-11
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
Paxton (Laguna) 5/166 (D. Jackson 87, A. Taylor 59, S. Knott 2-27 off 10, T. Goldman 2-18 off 6) defeated Supporters 135 (J. Lindner 65, B. Good 26, T. Goldman 14, G. Kelso 4-47 off 10, S. Sullivan 2-19 off 10, K. Barnett 2-3 off 2).

Dr Au continues his study of health impacts of mining

Date: Tue 18-Jan-11
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
THE toxic cloud that erupted into the sky after a mine blast last week has Singleton’s Dr Tuan Au eager to continue his study of the health impacts of mining.
With school due to start in a matter of weeks, Dr Au is getting the motions in place to continue his study of 800 students and add a further 100 to his five-year study.

Just for Openers

Date: Mon 17-Jan-11
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
The first game back after the holiday break was at our own Laguna Cricket Ground. Those present saw a wonderful display of patient and determined batting.

Coal Seam Gas remains under Wollombi

Date: Sat 15-Jan-11
Author: Sean Gough
The internationally acclaimed film "Gasland" provides a frightening understanding of what does happen when Coal Seam Methane Gas fields are developed. Will and Cate Sadler have very kindly agreed to show the film in their hall on the evenings of the 29th and 30th January. This will include a presentation followed by a question and answer session.

An unwelcome development

Date: Sat 15-Jan-11
Author: Kelsey Munro (SMH)
Planning laws are under fire as one town faces off with developers again, writes Kelsey Munro.

THE hand-painted banners are up again at Catherine Hill Bay as residents of the coastal hamlet south of Newcastle brace for another round in the battle against developers who want to build 800 houses in their heritage-listed town of only 100 dwellings.

Bulga residents fear toxic plume

Date: Fri 14-Jan-11
Author: ABC News
Upper Hunter residents say it's crucial mine blasting activities are better regulated after a large plume, feared toxic, was seen over Bulga.

Resident and former Singleton Mayor, Graeme Gibson says a large orange cloud was emitted from the Bulga Coal mine on Tuesday afternoon.

NSW Liberals and Nationals plan for more hazard reduction to safeguard Cessnock homes

Date: Thu 13-Jan-11
Author: Alison Davey & Hon Melinda Pavey MLC
A NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will increase the amount of hazard reduction around Cessnock to better safeguard homes and businesses, Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Melinda Pavey and The Nationals candidate for Cessnock Alison Davey said today.

State nod for third Hunter coal track

Date: Wed 12-Jan-11
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
THE state government has approved a $210 million third rail track from Maitland to Minimbah despite concerns about the noise impacts of more coal trains on existing and proposed housing in burgeoning suburbs.

The department acknowledged the implications for land use planning would need to be carefully considered by it and councils, including any impact on the proposed town Huntlee.

WVAC Arts News January/February 2011

Date: Tue 11-Jan-11
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
ARTS NEWS - Wollombi Valley Arts Council's Jan/Feb 2011 events at the Wollombi Cultural Centre

Mums in clear call for air monitors

Date: Tue 11-Jan-11
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
Gloucester mothers concerned about the growing incidence of respiratory problems in their area are campaigning to have air-quality monitors, recently introduced in the Upper Hunter, expanded to cover their town.
An arm of the organisation Gloucester Residents in Partnership, the mothers' group is also lobbying against further mining development in their town.

Coalmine growth threatens to choke villages

Date: Tue 11-Jan-11
Author: Matthew Kelly (The Herald)
Upper Hunter communities could be subjected to even greater levels of pollution in the next decade due to the continued expansion of the coalmining, a new report says. With coal production predicted to grow at 2per cent a year for the next 20 years, some fear their communities will become uninhabitable.
The international best practice study calls for more stringent pollution controls to protect Upper Hunter communities.

Nationals in race to scoop safe Labor seat in Cessnock

Date: Fri 07-Jan-11
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
CESSNOCK MP Kerry Hickey's controversial retirement from state politics has left the safe Labor seat vulnerable to attack from prominent National and Greens party candidates, December polling has shown.
The National Party will run a "full marginal seat campaign" backing candidate, Cessnock mayor Alison Davey, after polling showed "we've got a shot" despite a 12.4 per cent margin to Labor, campaign director Ross Cadell said.

Council concerns over Greta train facility

Date: Wed 05-Jan-11
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock City Council will contact the NSW Director of Planning advising that it does not support the proposed location of the Train Support Facility (TSF) at Greta.

The TSF would have an unacceptable impact on the local communities of Greta and Branxton as well as the future community at Anvil Creek and potential new community at Huntlee in terms of noise, light spill, air pollution and traffic.

Sweetwater Action Group may take Huntlee fight back to court

Date: Wed 05-Jan-11
Author: The Advertiser
Sweetwater Action Group President, Cr. Chris Parker said the group will be seeking detailed legal advice regarding the Huntlee approval announced by the Planning Minister late last month.
"After reading the decision we believe we have grounds to have the court set this decision aside however we will dot our I's and cross our T's and get the full complement of professional advice before we make a commitment to take action," Cr. Parker said.

Huntlee New Town go ahead

Date: Wed 05-Jan-11
Author: The Advertiser
A new planning regime for the Huntlee New Town site near Branxton has been formally adopted with increased environmental protection, monetary contributions for ongoing conservation and the capacity for up to 7500 new dwellings.
A State significant site (SSS) listing and voluntary planning agreement (VPA) for the 1700 hectare site were publicly exhibited in September-October and have now been approved by Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly.

Cessnock Electorate - NSW 2011

Date: Sat 01-Jan-11
Author: The Tally Room
Cessnock is a heartland Labor seat, and would normally be considered safe. In the current climate, however, a 12% margin does not appear very safe at all.

VALE Trevor Winn

Date: Thu 30-Dec-10
Author: Stan, Janet, Ken and Gai Winn
Dad passed away this morning at around 7:00 a.m. He died peacefully in his sleep while his brother was waking up in his room at Greenwich.

Fresh Huntlee battles look set for court

Date: Thu 30-Dec-10
Author: Kelsey Munro (SMH)
THE state's biggest single housing development is likely to head back to court again despite the Planning Minister's pre-Christmas approval which paved the way for a 1700 hectare Hunter Valley bush site to become a new town.

Tony Kelly's approval for the planned town of Huntlee, near Branxton, includes rezoning the land for 7500 homes, 200 hectares of commercial development and 624 hectares of conservation land.

Achieving the rural dream

Date: Mon 27-Dec-10
Author: Stephen Williams (The Herald)
SALLY Fisher has been living the dream for about 10 years now at her eight-hectare (20-acre) Millfield property, between Cessnock and Wollombi.
An escapee from Sydney, she has a background in bush regeneration, horticulture, and propagation, specialising in native plants.

WVAC Arts News December 2010/January 2011

Date: Sun 26-Dec-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
The WVAC's 2010 committee wishes all our members, friends and supporters of the Wollombi Cultural Centre (WCC) a very Happy Christmas and NEW Year.

HVPA Concerns

Date: Fri 24-Dec-10
Author: Stewart Ewen - HVPA
The HVPA has 3 concerns that we put to each candidate running for the State election to think about and comment on prior to January 19, 2011:

Nats Letter to the Editor

Date: Thu 23-Dec-10
Author: Bree Price
Andrew Stoner MP has asked me to forward you a copy of a Letter to the Editor co-signed by several Nationals MPs in regard to coal seam gas extraction.

Please find the letter attached.

Activity Update Singleton Training Area Dec 10 - Jan 11

Date: Thu 23-Dec-10
Author: Major Denny Grezdo
Just dropping a line to update you on our schedule up until the end of January 2011. As you may have noticed, all is quiet and has been for around a fortnight. This will be the case up until the 17th Jan.

Possible legal challenge over Huntlee approval

Date: Thu 23-Dec-10
Author: ABC News
A Hunter region residents group is seeking legal advice on a possible appeal against the latest State Government approval for the massive Huntlee residential project.

The Planning Minister this week approved a conservation agreement and listed the site near Branxton as State Significant, paving the way for land to be rezoned for more than seven-thousand new homes.

Huntlee stirs outrage

Date: Wed 22-Dec-10
Author: Todd Dagwell (The Herald)
CESSNOCK councillor James Ryan believes the Huntlee development plan will end up back in the Land and Environment Court after NSW Minister for Planning Tony Kelly approved it as a state significant site yesterday.
Cr Ryan said Cessnock Council saw strong grounds for an appeal and would work closely with the various community action groups against this development.

Huntlee Given Nod (Video)

Date: Tue 21-Dec-10
Author: Tyson Cottrill (NBN News)
The state government has cleared the way for the Huntlee development near Branxton, following years of controversy.
The move has angered the New South Wales Greens, who say the fate of an endangered plant has now been sealed.

It is all about rules of consent

Date: Tue 21-Dec-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
Mining consent is a pretty straight forward issue.
The mine sets out its plan,regular people and government departments comment on the proposal and Department of Planning determine if the mine should or should not go ahead.

When mines are approved, and they usually are, they come will a raft of conditions of consent.

Wambo Homestead to be upgraded

Date: Tue 21-Dec-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
WAMBO homestead will be upgraded before any decision is made on its future.
Back in September Peabody Resources announced plans it wanted to have the homestead removed from the State Heritage Register because of its state of disrepair.

Stock route lost

Date: Tue 21-Dec-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
A DECISION to give NuCoal Resources a lease for a travelling stock reservation at Jerrys Plains has outraged local farmers.
The stock reserve, located on the corner of Appletree Flat and Jones Reserve Roads, will be handed to the proponents of the Doyles Creek mine later this month.

The company will have the grass rights to the land, roughly about 12 acres, for the next 12 months.

Huntlee homes declared state significant

Date: Tue 21-Dec-10
Author: ABC Newcastle
The state's largest residential development, Huntlee in the Hunter Valley, has been declared a State Significant Site as the Greens step up efforts to protect an endangered plant on the site.

The Planning Minister, Tony Kelly has today approved a new planning regime for Huntlee, paving the way for seven-and-a-half thousand new homes.

Significant step for site

Date: Tue 21-Dec-10
Author: Todd Dagwell (The Herald)
THE Huntlee residential site near Branxton will have its state significant site classification approved today only a month after Cessnock City Council raised concerns about contamination on the site.
The council asked the State Department of Planning to withdraw Huntlee's status as a state significant site, in November, until further information became available on the extent of contamination on the former mining site.

Historic Singleton homestead in way of $2bn coal deposit

Date: Tue 21-Dec-10
Author: Debra Jopson (The Herald)
SHE is a grand old lady of the colonial era, looking tired and a little tipsy, with 20 million tonnes of premium Hunter Valley coal worth $2 billion under her skirts wanted for export to Japan.
Wambo Homestead, built in 1830, is on the path to possibly becoming the first protected property de-listed from the state heritage register under changes to the NSW Heritage Act, which came into effect in January, because the world's biggest private sector coal company wants to mine the seam under it.

MACS Newsletter

Date: Sun 19-Dec-10
Author: Nick Mason
Those of you who were around at the time of our first Newsletter will remember that we said we did not propose to bombard you with updates. Nearing the end of the first full year of operation, however, it seemed an appropriate time so attached is Newsletter 2.

Greens to Influence Outcome in Cessnock

Date: Sun 19-Dec-10
Author: Cessnock Kurri Greens
At a meeting of members and supporters the Greens candidate for Cessnock, James Ryan outlined the important influence the Greens would play in the up coming State election.

Coal seam gas

Date: Fri 17-Dec-10
Author: Singleton Argus
THE local campaign against Coal Seam Gas is being taken to Sydney to help another community fight the exploration. Members of the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance and executive officer John Thomson will be protesting in Sydney in support of the St Peters community who got the shock announcement of approval of an exploration drill site.

From the Mayors Desk - 17 December 2010

Date: Fri 17-Dec-10
Author: Alison Davey
Council again endorsed the General Manager's restructure plans at the Extra Ordinary Meeting held on 15 December 2010. Miss Lea Rosser will now proceed with the implementation of the endorsed proposal from the commencement of the 2011 Council year.

Coal Tax

Date: Thu 16-Dec-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
NEW South Wales must be seen as a resource state if it has any chance of cashing in on the Mineral Resources Rent Tax and Singleton must have projects ready to go now.

This is the view of the NSW Minerals Council vice president Sue-Ern Tan.

Laguna School Newsletter - 15 Dec 2010 (72kb PDF)

Date: Wed 15-Dec-10
Author: Laguna Public School
Staff wish all families a very merry
Christmas and a restful holiday. Thank
you for your support throughout the
year.

Two more candidates confirmed for seat of Cessnock

Date: Wed 15-Dec-10
Author: The Advertiser
The race for the Seat of Cessnock at the March 2011 State Elections entered a new phase over the weekend with Labor pre-selection finalised and a new candidate announcing his intentions.
Clayton Barr won the Labor pre-selection ballot and first term Cessnock councillor, Allan McCudden announced he will be a candidate.

Landcare Newsletter December 2010

Date: Tue 14-Dec-10
Author: Graham Taylor
Please find attached a copy of the December issue of the Wollombi Valley Landcare Newsletter.

Santa at Wollombi General Store

Date: Tue 14-Dec-10
Author: Sally Sullivan
Santa will pay us a visit for photos on Thursday 16th, Monday 20th, Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd at 10am till 11am and 3pm till 4pm each day. Bring your camera and bring your smile.

Gardener Hoes Through Railway Hotel

Date: Tue 14-Dec-10
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
Greg Kelso took 5 wickets for no runs with his last 8 balls to finish with the astonishing figures of 7/11 off 7.4 overs to lead Laguna to a 104 run victory over the Railway Hotel on Saturday

Fostering natural renewal with new technique

Date: Mon 13-Dec-10
Author: Stephen Williams (The Herald)
IT is good to know there are still places in the Hunter where you can drink straight from the stream. Such a place is the upper reaches of Watagan Creek, not far from Laguna, the home since 1985 of Bill and Betty Hicks.

Air monitoring is just a start

Date: Fri 10-Dec-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
The air quality monitoring network may fall short in some expectations but it is a start.
Experts say their is no national guidelines for safe levels of particulate matter 2.5s.

This has been the reason the state government initially indicated it would not measure the 2.5s.

Inquiry urged over Cessnock council revamp

Date: Fri 10-Dec-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
CESSNOCK councillors fearing a return to the bad old days of closed council sessions and a "culture of gifts and benefits" have appealed to the Department of Local Government to intervene after a closed session vote for a major council restructure on Wednesday.
Three councillors have asked department chief executive Ross Woodward to investigate an alleged breach of the Local Government Act over the council's handling of the restructure, which was approved by a majority of councillors despite the lack of a financial evaluation of possible costs.

Cessnock councillor faces drink-driving charge

Date: Fri 10-Dec-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
CESSNOCK councillor James Hawkins, who recently denied claims he was drunk at a council meeting, has been charged with drink-driving.
Cr Hawkins, 29, who is seeking Labor Party pre-selection for the state seat of Cessnock, was stopped by police on McDonald's Road, Pokolbin, near Cypress Lakes resort, on Saturday afternoon.

Grey nomads need disposal points

Date: Thu 09-Dec-10
Author: Cessnock City Council
The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia will be approached by Cessnock Council to support the installation of two more dump points for travellers to the LGA.

WVAC Arts News December 2010

Date: Thu 09-Dec-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
The WVAC's 2010 committee wishes all our members, friends and supporters of the Wollombi Cultural Centre (WCC) a very Happy Christmas.

Wednesday Forum: Re-imagining Newcastle

Date: Wed 08-Dec-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
This time I want to deal with a different issue, the best way of re-imagining Newcastle.

To help you here, assume that there is suddenly a New England state. Newcastle as the biggest city, bigger still if we include the surrounding urban areas, suddenly has an opportunity to carve out a new and independent role free of previous constraints.

Laguna School Newsletter - 8 Dec 2010 (67kb PDF)

Date: Wed 08-Dec-10
Author: Laguna Public School
Congratlations to students for their wonderful efforts at last nights presentation evening

The Nationals: Cr Alison Davey - Candidate for Cessnock

Date: Sat 04-Dec-10
Author: The Nationals - NSW
Alison Davey is an extraordinary local champion. She has lived in Cessnock for forty years and has passionately pursued a teaching career over that time, teaching at West Cessnock and East Maitland Public Schools.

Hickey outspoken in farewell

Date: Sat 04-Dec-10
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
CESSNOCK MP Kerry Hickey has farewelled state parliament in a speech that spanned his start in politics almost 20 years ago, a shorter-lived ministerial role, criticisms of privatisation, and the controversy surrounding his retirement.
Mr Hickey was among departing MPs to give valedictory speeches this week, as the parliament wound down ahead of the March state election.

From the Mayors Desk - 3 December 2010

Date: Fri 03-Dec-10
Author: Alison Davey
Thursday 9 December is Council's Christmas Carols 'Carols in the Park' event. Come along and enjoy a night of great entertainment and hear Cessnock East Public School Choir along with our many talented local artists who will put on a wonderful evening of Christmas music.

Concerns at water release

Date: Thu 02-Dec-10
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
Flawed inquiry alleged - An environmental group has complained to the NSW Ombudsman over what it describes as a flawed government investigation into the discharge of more than 120,000 litres of highly saline water from a bore at Bulga.

The Hunter Valley Protection Alliance said it also had serious concerns about government oversight of activities associated with coal seam gas exploration, as environmental regulators were not involved in the investigation and no official site samples were taken.

New gas committee by early 2011

Date: Wed 01-Dec-10
Author: ABC Newcastle
NSW Primary Industries Minister, Steve Whan, intends to have a new Hunter Gas Community Consultative Commitee in place by early next year.

He decided to scrap the committee consulting with AGL Energy in the Bulga-Broke area, near Singleton, because of the widespread concern about coal seam gas exploration across the Hunter Valley.

Demand for coal royalties to return

Date: Wed 01-Dec-10
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
Nearly three-quarters of the lucrative coalmining royalties the state government collects come from the Hunter, the NSW Auditor General has reported.
The report showed the Hunter contributed $897 million, or 73 per cent, of the state total of $1.233billion paid to the government in 2008-09. If Gloucester's $21million is counted, the region contributed 75 per cent of the coal tally.

Residents to continue meeting over gas exploration

Date: Tue 30-Nov-10
Author: ABC Newcastle
Hunter Valley residents intend to keep a Community Consultative Committee (CCC) operating even though it has been officially scrapped by the State Government.

The group has consulted with AGL Energy for the past three years on its coal seam methane gas exploration in the Broke and Bulga areas, south of Singleton.

The Shopkeepers Do It Again

Date: Tue 30-Nov-10
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
Steve Sullivan (4/7 off 9.2 overs) and Tim Williams (3/19 off 10) did it again for Laguna this time they did it with the ball. After their success with the bat two weeks ago, they lead the way to help Laguna defeat Peden's hotel by 5 wickets on Saturday 27th November.

Upper Hunter gas community group disbanded

Date: Tue 30-Nov-10
Author: Ian Kirkwood (The Herald)
The state government has dissolved an Upper Hunter coal-seam gas committee, saying it was time for a statewide review of the way such committees operate.
Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan said he had dissolved the Bulga Community Consultative Committee because it was time for ‘‘a comprehensive review of the charter for consultative committees across NSW’’.

But a spokeswoman for the minister confirmed last night that the Bulga committee was the only one being shut down.

Gasland - Newcastle Premier

Date: Mon 29-Nov-10
Author: The Herald
Only Newcastle screening of this Internationally acclaimed film - not to be missed!


This film shows American filmmaker Josh Fox unravelling the environmental hazards of hydraulic fracturing aka 'fracking' occuring throughout the US in the current gas drilling boom.

Highway no towns barrier

Date: Sat 27-Nov-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
A CESSNOCK councillor has scoffed at reports of harsh economic times for coalfields towns once the Hunter Expressway was built and said Branxton, Kurri Kurri and Cessnock would flourish, not flounder.
Cr Allan McCudden was responding to a Newcastle Herald report this month in which Cessnock Greens councillor James Ryan called on the ALP and Coalition to guarantee to fund a rescue package for the three centres once the expressway was operational.

Problem with ABC's NSW Stateline

Date: Fri 26-Nov-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
A number of people have complained to me about the lack of Northern NSW coverage on the ABC's Stateline program. Every so often you will get a big story such as Newcastle renewal hits the wall, but generally Northern issues are relegated to around the regions snippets.

Gas drill protest rally today

Date: Fri 26-Nov-10
Author: Damon Cronshaw (The Herald)
A protest rally will be held at Newcastle City Hall today about the NSW government's decision to approve a controversial plan for exploratory gas drilling 55 kilometres off Newcastle.
The rally will coincide with a community consultative meeting set up to consider the project.

Laguna School Newsletter - 24 Nov 2010 (53kb PDF)

Date: Wed 24-Nov-10
Author: Laguna Public School
Congratulations to all senior students on your work on the solar cooker project for term 4. The designs were fantastic.

Two Hunter Councils say no to caged eggs

Date: Mon 22-Nov-10
Author: ABC News
The group, Animal Liberation is urging other Hunter Councils to follow Newcastle and Cessnock's lead in banning the use of caged eggs. The two were among the first of 19 Councils in the state to introduce the bans. Animal Liberation spokeswoman, Lynda Stoner says she hopes others follow suit.

Farmers back planning over coal seam gas bans

Date: Mon 22-Nov-10
Author: ABC News
NSW Farmers Association believes better planning rather than blanket bans is the best way to address coal seam gas exploration concerns in the Hunter Valley.

"What we would prefer to see rather than blanket bans everywhere, we believe people want some certainty about the development of these industries," chairwoman of the Association's mining taskforce, Fiona Simson said.

More on New England's Battle Song

Date: Sun 21-Nov-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Back in February 2010 in Battle Song of New England I talked about the New England New State anthem. I have reproduced the original post below so that you don't have to click back. Now I have more information on derivation.

Outrage at plans to drill for gas under Sydney

Date: Sun 21-Nov-10
Author: Pip Hinman (Green Left Weekly)
The big "greenwash" of gas as the new "green energy" isn't going down well in inner-city Sydney.

On November 14, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed gas exploration would start within two months in the inner-city suburb of St Peters.

Singleton Shire Healthy Environment Group

Date: Sun 21-Nov-10
Author: Singleton Argus
FOR the first time a panel of state government representatives fronted the community in Singleton last Thursday in an open dialogue exchange seen by some as the start of a new era of dealing with coal mining issues.
It has been two years since the Singleton Shire Healthy Environment Group (SSHEG) was formed and last week's meeting gave unanimous support to the group to continue to pursue health, environment and mining practice issues on behalf of the community.

What's in a name - the case of New England

Date: Sat 20-Nov-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
It's very interesting the way definitions affect perceptions. The use and abuse of the name New England in Australia is a case in point, one that causes me constant problems.

Growing up, there were two New England's. The first, often called the New England, covered the Northern or New England Tablelands. The second, the name of the prospective new state, covered the Tablelands and the surrounding river valleys in NSW including the Hunter River.

Swimming Safety Program

Date: Fri 19-Nov-10
Author: Laguna Public School
Our students have just completed a Swimming Safety Program at Kurri pool, with students from Wollombi and Congewai joining us

Broke Public School Newsletter - Term 3 Week 6 (1.5mb PDF)

Date: Fri 19-Nov-10
Author: Broke Public School
Special Swimming Scheme - Alpha Show: King Arthur - P&C Family Disco - Newcastle Knights Christmas Event

Coal seam gas

Date: Fri 19-Nov-10
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
A CAMPAIGN to stop coal seam gas exploration in Singleton's grape growing areas has won the support of Singleton Council.

A unanimous vote to ban coal seam gas exploration and development in Singleton's grape growing areas was met with a rapturous applause at Monday's council meeting.

Climate Change Activists - workshop and forums on climate change

Date: Fri 19-Nov-10
Author: Singleton Argus
LAKE Liddell recreation area will be the location for a group of Climate Change Activists who are calling on anyone interested in finding out more about the controversial issue to come along.
Five days of workshops and forums on climate change issues and solutions, along with music and entertainment will complete the camp.

Increase in Activities on Singleton Training Area 20/21 Nov 10

Date: Fri 19-Nov-10
Author: Major Denny Grezdo
I am just giving you an update on activities over the weekend as we will have visiting units. The activity that will be conducted will be involving artillery usage from two Sydney based Army Reserve units. There will be firing on Saturday up to 10pm. The firing should not be consistent, but will be noticable depending on conditions. There will be some firing until 12 o'clock on Sunday as well by one of the units.

From the Mayors Desk - 19 November 2010

Date: Fri 19-Nov-10
Author: Alison Davey
Australia Day nominations close on 29 November 2010. Don't miss your opportunity to nominate a person/s and a group/s that should be recognised for all their great work in our community.

Contaminants study urged

Date: Fri 19-Nov-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
CONCERNS have been raised about contamination on the Huntlee residential site, which has placed the area's State Significant Site classification in jeopardy.
Cessnock City Council voted on Wednesday night to ask the State Department of Planning to withdraw Huntlee's status as a State Significant Site until further information is available for public comment on the extent of contamination on the former mining site.

Toxins found at third site as fracking fears build

Date: Fri 19-Nov-10
Author: Ben Cubby (SMH)
TRACES of toxic chemicals have been found at a ''fracking'' operation to extract coal seam gas - the third time this year that gas producers have detected contamination at a drill site.

Arrow Energy confirmed that benzene, toluene, ethylene and xylene - together known as BTEX - had been found in wells at a gas site east of Mackay, Queensland.

Singleton calls for coal seam gas ban

Date: Thu 18-Nov-10
Author: Australian Mining
The Singleton Council has proposed a ban on coal seam gas exploration and drilling within its shire.

Its council came together for the establishment of the new Land Environment Plan, which would prohibit exploration from areas such as Hermitage Road Belford, Roughit Lane Sedgefield and Broke.

It would also exclude it from Bulga, where Xstrata currently operates an open cut coal mine.

Proposed pipeline through Hunter

Date: Thu 18-Nov-10
Author: Caitlin Andrews (Scone Advocate)
A proposed underground pipeline transporting gas from Narrabri to Newcastle will pass through the Upper Hunter Shire area if approved.
Eastern Star Gas is in the process of investigating the feasibility of developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export base at Kooragang Island near Newcastle.

Gas will be supplied from gas reserves from the Narrabri Coal Seam Gas Project, first established eight years ago.

Cessnock District Cricket Report - November 17, 2010

Date: Wed 17-Nov-10
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Paxton 4/99 (T. Williams 39 no, S. Sullivan 35no, A. Fensom 4-20 off 8) defeated Supporters Gold 95 (A. Fensom 75no, D. Davey 13, J. Bailey 5-25 off 6, S. Sullivan 2-20 off 4, G. Kelso 2-15 off 3)

Laguna School Newsletter - 17 Nov 2010 (53kb PDF)

Date: Wed 17-Nov-10
Author: Laguna Public School
Next month Laguna School will receive a Super
School Award for being an outstanding school in the Hunter/Coalfields region for Active After School Activities.

Residents speak up

Date: Wed 17-Nov-10
Author: The Herald
GRETA business operators and residents have voiced their opposition to a plan by coal train giant Pacific National to build a $110 million coal train provisioning centre in the town.
About 50 community representatives attended a meeting on Monday night organised by Cessnock councillor Dale Troy.

Govt needs to be proactive on air

Date: Tue 16-Nov-10
Author: Michael Campbell (Letter in Singleton Argus)
Having attended the Singleton meeting on 11th Nov and hearing the relaxed approach to monitoring pollution in the region by the Government regional reps reinforces the feeling that the NSW Government continues to ignore the obvious. They already know what falls out of the power complexes and mines into the air.

Folk in Broke

Date: Tue 16-Nov-10
Author: Singleton Argus
MUSIC was the winner at the Folk in Broke Festival earlier this month.
Three stages were set up at Nightingale Wines with some 35 acts performing throughout the two-day event.

Unfortunately, the crowds did not reach the numbers organisers Eden Anthony and Maureen O'Brien had hoped for.

Shopkeepers Bring Home the Bacon

Date: Mon 15-Nov-10
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
An unbeaten 88 run partnership by Tim Williams and Steve Sullivan provided Laguna with it's first win for the season, beating Supporters Gold by 6 wickets.

Concern over proposed location for train support facility

Date: Mon 15-Nov-10
Author: ABC Newcastle
"I think it will be unacceptable and quite silly be putting in the middle of potentially 20 thousand residents over the next 10 or 15 years with major land releases like Huntlee, Anvil Creek and the existing communities of Greta and Branxton."

" You know it's not smart planning and it needs to be moved."

Hunter Valley Protection Alliance holds Joint Strategy Forum

Date: Fri 12-Nov-10
Author: Running Stream Water Users Association
On Saturday 6th November, the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance held a Joint Strategy Forum of the "Coalition of Coal & Methane Gas Community Action Groups" at Broke, which brought together 40 protest groups and communities from Queensland, NSW and Victoria to discuss the issue of destructive coal mining and coal seam gas exploitation across Australia.

The Conference endorsed National Action!

Raising the rampant lion

Date: Fri 12-Nov-10
Author: Kelly Fuller (ABC New England North West)
We will raise the Banner of New England, Work for New England, Fight for New England.

Historian and author Jim Belshaw has been investigating when the rampant lion flag, the symbol of the New England new state movement was first raised.

Coal seam gas

Date: Fri 12-Nov-10
Author: Singleton Argus
COAL seam gas exploration and development in grape growing areas could be prohibited in a new Principal Singleton Local Environment Plan.
Cr Alison Howlett will move a motion at next week's council meeting requesting the prohibition in Broke, Bulga, Hermitage Road and Roughit Lane areas.

Selective high schools 2012

Date: Thu 11-Nov-10
Author: Laguna Public School
Applications are now being accepted for placement at a selective high school in 2012.

If you would like your child to be considered for placement in Year 7 you must submit an application, preferably online.

SALE: Cafe Equipment - Gift shop items - Household stuff

Date: Wed 10-Nov-10
Author: Carrs Macadamia Farm
Big Sellout at Carrs Macadamia Farm, 118 Milbrodale Rd, Milbrodale. All this weekend

Laguna School Newsletter - 10 Nov 2010 (1mb PDF)

Date: Wed 10-Nov-10
Author: Laguna Public School
Anyone attending the lantern parade last
Saturday night would attest to the colour, serenity and spirit of the occasion.

Cessnock City suburbs figure in Tidy Towns awards

Date: Wed 10-Nov-10
Author: The Advertiser
Bucketty, Kurri, Wollombi and Cessnock received awards at the 2011 Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Celebration Weekend held in Lockhart over the weekend.

Tabloid Sports at Millfield!

Date: Mon 08-Nov-10
Author: Laguna Public School
On Thursday 4th November, students from our school joined with students from Millfield, Wollombi and Congewai schools to enjoy an afternoon of fun and games!

Marimba making workshop

Date: Mon 08-Nov-10
Author: Laguna Public School
Members of the community are invitied to attend a marimba making workshop to be held at Laguna School in the near future. Marimbas are percussion instruments with bars or keys made of wood and struck with mallets to make a beautiful sound.

Hunter residents join national group to fight coal and gas developments

Date: Mon 08-Nov-10
Author: ABC Newcastle
A National action group formed in the Hunter Valley at the weekend says its first priority is to seek a moratorium on new coal seam gas and coal mining developments.

Representatives from Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales met in the township of Broke where the local community's fighting a gas exploration project. AGL Energy currently has 10 test wells in the area.

Farmers resist coal seam gas

Date: Sat 06-Nov-10
Author: Jim McIlroy (Green Left Weekly)
"The coal seam gas industry is facing a rural revolt with farmers yesterday threatening to risk arrest and lock their gates to drilling companies", the November 2 Brisbane Courier Mail said.

Is the New England lion Finnish?

Date: Fri 05-Nov-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Yesterday in Saving New England from the dump heap of history I said that I had just done a short radio spot with Kelly Fuller on ABC New England North West on new state symbols.

From the Mayors Desk - 5 November 2010

Date: Fri 05-Nov-10
Author: Alison Davey
Congratulations to Cessnock Advertiser for its 50 years of service to our community which is to be celebrated on 13 November. Cessnock Advertiser has provided this community with essential communication on local issues.

Coalition of Coal & Gas Communities - Broke - 6-Nov-2010 - Morning Tea and Community BBQ!

Date: Thu 04-Nov-10
Author: John C Thomson (HVPA)
Over 45 people from across NSW, QLD and VIC representing almost 30 concerned community, industry and other groups are registered for this weekend's Coalition of Coal & Gas Communities Forum. 4-Corners ABC will be there to film the event as part of their program of the building coalition of communities.

Coal seam gas and coal mining

Date: Thu 04-Nov-10
Author: Singleton Argus
REPRESENTATIVES of over 25 groups will converge at Broke tomorrow to form a united message for the state and federal governments about coal seam gas and coal mining. The representatives are coming from Queensland, Victoria and other parts of New South Wales to formulate a common approach on mining in community areas.

Executive officer for the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance John Thomson said all the groups are calling for the government to do the same thing.

When was the New England rampant lion first raised?

Date: Wed 03-Nov-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
When I did my original research on the history of the new state movement in New England I stopped at the Second World War. I wasn't so much worried about the later period because key elements of that were in my living memory. Now I need to flesh it out.

Huntlee New Town on exhibition

Date: Wed 03-Nov-10
Author: The Advertiser
The NSW Department of Planning has extended the exhibition of a study outlining plans for the Huntlee New Town site near Branxton. The proponent, Huntlee Pty Ltd, is proposing that the site is listed as a State significant site and be rezoned to facilitate its planned urban development. A State significant site study has been placed on exhibition.

James Ryan preselected for Greens

Date: Wed 03-Nov-10
Author: The Advertiser
Greens councillor James Ryan has been preselected as Greens candidate for the seat of Cessnock for the 2011 State election.
He was chosen by the local members of the Cessnock Kurri Greens in a ballot held late last month.

James Ryan preselected for Greens

Date: Wed 03-Nov-10
Author: The Advertiser
"The big issues for Cessnock in the State election will be the attempt to have Huntlee and Sanctuary Villages development proposals approved before the Government changes hands. Additionally the State Governments role in instituting a Planning Panel in Cessnock will be a hot topic. Reforming the Planning System so that local communities again have a voice and decisions are made with integrity is a major election issue," he believes.

Huntlee New Town

Date: Tue 02-Nov-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
SINGLETON Council is expected to make a submission to the NSW Department of Planning today outlining issues with the State Significant Site (SSS) study of the Huntlee New Town.

A report on the SSS Study went before Singleton Council's ordinary meeting last night and described parts of the study as ambiguous.

WVAC Arts News November 2010

Date: Mon 01-Nov-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
Paintings, Mosaics and Masks
An Exhibition of Contrasts
Works from the Great Outdoors
It Just Grew
Adult Jewelery Friday Workshops
Wedding Dress Display

Cricket at Laguna

Date: Mon 01-Nov-10
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
Hi cricket lovers, just a quick note to update you with the season so far. Well what can I say, 4 rounds into the season Laguna Village People have an unbeaten record.

A 1954 Sydney view of the New England New State Movement

Date: Mon 01-Nov-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Browsing the Sydney Morning Herald, I found this article from Monday 18 October, 1954. The slightly bemused tone is reasonably representative of SMH reporting of the time. Acceptance of the arguments, but somewhat dismissive of the outcome.

Call for mining suspension

Date: Sun 31-Oct-10
Author: James Nason (Qld Country Life)
FARMERS in NSW are calling for all new mining and coal seam gas developments in NSW to be suspended until there is a strategic plan which protects food security and agricultural land.
The calls follow a decision by Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, to give the green light to two CSG projects in Queensland worth $30 billion.

Acland - death by coal

Date: Sat 30-Oct-10
Author: Sharyn Munro
After 120 years as a town, Acland, only 35 km north of the city of Toowoomba in Queensland, has lost its community and services, almost all its houses and almost all its people.

It's down to one landowner, Glenn Beutel, and the tenants to whom he has leased the old bakery building for the last decade, plus the occasional looter, visiting sympathiser or shocked and sickened ex-Aclander.

Project is still looking for gas

Date: Sat 30-Oct-10
Author: Kieran Moran (The Observer)
THE Gladstone "Fisherman's Landing" LNG Project is still looking for gas.

The Fisherman's Landing LNG facility was more advanced than all the other LNG projects before gas supplier Arrow Energy was snapped up by Royal Dutch Shell in May.

Aboriginal culture comes alive at Wollombi Corroboree

Date: Sat 30-Oct-10
Author: Todd Dagwell (The Herald)
THE fires of history and tradition will burn brightly in the Hunter Valley tonight at the annual Wollombi Corroboree.
More than 100 people are expected to descend on a Wollombi property to observe a celebration of culture featuring traditional dancing around an open fire.

NEWSMAKER: Fiona Simson

Date: Sat 30-Oct-10
Author: Debra Jopson (SMH)
Passion and land 'too precious to dig up' drive this farmer, writes Debra Jopson.


WORDS bubble out of Fiona Simson, the Gunnedah grazier largely responsible for the state's supreme mining body spitting out the shocking accusation that the NSW Farmers Association is extreme and now aligned with the Greens.

GLNG faces restrictions

Date: Sat 30-Oct-10
Author: Kieran Moran (The Observer)
ENVIRONMENT Minister Tony Burke approved with strict environmental conditions the Santos (GLNG) and Queensland Gas Company (QCLNG) coal seam gas (CSG to liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects last week.

Coal seam gas mining hurting the beef sector, says industry

Date: Fri 29-Oct-10
Author: AAP via Herald Sun
ONE of Queensland's largest beef producers says the coal seam gas industry is the biggest challenge facing the sector and the situation won't be changing any time soon.

"The challenge is sharing our land with mining, or gas explorations," the chief executive of Australian Country Choice (ACC), David Foote, told the Rural Press Club in Brisbane

Water is essential

Date: Fri 29-Oct-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
NO ONE should be surprised at the reaction of the NSW Farmers Association to call for a moratorium on all coal mining.
They had tried the subtle approach. Back in July they requested a moratorium on coal mining next to rivers and streams and on alluvials.

Alluvial flats mining issue

Date: Fri 29-Oct-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Muswellbrook Chronicle)
Adoption of the NSW Office of Water draft guidelines would nip the war between the NSW Farmers and the NSW Minerals Council in the bud.
The draft document, called, Management of Stream/Aquifer Systems in Coal Mining Developments was formulated by the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources and was completed in 2005 but no action has been taken on the guidelines.

Farmers take on coal

Date: Fri 29-Oct-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
ADOPTION of the NSW Office of Water draft guidelines would nip the war between the NSW Farmers Association and the NSW Minerals Council in the bud.

The draft document, called Management of stream/aquifer systems in coal mining developments, was completed in 2005 but no action has been taken on the guidelines.

NSW Goverment under pressure over Hunter Valley mines

Date: Fri 29-Oct-10
Author: ABC News
A Hunter Valley farmer believes its now up to the state government to prove it can strike a balance between coal mining and other land users in the region.

Peter Dixon-Hughes, from Denman, is a member of the NSW Farmers executive council that has met with the NSW Planning Minister, Tony Kelly, to demand a moritorium on new mines and coal seam gas development.

'We are not giving up' on our land

Date: Fri 29-Oct-10
Author: The Daily Liberal (Dubbo)
Irate farmer Heath Webb has stepped up his campaign to stop mining giant Santos searching for coal seam gas in the Tooraweenah district.
The company has been carrying out a seismic study on blue ribbon cropping land as part of a multi-million dollar project extending more than 25,000 square kilometres in the Gunnedah basin.

Fury over Greta coal train site

Date: Fri 29-Oct-10
Author: The Herald
Cr Troy, who will contest the seat of Cessnock as an independent at the March state election, said residents were concerned about "heavy industry" being located on their doorstep and in the middle of a major residential growth area, with Huntlee and Anvil Creek surrounding the site.

A controversial search for gas

Date: Thu 28-Oct-10
Author: Jeannette McMahon (ABC Newcastle)
Exploring coal seams for gas near the towns of Broke and Bulga has caused conflict and controversy between gas company AGL and the local community. 1233's Carol Duncan invited Professor Garry Willgoose from Newcastle University to explain some of the science behind the debate.

Living in gasland

Date: Thu 28-Oct-10
Author: Sandy Long - The River Reporter
DIMOCK, PA - William Farnelli would like to move to Australia because he's heard there isn't any gas drilling there. That's what the fifth-grader told a student from The Homestead School in Glen Spey, NY who traveled with fellow fourth through sixth graders to Dimock for a firsthand look at what it's like to live where natural gas exploration is taking place.

Farmers, Greens oppose LNG

Date: Thu 28-Oct-10
Author: Russel Guse (Central Telegraph)
FARMING and green groups are lining up to oppose the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry's rapid expansion.

Queensland Farmers' Federation chief executive Dan Galligan said the rapid expansion of the gas industry was outpacing the science and planning.

Cessnock Mayor Alison Davey to put an end to Labor's neglect

Date: Thu 28-Oct-10
Author: The Nationals - NSW
Leader of The Nationals Andrew Stoner today welcomed Mayor of Cessnock Alison Davey to the fight against Labor's neglect of the Cessnock region.

Alison Davey has been selected by local Nationals members to run as The Nationals candidate at the next State election.

Moratorium calls unhelpful: NSW oppn

Date: Wed 27-Oct-10
Author: Adam Bennett (SMH)
Calls by farmers for a moratorium on new mining and coal seam gas developments across NSW are unhelpful and may have set back negotiations on a plan for the industry, the state opposition says.

The NSW Farmers Association wants the state government and opposition to support a moratorium so a strategic plan can be developed for the lucrative coal and coal seam gas industries.

Farmers' call for mining moratorium rejected

Date: Wed 27-Oct-10
Author: ABC - AM
The New South Wales Planning Minister Tony Kelly has rejected calls for a moratorium on any new mining or coal seam gas projects in the state.

The New South Wales Farmers Association has called for the halt until after a strategic plan is developed.

Its Vice President Fiona Simpson has told AM that there has been exponential expansion in mining, particularly in the coal seam gas industry.

Gillard Govt should heed NSW Farmers' coal mining moratorium call

Date: Wed 27-Oct-10
Author: The Greens
The Gillard government should heed the call by the NSW Farmers Association today for a moratorium on all new coal, mineral and gas projects until a strategic plan has been developed to protect food security and agricultural land, the Australian Greens said.

The Greens have long called for a moratorium on coal seam gas projects such as those approved by Environment Minister Burke on Friday because of the risks to the water table and agricultural land. The Greens have also campaigned with farmers to protect farming land from encroachment by coal mining.

Minister still waiting on coal seam water tests

Date: Wed 27-Oct-10
Author: ABC News
There is still no word on the results of water quality tests from a coal seam gas project in Queensland's Surat Basin.

The State Government has not revealed who is conducting the independent tests at Australia Pacific LNG's project, west of Miles, in Queensland's southern inland.

Farmers join protest against coal seam gas development

Date: Wed 27-Oct-10
Author: ABC - AM
The New South Wales Farmers Association has joined the growing Opposition in the state against new mining and coal seam gas projects and has called for a moratorium on all development.

The Association says farmers are concerned the industry is expanding exponentially without proper safeguards.

But the Minerals Council of New South Wales and the State Government have rejected the call for a pause in development.

Farmers demand halt to all new mining

Date: Wed 27-Oct-10
Author: Debra Jopson (SMH)
THE state's farmers have called for all new mining and coal seam gas developments in NSW to be suspended until there is a strategic plan which protects food security and agricultural land.

In a move to pressure the state Coalition, which is poised to win government next year, about 80 members of the NSW Farmers' Association's executive meeting in Sydney voted unanimously for a moratorium on all new coal, mineral and gas projects, as well as renewals and extensions of developments.

Coal-seam gas exporters push for higher royalty concessions

Date: Wed 27-Oct-10
Author: Matt Chambers (The Australian)
Coal-seam gas export playersare pressing the government for greater state royalty concessions as part of the resource rent tax compromise.

The companies are planning up to $100 billion of investment in Queensland,

The CSG companies, who include global energy giants Shell, BG Group and ConocoPhillips, believe the government resource tax compromise puts their Queensland projects at a competitive disadvantage to offshore operations.

NSW Oppn won't rule out mining moratorium

Date: Tue 26-Oct-10
Author: AAP via Business Spectator
NSW Opposition industry spokesman Duncan Gay says the coalition won't rule out agreeing to support farmer calls for a moratorium on new mining or coal seam gas development across the state.

NSW miners blast farmers' moratorium call

Date: Tue 26-Oct-10
Author: Danielle McGrane (AAP)
NSW miners have attacked farmers calling for a moratorium on new mining and coal seam gas developments in the state, saying it would threaten $13 billion in new investment.

The NSW Farmers' Association on Tuesday demanded the moratorium, citing environmental concerns, particularly risks posed to farmland and water.

But the NSW Minerals Council, representing the state's $23 billion mining industry, said such a move would be irresponsible, ill-informed and do untold damage to the state's economy and towns.

NSW farmers want new mining moratorium

Date: Tue 26-Oct-10
Author: AAP via SMH
The NSW Farmers' Association is calling for a moratorium on any new mining or coal seam gas development across NSW because of environmental concerns.

The association's executive council voted unanimously in support of a moratorium at a meeting in Sydney on Tuesday.

Who will be Australia's 7th state?

Date: Mon 25-Oct-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
My thanks to Mark Zaicos for this one. The campaign in the Northern Territory for statehood is underway again. You will find the web site here. This means that New England, North Queensland and the NT are all in competition for the honour of becoming Australia's seventh state. All are using a 7th state slogan.

Concerns over water commission role in gas projects

Date: Mon 25-Oct-10
Author: ABC Rural
The rural lobby group Agforce says it is concerned about the Queensland Water Commission's involvement in recently approved coal seam gas projects.

The Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke says he has imposed 300 conditions Santos and BG Group's plans to process gas from the Surat Basin in the state's southern inland.

Don't Frack Me, Bro! - Video

Date: Mon 25-Oct-10
Author: billhuston
Do you think Hydrofracking will be good for your community? THINK AGAIN! This process has destroyed the environment of EVERY place where it's been done.

Utter Madness - Video

Date: Sat 23-Oct-10
Author: primeagLiverpool
Stop the madness of mining and gas exploration on prime agricultural land. Long term food production should not be risked for short term coal and gas.

From the Mayors Desk - 23 October 2010

Date: Sat 23-Oct-10
Author: Alison Davey
On Friday 29 October at the Community Shadow Cabinet Meeting in Maitland, businessman from Kurri Kurri, Mr Toby Thomas, and I will be meeting with Shadow Minister for Police, Michael Gallacher MLC and the Minister for Inter-Governmental Relations, Mr Chris Hartcher MP to press for improvements in the LGA.

Coal seam gas approvals: 'First day' of a dead-end industry

Date: Sat 23-Oct-10
Author: Christine Milne (The Greens)
"The first day of a new industry which stands to destroy farming jobs, prime agricultural land and farming communities, risks poisoning aquifers and will contribute to worsening climate change is no cause for celebration," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

Santos welcomes approval

Date: Sat 23-Oct-10
Author: Sky News
Environment Minister Tony Burke has given conditional environmental approvals for Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas joint venture between Santos Malaysia's Petronas and France's Total and BG Group's Queensland Curtis LNG.

Queensland gas project to create 12,000 jobs

Date: Sat 23-Oct-10
Author: ABC News
The Queensland Resources Council says federal approval of two giant coal seam gas projects in Queensland will create more than 12,000 jobs and generate billions of dollars.

Minister imposes conditions on projects

Date: Sat 23-Oct-10
Author: The Observer
'After rigorous assessments that included public consultation and the advice of experts, I consider that these projects can go ahead without unacceptable impacts on matters protected under national environment law,' Mr Burke said.

Water table will suffer: Environmentalists

Date: Sat 23-Oct-10
Author: AAP via Brisbane Times
Environmentalists say the Great Artesian Basin could be damaged by two new gas projects in central Queensland.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke yesterday conditionally approved the Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas (GLNG) - a joint venture between Santos, Malaysia's Petronas and France's Total - and BG Group's Queensland Curtis LNG

Limits attached to green light for coal gas

Date: Sat 23-Oct-10
Author: Andrew Fraser and Roseanne Barrett (The Australian)
MINING giants British Gas and Santos were last night examining 300 conditions placed on them by the federal government.

The two companies were trying to decide whether their $30 billion coal seam gas projects will go ahead.

Environment Minister Tony Burke released the approval for the two projects late yesterday but the detailed list of conditions for the industry became available only after the close of business.

Councils happy with gas safeguards

Date: Sat 23-Oct-10
Author: Tony Moore (Brisbane Times)
Two Queensland councils say they are happy with environmental safeguards put in place yesterday by the federal government on coal seam gas projects worth $15 billion.

Maranoa and Western Downs councils, both to the west of Toowoomba and covering parts of the Surat Basin where the LNG projects are located, say they welcomed the 300 conditions put in place yesterday by federal Environment Minister Tony Burke.

Major coal seam gas projects approved

Date: Fri 22-Oct-10
Author: AAP via SBS
Environment Minister Tony Burke told a media conference in Canberra on Friday his department had given conditional environmental approvals for Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas (GLNG) - a joint venture between Santos, Malaysia's Petronas and France's Total - and BG Group's Queensland Curtis LNG.

Gas is powering ahead of science: farmers

Date: Fri 22-Oct-10
Author: AAP via SMH
Queensland farmers are maintaining their call for a moratorium on the coal seam gas industry in Queensland's southwest in the face of federal Environment Minister Tony Burke's approval for two major projects.

Broadacre farm lobby AgForce president Brent Finlay says more research was needed.

Conditional approval for gas projects

Date: Fri 22-Oct-10
Author: Sky News
'I have decided that these projects can go ahead without unacceptable impacts on matters protected under national environmental law,' Mr Burke said, revealing he had placed 300 conditions on each of the projects.

Anti-coal seam gas groups want moratorium

Date: Fri 22-Oct-10
Author: ABC News
The Caroona Coal Action Group (CCAG) has announced it is joining with every anti-Coal Seam Gas (CSG) group in New South Wales to form a new body called the New South Wales Gas Alliance.

The new organisation wants the New South Wales government to halt CSG exploration and extraction until independent scientific data is collected showing the process does not contaminate underground water, or damage farmland.

Gas answers must come first

Date: Fri 22-Oct-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
Those behind the coal seam gas exploration protests aren't really asking for too much. All they request is some environmental guarantees before the coal seam gas exploration keeps growing. As the nation continues to strategically plan for future energy uses, it must also guarantee our other natural resources such as rich alluvial land and the water supply is protected.

Stop the gas

Date: Fri 22-Oct-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
PROTESTORS to coal seam gas exploration at Broke Fordwich took the fight to Sydney this week.

Angered and outraged by AGL Energy Limited's coal seam gas exploration in the area, a protest was held outside the AGL annual general meeting yesterday.

Select Committee on reform of the Australian Federation

Date: Fri 22-Oct-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
I am afraid that this one passed me by, something that I regret, until Noric Dilanchian sent me the law Council of Australia submission. I quote from the Inquiry web site:

On 17 June 2010 the Senate referred the following matter to the Select Committee on the Reform of the Australian Federation for inquiry and report.

Farmers concerned by coal seam announcement

Date: Fri 22-Oct-10
Author: ABC - AM
Transcript to come but you can listen

It's all a gas

Date: Fri 22-Oct-10
Author: Kieran Moron (The Observer)
Gladstone's a go for gas.

The Federal Environmental Minister Tony Burke announced the long awaited environmental approvals today of two liquefied natural gas plants on Curtis Island.

The approvals signal a new era for Australian energy and a new era for Gladstone.

AGL exploration in Hunter roasted by big and small

Date: Fri 22-Oct-10
Author: Philip Wen (Businessday)
AGL Energy has defended its coal seam gas exploration in the Hunter Valley after dozens of protesters vented their fury outside the company's annual meeting.

With police keeping a close watch, cries of "AGL go to hell" went up as the company's executives and shareholders arrived for the meeting in Sydney yesterday.

Banker joins noisy Hunter gas protest

Date: Fri 22-Oct-10
Author: Scott Rochfort (SMH)
Not all the arguments between the current and former directors of Macquarie Group relate just to making money and more money. They also involve wine and methane gas.

The wine-quaffing chairman of the silver doughnut, David Clarke, yesterday turned into a concerned citizen when he highlighted the evils of AGL's coal-seam gas drilling activities in the Hunter Valley.

AGL Energy warming towards a rights issue

Date: Fri 22-Oct-10
Author: Michael Bennet (The Australian)
After promising "solid" guidance in August, AGL chief executive Michael Fraser yesterday said underlying full-year 2011 net profit after tax was expected to be $450 million to $480m, or growth of 5 per cent to 12 per cent on $429m in 2010.

The forecast fell short of consensus of a $453m-$488m prior to the energy giant's annual general meeting yesterday, which was marred by protesters, including Macquarie Group chairman David Clarke, concerned about AGL's drilling in the NSW Hunter Valley.

Hunter Valley Coal-Seam Gas Plan Sparks Protest at AGL Meeting in Sydney

Date: Thu 21-Oct-10
Author: James Paton (Bloomberg)
AGL Energy Ltd.'s plan for a coal- bed methane project in Australia's wine-growing and coal-mining Hunter Valley region sparked a protest outside its annual shareholders meeting in Sydney.

Dozens of protesters holding placards and chanting slogans handed flyers to shareholders arriving at the City Recital Hall for today's meeting. Two days ago, Origin Energy Ltd. said it found traces of chemical contaminants at eight coal-seam gas exploration wells in the state of Queensland.

Among the opponents was Macquarie Group Ltd. Non-Executive Chairman David Clarke, who owns a home and winery in the Hunter Valley community of Broke. "I became increasingly concerned the more I looked into this," he said by phone from Sydney. "Clearly there are environmental and health risks."

Burke to make call on gas projects

Date: Thu 21-Oct-10
Author: Lisa Martin and Steve Gray (AAP via SMH)
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke will announce on Friday whether two Queensland gas projects worth $30 billion will get the green light.

Santos is seeking environmental approval for its Gladstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) project and British Gas is awaiting a decision on its Curtis LNG project.

Trust us to mine Hunter, says AGL

Date: Thu 21-Oct-10
Author: AAP via tradingroom.com.au
AGL Energy Ltd has defended its gas exploration program in NSW's Hunter Valley, saying the company has a culture that does not "kill people" and a long history of dealing in dangerous commodities.

Australia's largest energy retailer was met by protesters outside its annual general meeting in Sydney on Thursday, while shareholders also raised questions about the Hunter Valley coal seam gas project.

"Since 1837 we have been selling lethal products, products that can kill people, gas and electricity, and we don't kill people," AGL chairman Mark Johnson told the annual general meeting.

Macquarie chairman backs gas exploration protests

Date: Thu 21-Oct-10
Author: ABC Lateline Business
Here's a good yarn: Macquarie Group chairman David Clarke has put his personal power and influence behind a street protest against AGL, as the company's shareholders met in Sydney for its annual general meeting.

The demonstration was organised by residents of the NSW Hunter Valley, who are concerned about the impact of AGL's drilling for coal seam gas.

Andrew Robertson reports.

Former Macquarie Bank head joins AGL protest

Date: Thu 21-Oct-10
Author: ABC News
Dozens of people have protested outside gas company AGL's annual general meeting in Sydney to call for greater controls on coal-seam gas exploration in the Hunter Valley.

The Hunter Protection Alliance is concerned exploratory drilling by AGL near the Hunter Valley town of Broke will pollute local rivers, streams and aquifers.

Protesters want AGL to conduct an environmental impact assessment before the company expands its operations in the region.

O'Farrell, the Herald and new states

Date: Thu 21-Oct-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
While I was in Newcastle last weekend, I heard about Liberal leader O'Farrell's response to a question on the Tillegra dam. His suggestion that the dam should be cancelled and the money transferred to a Hunter infrastructure fund shows that he had not been properly briefed; there is no money to be transferred since the dam is to be paid for by Hunter rate payers. His answer to a follow up question made the position worse.

MP urges independent testing of coal gas wells

Date: Thu 21-Oct-10
Author: ABC News
Queensland Opposition MP Ray Hopper says he has no faith in the self-regulation process used to assess water quality at coal seam gas (CSG) mines.

Environmentalists and residents have repeated calls to end CSG gas extraction after another water contamination scare at a mine west of Miles in Queensland's southern inland.

Wine growers and tourism operators oppose coal seam gas exploration in Hunter Valley

Date: Thu 21-Oct-10
Author: ABC - AM
TONY EASTLEY: One of Australia's leading business leaders has joined the campaign to put on hold the controversial process of coal seam gas exploration.

David Clarke is the Chairman of Macquarie Group and also runs a winery in the Hunter Valley region in New South Wales.

He says coal seam gas exploration and its extraction would spell the death of the wine and tourism industry in the Hunter.

Origin stops coal seam gas drilling after chemicals found in water

Date: Thu 21-Oct-10
Author: Ben Cubby (SMH)
Farmers near a coal seam gas ''fracking'' site in Queensland will have their water supplies tested for toxic benzene and other chemicals today after Origin Energy found contaminated water near drilling sites.

Drilling haunts the Broke cross-section

Date: Thu 21-Oct-10
Author: Stewart Ewen in The Herald
Coal seam exploration is no gas for locals, writes Stewart Ewen. THIS morning at 6.15 a band of Hunter Valley demonstrators will set out to protest at the AGL annual general meeting in Sydney about the secretive and unplanned drilling for gas in this wine and tourism area.

Claims of illnesses and cover-up as D-day looms for coal seam gas projects

Date: Thu 21-Oct-10
Author: John McCarthy and Sarah Vogler (The Courier-Mail)
A HEALTH scare and claims of a political cover-up have clouded coal seam gas projects a day before the Federal Government has to decide on two multibillion-dollar LNG schemes for Queensland.

Residents of Tara, near Dalby, yesterday released graphic images and accounts of rashes, illnesses and infections they claim occurred last year when coal seam gas project teams operating in the area used water from their extraction process to suppress dust.

Gas plants will feed discharge water into river system

Date: Thu 21-Oct-10
Author: Andrew Fraser, Rosanne Barrett (The Australian)
DISCHARGE water from coal-seam gas wells throughout southern Queensland will be released into the head of the Murray-Darling River system.

The gas well discharge is fuelling concerns about contamination following the discovery of more carcinogenic chemicals from exploration wells in the Surat Basin.

The discovery of BTEX chemicals in eight wells around Miles, about 700km west of Brisbane, adds pressure on Environment Minister Tony Burke, who will determine the fate of the controversial burgeoning industry in Queensland tomorrow.

Coal seam gas debate heats up

Date: Wed 20-Oct-10
Author: Steve Gray (AAP via SMH)
"It's time to stop the madness and put a halt on exploration until safeguards can be guaranteed," said Toby Hutcheon, executive director of Queensland Conservation.

Agforce president Brent Finlay said land and water were finite resources, labelling the resource sector as a hit-and-run industry.

"This is not about the inability for agriculture and mining to co-exist, it is about reaching a balance where the legislative power is not weighted towards one industry more than another," he said.

Coal seam gas debate turns toxic

Date: Wed 20-Oct-10
Author: Courtney Trenwith (Brisbane Times)
Environmentalists are calling for a moratorium on coal seam gas projects after another contamination at a Queensland site.

Australia Pacific LNG reported yesterday that chemicals had been detected in eight exploration wells in the Surat Basin in the state's west.

Government orders tests after coal gas contamination scare

Date: Wed 20-Oct-10
Author: Francis Tapim (ABC News)
The State Government has ordered immediate testing on a Coal Seam Gas (CSG) project in southern Queensland after another contamination scare.

Traces of banned carcinogenic chemicals have been found in eight exploration wells in the Surat basin during routine tests by Australia Pacific LNG.

Cancer chemical found at western Queensland gas site

Date: Wed 20-Oct-10
Author: John McCarthy (Courier Mail)
THE coal seam gas industry has been hit with an embarrassing discovery of minute traces of the cancer-causing substance Btex at eight drilling sites near Miles, in western Queensland.

Coal seam gas mining questioned

Date: Tue 19-Oct-10
Author: The World Today (ABC Radio)
ELEANOR HALL: Environmentalists are calling for more research into a controversial coal seam gas mining process before it's widely used in Australia.

The process - known as fraccing - is already being used in mines in Queensland and in mining exploration in New South Wales.

Good news on Broke bridge

Date: Tue 19-Oct-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
THE Broke community will be advocating to have the Herbert Bridge retained as a foot bridge once the new $1.7million concrete bridge is constructed.
Singleton Council's director assets and facilities Gary Thomson attended a public meeting last Thursday and addressed a group of around 50 people on the progress with the bridge.

Huntlee deadline extended

Date: Tue 19-Oct-10
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
MEMBERS of the community are outraged that only a two week exhibition period has been allocated to view both the Huntlee New Town State Significant Study (SSS) and the Huntlee New Town SSS draft Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) together.

Huntlee Exhibition Period Extended

Date: Tue 19-Oct-10
Author: Chris Parker
The exhibition period for the State's biggest residential development
proposal, Huntlee, with 7500 houses at Branxton, has been extended after local residents wrote to the Minister saying it was unfair to have the exhibition period without allowing the public to view vital documents connected with the development.

List reveals toxic chemicals used in coal seam mining

Date: Tue 19-Oct-10
Author: Joel Tozer and Ben Cubby (SMH)
AUSTRALIAN mining companies are using highly toxic chemicals to extract coal seam gas during the controversial process known as ''fracking'', documents obtained by the Herald show.

A government list of 36 chemicals used in coal seam gas extraction in Australia includes hydrochloric and acetic acid, and napthalene- an ingredient once used in napalm as well as more mundane items such as mothballs - and many other hydrocarbons.

CSG Documentary Trailer

Date: Sun 17-Oct-10
Author: ArtesianBasin
This documentary trailer gives a glimpse of the potential environmental, and community concerns. To voice your concerns, the appropriate contact addresses for relevant ministers and politicians are at the end of the trailer.

CSG Imagine If

Date: Sun 17-Oct-10
Author: ArtesianBasin
Imagine if an Energy Company came to your house to let you know they were going to put a gas well on your property. How would you feel?

Catchment News - October 2010

Date: Sat 16-Oct-10
Author: Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority
Welcome to the October edition of Catchment News, the newsletter of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

Miners' water rights changes won't work

Date: Fri 15-Oct-10
Author: AAP via SMH
Coal seam gas (CSG) miners will be able to pump unlimited amounts of water from underground, despite proposed amendments to the law, the Queensland Conservation Council says.

Diverse artworks on exhibition in Muswellbrook

Date: Fri 15-Oct-10
Author: Jamie Fakes (Muswellbrook Chronicle)
There is only one week left to see the best local artworks before they make way for a collection of nationally acclaimed portraits.
The Muswellbrook Local Art Prize exhibition was opened on September 11 with a special presentation evening and the 100 different works have delighted visitors to the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre since.

Sport, soccer and new states

Date: Thu 14-Oct-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Back in October 2007 in Sir William Walkley, Ampol and the New England New State Movement, I expliained why Northern NSW had its own state soccer league. I was reminded of this by a story in the Armidale Express on the selection of Armidale's Naran Singh for the Northern NSW under 14 rep side.

Ken Mathews on regional development

Date: Thu 14-Oct-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Over time, I have written a fair bit on this blog about the way that current approaches to policy development disadvantage regional Australia including New England.

Huge potential for CSG in Galilee basin concerns landholders

Date: Wed 13-Oct-10
Author: Amy Phillips, ABC Toowoomba
Mr Saul says there is a variety of things they can do to treat the water and its then becomes potable.

He says the companies have an obligation to safely dispose of the salt residue that's left behind.

Gas search sparks basin water questions

Date: Wed 13-Oct-10
Author: Chrissy Arthur and Amy Phillips (ABC News)
A western Queensland mayor says there are still questions that need to be answered about the development of a coal seam gas sector in the Galilee Basin.

Landholders meet to discuss coal seam gas impact on artesian water

Date: Wed 13-Oct-10
Author: ABC News
A company exploring for coal-seam gas in Queensland's central-west says the sector is doing all it can to ensure resources from the Great Artesian Basin aren't adversely affected.

Offshore drilling 'too risky'

Date: Wed 13-Oct-10
Author: Damon Cronshaw (The Herald)
An oil spill off Newcastle from offshore gas drilling would affect the east coast from NSW to Victoria, Lake Macquarie City Council has said.
The council made the comment in a submission to the NSW government about Advent Energy's plans to begin exploratory drilling next month for natural gas 55 kilometres off Newcastle.

Boost for Huntlee

Date: Wed 13-Oct-10
Author: Ian Kirkwood (The Herald)
A PROMINENT Hunter environmental campaigner has lent his support to the land offsets being offered by the developer of the Huntlee New Town project near Branxton.
Brian Purdue, a member of the Green Corridor Coalition, said yesterday that the offsets should not be dismissed as they had been by Cessnock councillor James Ryan.

A regional view of urban waste

Date: Tue 12-Oct-10
Author: Ian Mott
How regional Queenslanders are subsidising the cost of SEQ water incompetence. A recent article in the Australian has pointed out that the full dams in South East Queensland now hold enough water to last until 2018 even if not a single drop of extra water falls until then. This means that none of the $9 billion spent on their water grid will be needed for at least a decade. And all this just as the Desalination plant has been handed over so it can supply its pathetic 44 megalitres a day that no-one needs.

Spirit of the Vine Competition

Date: Tue 12-Oct-10
Author: Singleton Argus
THE Broke Fordwich region will host the annual celebration of life in the vineyards on October 23 and 24.
Now in its eighth year, the Spirit of the Vine festival has become a signature event on the "must do" calendar offering visitors the perfect excuse to enjoy the many pleasures on hand within one of the oldest wine growing regions in Australia.

Huntlee conservation agreement

Date: Tue 12-Oct-10
Author: ABC Newcastle
The developer behind the $1.8 billion Huntlee housing project in the Hunter has released details of how it will fund conservation projects associated with the development.

A Voluntary Planning Agreement is on public exhibition for the next month

Concerns over water wastage

Date: Tue 12-Oct-10
Author: The Observer
"WHEN most of the county is in drought, why is water being used as a waste product," Surat Basin Friends of the Earth environmental campaigner Drew Hutton said.

And it would seem he has a point as Santos (GLNG) and BG Group (QCLNG) have acknowledged that the emerging coal-seam gas (CSG) industry will affect underground water levels.

Land offset for Huntlee

Date: Tue 12-Oct-10
Author: Ian Kirkwood (The Herald)
The developers of the $1.5billion Huntlee New Town project near Branxton have gone public with the environmental offsets they are proposing as part of the state government approvals process.

Dog attacks

Date: Mon 11-Oct-10
Author: Roz Holme
We went to do a night check on our wildlife and found a very large, female wombat sitting at the gate of the main house yard. The wombat had been attacked by dogs. Both ears were shredded leaving little that even looked like an ear. The wounds were full of maggots, she was thin, in pain and her abdomen was distended.

Up in the Air: Coal, Dust & Gloucester

Date: Mon 11-Oct-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Australia is in the midst of yet another mining boom. But just what are the implications for those living within the mining footprint?

Nominate for Australia Day Awards

Date: Mon 11-Oct-10
Author: Cessnock City Council
Cessnock City Council is calling for nominations for the Australia Day Awards. Nominations close on 29 November 2010. The Australia Day Awards recognise outstanding achievement and service to the community during the past year or over a number of years with the NSW Local Citizen of the Year Awards held in conjunction with the Australia Day Council of NSW.

Vital Information Missing

Date: Mon 11-Oct-10
Author: Chris Parker
Key components of for NSW's biggest residential development, Huntlee, have not been placed on public exhibition leaving the community at a disadvantage says Chris Parker, President of the Sweet Water Action Group.

Burke warned over coal-seam gas projects

Date: Mon 11-Oct-10
Author: Rosanne Barrett (The Australian)
TONY Burke is considering a report that warns the coal-seam gas industry could deplete groundwater in the Great Artesian Basin.

The federal Environment Minister is preparing to rule on several multi-billion-dollar projects and remains committed to a deadline of October 22, when he is expected to advise international energy giants Santos and BG Group whether he will grant environmental approvals for their projects converting coal-seam gas to liquefied natural gas, worth an estimated $22bn to the Queensland economy.

Burke signals coal-seam gas project approvals

Date: Mon 11-Oct-10
Author: Jennifer Hewett (The Australian)
THE government has given its clearest signal that it is likely to approve a $20 billion investment in Queensland's coal-seam gas industry.

But it is likely to be subjected to strict environmental conditions.

Environment Minister Tony Burke is due to give his ruling by October 22 on two major proposals, worth about $10bn each, from Santos and the BG Group.

Mining creep will engulf tourism, farms: conservationists

Date: Sun 10-Oct-10
Author: Kate Dennehy (Brisbane Times)
Queensland's latest tourism campaign might be drawing much attention but farmers and environmentalists say visitors will soon be viewing the state's attractions through a maze of mines.

Tourism Minister, Peter Lawlor said last week Tourism Queensland's new $4.6m advertising campaign, ''Queensland, Where Australia Shines" is proving a great success.

Queensland's latest tourism campaign might be drawing much attention but farmers and environmentalists say visitors will soon be viewing the state's attractions through a maze of mi

Date: Sun 10-Oct-10
Author: Kate Dennehy (SMH)
Michael Bretherick and his family moved to Tara, about 400 kilometres west of Brisbane,four years ago for a tree change.

He said the mining company, BG Group - owners of QGC - moved into the area about 18 months ago and has been drilling night and day for coal-seam gas.

WVAC Arts News October 2010

Date: Sat 09-Oct-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
James Whitington & Julieanne Bugden
Wollombi Corroboree
Kaye Lovie & Mary Francis
Graham Williams, John Davis & Robert Sing
Adult Jewelery Workshops
Wedding Dress Display
Emerging Artists Results

From the Mayors Desk - 9 October 2010

Date: Sat 09-Oct-10
Author: Alison Davey
I welcome to our City Miss Lea Rosser our new General Manager and I look forward to working with Lea. Lea holds excellent academic qualifications and brings with her a wealth of experience gained within local government areas and the public and private business sectors.

Regional centres safer than the mining towns

Date: Sat 09-Oct-10
Author: Tery Ryder (The Australian)
I ALWAYS try hard to convince people that mining towns aren't worth the risk.

Whenever I speak publicly I spend a lot of time showing people with graphs and slides how volatile markets can be when they're reliant on one industry or one major employer.

Landcare Newsletter October 2010

Date: Fri 08-Oct-10
Author: Graham Taylor
Please find attached a copy of the October issue of the Wollombi Valley Landcare Newsletter.

Market favours AGL over Origin

Date: Fri 08-Oct-10
Author: John Durie (The Australian)
AGL and Origin are short priced favourites to buy one of the NSW retail assets up for grabs early next month.

Adult Jewelery Workshop Series 2010 at the Wollombi Cultural Centre

Date: Thu 07-Oct-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
In this Friday series, students will experience an "organic and dynamic" method of learning.

Local artist, Kes Harper leads students through basic jewelery skills and tools to create simple pieces of wearable jewelery.

Mining at Warragamba Dam 'puts our water at risk': Greens

Date: Thu 07-Oct-10
Author: Caryn Metcalfe (Penrith Press)
GREENS campaigners are calling for the plan to mine coal seam gas around Warragamba Dam to be abandoned.

Sydney gas drilling company Apex Energy NL plans to use the controversial "fracking" technique to mine the coal seam gas.

Farmers unsure on gas exploration

Date: Thu 07-Oct-10
Author: Courtney Garnham (Whitsunday Times)
WHITSUNDAY cane growers and cattle farmers have shown mixed emotions about the possibility of a Queensland energy giant looking for gas on their land after Christmas.

Arrow Energy met with farmers last month to discuss their intentions of exploring for coal seam gas in the area which could potentially affect local cane growers.

End to Cessnock coal rigs urged

Date: Thu 07-Oct-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
Exploration for mining and gas could be removed from Cessnock City Council's Local Environment Plan following a unanimous decision by the council at a meeting last night.
In a rescission motion, Cr Dale Troy moved to amend the council's draft Local Environment Plan in an attempt to protect the city's booming tourism and vineyard industries against any possible damage from extractive industries.

Cessnock Council Unanimously Votes Against Coal Seam Gas

Date: Thu 07-Oct-10
Author: Peter Firminger
At the Cessnock Council Meeting last night, Councillor Dale Troy moved a rescission motion on part of the Cessnock LEP 2010 to put an amendment to exclude mining and extractive activities from the zone containing the vineyards.

Undersea pipe may take gas to Asia

Date: Wed 06-Oct-10
Author: Peter Weekes (The Northers Star)
A 30km undersea gas pipeline may be laid off the North Coast, allowinga specially-designed ship to drop anchor over it and extract gas pumped from Metgasco's fields near Casino.

The ship, estimated to cost $5 billion and bigger than an aircraft carrier, would then convert the gas into LNG before transferring it to another vessel for export.

Federal cash can help the Hunter help itself

Date: Wed 06-Oct-10
Author: Gaye Hart (The Herald)
REGIONAL Australia is on the federal government agenda and 55 Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees around the country are gearing up to take advantage of this new beginning for regional advocacy and development.

Help to arm farmers against feral visitors

Date: Wed 06-Oct-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
Feral dogs and rabbits appear to be running rampant across the Lower Hunter, invading urban backyards and causing farmers headaches. Rabbits have been reported in plague proportions around Cessnock and Wollombi.

Whispering Brook winery joins Sarment Festival

Date: Wed 06-Oct-10
Author: John Lewis (The Herald)
inspired by an ancient traditional French event called Festival of the Sarment in their Whispering Brook winery contribution to the Broke-Fordwich Spirit of the Vine.

Solar lighting in Cessnock Council sights

Date: Wed 06-Oct-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
At a time when Hunter councils are reeling from the cost of street lighting, Cessnock City Council could lead the charge for solar lighting.

A report to tonight's council meeting recommends that all new lights and existing mains-connected lights on council-owned and -controlled land be considered for solar lighting.

Greens councillor Chris Parker made a push in July for solar-powered street lights in Cessnock.

Gas 'could poison water'

Date: Wed 06-Oct-10
Author: Roderick Shaw (Penrith Star)
ENVIRONMENTALISTS fear that if gas extraction takes place at Lake Burragorang near Warragamba Dam, it could poison ground water.
Apex Energy is considering projects to extract gas from coal seams through fracking - a drilling operation which uses water and chemicals to fracture coal and pump escaping gas to the surface.

What's Yours is Mine..d

Date: Tue 05-Oct-10
Author: Eric Ingott
Join Eric Ingott in this tongue in cheek, faux mining promo as he tells the town of Gloucester NSW Australia what his company, Envira-Coal has in store for them and what the benefits of I mine surrounding the township would bring.

In real life Gloucester is under threat from possible mining around Gloucester.

Value of history

Date: Tue 05-Oct-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
In November 2003 the Heritage Council told Wambo Coal Pty Limited it could not relocate Wambo Homestead.
It was a decision that sterilized three million tonnes of coal and at the time, was one of those battles few thought could be won.

Mental health in the Upper Hunter

Date: Tue 05-Oct-10
Author: Singleton Argus
A COMMUNITY forum is being held in Singleton to see how the community can better support mental health in the Upper Hunter.
The Singleton and Greta/Branxton Mental Health support groups are inviting members of the community to attend the forum to work on a way forward in getting mental health services in the Upper Hunter.

Wambo Homestead

Date: Tue 05-Oct-10
Author: Singleton Argus
WAMBO Coal Pty Ltd has pledged $3 million to retain the memory of Wambo Homestead if the 180-year-old home is removed from the State Heritage Register.
The Singleton Argus reported last week that the Heritage Council is considering whether to recommend removal of the homestead, built in 1830, from the State Heritage Register.

New General Manager for Cessnock Council

Date: Tue 05-Oct-10
Author: ABC News
Cessnock council's new General Manager starts work today, five weeks after the organisation was stripped of its planning powers by the New South Wales Government.

Farmers worried over gas pipelines

Date: Thu 30-Sep-10
Author: Kieran Moran (The Observer)
FARMERS along the proposed coal seam gas (CSG) pipeline from Gladstone to the Surat Basin are warning of gas explosions, damaged agricultural land and contaminated water supplies.

Queensland gas bonanza 'in peril' over water row

Date: Thu 30-Sep-10
Author: John McCarthy (The Courier-Mail)
SENIOR Coalition frontbencher Ian Macfarlane has told one of the world's biggest resource companies that the coal seam gas industry was finished in Queensland if it did not resolve its issues over water.

F3 plans aid Huntlee project

Date: Thu 30-Sep-10
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
The new Huntlee development proposal looks much like the old proposal but for one crucial difference - the Hunter Expressway.

The F3 extension road is at the heart of the case for the $1.5 billion new town, a "state significant site" study made public yesterday and documents tabled to state parliament show.

$1.5b housing project will be state's biggest

Date: Thu 30-Sep-10
Author: Josephine Tovey (SMH)
THE state's largest housing development, estimated to cost $1.5 billion over the next 20 years, will create a Hunter Valley town the size of Lithgow, new plans show.
A rezoning application for the Huntlee New Town development, made public by the Department of Planning yesterday, will pave the way for more than 7000 new homes for 20,000 residents in the Lower Hunter Valley, as well as a new town centre, commercial precinct and parklands.

Huntlee project revived

Date: Wed 29-Sep-10
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
REVIVED proposal for the state's biggest housing project will take a step forward in the assessment process today when a study of Huntlee's "state significance" is unveiled.
The developer, a consortium including Perth's LWP Property Group, submitted a new application for the site near Branxton in July.

Gas Field Concerns - Bob Hunter Interview

Date: Tue 28-Sep-10
Author: Kelly Fuller (ABC New England)
Bob Hunter and Robert Barry say the construction of a gas field in the Liverpool Plains will destroy the productivity of the region.

We caught up with Bob on the Morning Show today, and he talked about a recent visit he made to the Surat Gas Field in Queensland.

New job for Joel Fitzgibbon

Date: Tue 28-Sep-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
MEMBER for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon was yesterday named government whip.
Given the hung parliament, Mr Fitzgibbon's role is arguably one of the country's most challenging positions and perhaps the most important.

Coal seam gas explorers creep closer to Brisbane to meet growing Asian demand

Date: Tue 28-Sep-10
Author: John McCarthy (The Courier-Mail)
THE massive coal seam gas industry is knocking on the door of southeast Queensland with exploration now only 50km from Brisbane.

Wollombi RFS hosts Group 8 Blessing of the Fleet

Date: Mon 27-Sep-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Wollombi Brigade hosted the 2010 'Blessing of the Fleet' for Group 8 of the Lower Hunter RFS on Saturday 25th September in Wollombi as part of their RFS Open Day activities.

From the Mayors Desk - 27 September 2010

Date: Mon 27-Sep-10
Author: Alison Davey
On Friday 1 October Council's General Manager, Mr Bernie Mortomore, retires from Council after 35 years of outstanding service to our community. This genuine and professional individual has been involved with many organisations throughout our LGA over his 35 years.

No safety in numbers

Date: Mon 27-Sep-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
WHEN the NSW Department of Planning invited the Hunter Region's 600,000 people to a workshop to say why they felt disconnected from NSW planning processes, 12 people responded.
Either there was something good on TV that night or people feel so disconnected from government decision-making they can't even be bothered saying why.

Spin from Sydney lowers the Hunter plan

Date: Sat 25-Sep-10
Author: Steve Brown (The Herald)
IF the issues weren't so serious, Richard Pearson's opinion piece in the Newcastle Herald of September 18 could be set aside as spin from a Sydney bureaucracy.
There is nothing grandiose or visionary about a regional strategy based on political expediency.

A document that is a win for developers and a win for politicians is not necessarily a win for the community and deals involving the trading of development rights in exchange for public reserves is not a substitute for good planning.

Water supply at risk says report

Date: Sat 25-Sep-10
Author: The Chronicle
ALARM bells have sounded out across the Darling Downs after an independent report found the coal seam gas industry has the potential to drain Queensland's largest freshwater aquifer.

The report, commissioned by industry group Central Downs Irrigators, found the Walloon Coal Measures - the area being targeted by coal seam gas producers - and the Condamine Alluvium are hydraulically connected.

Debate about gas drilling turns toxic

Date: Sat 25-Sep-10
Author: Debra Jopson and Ben Cubby (SMH)
Out in the Pilliga Scrub west of Narrabri, sheep farmer Tony Pickard weaves through the web of dirt roads, pointing out a used coal seam gas well here, a holding pond there and eventually, deep inside a state forest, a fully operational drill rig where helmeted men wrestle a pump within a shaft reaching one kilometre underground.

This is producing land - not just a pretty picture

Date: Sat 25-Sep-10
Author: Debra Jopson (SMH)
The nation's food bowl will soon be only a memory, farmers warn. Debra Jopson reports.

FARMERS are warning that plans to drill for coal seam gas beneath the nation's prime food bowl will end agriculture as we know it.

Campaigner 'fraccing' mad

Date: Sat 25-Sep-10
Author: John Farmer (The Chronicle)
A CONTROVERSIAL practice being outlawed in the US is adding to the great drain of Queensland's underground water supplies, an environmental campaigner claims.

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fraccing" as it is colloquially known, is used by coal seam gas companies to break up rock formations and release the natural gas trapped inside.

Apex stands firm on Sydney gas projects

Date: Fri 24-Sep-10
Author: Bigpond Business News
Gas company Apex Energy has refused to rule out plans to mine gas in Sydney using a controversial 'fracking' technique, despite potential dangers to the environment.

Jill goes Beyond the Coalface

Date: Fri 24-Sep-10
Author: Jeannette McMahon (ABC)
1233's Jill Emberson is venturing "Beyond the Coalface" in a special series of broadcasts from the Upper Hunter. From Wednesday, September 29, through till Friday, October 1, you can hear her program live from Muswellbrook, Denman and Scone as Jill hits the road to find out what makes the local community tick and its vision for the future.

Labor Planning Panel Will Please Developers

Date: Fri 24-Sep-10
Author: Cessnock Kurri Greens
The NSW Labor Government appointed Planning Panel got off to an ominous start in Cessnock yesterday afternoon.

The Panel approved all developments on the agenda barring one which it deferred in order to approve later with amendments.

Australia to keep to coal seam gas approval timeline

Date: Fri 24-Sep-10
Author: Reuters
(Reuters) - Australia's Environment Minister Tony Burke intends to stick to an October 11 deadline for environmental approval for two Queensland coal seam gas projects, he said on Thursday.

Mine threatens city water

Date: Fri 24-Sep-10
Author: Ben Cubby (SMH)
THE company about to start coal seam gas drilling around southern Sydney and the Illawarra plans to use the controversial "fracking" technique to mine directly beside Warragamba Dam, which holds much of the city's drinking water.

Folk In Broke

Date: Thu 23-Sep-10
Author: Maureen O'Brien
WIN A WEEKEND FOR 2 IN THE VINEYARDS
all visitors who purchase their festival tickets BEFORE the 1st October automatically go in the draw to win a weekend for 2 in the vineyards

Coal Seam Gas exploration hole in an industrial precinct in central Sydney

Date: Thu 23-Sep-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Following Ben Cubby's report in the SMH today, here's one we found earlier intimating that Sydney is about to get some of it's own medicine

NSW Government should enforce moratorium on high risk gas exploration

Date: Thu 23-Sep-10
Author: Braidwood Greens
Greens MP and mining spokesperson Cate Faehrmann is calling for a moratorium on coal seam gas exploration in NSW until a full examination of the environmental and social impacts has proven it safe.

"Documents revealed today by the Sydney Morning Herald show Peabody Gas is well aware that the high environmental impacts of coal seam gas exploration will be unacceptable to the community," said Ms Faehrmann.

Cover-up: secret plans to mine gas

Date: Thu 23-Sep-10
Author: Ben Cubby (SMH)
Billions of dollars worth of coal seam gas will be mined around Sydney and the profits split among giant coal companies, including Peabody Energy and Rio Tinto, leaked confidential company document reveals.

What's On In Wollombi - 22 September 2010

Date: Wed 22-Sep-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Lots of events in Wollombi Valley this weekend and some Gas Action next week

Huntlee plan exhibit delay

Date: Wed 22-Sep-10
Author: The Herald
BRANXTON'S controversial Huntlee development has been delayed again.
The exhibition period has been extended on the 7500-house development after residents called for voluntary planning agreements to be made available with the rest of the plan.

Magic Moments at the Fair - Photographic Competition -

Date: Tue 21-Sep-10
Author: Mangrove Mountain & Districts Country Fair
Every year the committee for the Mangrove Mountain & Districts Country Fair likes to introduce a new initiative. One of the initiatives for the 2010 Fair is a photographic competition to be held on the day titled Magic Moments at the Fair.

Why CSG is no leap of faith

Date: Mon 20-Sep-10
Author: Queensland Country Life
THE Queensland Government is not asking landholders and communities to take an "extraordinary leap of faith" in relation to the coal seam gas (CSG) industry.

That was the view expressed by Queensland Country Life correspondent James Nason last week in his comment piece entitled: 'Evidence supports CSG bans'.

WVAC Arts News September/October 2010

Date: Mon 20-Sep-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
Lore of the Wollombi Valley - Peter Williams
Emerging Artists Awards 2010
Wollombi Corroborree - 20 Years Anniversary

Residents 'not told of gas risks'

Date: Mon 20-Sep-10
Author: Laurel-Lee Roderick (Illawarra Mercury)
NORTHERN suburbs residents fear they are being kept in the dark about plans to extract methane gas from coal seams between Helensburgh and Coledale.
In September last year, the NSW Department of Planning allowed gas exploration company Apex Energy NL to drill 15 bore holes around Darkes Forest, Helensburgh and south to Coledale.

How Keating Trashed Regional Economies!

Date: Fri 17-Sep-10
Author: Ian Mott
And how Oakeshott, Windsor and Gillard will make it worse.

There is no doubt that former Prime Minister Paul Keating regards himself as a 'sophisticated metrocentric' with an eye for the 'big picture' and possessed of a 'reformist vision'. And he regards the implementation of the national statutory superannuation scheme as a major economic reform and one of his proudest achievements. But like so many policies conceived and implemented by metrocentrics, this big picture vision seems to only extend to the city limits. There has been a total absence of analysis of the impact of this policy on regional economies. Yet again, we have that ignorant assumption that what is good for the city is good for the bush.

Wollombi Update - 17 September 2010

Date: Fri 17-Sep-10
Author: Peter Firminger
The Cessnock LEP debacle is nearly over. Unless the Planning Minister Tony Kelly intervenes, Wollombi Valley will be an Ru2 zone with no Significant Lands overlays (pending a Land Use Study) and the Village Heritage Zone remains as it currently is - the smaller and far more reasonable version.

This is a good outcome, though unfortunately, due to council politics, some very blocked ears and closed minds (and a state election in the wind), we don't have the protections offered by Clause 10 in the old LEP....

Six jump in race for Cessnock seat

Date: Fri 17-Sep-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
JUST days after disgraced member for Cessnock Kerry Hickey said he would not contest his state seat, six Cessnock councillors have jumped at the chance of an office in Macquarie Street.
Councillors James Hawkins, Dale Troy, Neil Gorman, Bob Pynsent, Ian Olsen and James Ryan have indicated their interest in the position and agreed the city needed new direction.

New State arguments 13 - too many politicians

Date: Thu 16-Sep-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
One of the standard arguments against the creation of new states has always been that it will increase the number of politicians. This has always been a hard argument to attack, not on the facts but on the prejudices embodied in the claim. Back in the 1920s, the New State Movement responded with a double barreled argument.

Cessnock Council Takes a step backwards - rejects environment and heritage protection

Date: Thu 16-Sep-10
Author: Cessnock-Kurri Greens
Cessnock Councillors last night rejected improving protection for the environment and heritage when they adopted a new Local Environment Plan.

All quiet on gas drilling plan

Date: Thu 16-Sep-10
Author: Damon Cronshaw (The Herald)
The NSW Government says an environment plan for an exploratory gas drilling project planned off Newcastle does not have to be made public.
The drilling project could lead to a massive offshore gas extraction project, with reserves in the area valued at $50 billion.

Cessnock planning panel meets

Date: Wed 15-Sep-10
Author: The Advertiser
The Cessnock Planning Panel held its first meeting last Thursday when details about how it will operate were explained. Present were the panel's chair, Tim Rogers and Vince Berkhout with an apology from the third member Alison McCabe.

Six Cessnock councillors in the running for State preselection

Date: Wed 15-Sep-10
Author: The Advertiser
In what is developing into an absorbing contest for the Seat of Cessnock at next year's State elections, up to six Cessnock City Councillors could be in the in the running.

Billion-dollar boost in pipeline

Date: Mon 13-Sep-10
Author: Mathew Murphy (SMH)
MORE than $10 billion in pipeline infrastructure is expected to be spent in Queensland over the next decade, according to new figures released by the industry, which predicts that number could grow much higher once a Green-tinged Federal Parliament is sworn in.

Planning and politics

Date: Sat 11-Sep-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
Evidence tendered in a recent unfair contract case brought by a senior public servant has shed light on the kind of back-room manoeuvring that can affect planning policy and decisions, writes JOANNE McCARTHY.

WITHIN sections of the NSW Planning Department he was known as Voldemort - the Dark Lord in the Harry Potter series.

Official 'boo hoo' from Cessnock Labor Councillors

Date: Fri 10-Sep-10
Author: NSW Privileges Committee
The submission referred to statements made by Ms Sylvia Hale concerning Cessnock City Council during the adjournment debate in the House on 24 June 2010.2 The President, having considered the submission under standing order 202(2), referred it to the Privileges Committee on 31 August 2010.

Gas concern - Voice of the Argus

Date: Fri 10-Sep-10
Author: Toni Ward (Singleton Argus)
PROTECTION of the water table at Broke has been one of the community's greatest concerns about the gas exploration project. Water is crucial and a very precious resource that must be protected. It should not be up to a community group to ask for an investigation when there is an obvious breach...

Art in the Vines

Date: Fri 10-Sep-10
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
ONE is an avid art collector and the other proclaims she knows nothing about art. Together Paul Danks and Maxine Alexander are the eyes and muscle behind Art in the Vines. For the past 11-years they have organised and run Broke Public School's major fundraiser.

Concrete bridges for Broke and Glendon

Date: Fri 10-Sep-10
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
IN a win for the communities of Broke and Glendon $3.4 million will be spent on two new concrete bridges within the districts.

The ageing and "terminal" Herbert Street bridge at Broke and Bourkes Crossing bridge at Glendon will be replaced with double lane bridges within the next 12 to 18 months.

Singleton Community Website

Date: Fri 10-Sep-10
Author: Singleton Argus
WHEN the new Singleton community website was launched on Wednesday, few were more pleased or relieved than Year 12 students Chris Smith and Elianne Coffey. See www.singleton.nsw.au

AGL - 120,000 litres of saline water onto land at Bulga

Date: Fri 10-Sep-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
AGL is required to provide a full report to the state government regarding the release of approximately 120,000 litres of saline water onto land at Bulga.

On August 17, the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance notified the Industry and Investment New South Wales of a potential breach of environmental conditions on AGL's 'Windermere' property.

Broke Village Fair

Date: Fri 10-Sep-10
Author: Singleton Argus
THE perfect weather forecast for this weekend leaves no excuse for not going to the Broke Village Fair and Vintage Car Display on Sunday.
The annual fair will see a unique display of vintage cars, farm machinery, motorbikes, and trucks.

Evidence supports CSG freeze on Downs

Date: Fri 10-Sep-10
Author: James Nason (Qld Country Life)
THE weight of scientific evidence fuelling landholder claims that coal seam gas extraction poses a real and serious threat to important freshwater aquifers is becoming harder for the Queensland Government to ignore.

Alliance, AGL in dispute over water discharge

Date: Fri 10-Sep-10
Author: Ian Kirkwood (The Herald)
ENERGY company AGL and environmentalists are at odds over the discharge of saline water near a coal-seam gas test site near Bulga.
Hunter Valley Protection Alliance spokesman John Thomson said AGL and the state government had "intentionally whitewashed" the community over the discharge of 120,000 litres of underground water that flooded and killed an adjoining pasture.

Cost of growth a worry

Date: Fri 10-Sep-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
HUNTER councils will fight to protect communities from carrying the costs of the NSW government's "aspirational document for developers" during a formal review of the controversial Lower Hunter Regional Strategy.
The Department of Planning review is the first chance for councils to voice concerns about the strategy since its release in 2006.

Time for a mining moratorium: LNP

Date: Thu 09-Sep-10
Author: Mark Phelps (Queensland Country Life)
LNP Member for Darling Downs Ray Hopper is on a mission to convince his Opposition colleagues that a moratorium should be placed on the development of coal seam gas mining within the Condamine alluvium on Queensland's highly productive Darling Downs.

Pollution incident by AGL Energy in the Hunter Valley - Whitewash by the Government - Community Protest

Date: Thu 09-Sep-10
Author: Hunter Valley Protection Alliance
AGL ENERGY has deliberately and intentionally pumped hundreds of thousands of litres of highly saline water onto pasture adjacent to the Wollombi Brook in the Hunter Valley to avoid trucking it away to a treatment plant, according to a report made to the Department of the Environment and the Department of Industry & Investment.

AGL accused of dumping tainted water in Hunter

Date: Thu 09-Sep-10
Author: Ben Cubby (SMH)
VINEYARD owners accuse the energy company AGL of dumping contaminated water in the Hunter Valley, where it is planning to extract coal seam gas.

The state government said it was concerned and had asked AGL to remediate a site near the town of Broke, after 120,000 litres from a groundwater monitoring program was expelled into a paddock the company owns.

From the Mayors Desk - 9 September 2010

Date: Thu 09-Sep-10
Author: Alison Davey
Congratulations to all nominees and in particular to the winners Natalie Drage winner of the Young Career Woman and Katrina Patch winner of the Career Woman who received their awards on Tuesday 7 September at the Business & Professional Women's Award Presentation Dinner...

CWA Awareness Day

Date: Wed 08-Sep-10
Author: Gaye from the Hunter
Wednesday 8th September 2010 is the inaugural NSW/ACT Country Women's Association (CWA) Awareness Day. There is wide misconception that the CWA is solely about tea and scones. The CWA has never been an organisation to spend time talking about its achievements - its history has been one of 'just getting on with the job'. Awareness Day is designed to attempt to enlighten the community as to the real CWA.

How new Cessnock planning system will work

Date: Wed 08-Sep-10
Author: The Advertiser
Members of the public will still be able to keep track of development applications submitted to Cessnock City Council under the new planning approval regime put in place by planning minister Tony Kelly.

Power of two

Date: Wed 08-Sep-10
Author: Briony Snedden (Maitland Mercury)
In the end, it came down to two. Independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor delivered Hunter and Newcastle MPs Joel Fitzgibbon and Sharon Grierson back into government and condemned Paterson MP Bob Baldwin to a further three years in opposition with their decisions to support Labor yesterday.

"And under a Labor government, the community gets a better share of the mining industry profits" Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Santos to address coal seam gas fears of Independents and Greens

Date: Wed 08-Sep-10
Author: Kerrie Sinclair (The Courier-Mail)
SANTOS says it will ''work constructively'' with the new Federal Government that includes key Independents and the Greens who have voiced concern over the farming and environmental impacts from mining.

The myth of new state duplication costs

Date: Tue 07-Sep-10
Author: Ian Mott
Commonwealth Grants Commission figures make it clear that the actual scope for duplication of costs by a new state government is quite limited. The overwhelming majority of state outlays involve no duplication because they relate directly to the delivery of a service to individuals from a local office and thereby remain the same whether that service is delivered by a large existing state or a new regional one.

Air quality - Singleton

Date: Tue 07-Sep-10
Author: Singleton Argus
THREE of the 13 members of the new air quality monitoring network advisory committee are from Singleton.
Cr Lyn MacBain will represent Singleton Council, Carol Russell will represent the Singleton Healthy Environment Group and Kenneth McDonald is the independent community member named on the new committee announced by Climate Change and Environment minister Frank Sartor last week.

Cheating MP Kerry Hickey drops out of NSW election race

Date: Mon 06-Sep-10
Author: Andrew Clennell (Daily Telegraph)
STATE MP Kerry Hickey, who fathered a child during an affair with a parliamentary staffer, will not run for NSW parliament at next March's election. The Cessnock MP told local branch members yesterday, Labor sources confirmed.

Another NSW Labor MP resigns

Date: Mon 06-Sep-10
Author: Business Spectator (AAP)
NSW Premier Kristina Keneally says state MP Kerry Hickey has resigned in the best interests of himself and his family.

Mr Hickey announced he would not recontest his seat of Cessnock in the Hunter Valley during a branch meeting on Sunday, citing personal reasons for his decision.

Hickey plans to step down

Date: Mon 06-Sep-10
Author: Louise Hall and Neil Goffet (The Herald)
Kerry Hickey, the state Labor MP who lied about having a baby with a parliamentary staffer, will not stand at the election. No obvious replacement is waiting in the wings but Cessnock City councillor James Hawkins was one name being put forward, as was Port Stephens Council employee Clayton Barr.

The Cockfighter - September 2010

Date: Sun 05-Sep-10
Author: The Cockfighter
Vol 8 Issue 5 - Gateway to the Hunter given World Heritage Listing - Singleton Visitor Information and Enterprise Centre - Broke Bulga Garden Ramble - Spirit of the Vine Festival - GASLAND Screening - Devil Ark in the Hunter...

Belshaw's World - time to repeat the new state question

Date: Sat 04-Sep-10
Author: Jim Belshaw (in Armidale Express)
Since the election, all sorts of emails have been flying around Northern New South Wales discussing just what the country independents might do. I will talk about these in a moment. But first, I want to make a few general comments about the position that the three country independents finds themselves in.

Success of Huntlee hinges on local jobs

Date: Sat 04-Sep-10
Author: Philip O'Neil (The Herald)
THE Huntlee proposal for up Branxton way is open for public comment. After 30 days the director-general of planning in NSW will make his assessment and give his advice to the minister, who will then decide if the project is to proceed.
The relevant documents are on the Department of Planning website. They take much time and capacity to download and are heavy-going to read.

Govt ramps up efforts to allay CSG concerns

Date: Sat 04-Sep-10
Author: Queensland Country Life
THE Bligh Government is ramping up its efforts to appease landholders worried about impacts associated with the coal seam gas (CSG) industry.
Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson, says its latest initiative is centered on a new, interactive online portal that aims to provide information on groundwater monitoring in the Surat and Bowen basins.

Greens pledge to honour farmland protection commitment

Date: Sat 04-Sep-10
Author: James Nason (Qld Country Life)
GREENS Senator-elect Larissa Waters has pledged to follow through on an election commitment to push for stronger protections of groundwater and quality agricultural land from mining when she takes her seat in Canberra from July next year.

Coal gas industry slams Greens

Date: Fri 03-Sep-10
Author: Rosanne Barrett and Sean Parnell (The Australian)
THE coal-seam gas industry has labelled the Greens' policy to seek a moratorium on CSG exploration as hypocritical... such moves would not be supported in the upper house, given that the Coalition will oppose any legislation that threatens the CSG industry

Wollombi Valley Update - 3 September 2010

Date: Fri 03-Sep-10
Author: Peter Firminger
New Council GM, Wollombi Valley Events List, Cessnock Council update and New State Movement news.

Bridge money needed

Date: Fri 03-Sep-10
Author: Toni Ward (Singleton Argus)
THE $1.7million needed to replace the Herbert Bridge at Broke needs to be found now. The tourism industry of Broke is booming and needs to be supported.

Govt CSG fourms highlight progress

Date: Fri 03-Sep-10
Author: Queensland Country Life
The Queensland Government's community CSG forums that have been rolling out across the Surat Basin the past week have highlighted the significant progress being made behind the scenes.

Tough CSG approval process will protect environment: Robertson

Date: Fri 03-Sep-10
Author: Queensland Country Life
THE Queensland Government has defended its policies surrounding Coal Seam Gas in the face of revelations that Queensland's largest freshwater aquifer is being placed at direct risk of being dewatered by CSG production on the Darling Downs.

Green camapigner wants coal seam gas moratorium

Date: Fri 03-Sep-10
Author: ABC Rural
An environmental campaigner has reneweded his calls for a moratorium on the coal seam gas industry in Queensland.

Drew Hutton, from Friends of the Earth, says a new report commissioned by farmers on the Darling Downs demonstrates underground water systems are interconnected.

Gas industry risks draining water

Date: Thu 02-Sep-10
Author: Bigpond Rural News
A new study has found Queensland's largest freshwater aquifer is at risk of being drained as a result of coal seam gas development.

Irrigators face water cuts while CSG pumps on

Date: Thu 02-Sep-10
Author: James Nason (Qld Country Life)
CENTRAL Downs irrigators remain frustrated by State Government policies that allow coal seam gas companies to extract millions of litres of water from underground sources while farmers face significant and uncompensated cutbacks to their own allocations from the same resource.

Well, well, well - report links CSG to aquifers

Date: Thu 02-Sep-10
Author: James Nason (Qld Country Life)
A SCIENTIFIC report to be released today confirms that Queensland's largest freshwater aquifer, the Condamine Alluvium, is at direct risk of being drained as a result of coal seam gas production on the Darling Downs.

CSG groundwater online portal to deliver transparency

Date: Thu 02-Sep-10
Author: PACE
A new interactive online portal set up by the Queensland Government provides the latest information on groundwater monitoring in the Surat and Bowen basins.

The portal also maps the locations of private water bores and springs along with gas production sites and exploration wells. It lists historic water levels and salinity records for the various local water sources.

Cessnock councillors split on motion

Date: Thu 02-Sep-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
AT a time when they should show a united front, Cessnock councillors were more divided than ever last night.
Greens councillor James Ryan's notice of motion to seek legal opinion on planning minister Tony Kelly's decision to strip the council of most of its planning powers created angry debate and name calling around the seating horseshoe.

Folk in Broke Newsletter - September 2010

Date: Wed 01-Sep-10
Author: Maureen O'Brien
Attached is our Spring newsletter... it's rather meaty and includes the saturday/sunday festival program... we've got a huge weekend planned for you with so much to hear, see, taste, and do - you won't want to miss it!

New general manager appointed to Cessnock City Council

Date: Wed 01-Sep-10
Author: The Advertiser
Mayor of Cessnock, Cr. Alison Davey has confirmed that Cessnock City Council has made an offer of employment for the position of General Manager with the organisation.
"It gives me great pleasure to announce that Ms. Lea Rosser has accepted the position of General Manager with Cessnock City Council and she will bring with her a wealth of experience gained in local government, public service and private enterprise."

Quorrobolong girl finalist in Optus Sound Scribe competition

Date: Wed 01-Sep-10
Author: The Advertiser
Budding music writer Jessica Willard could secure Cessnock a major gig through a national online blog competition. Jessica, of Quorrobolong, has made the top 40 of the inaugural Optus Sound Scribe competition.

36 Months of Wollombi Valley Online

Date: Wed 01-Sep-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Wollombi Valley Online continues to grow steadily into the third year of production. Still unfunded and totally independent.

Only plan is a short cut for developers

Date: Wed 01-Sep-10
Author: Greg Piper (The Herald)
DESPITE many environment versus development debates - including some significant failures - this state has generally seen good planning outcomes.
Planning laws, predominantly the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, have generally been good tools.

Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Regulation 2010

Date: Tue 31-Aug-10
Author: NSW Legislation
The Regulation revises the local government areas in which the control of burning provisions apply, provides for an automatic exemption from the requirement to fit certain anti-pollution devices to certain table-top trucks used on farms (an application for exemption is currently required), revises the percentage ethanol content for petrol to be considered prescribed blended petrol and makes other minor amendments.

Greens MP resigns from NSW Parliament

Date: Tue 31-Aug-10
Author: ABC News
There is more movement on the Upper House benches of New South Wales parliament, with yet another resignation. Greens MLC Sylvia Hale was not planning to contest next March's state election but she has decided to leave early and will formally hand in her resignation on Friday. Her party has already selected her replacement - Sydney lawyer David Shoebridge.

Minister removes council authority

Date: Tue 31-Aug-10
Author: Harvey Grennan (SMH)
CESSNOCK CITY COUNCIL has been stripped of its powers to determine development applications worth more than $1 million after it refused a ministerial direction alleged to be illegal.
The Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, has appointed an external three-person planning panel to make major development decisions, saying the council has a history of delays in dealing with rezonings and development applications and had attracted many complaints.

A new state for New England

Date: Mon 30-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Now that the combination of the independents with a resurgence of North Queensland new state interest has put new states back on the agenda, I have watched with a degree of bemusement as the same old arguments against are re-cycled.

It is now 150 years since the first attempt to create a new state in Northern New South Wales. From 1915, there were waves of sustained agitation for New England self-government. The name New England itself was adopted at a convention in Maitland in 1932. This agitation forced, among other things, two Royal Commissions in NSW, a Commonwealth Royal Commission into the constitution and the formation of an all-party Commonwealth Parliamentary inquiry into the constitution.

Sanctuary Villages - Emails raising queries

Date: Mon 30-Aug-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
THE controversial Hardie Holdings' Sanctuary Villages development that could double Millfield/Paxton's population was comprehensively rejected when first proposed to former planning minister Frank Sartor, court documents have shown.
Mr Sartor "did not support any of it" and gave Hardies "a bit of a lecture" during a meeting with the company in December 2005, according to an internal Planning Department email tendered in evidence at a breach of contract case brought by former Hunter regional director Steve Brown.

Legal advice on Cessnock panel appointment

Date: Mon 30-Aug-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
CESSNOCK councillor James Ryan wants to obtain legal advice on whether Planning Minister Tony Kelly acted in a "reasonable and lawful" manner in appointing a planning panel to Cessnock City Council.

Joel Fitzgibbon re-elected

Date: Sun 29-Aug-10
Author: Jamie Fakes (Hunter Valley News)
The Australian Labor Party has maintained its power in the Hunter region with Joel Fitzgibbon being re-elected to the seat on Saturday.
While other Labor candidates may have struggled to maintain the same amount of support they received in the 2007 election Mr Fitzgibbon was again well ahead of his competition.

At the time of publication yesterday the returning Member for Hunter had just under 40,000 votes and 54.91 per cent.

Widow 'used and abused' by NSW Planning Minister

Date: Sat 28-Aug-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
A MOUNT Vincent woman says she has been "used and bloody abused" after NSW Planning Minister Tony Kelly used her eight-year battle with Cessnock City Council to limit the council's planning powers, and then his department said this week there was nothing it could do for her.
"I don't believe any of them now," said Wendy Bishop, who has fought since 2002 to build a house on land bought at a council unpaid rates auction.

Council gets new manager

Date: Sat 28-Aug-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
FORMER general manager of Canada Bay and Auburn councils, Lea Rosser, has accepted a position as general manager with Cessnock City Council.

The power of one

Date: Sat 28-Aug-10
Author: Frances Thompson (The Herald)
Electoral backlash against the major parties could work for independents at the state poll, writes FRANCES THOMPSON. VOTER disapproval is forming against Labor in the Hunter Region and jostling has already begun in two vulnerable seats - Cessnock and Newcastle - that may see a wave of independent candidates at the March 2011 state election.

Spouse in Hickey affair may run against MP

Date: Sat 28-Aug-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
THE man who raised Kerry Hickey's baby for six months until uncovering the Cessnock MP's affair with a parliamentary staffer has slammed Premier Kristina Keneally's "shameful" response and threatened to stand against Mr Hickey at the state election.
An outraged David Kuta called for a public apology to himself after Ms Keneally failed to mention him in a statement released to the Newcastle Herald on Thursday.

Wollombi Update - 27 August 2010 (late edition)

Date: Fri 27-Aug-10
Author: Peter Firminger
What an interesting week this has been! Mr Rabbit must have stopped the boats as he hasn't mentioned that massive invasion of diseased terrorists since last Saturday! Whew... Lucky we had an election to sort that threat out. It's amazing what can get fixed over a weekend every few of years (or weeks maybe).

Is Fracking Even Worse Than Drilling?

Date: Fri 27-Aug-10
Author: William Fisher (Common Dreams)
Although the natural gas industry rejects it, critics say fracking can poison water supplies. They also say it uses large amounts of fresh water and generates large amounts of wastewater with limited disposal options.

Pollution package ignores calls for health study

Date: Fri 27-Aug-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
The state government says they are listening to community concerns, but they aren't listening closely enough.

Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation & Newcastle Yarteen College partnership

Date: Fri 27-Aug-10
Author: Singleton Argus
A NEW partnership between Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation and Newcastle based Yarteen College will create better pathways to employment for Singleton's Aboriginal people.

ALP challenged in Cessnock

Date: Fri 27-Aug-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
Fed up with Cessnock's "political soap opera", Cr Dale Troy will stand against sitting member Kerry Hickey at the March state election. Cr Troy said yesterday that the thought of Mr Hickey retaining the seat for another four years was more than he could bear and said the people of the electorate deserved better.

"I want to be the people's representative in parliament, not the parliament's representative to the people," Cr Troy said.

Compliance questioned

Date: Wed 25-Aug-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
CESSNOCK City Council could consider legal action against Planning Minister Tony Kelly's decision this week to restrict the council's planning role by appointing an independent planning panel. Council will decide tonight whether to seek legal advice about Mr Kelly's move and if it complied with the requirements of a 2007 government order covering the appointment of planning panels for unsatisfactory council performance. Under the order Mr Kelly is required to gazette heads of consideration for appointing a panel, and take them into account.

Political Storm Surrounding Cessnock Council

Date: Tue 24-Aug-10
Author: NBN News (Video)
A political bunfight is brewing over the removal of some of Cessnock Council's planning powers. It's been claimed the state government's trying to take control of the council, which is run largely by independents and Greens.

Tony Kelly makes up his own reasons to help Labor Contributors

Date: Tue 24-Aug-10
Author: Peter Firminger
NSW Planning Minister Tony Kelly's reasons for appointing an Independent Planning Panel are simply ludicrous, apportioning blame to the Council for delays in referrals instead of the NSW Government Departments that hold up DA Processing.

Media release from Planning Minister Tony Kelly

Date: Tue 24-Aug-10
Author: Peter Firminger
An independent expert panel has been appointed to undertake the planning functions of Cessnock City Council.

NSW Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, said the appointment follows his request in May for the council to show why its planning powers should not be removed due to a history of delays in dealing with rezonings and development applications.

Promises, promises

Date: Tue 24-Aug-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
Locally the election hype is all over - for now - and the Hunter has chosen Joel Fitzgibbon as its federal representative. Promises have been made. Now it is time for the promises to be delivered.

Singleton stories and photos wanted

Date: Tue 24-Aug-10
Author: Singleton Argus
THE Singleton Visitor Information and Economic Centre is looking for stories and photos of people's favourite experiences in Singleton. With the opening of the VIEC next month, organisers are wanting to have a showcase of people's experiences across Singleton.

Milbrodale Mountain Classic

Date: Tue 24-Aug-10
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
RACING is a Hedley family trait. To say that motorsport is in their blood falls way short of the finish line. To say they are competitive... that's like saying you don't need fuel to start a car.

Hunter Valley Wine Show

Date: Tue 24-Aug-10
Author: Singleton Argus
THIS year's winners at the Clear Image Hunter Valley Wine Show are as diverse as the categories. The results this year award the older more established winemaking families and the next generation of winemakers who are starting to show their talents.

Margan Family Winegrowers- Excellence in Tourism

Date: Tue 24-Aug-10
Author: Nick Scully (Singleton Argus)
BROKE Fordwich winemaker Andrew Margan has been acknowledged for his outstanding contribution to Hunter tourism, winning the top award at the Hunter and Central Coast Awards for Excellence in Tourism.

Minister for the Hunter, Jodi McKay presented Mr Margan with his award for "Outstanding Contribution by an Individual" in a reception at Newcastle City Hall on Thursday night.

Joel Fitzgibbon - Federal Election

Date: Tue 24-Aug-10
Author: Kate Morris (Singleton Argus)
IT was a federal election like no other on Saturday and while the future of the nation hangs in the balance the Hunter remains a stronghold for the Labor Party.

Voters gave the Labor Party a clear message however, with a five per cent primary vote swing away from the incumbent member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon falling in line with the national trend away from Labor.

Cessnock council stripped of planning powers

Date: Tue 24-Aug-10
Author: ABC News
The New South Wales Planning Minister, Tony Kelly has stripped Cessnock Council, in the Hunter Valley, of its planning powers for the next five years.

Cessnock loses planning powers to panel

Date: Tue 24-Aug-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
CESSNOCK City Council has been stripped of its authority to determine major development applications after NSW Planning Minister Tony Kelly appointed a three-person panel to assess projects with a value of more than $1 million.
The move comes three months after Mr Kelly wrote to the troubled council demanding it show cause why its planning powers should not be removed after he revealed it was the most complained about council in NSW with a history of delays in dealing with rezonings and development applications.

Cessnock stripped of its planning powers

Date: Tue 24-Aug-10
Author: Rob O'Brien (GovernmentNews.com.au)
The NSW Government has stripped Cessnock City Council of its planning powers after ongoing concerns to delays in development applications.

An independent expert panel has been appointed to undertake the planning functions of the council, the NSW Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, said.

Fwd: Appointment of Planning Panel

Date: Mon 23-Aug-10
Author: Clr. Cordelia Burcham
Today this notification of the removal of Council's planning powers arrived from the Planning Minister Tony Kelly.

It is with utter disgust and palpable frustration I inform the wider community of the obvious implications and impact of a decision like this will have on all sides of opinion.

Cessnock Council must resist Labor Government's imposition of Planning Panel

Date: Mon 23-Aug-10
Author: Sylvia Hale MLC
Sylvia Hale MLC, Greens spokesperson on Planning and Local Government has called on Cessnock Council to challenge the State Government's imposition of a planning panel.

Cessnock City Council Loses Planning Powers

Date: Mon 23-Aug-10
Author: Peter Firminger
NSW Planning Minister Tony Kelly has stripped Cessnock City Council of its planning powers amidst the confusion of the outcome of the Federal Election.

Companion Card comes to Cessnock

Date: Mon 23-Aug-10
Author: Cessnock City Council
Cessnock LGA residents may now use Companion Cards when visiting Council facilities including the public swimming pools and the Performing Arts Centre.

The Companion Card is issued to people who have a significant and permanent disability and enables those people to attend and participate in activities without incurring the cost of a second ticket for their attendant carer.

Must do better is message MP reads from poll

Date: Mon 23-Aug-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
HUNTER incumbent Joel Fitzgibbon has been returned to office with a slightly reduced margin.
Mr Fitzgibbon was relaxing yesterday at home with family, hoping Labor could still form a government.

Papers left blank or incorrect

Date: Mon 23-Aug-10
Author: Ben Smee (The Herald)
MORE than 23,000 people, about 6 per cent of Hunter voters, turned in informal ballot papers.
Early figures from the Australian Electoral Commission show about 5.65 per cent of votes nationwide would not count because they were filled out incorrectly on Saturday or left blank.

Clean start for village

Date: Sat 21-Aug-10
Author: Frances Thompson (The Herald)
With new financial partners and no political baggage, LWP has renewed its effort to win approval for Huntlee village, writes FRANCES THOMPSON. THE merits of creating Huntlee, a proposed new town in the Hunter of up to 20,000 people, are again under scrutiny as the project takes its second swing through the NSW planning process. With new documents lodged this week, Danny Murphy, managing director of the Western Australia-based developer LWP, was in the Hunter to announce his determination to get the troubled project approved.

Clean start for village

Date: Sat 21-Aug-10
Author: Frances Thompson (The Herald)
With new financial partners and no political baggage, LWP has renewed its effort to win approval for Huntlee village, writes FRANCES THOMPSON.
THE merits of creating Huntlee, a proposed new town in the Hunter of up to 20,000 people, are again under scrutiny as the project takes its second swing through the NSW planning process.

WVAC Arts News August/September 2010

Date: Fri 20-Aug-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
Inspired by the Landscape
'Land Forms' Lorna Wall
Peter Williams
Emerging Artists

Farmers raise coal seam gas concerns

Date: Fri 20-Aug-10
Author: ABC News
A group of farmers from the far west say coal seam gas explorations in the region are not worth the damage they could cause to local aquifers.

Farmer calls for mining company to cease gas exploration

Date: Fri 20-Aug-10
Author: The Daily Liberal (Dubbo)
Irate farmer Heath Webb wants mining giant Santos to stop searching for coal seam gas in the Tooraweenah district.
The company has been carrying out a seismic study on prime agricultural land as part of a multi-million dollar project extending over 25,000 square kilometres in the Gunnedah basin.

If analysis proved positive the next step would involve drilling deep core holes.

Shock over MP's actions

Date: Fri 20-Aug-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
Cessnock MP Kerry Hickey will almost certainly face preselection challenges from within the Labor Party after Tuesday's confirmation that he lied about having a baby with a parliamentary staffer, and had planned to retire from politics.
While Labor members contacted by the Newcastle Herald accepted his new relationship and the birth of his daughter were a private matter, his retirement plans - reversed within 30 minutes of talking to Premier Kristina Keneally - were a shock.

Hickey's preselection challenge

Date: Fri 20-Aug-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (SMH)
THE state MP for Cessnock, Kerry Hickey, will almost certainly face Labor preselection challenges after it was confirmed on Tuesday that he lied about fathering a parliamentary staffer's baby, and planned to retire from politics. Labor members accepted his new relationship and the birth of his daughter were a private matter but his retirement plans - reversed within 30 minutes of talking to the Premier, Kristina Keneally - were a shock. "It's been a huge surprise... but I hope it all calms down," said James Hawkins, a Cessnock councillor and the Bellbird Labor branch secretary.

Winning winemaker is toast of the Hunter

Date: Fri 20-Aug-10
Author: Neil Goffet (The Herald)
Broke Fordwich winegrower Andrew Margan was recognised for his outstanding contribution to tourism, winning the top gong at the Hunter and Central Coast Awards for Excellence in Tourism at Newcastle City Hall last night.
Mr Margan won the Outstanding Contribution to Regional Tourism by an Individual award and Minister for the Hunter Jodi McKay said Mr Margan would be a strong contender to win the state award.

Secret love child exposes Labor MP Kerry Hickey

Date: Thu 19-Aug-10
Author: Andrew Clennell (The Daily Telegraph)
THIS is the child Kerry Hickey thought he could keep a secret ... then the mother's boyfriend walked in.

David Kuta was the partner of parliamentary research officer Stephanie Hesford when he came home early from work one day last August to find Mr Hickey in his underwear playing with the child Mr Kuta thought was his daughter on the floor.

Wollombi/Broke Update - 18 August 2010

Date: Wed 18-Aug-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Events list and news on Coal Seam Gas as emailed to Wollombi Valley Online members.

Hunter Expressway - it's been a long, long haul

Date: Wed 18-Aug-10
Author: The Advertiser
For Federal Member Joel Fitzgibbon, the fight to rid the city of highway traffic including heavy trucks began in Easter of 1988.

Plan back in for Huntlee

Date: Wed 18-Aug-10
Author: Frances Thompson (The Herald)
DEVELOPERS behind the $1.8 billion Huntlee development, near Branxton, today begin their second tilt at getting it approved after a court last year found elements of the project unlawful, a decision they said cost them at least $40 million. Proponent the LWP property group refused to show the Newcastle Herald a copy of its new study, expected to be lodged today, that seeks state significant project status for Huntlee.

MP admits lying over paternity: I'm the dad

Date: Wed 18-Aug-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
Cessnock MP Kerry Hickey said yesterday he would stay in politics after a dramatic day in which he admitted lying about having a baby with a NSW parliamentary staff member, called NSW Premier Kristina Keneally to give her the news, and reversed a decision to retire.
''Of course I lied,'' he said yesterday about a Newcastle Herald report last month in which he said he and the woman were friends, and the baby girl born in February last year was not his.

Plan back in for Huntlee

Date: Wed 18-Aug-10
Author: Fran Thompson (The Herald)
DEVELOPERS behind the $1.8 billion Huntlee development, near Branxton, today begin their second tilt at getting it approved after a court last year found elements of the project unlawful, a decision they said cost them at least $40 million.
Proponent the LWP property group refused to show the Newcastle Herald a copy of its new study, expected to be lodged today, that seeks state significant project status for Huntlee.

Quote unquote

Date: Wed 18-Aug-10
Author: The Herald
'We all lost a lot of money. For our group it was $40 million. If you have an agreement signed by two ministers [environment and planning] in Australia where there should be no sovereign risk, you would normally proceed. To lose zoning in Australia is a most unusual occurrence.' LWP property group managing director Danny Murphy said his company could have walked away from Huntlee when the project collapsed.

Milbrodale Mountain Classic

Date: Tue 17-Aug-10
Author: Singleton Argus
OVER 50 drivers from across New South Wales will fight it out for the prestigious 'Man of the Mountain' title when action gets underway in the 24th Milbrodale Mountain Classic on August 21 and 22.

Hunter Valley Wine Show

Date: Tue 17-Aug-10
Author: Singleton Argus
THE Hunter Valley Wine Show is in full swing and has once again attracted international and nationally-acclaimed wine experts.

There are 100 exhibitors for the 2010 show and a total of 777 wines will be tasted by an expert panel of wine judges.

The presentation of awards will be at a special luncheon on Friday at Brokenwood Wines when the winner from each category and the overall winner will be announced.

Duck Farm - Howes Valley

Date: Tue 17-Aug-10
Author: Singleton Argus
SINGLETON council has suggested that the proponents of the Howes Valley Duck Farm withdraw their application due to the inadequate information supplied. If the proponent resubmits it will be the third time. Singleton Council director planning and regulations Mark Ihlein said the proponent needs to decide what they want to do.

Country Villages - Singleton

Date: Tue 17-Aug-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
RESIDENTS of Singleton's country villages have again come away from a meeting with government departments feeling disappointed. Hoping to get some answers about what changes may be coming to air quality regulations and policies for mining operations, about 40 people met in the Civic Centre Foyer on Thursday night to listen to and put questions to three state government departments.

Outstanding Business Awards - Margan Family Winegrowers

Date: Tue 17-Aug-10
Author: Singleton Argus
MARGAN Family Winegrowers is Singleton's Most Outstanding Business for 2010. After taking out the tourism and hospitality award, the Broke-Fordwich business then took out the overall win at this year's Singleton Outstanding Business Awards. Marketing manager Lisa Margan said it was absolutely a great honour to be recognised as a successful business at the local business awards.

State-significant very significant indeed

Date: Tue 17-Aug-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
IN the past two weeks Hardie Holdings - a major Labor Party donor - has met with NSW Planning over the controversial 700-lot Sanctuary Villages residential development at Paxton-Millfield.
They're discussing its future after the Land and Environment Court last year found agreements between developers and the NSW government on some controversial Hunter housing projects were invalid, which tainted the process underpinning Sanctuary Villages.

Kitchener land zoning revisited after stuff up

Date: Tue 17-Aug-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
The NSW Planning Department will go ahead with a plan to rezone Kitchener land owned by a major Labor Party donor despite an embarrassing rezoning ''stuff-up'' and contrary advice from the NSW Planning Assessment Commission.

It also embarrassed Planning Minister Tony Kelly when Cessnock Council found the mistake three days after he had told it that Kitchener rezoning delays were one of the reasons he was moving to strip its planning powers.

It's a gas as NSW industry comes of age

Date: Mon 16-Aug-10
Author: Mathew Murphy (SMH)
"It is not an insignificant task, but we believe we could be delivering LNG out of Newcastle by 2014, which is the same time as Queensland" - Eastern Star Gas Managing Director David Casey

Accreditation proposal for Aboriginal Cultural Heritage reforms - Scott Singleton, Partner at Minter Ellison

Date: Mon 16-Aug-10
Author: Boardroom Radio - Minter Ellison Lawyers
Native Title considerations are becoming more crutial to mining, utilities and construction projects in Australia, as such the laws governing Native Title are under review... Interesting 7 minute listen...

History buff digs up list of NSW coal mines since 1804

Date: Mon 16-Aug-10
Author: Briony Snedden (Maitland Mercury)
Names such as Cramp, Folly, Hell Hole and Last Try could sum up the mood of some entrepreneurial miners on a list of all of the state's coal mines. Kurri Kurri historian Brian Andrews is undertaking the mammoth task of listing every mine to operate in the state, starting with the first coal mine in Newcastle in 1804.

Increase in RAAF Activities on Singleton Training Area 16 - 27 Aug 10

Date: Mon 16-Aug-10
Author: Major Denny Grezdo - Range Control Officer - Singleton
I am just giving you an update on the activities over the next fortnight. The main activity that will be conducted will be the one involving the RAAF jets.

One dead after horror day on Hunter roads

Date: Mon 16-Aug-10
Author: Damon Cronshaw (The Herald)
ONE man died and two people, including a boy, 10, suffered serious injuries in two accidents in a horror day on Hunter roads yesterday. The accidents happened on Nelson Bay Road, Williamtown, and Wollombi Road, near Millfield, police said.

Sick system: patients forced to travel hours for treatment

Date: Mon 16-Aug-10
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
UPPER Hunter residents are travelling hundreds of kilometres to undergo dialysis while machines that could treat them in Muswellbrook and Singleton are used for just three days a week. A lack of trained staff to operate the Upper Hunter equipment full time is said to be forcing patients to go to Newcastle or Tamworth for treatment.

New states, history and the sense of Northern identity

Date: Sun 15-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
One of the things that's interesting but also a bit depressing about about the present growth of interest in new states is the way it draws out our own loss of history.

There are four major regions in Australia at sub-state level that have had a very strong sense of their own identity over time - Riverina, Northern NSW, Capricornia and North Queensland. Not coincidentally, these are also the regions where the desire for statehood expressed through separatist agitation has been a regular manifestation of the sense of identity.

In Australian historical terms, we are talking big sweeps of history.

Millfield Crash

Date: Sun 15-Aug-10
Author: AAP via SMH
Meanwhile, a 32-year-old woman and a 10-year-old boy are in a critical condition in hospital after their car hit a tree in the Central Hunter region.

Police say the car was travelling at 130km/h in an 80km/h zone along Wollombi Road near Millfield about 1.45pm (AEST) on Sunday when the car left the road and hit a tree.

The female driver and boy were airlifted to Royal North Shore and Westmead hospitals for treatment.

Broke's Herberts Street Bridge

Date: Fri 13-Aug-10
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
A FIVE-tonne load limit placed on Broke's Herbert Street bridge has angered locals. Yesterday, Singleton Council's director assets and facilities Gary Thomson said Council had placed the five-tonne restriction due to structural concerns. A detour via Broke and Putty Roads will act as an alternative with the new limit in place indefinitely.

Wollombi Quilt finds a home

Date: Fri 13-Aug-10
Author: Peter Firminger
The Wollombi Quilt is now hanging in Gray's Inn, in the hallway between Fareba's RaRa Gallery and Bronwyn's Herbal Practice.

Broke Fordwich

Date: Fri 13-Aug-10
Author: Nick Scully (Singleton Argus)
THE Broke Fordwich Wine Region can expect an increased number of visitors to the area with the implementation of two new signs marking the region. The new reflective white signs replace the older, green ones that previously signposted the area. They are located in Broke on the corner of Broke Road and Milbrodale Road and are clearly visible to passing motorists.

Greens opposed to coal exports

Date: Fri 13-Aug-10
Author: Ian Kirkwood (The Herald)
Greens Senate candidate Lee Rhiannon will be in Newcastle today to highlight her party's opposition to continued coal exports.
Referring to the expansion of the Newcastle's third coal-loader, Ms Rhiannon said: ''How incongruous that in the same week the NSW government is spruiking a new climate change plan its badge of honour is a boom in Newcastle coal exports.

Muswellbrook bypass funding

Date: Fri 13-Aug-10
Author: Dayarne Smith (Muswellbrook Chronicle)
The Coalition has committed funding to the Muswell-brook bypass in 2014 if it wins government at the August 21 federal election.
Hunter Nationals candidate Michael Johnsen said under a Coalition government the Muswellbrook bypass would be included in the next round of the Auslink program.

Landcare Newsletter August 2010

Date: Thu 12-Aug-10
Author: Graham Taylor
Please find attached a copy of the August issue of the Wollombi Valley Landcare Newsletter.

Feedback reveals why Bligh rejected new state referendum

Date: Thu 12-Aug-10
Author: Ian Mott
On 11th August 2010 the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, ruled out any prospect of a referendum on the formation of a new state for North Queensland. And she did so before the request was formally put to her. This metrocentric Premier, who swore a solemn oath to "well and truly serve" all Queenslanders equally, and without fear or favour, casually and callously denied the right of more than a million Queenslanders to exercise one of the core perogatives enshrined in the UN Charter, that of self determination.

Singleton Community Forum

Date: Thu 12-Aug-10
Author: Singleton Council
Singleton Council is reviewing services and structure to ensure that it best meets the needs of the community it serves. As part of this, Council resolved to seek community feedback as to whether to hold a referendum on the Councillor structure. The referendum would determine how the Mayor is elected, how many Councillors would represent the community, and whether to retain the existing ward/divisions within the Local Government Area.

The Hunter coal rush

Date: Wed 11-Aug-10
Author: The Herald [Editorial]
NEWCASTLE'S place at the pointy end of the global surge in demand for energy has never been more obvious than now.
Frenzied efforts to push ever more coal through the port have led to the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) announcing plans for a massive expansion of its new coal-loader. This $900 million expansion will lift the loader's annual export capacity from 30 million to 55 million tonnes.

Population rise feared

Date: Wed 11-Aug-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
PAXTON and Millfield residents have demanded the NSW government come out in the open about the future of the controversial Hardie Holdings Sanctuary Villages project after months of official silence.
While the government and developers have resurrected other controversial Hunter residential projects such as Huntlee and Catherine Hill Bay, which stalled after court action over the process adopted by the government, there's been silence on Sanctuary Villages, Communities of Congewai Catchment Inc spokesman Greg Lewis said.

2010 Wollombi Valley Country Fair

Date: Tue 10-Aug-10
Author: Peter Firminger
On the 6th and 7th of November 2010, historic Wollombi village will come alive with the second Wollombi Valley Country Fair.

Mayors call for New North Qld State

Date: Tue 10-Aug-10
Author: Ian Mott
NORTH Queensland must become a separate state now or its wealth will forever be lost to the population growth-hungry southeast corner, NQ mayors say.

Gasland

Date: Tue 10-Aug-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
EXPLORATION is a word used freely in the Upper Hunter in the search of mineral resources. The residents of Broke have had coal seam gas exploration projects under their noses in recent times. There is growing concern about the potential for environmental damage and those concerned about coal seam gas will get one view when the movie Gasland comes to Majestic Cinema on Wednesday.

Department of Planning - Camberwell Cumulative Impact Review

Date: Tue 10-Aug-10
Author: Kate Morris (Singleton Argus)
THREE compliance officers to the coal mining industry are expected to be on the job within a matter of weeks. The positions funded by the New South Wales Department of Planning will mean local coal mines will need to be more vigilant than ever as the officers will monitor and enforce conditions of consent for major coal mining projects.

Pressure for North Queensland state increases

Date: Tue 10-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
According to newspaper reports (here for full story), pressure for a new state in North Queensland is growing.

Next month, local government leaders in North Queensland will ask their counterparts across the state to give them vital support for a referendum to be held on the issue at the next state election in 2012.

Is there an election in the seat of Hunter?

Date: Tue 10-Aug-10
Author: Russell Humble (Letters - Maitland Mercury)
I am curious to know that with all the television and newspaper articles about an election, I have not heard from my local memeber (who is it?) or any other respective alternatives seeking my vote.

This is my first election back in this electorate since being away for nearly 10 years and obviously the voters in Hunter don't matter.

I understand there are candidates running for Paterson, Newcastle and other electorates that bound Hunter but I have not heard hide nor hair from any prospective candidates for Hunter.

Who are they, what do they stand for and how will they help Hunter? Please explain?

Hunter Valley 1st New State lunch

Date: Mon 09-Aug-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Saturday was the first New State lunch in the Hunter Valley, a chance for people interested in self government for New England and who had mainly been communicating by email to meet and talk.

Two more candidates for Hunter seat

Date: Mon 09-Aug-10
Author: Lyric Anderson (Hunter Valley News)
One Nation's Jennifer Leayr, a 19-year-old university student who works part time in Singleton has decided to throw her hat in the ring, while Bulga father of six, Wayne Riley, has also put his hand up for selection as the Christian Democratic Party candidate.

Greens in government

Date: Mon 09-Aug-10
Author: Jeff Corbett (Herald Blog)
Greens policies don't matter much, or at all, when we don't have to bear the consequences of them, but that is likely to change after the approaching federal election.

Mine applications prompt fear for future of agriculture

Date: Mon 09-Aug-10
Author: Greg Ray (The Herald)
A BATTLE is looming over the Hunter Valley's water resources and farming future, with coal companies seeking approval to mine riverlands previously regarded by many as off limits.
The Hunter Valley Water Users Association, the NSW Farmers Association and Hunter Minewatch are worried the government might approve potentially risky proposals without proper consideration.

At its state conference last month, the farmers association passed a resolution calling on the government to freeze consideration of any open-cut mining proposals on alluvial floodplains, and any longwall proposals within 150 metres of a creek.

The association wants the same limits to apply to coal seam gas extraction.

Water fight over rivers

Date: Mon 09-Aug-10
Author: The Herald [Editorial]
WHEN the NSW government refused the Bickham coalmine proposal this year it promised a new approach to mining approvals that would take proper account of competing land uses. The Minerals Council, which represents coal companies, welcomed the idea, saying its members would be pleased to work within fair and predictable guidelines.

Frack, Baby, Frack: The Insti-Environmental Nightmare

Date: Sun 08-Aug-10
Author: J.A. Ginsburg
How scheme sold as pro-energy independence & climate-friendly unleashed environmental disaster in 5 years; From U.S. to Australia, Poland & India; Clean water as legal casualty; Green lesson from Bangladesh

Coal Seam Methane Update

Date: Sun 08-Aug-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Many of you may not be aware that AGL Energy has moved into the Hermitage Road area of Pokolbin as well as being very active in and around Broke.

While we seem to have scared the former Sydney Gas, now AGL Energy away from Paynes Crossing and Wollombi, the significant threat to the Hunter Valley exists and the Petroleum Exploration License (PEL 267) remains.

Donations can be kept secret

Date: Sat 07-Aug-10
Author: Damon Cronshaw (The Herald)
THE Hunter's federal MPs can keep political donations hidden under controversial campaign finance laws. A loophole in the law allows personal donations to be funnelled to parties, without the public knowing.

Singleton's rural villages

Date: Fri 06-Aug-10
Author: Singleton Argus
THE preservation of Singleton's rural villages is something many people are dedicated to, in particular those who live in them. Residents of Glennies Creek, Middle Falbrook, Camberwell and Bridgman Road are invited to attend a public meeting to discuss forming a local group to act on behalf of residents on various issues in the communities.

No more shed life

Date: Fri 06-Aug-10
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
SINGLETON land owners wishing to live on their property whilst building a new home will only be able to do so in a caravan.

Singleton Council has developed a new policy that allows property owners to live in a caravan only for a maximum period of six months while they are in the process of building a home on that property.

The only facilities allowed in an adjacent shed or garage is a bathroom and temporary laundry.

Atheist Julia not fit to lead: Riley

Date: Fri 06-Aug-10
Author: The Mudgee Guardian
First time candidate and Christian Democrats nominee for the seat of Hunter in the August 21 election Wayne Riley says Julia Gillard is unfit to be prime minister because she is an atheist.

Our Land, Our Water, Our Future - Coal Seam Gas protest in Brisbane

Date: Thu 05-Aug-10
Author: SixDegrees
On August 4th 2010, farmers, environmentalists, rural and urban folk from across the state gathered at Queensland Parliament House in protest of the state government's ongoing approvals of coal and coal seam gas wells on some of the countries most productive farming lands.

Hunter coal future 'can't last'

Date: Thu 05-Aug-10
Author: Tim Connell (The Herald)
THE Hunter has a chance to shed a legacy of pollution and be a "Silicon Valley" for green energy, an environmental scientist told a Newcastle City Hall audience last night. The professor told the Climate Action Newcastle's Beyond Coal forum that the Hunter was one of the worst contributors to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, and that coal-fired power stations had to be phased out.

The Hunter and the North, 1 or 2 States?

Date: Wed 04-Aug-10
Author: Ian Mott
Some 43 years after the failed referendum on a new state for northern NSW we are still faced with the issue of whether to combine the NSW North with the Hunter Valley in one state. There is no question that the two regions have a common cause against a common problem, ie, Sydney's hedgemony, it's narcissism, and it's arrogant indifference to regional concerns. And there is no doubting that the folk of the Hunter Valley see themselves more as northerners than metrocentrics. But it does not follow that this common cause should be met with a single solution. The lumping of these two communities together in the proposal for the 1967 referendum has proven to be the critical error in that campaign.

Seperatists, Secessionists, Aspirants and Rebels

Date: Wed 04-Aug-10
Author: Ian Mott
This post is for songs that capture the mood of seperation, departure and anticipation of something better. Please add your suggestions (with audio links) in the comments section below.

Country music festival moves to the Hunter

Date: Wed 04-Aug-10
Author: Amy Edwards (The Herald)
AUSTRALIAN roots and country music festival CMC Rocks The Snowys is moving from Thredbo to the Hunter Valley.
The Country Music Channel (CMC), Rob Potts Entertainment Edge and Chugg Entertainment announced yesterday that after three successful years in Thredbo the festival had grown and needed a larger site.

Next year the festival will be held in the Hunter Valley in March and will be renamed CMC Rocks The Hunter.

Fitzgibbon benefactor faces Chinese fraud probe

Date: Wed 04-Aug-10
Author: The Age
A MAJOR Labor Party donor and benefactor of former defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon is the subject of a formal complaint by a large Chinese state-owned-enterprise which alleges the businesswoman defrauded it of millions of dollars.

Ramsays Leap Recommendations

Date: Tue 03-Aug-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Extract from the Traffic Committee Report in the Agenda for the Council meeting this Wednesday

Reconcile Australia Party

Date: Tue 03-Aug-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Many of you will have met Jennifer Stefanac at gigs at Laguna Wine Bar or around the valley. Jennifer is running for the Senate in the 2010 elections.

Singleton by-pass

Date: Tue 03-Aug-10
Author: Singleton Argus
PLANNING for a Singleton by-pass will begin immediately if the coalition win the August 21 election. National candidate for Hunter Michael Johnsen gave the commitment during a morning tea on Saturday morning which also welcomed Senator Barnaby Joyce to Singleton.

2010 Federal Election candidates for Hunter

Date: Tue 03-Aug-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
TWO more candidates have put their hand up for the 2010 Federal Election bringing the candidates to five for the Hunter seat.

Wayne Riley from the Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) and Jennifer Leayr from the One Nation party have joined Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon, Greens candidate Chris Parker and The Nationals' Michael Johnsen.

Sudden Funding

Date: Tue 03-Aug-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
SINGLETON is being told enough times, there is no point wanting and wishing for infrastructure if there is nothing on the table to talk about. Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon gave Singleton residents a little hint when explaining the mineral resources rent tax that projects should be up and running, ready to go, for them to be successful in getting a slice of the cash generated by the new tax.

Ridge view puts Sanctuary in perspective

Date: Tue 03-Aug-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
THERE'S a place called Flat Rock on a ridge of the Watagans that offers a sublime view east, straight up the Congewai Valley.
I had morning tea there a couple of weeks ago with about 30 people who are completing the Great North Walk, section by section, each Saturday with NSW National Parks.

Gallery launch to showcase indigenous artists

Date: Mon 02-Aug-10
Author: Rebecca Berry (Maitland Mercury)
Works of art by indigenous artists will be the centrepiece of a new art gallery at Blaxlands Inn, Pokolbin. A gallery launch will be held on Thursday at 6pm to showcase powerful contemporary pieces by established and emerging indigenous artists.

Helping hand from Joyce

Date: Mon 02-Aug-10
Author: Alison Branley (The Herald)
NATIONALS senate leader Barnaby Joyce added his own brand of political colour to the election campaign in the Hunter at the weekend. The Queensland senator joined the Nationals candidate for the seat of Hunter, Michael Johnsen, on the election trail in Singleton and Cessnock on Saturday.

Greens target swing voters in record ad campaign

Date: Sat 31-Jul-10
Author: ABC News
The Australian Greens Party is launching new television advertisements which will air nationwide tomorrow night.

It is the biggest election advertising campaign ever run by the Greens.

Greens leader Bob Brown says opinion polls indicate people are becoming disillusioned with the major parties.

Nationals bring in the big guns

Date: Sat 31-Jul-10
Author: NBN News
The National Party has brought out the big guns in hope of winning votes in one of Labor's strong holds.
Senator Barnaby Joyce today toured the Hunter Valley.

Cheryl Kernot to run for Senate

Date: Fri 30-Jul-10
Author: Brisbane Times via The Herald
Former Australian Democrats leader and Labor MP Cheryl Kernot will stand as an independent Senate candidate for NSW at the next federal election.

Ms Kernot, the former leader of the Australian Democrats who famously defected to the Labor Party, retired from politics after she lost the seat of Dickson at the 2001 election.

Federal election candidates declared

Date: Fri 30-Jul-10
Author: Ian Kirkwood (The Herald)
In Hunter, sitting member Joel Fitzgibbon has drawn third spot, with Green Chris Parker at the top of a five candidate ballot paper, with One Nation candidate Jennifer Leayr second, Christian Democrat (Fred Nile) Wayne Riley in fourth spot and National Party candidate in fifth spot.

Historical photographs project

Date: Fri 30-Jul-10
Author: Cessnock Library
In recent months, Cessnock City Library has been continuing its project to digitise the Library's collection of photographs which depict the local history of our area. Library staff are at a point in the project whereby they are calling for local people to assist them in expanding the collection of images.

NSW Greens team ready for Federal election

Date: Fri 30-Jul-10
Author: Lee Rhiannon
With the close of nominations yesterday, Greens lead Senate candidate Lee Rhiannon today announced that her party will run its biggest campaign to date, with local candidates in all 48 lower house seats.

Milbrodale Public School - Frog Pond

Date: Fri 30-Jul-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
THE importance of preserving the environment for future generations has taken a step forward with the opening of the Milbrodale Public School frog pond.
The environmental wonder will be an educational green haven that will be utilised for art, literacy, science and Human Society and its Environment subjects.

Kogan contamination last straw for UCG

Date: Fri 30-Jul-10
Author: Larissa Waters (The Greens)
Concerns by local Kogan farmers that Carbon Energy's underground coal gasification (UCG) plant is responsible for elevated mercury levels in local creeks exposes the state government's recklessness in approving a dangerous experimental industry, which has failed and should be banned, say the Greens.

Fracking With Food: How the Natural Gas Industry Poisons Cows and Crops

Date: Fri 30-Jul-10
Author: Byard Duncan (AlterNet)
Natural gas drilling operations have mucked up food from Colorado to Pennsylvania. So why is no one paying attention? On the morning of May 5, 2010, nobody could say for sure how much fluid had leaked from the 650,000-gallon disposal pit near a natural gas drill pad in Shippen Township, Penn. -- not the employees on site; not the farmers who own the property; not the DEP rep who came to investigate.

$2m rail plan 'a drop in bucket'

Date: Fri 30-Jul-10
Author: The Herald
THE $2 million the federal government pledged to plan a Scone rail underpass was a drop in the bucket, NSW Minerals Council chief executive Nikki Williams said yesterday.

From the Mayors Desk - 30 July 2010

Date: Fri 30-Jul-10
Author: Alison Davey
We said goodbye to another Cessnock icon last week with the passing of John Hall. John is a well known businessman in Cessnock with both the TM & KTM motorcycle outlets...

Scone Rail Overpass

Date: Thu 29-Jul-10
Author: Chris Parker (Hunter Greens)
Mr. Joel Fitzgibbon has announced the allocation of $2 million Dollars of funding to plan an overpass for the rail crossing at Scone.

The residents of Scone have been heavily campaigning for an answer to their traffic woes for some time now. Our present Government has a history of ignoring the concerns of residents until election time and promise the world. As we have seen on several issues over their term in office, promises are made and quickly forgotten once the election is over.

Overpass victory

Date: Thu 29-Jul-10
Author: Caitlin Andrews (Scone Advocate)
The growing concerns of a level crossing on the New England Highway at the northern end of Scone have been put to rest with a $2 million Federal Government grant awarded yesterday.
And even though the federal election is just around the corner, the rail crossing will remain at the top of the agenda as the National Party also pledged its commitment to the issue this week.

Scone to get rail overpass as part of election promise

Date: Thu 29-Jul-10
Author: Julianne Strachan (The Herald)
THE new mining tax would be used to pay for an overpass for the rail crossing on the New England Highway at Scone, in a significant election sweetener rolled out by Labor yesterday.
Coal trains rumbling through Scone's level crossings regularly cut the town in two for periods of about eight minutes at a time, frustrating motorists and prompting safety concerns if there was an emergency in the town.

Catherine Hill Bay project gets go-ahead

Date: Thu 29-Jul-10
Author: Kelsey Munro (SMH)
A CONTROVERSIAL development proposal at Catherine Hill Bay will proceed but residents have been given a sweetener in the form of heritage protection for parts of the town.
The Planning Minister, Tony Kelly, has proposed state heritage listing for the coastal hamlet south of Newcastle, and rezoning of land for residential development in bushland areas next to it.

Scott receives promising CSG message from Garrett

Date: Wed 28-Jul-10
Author: Bruce Scott, MP (Nationals Website)
Federal LNP Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott has received a promising response from Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett after he wrote last month expressing grave concerns about the extraction of coal seam gas.

Mr Scott called on the Minister to withhold support for the CSG extraction process until science could conclusively confirm that the aquifers of the Great Artesian Basin would not be significantly impacted upon.

He said the Minister's response showed promise for federal intervention.

Cessnock City Council supports 2020 plan

Date: Wed 28-Jul-10
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock City Council will adopt the draft Cessnock 2020 Community Plan. The draft plan will go on public exhibition from today after councillors unanimously supported it at last Wednesday night's meeting.

Huntlee back on the drawing board

Date: Wed 28-Jul-10
Author: The Advertiser
The NSW Department of Planning has received a new State Significant Site request for the Huntlee New Town site near Branxton.

The request follows a decision in the Land and Environment Court last year that overturned previous approvals on the site on technical legal grounds.

The former deed of agreement that applied to the site has been rescinded and the proponent has lodged plans for merit assessment under the framework of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

The government will now consider the site's potential as a State Significant Site.

Sweetwater Action Group Short-changed

Date: Tue 27-Jul-10
Author: Chris Parker
On October 19 2009 the Land and Environment Court quashed the approval of the massive Huntlee development.

Chris parker, President of the Sweetwater Action Group expressed his concern at the time of the decision that the failure of the Minister for Planning to defend the case meant the the residents group were denied the opportunity to have the Court hear all their arguments against the development.

Sweetwater Action Group Short-changed

Date: Tue 27-Jul-10
Author: Chris Parker (SWAG)
On October 19 2009 the Land and Environment Court quashed the approval of the massive Huntlee development.

Chris parker, President of the Sweetwater Action Group expressed his concern at the time of the decision that the failure of the Minister for Planning to defend the case meant the the residents group were denied the opportunity to have the Court hear all their arguments against the development.

NSW Farmers Association

Date: Tue 27-Jul-10
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
THE NSW Farmers Association has backed Hunter farmers who are concerned that mining is taking prime agricultural land in the region. At its conference in Sydney last week, Hunter farmers won the support of the peak farmer's body who will lobby the government for support on a key motion until a whole of government approach is given to coal mining.

Huntlee

Date: Tue 27-Jul-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
RESIDENTS of Branxton and Singleton Council expect better consultation with next months expected project application for Huntlee New Town.

The project was announced last week with preliminary rezoning to a State Significant Site being considered by the Department of Planning.

Sweetwater Action Group president Chris Parker is disappointed to see that the project has come back and early outlines of the project indicate little has changed.

The proposal is to create 7500 home lots on land between Branxton and North Rothbury.

Integra Coal Mine Blasting

Date: Tue 27-Jul-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
INTEGRA Coal has suspended mine blasts at its open cut north pit until adequate controls are in place to prevent more instances of orange plumes.

For the second time in less than a week, Vale's Integra Coal Camberwell mine has sent another orange plume of dust into the air above Camberwell.

Two different points of view unacceptable

Date: Tue 27-Jul-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
It is a massive worry when you have a coal company saying the orange fall out from coal mining is unacceptable and the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water saying it is to be expected. These were the two vastly different responses when The Singleton Argus made enquiries after yet another blast shed orange substances into the atmosphere. Local residents know it is not a rarity, the orange plumes are common.

Lake plan questions

Date: Tue 27-Jul-10
Author: The Herald
REGARDLESS of the lack of national and international progress over carbon pricing, local councils in NSW must observe a series of state and federal environmental codes when it comes to their planning laws.
Each council has a degree of leeway in these matters but Lake Macquarie City Council, for one, has been unashamed in its embrace of what is generally termed sustainable development. Its early advocacy of regulations aimed at coping with potential sea-level rises is an obvious example of its determination to plan for environmental difficulties.

Angry producers boo Bligh

Date: Mon 26-Jul-10
Author: Timothy Braban (The Western Star)
ANGRY protestors picketed Premier Anna Bligh's Community Cabinet session in Roma yesterday. Ms Bligh introduced the Community Cabinet meeting as an opportunity to "talk directly to government" and it was protestor Dayne "the frack man" Pratzky who took the Premier up on her offer when he shouted: "You're an embarrassment to Queensland and you should be ashamed."

Angry protesters demand independent industry review into science behind coal seam gas

Date: Mon 26-Jul-10
Author: John Mccarthy and Anna Caldwell (The Courier-Mail)
THE State Government has admitted the science behind the potential $50 billion coal seam gas industry isn't good enough, throwing down the gauntlet to the industry to fix it or go.

Huntlee housing project resurrected

Date: Mon 26-Jul-10
Author: Kelsey Munro (SMH)
THE state's biggest housing project is back for consideration, even bigger than before, with up to 7500 homes and 200 hectares of commercial buildings, nine months after it was killed off.
The Land and Environment Court had stopped the controversial Huntlee development, near Branxton, in the Hunter Valley, over an unlawful land swap.

New State arguments 12 - the importance of history

Date: Sun 25-Jul-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
One of the difficulties those of us who want self-government for New England face in getting our message across is the loss of our own history. The reasons for this are complex, but link to the combination of demographic change with changing research and publishing fashions.

Wollombi Valley Update - 23 July 2010

Date: Fri 23-Jul-10
Author: Peter Firminger
LEP/Conservation Zone
The Cessnock LEP 2010 is currently on exhibition - with submissions closing on 4 August 2010

Events for this weekend

Mining issues on election agenda

Date: Fri 23-Jul-10
Author: Jamie Fakes (Hunter Valley News)
The federal election is now just a month away and mining issues are set to be the major topic of debate for the Hunter region.

Greens name candidate for Hunter

Date: Fri 23-Jul-10
Author: Ashleigh Saunders (Mudgee Guardian)
Greens candidate for Parker Chris Hunter will be focussing on the environment and the people. Mr Parker is from Buchanan and has always been interested in environmental issues.

Isabella Hardy - Annie - Muswellbrook Theatre Group

Date: Fri 23-Jul-10
Author: Singleton Argus
TWELVE-year-old Isabella Hardy knows all about Annie. It is a musical she has performed in before, but this time Isabella has landed the coveted role of Annie and she is beaming with excitement. The talented local youngster is ready to tread the boards for the Muswellbrook Theatre group's production when it opens this Friday night at the Worker's Club.

Memories of Warkworth

Date: Fri 23-Jul-10
Author: Singleton Argus
BILL Greenhalgh is a man on a mission, a mission to write about Warkworth the place he was born and bred. It has taken Mr Greenhalgh, a retired academic, 15 years so far and he still has more to do until he feels he will finally be able to close the book on the Warkworth he knew and loved.

Integra Coal Blasting

Date: Fri 23-Jul-10
Author: Singleton Argus
INTEGRA Coal has seven days to provide an incident report on a mine blast that covered the village of Middle Falbrook in a cloud of orange dust. The Department of Environment Climate Change and Water (DECCW) received two calls from residents about the blast from Integra Coal's Camberwell mine on Wednesday.

Mid-West Council calls for mine moratorium

Date: Fri 23-Jul-10
Author: Robyn Murray (Mudgee Guardian)
The Mid-Western Regional Council has called for a moratorium on approval of new coal mines or expansion of existing mines until the State Government has completed a study into how the region will cope with growth that the mines will generate.

Councillors also voted on Wednesday to ask the Prime Minister to declare the Mid-Western Region a "regional growth area" so that the it will be eligible for Federal Government funding for infrastructure, and to visit the region to see the effects of mining development.

Council pound ignores dog virus complaints

Date: Fri 23-Jul-10
Author: ABC News
A Newcastle animal rescue organisation says it is considering taking legal action to force Cessnock City Council to make improvements at its Kurri Kurri Pound.

Mine inspectors for Hunter

Date: Fri 23-Jul-10
Author: Dayarne Smith (Muswellbrook Chronicle)
Two new Upper Hunter mine compliance inspectors could be based in Muswellbrook, if an offer by the local council is accepted. The inspectors will be employed by the NSW Planning Department to monitor mines' compliance with their consent conditions.

Better tourists than ghost towns

Date: Fri 23-Jul-10
Author: Steve Sullivan (Letter to The Herald)
I REPLY to Warwick Biggs ("Rampant tourism may kill Wollombi" Letters 10/7). My wife and I run the Wollombi general store, a seven-day-a-week pleasure. We meet people from around the country and the globe.

Housing project given $500,000 discount: Greens

Date: Thu 22-Jul-10
Author: ABC Newcastle
The Greens say they have a document showing the developer behind a massive Hunter Valley housing project has been given a $500,000 discount for project processing fees.

Housing project given $500,000 discount: Greens

Date: Thu 22-Jul-10
Author: ABC News
The Greens say they have a document showing the developer behind a massive Hunter Valley housing project has been given a $500,000 discount for project processing fees.

Tourist site approved with conditions

Date: Thu 22-Jul-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
STRICT conditions relating to noise and hours have been placed on the controversial Wollombi Views tourist outlet at Wollombi.
Cessnock City Council granted development consent last night for the development, which has been operating illegally for five years without council approval.

Huntlee proposal gains momentum

Date: Thu 22-Jul-10
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
THE state's biggest housing project, the $1.8 billion Huntlee New Town at Branxton, is back on the agenda.
The proposal has been declared potentially "state significant", and fresh project applications are expected to be lodged by the end of next month.

No Fracking Way!

Date: Wed 21-Jul-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Pete Seeger at a News Conference on HydroFracking

Debating skills on show

Date: Wed 21-Jul-10
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock's inaugural Mayoral Academic High School Debate will take place from tomorrow at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre. Year 9 and 10 students from the four high schools in the local government area will take part in the challenge. The promotion and celebration of the academic achievement of the young people of our LGA is vitally important to the future of our area, according to Mayor of Cessnock, Cr. Alison Davey.

NSW nurses push for better staffing, conditions

Date: Wed 21-Jul-10
Author: ABC News
There is a push escalating for the improvement of staffing across New South Wales hospitals, particularly in rural areas. Around 54,000 nurses and midwives across NSW are calling on the State Government to follow Victoria's lead and implement minimum nurse-to-patient ratios.

Fitzgibbon launches defamation case against newspapers

Date: Tue 20-Jul-10
Author: ABC News
Former defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon has launched legal action against four newspapers over reports about his alleged links with a Chinese-Australian businesswoman.

Hunter chamber prepares federal wish list

Date: Tue 20-Jul-10
Author: ABC Newcastle
The Hunter Business Chamber says funding for the inner-city expansion of Newcastle University and redevelopment of the law courts are high on its wish list for the federal election campaign.

Three in the running for Hunter seat

Date: Tue 20-Jul-10
Author: Singleton Argus
PLEASED that the campaign trail is underway, Federal Member for the Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon said the 2010 election presents a stark contrast between the leaders of the two major parties and he had plenty of faith in Julia Gillard.

Election is on

Date: Tue 20-Jul-10
Author: Singleton Argus
MINING issues will be key in the August 21 election with all three candidates for the Hunter keen to debate the issues. Three people have put their hand up to run for the seat of Hunter.

Joel Fitzgibbon has held the seat since 1996 and will again contest the seat.

Michael Johnsen is the Nationals candidate and revealed his intention to run about a month ago.

The Greens announced a candidate for the Hunter at the weekend in Chis Parker from Buchanan (near Kurri).

Operatic love tale

Date: Tue 20-Jul-10
Author: Amy Edwards (The Herald)
AUSTRALIA-born soprano Allegra Giagu doesn't have to look far to find the meaning in a love song. The performer will sing alongside her organist fiance Jonathan Hope at St John's Anglican Church, Wollombi, on Saturday. The couple, who also performed in Melbourne this week, are staying in Wollombi while Allegra visits her parents, Bruno and Victoria Giagu, and her grandmother, Rose.

WVAC Arts News July/August 2010

Date: Tue 20-Jul-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
Painting the Australian Iconic
August at the WCC with Fiona Bateman, Ron Royes and Julia Francis
Call for Entries - 5th Emerging Artists Awards
Cultural/Arts-related booking enquiries

Federal Election 2010

Date: Mon 19-Jul-10
Author: Hawker Britton - Occasional Papers
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has called the Federal Election for 21st August 2010.

The writs for the election will be issued at 6pm today (Monday 19 July 2010). From that time the Caretaker Conventions will apply.

The race has begun: Candidates begin campaign across two electorates

Date: Mon 19-Jul-10
Author: Don Mahoney (Mudgee Guardian)
Federal election candidates for Parkes and Hunter had already begun campaigning across their electorates yesterday after Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the August 21 election date on Saturday.

Five weeks to choose

Date: Mon 19-Jul-10
Author: The Herald [Editorial]
WITH Kevin Rudd's political blood still wet on her hands, Julia Gillard has taken the bold step of calling the federal election for Saturday, August 21.
More than once since seizing power less than four weeks ago, Ms Gillard has commented on the need to obtain a mandate from the people. To her credit, she has wasted little time in putting her leadership to the test. She has gone to the polls knowing Labor will have the hardest of fights to carry an election that should never have been the Coalition's to win.

No big spending in this campaign, warn Hunter candidates

Date: Mon 19-Jul-10
Author: Ben Smee (The Herald)
The Hunter's federal MPs have warned voters not to expect a "wish-list" election, as both major parties put forward plans to tighten the nation's purse strings. Hunter voters will go to the polls with the rest of Australia on August 21, but may have to make their choice without the typical promises of spending on local projects and infrastructure.

Labor, Greens close to preference deal

Date: Mon 19-Jul-10
Author: Phillip Coorey (The Herald)
Labor and the Greens are on the verge of a comprehensive preference deal that would boost the government's prospects of holding on to power while helping the Greens achieve the balance of power in the Senate.

Councils bid for slice of infrastructure pie

Date: Mon 19-Jul-10
Author: Damon Cronshaw (The Herald)
Newcastle Maitland and Cessnock councils have been invited to bid for $15million each in federal funding to boost affordable housing in their areas. Prime Minister Julia Gillard listed the three cities yesterday among 46 others in Australia that can bid for $200million for infrastructure to support new housing.

Vote redistribution not automatic

Date: Mon 19-Jul-10
Author: Damon Cronshaw (The Herald)
Hunter voters should not think a vote for The Greens would end up with Labor, The Greens' Newcastle candidate Michael Osborne said yesterday. Mr Osborne said it was "not a given" that Greens' preferences would flow to Labor. Mr Osborne said the Greens' Hunter candidates had held internal discussions about preferences but were yet to speak to other parties and candidates. "People can make up their own minds [about preferences]," he said.

Cessnock honours one of its finest

Date: Mon 19-Jul-10
Author: Martin Dineen (The Herald)
Harold Sternbeck - Born: September 12, 1929 - Died: July 6, 2010

THE life of Harold James Sternbeck, which was dedicated to the community of Cessnock for so many of his 80 years, was celebrated in a service at St John's Anglican Church last week.

Queensland coal seam gas, liquefied natural gas ventures under a cloud

Date: Mon 19-Jul-10
Author: John McCarthy (The Courier-Mail)
THE Bligh Government finds itself in a very bad political position over what is looming as a critical economic and environmental issue.

The ruling last week by federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to stall a decision on two massive central Queensland coal seam-to-liquefied natural gas projects by three months was one of two things: blatant politics designed to earn Garrett some Green kudos or a rejection of the State Government's environmental standards.

Either way the State Government looks the loser and the public is less informed about the issue than it should be.

From the Mayors Desk - 19 July 2010

Date: Mon 19-Jul-10
Author: Alison Davey
It was a sad day of the passing of Harold Sternbeck AM. Harold gave a lifetime of extraordinary service and achievement and through his strength of character and his integrity became one of the City's most highly regarded and respected citizen attaining Freeman of the City in 2009.

Hunter Electorate Details

Date: Sun 18-Jul-10
Author: The Herald
Hunter covers an area of about 20,111 square kilometres from Maitland in the east to Cassilis in the west, Murrurundi in the north and south to Wollombi. Towns include: Branxton, Cessnock, Denman, Kurri Kurri, Maitland, Muswellbrook, and Singleton.

Natural Talent - Jodie Mobberley - Singleton Art Prize

Date: Fri 16-Jul-10
Author: Singleton Argus
JODIE Mobberley has always loved drawing. At school it was her passion and a skill that others recognised as a great talent. As a youngster though she never really divulged into the competition arena drawing only because it was what she liked to do. "I drew at school but when I look back at them they look like cartoon drawings," she laughs.

Camberwell village report - Anger at village report

Date: Fri 16-Jul-10
Author: Singleton Argus
THE Camberwell Cumulative Impact Review looking at the effects of the mining industry on Camberwell has major shortcomings according to local residents who have read the report.

Vote for mayor - Singleton

Date: Fri 16-Jul-10
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
COUNCILLORS will vote on Monday night whether to give the public the right to vote for its mayor.

The reduction in councillor numbers from 12 to nine is also on the agenda as well as the option to abolish the current ward system.

SMALL TALK in The Herald

Date: Thu 15-Jul-10
Author: Amy Edwards (The Herald)
THE Wollombi Valley Short Film Festival will be held on Saturday, October 2. Former winner Jason van Genderen will return to the festival this year as a judge and to present a youth award. Jason and his film partner Shane Emmett won first prize at the festival last year with their flick Mankind is No Island. Shot entirely on a mobile phone, the flick also won best film at Tropfest New York in 2008. The lads also claimed second prize with another film at the Wollombi festival and donated their $750 prize money to young filmmakers. For an entry form go to valleyartists.org. Entries close September 17.

Miner wants Camberwell Common

Date: Thu 15-Jul-10
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
ASHTON Coal wants to buy and possibly mine part of the former Camberwell Common after saying it would be a "responsible tenant" when the government controversially handed it an access licence for the land earlier this year.

QLD Gas exploration - Go on fighting in the Hunter!

Date: Wed 14-Jul-10
Author: Brian Monk
Good day to all people in the Hunter, i have only been through your area on 2 occassions, it is beautiful. Today i write to you to encourage you to fight gas exploration, if you dont right now you will find yourself in the position that the Surat Basin where i live finds itself in now.

Moratorium on coal seam gas

Date: Wed 14-Jul-10
Author: The Greens
Australian Greens Lead Senate Candidate for Queensland Larissa Waters and Leader Senator Bob Brown have welcomed Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett's request for further information on the groundwater and Great Barrier Reef impacts of proposed Queensland coal seam gas (CSG) projects.

Cessnock community mourns Harold Sternbeck

Date: Wed 14-Jul-10
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock City has lost one of its most dedicated citizens with the passing of Harold Sternbeck AM. Mr. Sternbeck died on Tuesday, July 6 aged 80. Hundreds of people attended his funeral yesterday at St. John's Anglican Church, Cessnock.

Camberwell report released

Date: Wed 14-Jul-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
COAL mines in the vicinity of Camberwell must cut back noise and dust levels and two compliance officers will be based in the Upper Hunter by the end of August to monitor mine compliance with consent conditions.
In addition the NSW government has established a group of senior ministers to develop a strategic plan for coal mining in New South Wales by the end of the year.

Garrett delays gas deal ruling

Date: Wed 14-Jul-10
Author: Matt Chambers (The Australian)
FEDERAL Environment Minister Peter Garrett has delayed rulings on two $10 billion-plus Gladstone coal-seam gas export projects.

They are operated separately by BG Group and Santos and the move is expected to push back at least one project start by three months.

Chamber opera at Sacred Spaces

Date: Tue 13-Jul-10
Author: Singleton Argus
SCOTT Blick is passionate about opera. This passion inspired a simple concept to bring opera to a broader audience and change the way the general public think about opera. "I want to create a situation for people who may not like opera, young kids, to see and enjoy," Mr Blick said this week.

Camberwell waits on coal report

Date: Tue 13-Jul-10
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
The state government will announce today its strongest moves yet to rein in the impacts of Hunter coalmines, after experts warned of the need to take action on the exposure of Camberwell residents to dust limit breaches.

Beautiful bluestone Millthorpe village showcased online

Date: Mon 12-Jul-10
Author: Community Geographic Domain Names
Millthorpe in Central NSW is launching their CGDN website this week. Located in the heart of a dynamic food and wine region, Millthorpe is well known for its truffle production and home to many local artists.

We need a growth plan

Date: Mon 12-Jul-10
Author: Peter Shinnick (The Herald)
THE Lower Hunter Regional Strategy was released by the NSW Government in 2006.
It outlines where future growth and development in the Lower Hunter will occur, and provides guidance to councils, businesses and the community on how our region will develop.

Rampant tourism may kill Wollombi

Date: Sat 10-Jul-10
Author: Warwick Biggs in a letter to The Herald
THERE are deep and divisive concerns about tourist development in historic Wollombi ("DVD promotes village easy with its past and future" Herald 7/7)...

Mining tax 'acceptable'

Date: Fri 09-Jul-10
Author: Hunter Valley News
MINING companies with significant Upper Hunter coal operations have labelled the watered-down and newly-named Mineral Resources Rent Tax (MRRT) "acceptable" - and they are eager to work through the details.

Harold James Sternbeck AM

Date: Wed 07-Jul-10
Author: Mayor Alison Davey
It is with sadness that I acknowledge the passing of Harold Sternbeck AM. Harold gave a lifetime of extraordinary service and achievement... and through his strength of character... and his integrity became one of the City's most highly regarded and respected citizens, attaining Freeman of the City status in 2009.

Free drop-off for old electronics

Date: Wed 07-Jul-10
Author: Cessnock City Council
The new financial year has seen the introduction of another new recycling opportunity at Council's Waste and Reuse Centre.

To complement the success of the eWaste and Secondhand Saturday events targeting electronic waste such as old televisions and computers, a permanent free drop off facility has been unveiled at the Centre. The facility will be monitored and is provided for all residents of the Cessnock local government area and is for domestic use only.

DVD promotes Wollombi village

Date: Wed 07-Jul-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Story removed... I watched the "film"

Singleton's 28th Art Prize opening night Friday

Date: Tue 06-Jul-10
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
COME Friday the Civic Centre will be filled with artwork and paintings for opening night of Singleton's 28th Art Prize. Yesterday saw the first batch of works couriered from Sydney and the Central Coast with more set to arrive today and tomorrow.

Question of credibility

Date: Tue 06-Jul-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
STEVE Brown was a senior NSW Planning Department official in the Hunter until early 2008, when the NSW government centralised planning and made some changes.
His version of what happened, as presented to the NSW Industrial Court, makes interesting reading, particularly if you're trying to put in context the argy-bargy between Cessnock City Council and NSW Planning Minister Tony Kelly over his move to take the council's planning powers.

Hunter's coal comfort in tax pact

Date: Sat 03-Jul-10
Author: Ian Kirkwood (The Herald)
THE new 30 per cent minerals rent tax Prime Minister Julia Gillard hammered out with Australia's big three mining companies is already having an impact in the Hunter.
Mining company Xstrata said yesterday that certainty over the mining tax had lifted a shadow from its planned Ravensworth North mine between Singleton and Muswellbrook.

From the Mayors Desk - 2 July 2010

Date: Fri 02-Jul-10
Author: Alison Davey
In times of economic difficulty I am pleased to advise that Cessnock City Council has delivered a balanced budget for 2010-2011 financial year and has maintained its level of service across all facets of Council's operations, in some cases increasing its funding commitment in high priority areas such as roads with the total budget for next year $81 million.

Cessnock draft LEP back on exhibition

Date: Wed 30-Jun-10
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock City Council will re-exhibit its draft Local Environment Plan in July for a four-week period.
Councillors considered a report on the draft LEP at last week's council meeting and resolved to seek further public comment because there have been several amendments to the original draft.

'Our Nigel' stars in West Side Story

Date: Wed 30-Jun-10
Author: Krystal Sellars (The Advertiser)
Ten years ago, Nigel Turner-Carroll was preparing for his HSC exams at Mount View High School and gearing up for the performance of a lifetime at the Sydney Olympics. Fast forward to 2010 and the former Lovedale resident has made a name for himself in the Sydney theatre scene.

Big heart, ace hand helps all

Date: Mon 28-Jun-10
Author: Matt Carr (The Herald)
IT may be a bit trite to claim all the world's a stage, but Wayne Van Keren is doing his best to expand his performance space. The 58-year-old Newcastle man has taken techniques learnt as a professional entertainer around the region, volunteering his skills through the Hunter Volunteer Centre for more than 20 years.

New State arguments 11 - the importance of a dedicated public service

Date: Sat 26-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
One of my former public service colleagues died recently, something that I recorded in Death of John Martin. It got me thinking on the importance of a dedicated New England public service.

I have spent a bit over two decades as a public servant, more time working with public servants in other capacities. I actually have a very high opinion of public servants.

ICAC told of plan to remove Cessnock boss

Date: Sat 26-Jun-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
THREE Cessnock City councillors have complained to the Independent Commission Against Corruption over a bizarre plan revealed in NSW Parliament to "appease" Planning Minister Tony Kelly by removing general manager Bernie Mortomore. The NSW Upper House was told businessman Michael Hope of the Hope Estate phoned Liberal councillor Dale Troy about a plan in which Mr Mortomore would become a "sacrificial lamb" to "appease" Mr Kelly and stop government moves to take the council's planning powers.

Update 25 June 2010

Date: Fri 25-Jun-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Cessnock LEP 2010 Exhibition, coming events, Ramsay's Leap and Warkworth Sands Woodland.

New State arguments 10 - technical issues 1

Date: Fri 25-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
In this post I want to look at some of the technical issues raised by New England self-government. These are important not just in a practical sense, but because people have a tendency to say that it's all too hard. It's not. The list that follows simply lists issues that have been raised so far.

Short films fest is free

Date: Fri 25-Jun-10
Author: Cessnock City Council
A second short films fest is coming to Cessnock Performing Arts Centre and, like the first, it is free to attend.

There will be two screenings of the films - the first on Tuesday 6 July at 6.30pm and the second on Wednesday 14 July at 2pm and entry is free, however seats must be booked by phoning the Performing Arts Centre on 4990 7134.

A balanced budget for Cessnock

Date: Fri 25-Jun-10
Author: Cessnock City Council
Cessnock City Council has delivered a balanced budget for next financial year and has maintained its level of service across all facets of Council's operations, in some cases increasing its funding commitment in high priority areas such as roads. The total budget for next year is $81 million.

Greens' bill abolishes Game Council, ends hunting in State Forests, National Parks

Date: Thu 24-Jun-10
Author: Lee Rhiannon
Greens MP Lee Rhiannon was last night given urgent leave by the NSW Upper House to introduce her private members bill to abolish the NSW Game Council and prohibit recreational hunting in national parks, state forests and public land.

Draft LEP to be re-exhibited

Date: Thu 24-Jun-10
Author: Cessnock City Council
Cessnock City Council will re-exhibit its draft Local Environment Plan in July for a four week period. Councillors considered a report on the draft LEP at last night's Council meeting and resolved to seek further public comment because there have been several amendments to the original draft.

Govt, Nile, Shooters unite against Greens bill protecting prime farming land from mining

Date: Wed 23-Jun-10
Author: The Greens
Government MPs, the Shooters Party and Rev Fred Nile today indicated they will vote against a Greens bill in the NSW Upper House designed to protect prime agricultural land from mining. Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said farming communities from the Gloucester and Liverpool Plains regions would be understandably disappointed at the outcome.

Land swap deals hinder more developments

Date: Wed 23-Jun-10
Author: ABC News
Planning officials have confirmed controversial land swap deals that previously led to the withdrawal of several Hunter Valley housing projects, have held up two more developments.

Warkworth Expansion Minutes

Date: Wed 23-Jun-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Singleton Council meeting on Monday, 21 June, 2010 unanimously resolved to support local communities in their opposition against the expansion of the Warkworth Open Cut Mine towards the Bulga village.

ALP and Shooters stifle debate on Minister's misleading of Parliament

Date: Tue 22-Jun-10
Author: Sylvia Hale MLC
The Labor Party, Shooters and Fred Nile today combined to gag debate on a motion censuring the Minister for Planning for misleading Parliament in relation to his attempts to remove Cessnock Council's planning powers.

"By stifling debate, the Government clearly wanted to avoid being held accountable for what the Greens believe is a serious abuse of the Minister's powers," said Sylvia Hale MLC, Greens spokesperson for Planning.

Video clip shot in Broke

Date: Tue 22-Jun-10
Author: Sue Gleave
A few of you have asked to see the final video clip of my niece's song that was filmed in and around Broke (the old servo, Nightingales, McNamara Park etc).

Aboriginal Art - Denise Hedges - NAIDOC Week

Date: Tue 22-Jun-10
Author: Singleton Argus
AN unsung hero is not how Denise Hedges would describe herself. However the quiet achiever fits the title more than she believes. An accomplished Aboriginal artist, mother and proud Wanaruah woman, Denise has used art to inspire and educate both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community. This year's NAIDOC week theme recognises those in the Indigenous community who take their own paths and in doing so, help others set their own direction for the future. This is what Denise does.

Warkworth Mine Extension

Date: Tue 22-Jun-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
RIO Tinto Coal has approached the Department of Planning to give Singleton Council an extension for their submission to the Warkworth Mine Extension.

A report written by council's director planning and regulations Mark Ihlein was presented at last night's council meeting with councillors given two options, to consider the report or withdraw it.

Cool school holiday fun

Date: Mon 21-Jun-10
Author: Cessnock City Council
It's the time of year for long nights and blustery wintry days -but some great activities have been planned at Cessnock and Kurri Kurri Libraries to brighten up the July school holidays for your child! There's activities to cater for all ages, from toddlers through to young adults.

WVAC Arts News June/July 2010

Date: Sun 20-Jun-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
UNTIL NOW - Janelle McCloy
Iconic Paintings at the Wollombi Cultural Centre
Call for entries for the 5th EMERGING ARTISTS AWARDS 1st-10th October 2010

Stuck in a rut

Date: Sat 19-Jun-10
Author: Debra Jopson (SMH Traveller)
Debra Jopson finds herself on the edge of wine country and in the middle of deer mating season.

The first stag you come across at Cedar Creek Cottages is dead. His gigantic head, mounted on the wall of the cellar door at the entrance to this Wollombi Valley vineyard and farm, imperiously oversees wine sales.

New State arguments 9 - benefits of self-government

Date: Fri 18-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
This post introduces the benefits that New England might gain from statehood. By way of background, after our defeat at the 1967 plebiscite, I kind of gave up. I was involved in other things, and the new state cause seemed dead, remote. In 1981 an odd thing happened. I had begun writing a biography of my grandfather, David Drummond, as a PhD thesis in history. In 1981 I came back to Armidale to research and write full time. As I explored Drummond's views, I found my belief in the new state cause re-ignited.

Tony Kelly unable to back Cessnock statement

Date: Thu 17-Jun-10
Author: The Herald
PLANNING Minister Tony Kelly is unable to provide figures to back his statement to NSW Parliament that "more than half the complaints I have received since becoming the Minister for Planning relate to Cessnock City Council".
Although he stood by the statement, Mr Kelly said yesterday that "a lot of those [complaints] were verbal ones as I moved around, so they're not things I have a record of".

Letter 'links Premier to Huntlee development'

Date: Wed 16-Jun-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
CESSNOCK MP Kerry Hickey blasted former planning minister Kristina Keneally on behalf of developer Duncan Hardie in an extraordinary letter linking her alleged "inaction" with "stop[ping] any development in this area".

Cessnock Council puts case to minister

Date: Wed 16-Jun-10
Author: The Herald
PLANNING Minister Tony Kelly should consult the Local Government Department before moving to strip Cessnock City Council's planning powers, the council has urged in its formal response to be considered tonight.

Re-exhibition of Cessnock Draft LEP 2010

Date: Tue 15-Jun-10
Author: Peter Firminger
The following are excerpts from the agenda for the extraordinary meeting of Cessnock Council to be held at 6:30pm on Wednesday 16 June 2010

Tourism meeting

Date: Sat 12-Jun-10
Author: Mike Wilson
This meeting will be held on Tuesday 20th July at 4pm in the Barrel Hall at Tempus Two winery at the corner of Broke & McDonalds Roads, Pokolbin. The invitation is not just for Broke but for all tourism operators in the Hunter.

Catchment News - Issue 30 - June 2010

Date: Fri 11-Jun-10
Author: Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority
Welcome to the June edition of Catchment News, the newsletter of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

Samaritans Neighbourhood News - June-July 2010

Date: Fri 11-Jun-10
Author: Samaritans
Includes details about Samaritans Services including the Hunter Region No Interest Loans Scheme and Legal Aid and the Fundraiser with Jon English

Landcare Newsletter June 2010

Date: Fri 11-Jun-10
Author: Graham Taylor
Please find attached a copy of the June issue of the Wollombi Valley Landcare Newsletter.

Cessnock Council powers

Date: Fri 11-Jun-10
Author: The Herald
STATE Planning Minister Tony Kelly moved to strip Cessnock City Council of its planning powers despite advice from his department that the council's performance was broadly satisfactory.

Cessnock Council Replies to Planning Minister

Date: Thu 10-Jun-10
Author: Cessnock Kurri Greens
Cessnock Councillors unanimously voted to send a strong submission to the Planning Minister last night.

The Planning Minister had written to Council on May 7th asking Council to show cause why he shouldn't take the Councils planning power away.

Letter to Singleton Argus Editor

Date: Tue 08-Jun-10
Author: Stewart Ewen OAM
Dirty air has been in the news both at Lithgow and in the Hunter Valley. But dirty air entering our lungs is only one of the impacts of the fossil fuel industry in the Hunter.

New State arguments 8 - why Sydney needs out from NSW

Date: Sun 06-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
In the past, one of the most basic problems in achieving self-government lay in the fact that Sydney would lose jobs and economic control. This is not an anti-Sydney argument, just a practical refection. The position has changed.

Sydney's problem now is that the need for a NSW Government to consider broader issues in an increasingly fragmented and disparate state means that Sydney itself is not getting the attention it needs.

Hunt for gas sparks toxic chemical fear

Date: Sat 05-Jun-10
Author: Des Houghton (The Courier-Mail)
WILL Queensland's mammoth coal seam gas industry bring the threat of leukaemia, kidney damage, heart and respiratory failure?

The question has to be asked after allegations in the US that families became seriously ill after drinking water containing toxic gas mining chemicals.

Update 4 June 2010

Date: Fri 04-Jun-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Event list and news for this weekend around Wollombi Valley

Coal halt

Date: Fri 04-Jun-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
THE Department of Planning has put four mining projects 'on hold' pending further information on their air quality modelling.
The projects include two from Integra with one being underground, Xstrata's Ravensworth project, and Ashton's South East open cut and modification 5.

The decision puts almost $900 million worth of investment and over 1730 construction and operational jobs in uncertainty.

Waiting for review

Date: Fri 04-Jun-10
Author: Bronwyn Farr (Muswellbrook Chronicle)
Thoroughbred breeders and Muswellbrook Shire Council are anxiously awaiting the announcement of a comprehensive review of land use in the region in the wake of the state government's landmark decision to halt the proposed Bickham coal mine last month.

New State arguments 7 - the constitutional position

Date: Fri 04-Jun-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
At the time the Australian Federation was formed, the existing state structure was not seen as fixed in stone for all time. For that reason, the Australian constitution includes specific provisions that allow for the admission and governance of new territories, for alteration of state boundaries, for mergers between states or parts of states and for the subdivision of existing states.

Cessnock councillor wants MP out

Date: Fri 04-Jun-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
CESSNOCK Greens councillor James Ryan has told member for Cessnock Kerry Hickey to put up or shut up over the council's planning debacle and has called for his resignation.
Councillors will be asked at a meeting next Wednesday night to back Cr Ryan, who said Mr Hickey should resign on the grounds that he was politically motivated and unable to have an objective view on issues relating to the council.

From the Mayors Desk - 3 June 2010

Date: Thu 03-Jun-10
Author: Alison Davey
As you would be aware I have received a letter from the Minister for Planning the Hon. Tony Kelly requesting Council provide reasons why you're elected Councillors should not be stripped of voting rights on local planning matters.

Cessnock City Council confirms support for art gallery

Date: Wed 02-Jun-10
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock City Council confirmed its support for the city's art gallery voting $60,000 over the next 12 months to help with running costs.

Cessnock District Cricket Association awards

Date: Wed 02-Jun-10
Author: The Advertiser
Fourth grade: Minor premiers, Paxton (Laguna), major premiers, Railway Hotel. Player of the year, Jack Bailey (Paxton).

Greens welcome O'Farrell's commitment to return planning powers to local councils

Date: Mon 31-May-10
Author: Sylvia Hale MLC
Greens MP and planning spokesperson Sylvia Hale has welcomed Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell's statement that, if elected in March 2011, he will return planning powers to local councils.

New State arguments 6 -sharing the benefits

Date: Mon 31-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Those arguing against self-government for New England used to say that new states offered no benefits. Alternatively, and at the same time, they argued that one place would benefit over another. This implies that self-government for New England must be a zero sum game; if one goes up, another must go down.

Living hell for family next to Gloucester coalmine

Date: Mon 31-May-10
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
ABOUT seven years ago Jan Tresidder and husband Bernie bought their dream home in the hills of Forbesdale, on the southern fringe of Gloucester, and moved from Newcastle for a quieter life.
But now they are packing their belongings, after selling to Gloucester Resources to end what they say has been a living hell brought about by potential mining on the town's doorstep and the coal exploration company's acquisition of surrounding properties.

Wollombi Cupcakes for Cancer

Date: Sun 30-May-10
Author: Kerry Lannoy
Despite the rain, generous Wollombi Valley-ites turned out to support the Cup Cakes for Cancer fund raiser on Saturday 29 May (our version of this year's Biggest Morning Tea), raising $1,070 which will all be banked directly into the Cancer Council's NAB account this week.

Sunday Afternoon Drinks

Date: Sat 29-May-10
Author: Mike Wilson
Following the success of the Barry Smith send off at Mount Broke Wines / Cow Cafe the other week, a number of people have lamented that there are no regular get-togethers these days. Well, we can fix that. See event details...

New State arguments 5 - the power of imagination

Date: Fri 28-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
One of the remarkable things about the spread of new state agitation in the 1920s was the way it encouraged new ideas. Once you propose fundamental changes to existing systems, then you are free to develop alternative ideas in their place. Not all those ideas were sensible, but together they provided an alternative view.

The same is true today. Do we want rotating Parliaments, how should Government be structured, what do we want our Government to focus on, how do we capture the talents of our area?

Food Drive for the Samaritans

Date: Thu 27-May-10
Author: Lesley Radnidge
Curves at Cessnock are doing a food drive for the Samaritans starting on the 1st June to the 19th June.
if you donate a bag of groceries during this time you can join Curves for FREE saving $199!

Update 27 May 2010

Date: Thu 27-May-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Events and update on Planning Minister Tony Kelly stealing democracy from a non-Labor council

New State arguments 4 - party politics

Date: Thu 27-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
I had intended to write this post later in the series. However, following the formation of the North Queensland Party to campaign for self-government for North Queensland, there have been suggestions that we should do something similar in New England. I thought therefore that I should bring it forward.

Call for ruling on Hunter coalmining areas

Date: Thu 27-May-10
Author: Julianne Strachan (The Herald)
A PEAK mining lobby has asked the NSW Government to decide which parts of the Hunter are fair game for coalmining companies and which parts are off limits.
The Government rejected plans for the Bickham coalmine this month, estimated by proponents to be worth $150 million to the area's economy, to protect the horse breeding industry.

Community meeting opposes minister's threat to strip Cessnock Council's planning powers

Date: Wed 26-May-10
Author: The Advertiser
A community meeting in Cessnock on Monday night overwhelmingly endorsed five motions opposing Planning Minister Tony Kelly's threat to strip Cessnock City Council of its planning powers.

About 70 people attended the gathering in the Cessnock Community Performing Arts Centre seniors room chaired by Deputy Mayor, Cr, Ian Olsen.

Undermined - 60 Minutes

Date: Tue 25-May-10
Author: Peter Firminger
For those that missed the 60 Minutes feature on Coal Seam Methane in the Surat Basin... here is is.

Hunter Valley coalmines breach dust rules

Date: Tue 25-May-10
Author: Melissa Lyons (The Herald)
HUNTER Valley coalmines made continuous breaches of dust emittance guidelines in the five years to 2009, with air-quality monitors recording particle concentrations up to 43 times national standards.

New State arguments 3 - geographic basis of government

Date: Mon 24-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
The new state movements throughout Australia challenged the existing basis of Government. In doing so, they faced a major challenge from those committed to the status quo.

It is a hard fact that all existing political institutions will defend themselves by all the means in their power, supported by those who for reason of sentiment or self-interest favour the status quo. The new state movements were required to develop arguments that would explain their case to a broader audience on emotional and logical grounds, that would challenge the arguments put forward by those opposing change.

New State arguments 2 - no states or new states

Date: Sat 22-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Discussions on the possible revival of the New England New State Movement has already raised the question why not just abolish the states altogether? Leaving aside the constitutional difficulties involved, there are other issues to be considered.

Writing in 1926, the Movement's constitutional expert, David Drummond, suggested that there were then three schools of constitutional though in Australia - no states, new states and states' righters.

SAVE CESSNOCK RALLY

Date: Fri 21-May-10
Author: James Ryan
Save Cessnock Rally, Monday 24th May, 6-30PM Cessnock Performing Arts Centre.

A coalition of political parties and community members are joining forces to stage a rally in support of the local community of Cessnock retaining its planning powers.

Wollombi update - 21 May 2010

Date: Fri 21-May-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Lots of stuff happening around the place (and Wollombi Valley Online has 349 members! Thanks for your support).

From the Mayors Desk - 21 May 2010

Date: Fri 21-May-10
Author: Alison Davey
Mrs Vicki Noble has advised that her son Jake was 4th in Australia in the category of IT Applications Software at the Worldskills National Competition in QLD recently. Congratulations Jake and well done on a magnificent win...

Farmers protest at Cecil Plains

Date: Thu 20-May-10
Author: Doug Parrington (Toowoomba Chronicle)
FARMERS turned out in force at Cecil Plains yesterday to demand an immediate Queensland Government moratorium on coal seam gas exploration and production in the area.

About 400 people and the massing of 54 cotton and grain harvesters and tractors created a strong show of farm power to protest against the intrusion of mining companies on prime agricultural land.

No New Coal Mine in Gloucester

Date: Thu 20-May-10
Author: Rebecca Hrobat and Tashi Martel
A documentary by Rebecca Hrobat and Tashi Martel

Country cooking with kids

Date: Thu 20-May-10
Author: Sandy Thomas
An innovative group of preschool parents determined to put an end to fussy eating habits have combined to produce an essential kitchen resource for the whole family.

The Blessing of the Bikes

Date: Thu 20-May-10
Author: Graham Jackson
There's a small group of people who are trying to look at the ways in which we can improve the safety of our own people and the safety of those who ride motorbikes in our area.

Cessnock Council complaints may be revealed

Date: Thu 20-May-10
Author: Julianne Strachan (The Herald)
THE NSW Government could be forced to reveal all of the complaints it has collected against Cessnock Council, following a call for papers by the Greens in Parliament.

WVAC Arts News May/June 2010

Date: Thu 20-May-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
Fun With Fibre - Opening June long weekend
Until Now - Janelle McCloy
2010 Emerging Artists Awards

Cessnock City Council progress report

Date: Wed 19-May-10
Author: The Advertiser
It's now just over 18 months since the current Cessnock City Council took office. The council has had a period of settling in and The Advertiser is today presenting a special feature outlining what the councillors believe they have achieved in meeting commitment and promises made in the lead up to the election.

Have your say on Cessnock Council draft management plan

Date: Wed 19-May-10
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock City Council's draft Management Plan is now on public display and council is seeking community feedback about the draft.
"Each year council adopts an annual management plan which sets our direction for the next three years and provides detail about the council's works and activities for the coming year," said General Manager, Bernie Mortomore.

Pressure on NSW to release Hunter health report

Date: Wed 19-May-10
Author: The Herald
THE State Government is under pressure to release an overdue NSW Health report about the Hunter Region. Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon put a motion to Parliament yesterday calling for its urgent release.

What does the Minister have to hide?

Date: Tue 18-May-10
Author: The Greens
Parliament forces Government to release Cessnock Council documents. The Upper House of the State Government today passed a Greens motion requiring the Government to release information about the complaints Planning Minister Kelly had relied on when he wrote to Cessnock Council on 7 May demanding that the Council show cause why its planning powers should not be removed.

Farmers set to blockade billion-dollar gas projects over environmental concerns

Date: Tue 18-May-10
Author: John McCarthy and Brian Williams (The Courier-Mail)
FARMERS have threatened to blockade billions of dollars of coal seam gas development unless the State Government imposes a moratorium and delivers answers on environmental issues on the Western Downs and Surat Basin.

Planning panels strike the same delays

Date: Tue 18-May-10
Author: Harvey Grennan (SMH)
ARE the joint regional planning panels that were established in July last year to decide development applications worth more than $10 million speeding up the planning system as intended?

The Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, told Parliament last week the panels had processed 63 applications in an average time of 121 days. The Greens say some applications before planning panels have taken more than 240 days and that this blowout in the time taken to make assessments is expected to increase.

New State arguments 1 - introduction

Date: Sun 16-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
It is now 47 years since the loss of the New England New State plebiscite and the effective collapse of the New England New State Movement in the sometimes bitter in-fighting that followed. By the time that Mark was born, that loss was 12 years in the past. By the time that my eldest daughter was born, that loss was 20 years in the past. You can see why I say that the detail of past arguments has been lost in historical terms.

Bickham Coal Mine win: more needed

Date: Fri 14-May-10
Author: The Greens
Greens MP and mining spokesperson today welcomed the Premier's rejection of the Bickham Coal Company's open cut coal mine in the Upper Hunter, congratulated the community and local horse breeding industry for their win and expressed hope it signals a more sustainable direction in government policy.

North Queensland demands self government

Date: Thu 13-May-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
I see that the North Queensland Local Government Association in conjunction with the Western Queensland Local Government Association has launched a campaign for separation and self government for North Queensland. While the motion was passed, several delegates at the NQLGA meeting spoke against the motion, with a common theme being more detail was needed to give the idea credibility.

Land Access Bill - Greens to move for committee review

Date: Wed 12-May-10
Author: The Greens
Following a series of meetings with farmers groups Greens MP and mining spokesperson Lee Rhiannon has said the Greens will move for the Land Access Bill to be sent to a committee to review the impact on the agriculture and mining industries.

Congewai artist Kristy Holt's works to be auctioned on Pacific Dawn

Date: Wed 12-May-10
Author: Krystal Sellars (The Advertiser)
The Congewai-based artist boards the P&O cruise ship Pacific Dawn today as the artist-in-residence, with 100 pieces of her work to be auctioned on the cruise.

The collection includes portraiture and still life coffee cups and wine glasses, inspired by her former career in the wine industry, and well-suited to the food and wine-themed cruise.

Cessnock Council to buy Art Gallery building

Date: Wed 12-May-10
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock City councillors have voted 10-1 to buy the building that houses the Cessnock Regional Art Gallery.
It has also called for a report on ongoing funding on the justification on what money will be needed and what it would be spent on.

Why strip planning powers from Cessnock Council if the intention is not to do favours for Labor mates?

Date: Tue 11-May-10
Author: Sylvia Hale MLC
Cessnock Greens Councillor James Ryan has accused Planning Minister Tony Kelly of adopting a 'double standard' in threatening to remove planning powers from Cessnock Council.

"Minister Tony Kelly has given vague and ill-founded reasons for threatening to remove Council's planning powers, " said Councillor Ryan.

State threatens to cut Cessnock powers

Date: Tue 11-May-10
Author: Julianne Strachan and Matthew Moore (The Herald)
A FURIOUS State Government has threatened to strip Cessnock City Council of its planning powers and replace it with an independent panel.
NSW Planning Minister Tony Kelly has told the council it has just 21 days to show cause why it should be allowed to keep its decision-making functions.

Calling All Artists! Calling All Artists!

Date: Mon 10-May-10
Author: Veronica Chambers
It is coming up to that time of year when the Laguna Public School Art Show committee send out entry forms to all of the Wollombi Valley's talented artists. The Art Show is now in its 19th year and we are always greatly impressed and delighted with calibre of work that gets submitted.

Draft Management Plan on display

Date: Mon 10-May-10
Author: Cessnock City Council
Cessnock City Council's draft Management Plan is now on public display and the Council is seeking community feedback about the draft.

"Each year Council adopts an annual Management Plan which sets our direction for the next three years and provides detail about the Council's works and activities for the coming year," General Manager Bernie Mortomore explained. "In conjunction with the draft Management Plan, Council's draft Budget and Fees and Charges for 2010 - 2011 are also on public exhibition."

Catchment News - Issue 29 - May 2010

Date: Sat 08-May-10
Author: Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority
Welcome to the May edition of Catchment News, the newsletter of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

Camberwell common fight not over yet

Date: Fri 07-May-10
Author: Singleton Argus
THE fight for the Camberwell common is not over with residents still hoping the Environmental Defender's Office will come to their aid after the community management of the village common was revoked.

Bike rally

Date: Fri 07-May-10
Author: Richard Helm, President SCMCC (via Singleton Argus)
A morning tea stop was held at the rest area at Pokolbin overlooking the surrounding vineyards, before travelling over Mount View to Wollombi and on to Broke Village Hall for lunch catered by the Broke Rural Fire Service.

Paddy Pallin Foundation Private Lands Conservation Grants

Date: Fri 07-May-10
Author: Don White
The Paddy Pallin Foundation is pleased to announce that the Private Lands Conservation Grants program for 2010 is now open. There is $75,000 available for grants to owners of land in NSW that has a permanent conservation agreement.

Brief report on Council meeting

Date: Thu 06-May-10
Author: Peter Firminger
The meeting last night was an interesting one, with an agreement to purchase the Cessnock Regional Art Gallery building, replace what seems to be 4 local timber bridges and to write to the state government about Coal and Power related health issues...

From the Mayors Desk - 6 May 2010

Date: Thu 06-May-10
Author: Alison Davey
The Inspectors from the Investigations and Review Division of Local Government met with myself, the General Manager, Directors, staff and Councillors last week to see how Council has implemented recommendations in the Section 430 Report, which was the result of the Inquiry in early 2008. A report on this visit will be forwarded to Council in due course and it will be made publicly available.

Cessnock considers tax for vineyard concerts

Date: Thu 06-May-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
A LEVY could soon be imposed on concerts held at vineyards within the Cessnock local government area. Cessnock council last night voted in favour of looking into the feasibility of a levy as part of the $65,000 Vineyards Visioning plan.

Unanimous decision by Cessnock Council calls for mining and power station health monitoring

Date: Thu 06-May-10
Author: Cessnock Kurri Greens
Cessnock Council last night unanimously adopted a Greens proposal to write to the Premier, Health Minister, Planning Minister and Environment Minister...

New manager at Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism

Date: Wed 05-May-10
Author: The Advertiser
Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism board of directors, management and staff have welcomed a new executive manager to lead the organisation through an exciting and challenging period in wine tourism in the region. Dean Gorddard has accepted the appointment to the highly-regarded wine tourism organisation.

Coal and Allied Warkworth Mine extension

Date: Tue 04-May-10
Author: Kate Morris (Singleton Argus)
The current proposed extension would involve mining in areas previously part of the Warkworth Mine 2003 Green Offsets areas, that were to be precluded from open-cut mining and agriculture to protect their ecological value.

The rationale behind the company's change of heart and their decision to pursue mining in the protected areas is in response to the resources boom.

Barry and Di Smith clearance Sale and Farewell

Date: Tue 04-May-10
Author: Mike Wilson
This is the last reminder about the clearance sale that Barry & Di
will be holding at their property Redibar in Hill Street this
Saturday - all sorts of stuff going under the hammer. Ring Barry on
6579 1177 for details or a sneak preview.

Hunter lodges more than 3000 telecommunications complaints

Date: Sat 01-May-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
HUNTER residents have logged more than 3000 problems with the telecommunications watchdog in the first three months of this year as complaints about poor service, overcharging and faults surge in the region.

Hour-long phone queues, internet connections that drop out and non-existent mobile phone coverage are just some of the issues raised.

A long walk to the Cremorne coalface

Date: Fri 30-Apr-10
Author: The Greens
For most of us, the idea of large-scale mining operations at Cremorne or Balmain is practically beyond imagination.120 years ago, however, the push was on to do just that.

In the late 19th Century, the Sydney Morning Herald carried regular reports detailing the development of the coal industry. The articles on the rush to issue mining licences and the government's generosity with public money to assist coal companies could have been written today.

Bid to save Camberwell Common

Date: Fri 30-Apr-10
Author: Singleton Argus
TWO weeks ago the people of Camberwell village lost a bit more ground, literally, when state bureaucrats announced the management of the 90-hectare community common was passed to the adjacent Ashton Coal.

The order from the Land and Property Management Authority that the licence for access to the common was rescinded was another blow to Camberwell residents who are not giving up without a fight.

Health Study

Date: Fri 30-Apr-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
IN a major breakthrough in the dust and health debate, a team of medical experts came to Singleton on Wednesday to see, talk and listen.
New South Wales Public Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, NSW Health Director of Environmental Health branch Dr Wayne Smith, Hunter New England Health Director of Population Health John Wiggers and Hunter New England Health Director of Health Protection Dr David Durrheim spent Wednesday in Singleton and Muswellbrook, finishing the tour with a three-hour meeting with the Singleton Shire Healthy Environment Group.

Why the Hunter wants out from NSW

Date: Thu 29-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw (et al)
It is vital not only for Newcastle but also for New England that the decline of the Newcastle CBD be reversed and that the city take it's place as the jewel of the New England crown. It is hard to see where the required leadership will come from under NSW which has become even more Sydney centric, if that is possible.

The issue of northern secession is being talked about again and this time it may be Newcastle which leads the push...

...and the 2010 election gets rolling...

Date: Wed 28-Apr-10
Author: Peter Firminger
This is a blog by Ben Raue - The Hunter Electorate page appeared in a feed a few days ago.

Star-studded line up for Cessnock City Country Music Festival

Date: Wed 28-Apr-10
Author: The Advertiser
The countdown to the fourth annual L. J. Hooker 2010 Cessnock City Country Music Festival is on, and there's not long to go.

Former principal undergoes radical treatment for Parkinson's disease

Date: Wed 28-Apr-10
Author: The Advertiser
Former Mount View High School principal, Phil Papworth wants the world to share in the medical journey that brought him back from the brink of despair.
Mr. Papworth had been looking forward to a well-earned retirement after a lifetime of teaching but all this fell apart when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease just over nine years ago.

Reforming the New England New State Movement

Date: Tue 27-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
When I first started this blog I thought, naively, that if I just started telling the New England story then the movement for self-government would start to reform. After all, the case seemed self-evident to me. It didn't take long for me to realise that this was not going to happen. As I said in an email to a friend in Armidale, we have lost so much of our history and all its supporting arguments that people don't know what we are talking about.

Warkworth extension plan on display Friday

Date: Tue 27-Apr-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
THE Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposed extension to Warkworth Mine will go on public exhibition on Friday.

Since the original application was lodged in October 2009, residents, members of the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association and members of the Community Consultation Committee have raised a number of issues with Coal & Allied about the application.

One of these includes the affect the extension will have on Warkworth Sands Woodland.

Community paints a picture of Keneally dam destruction

Date: Sat 24-Apr-10
Author: The Greens
Hunter Valley residents brought their campaign to stop the Tillegra Dam proposal to the streets of Sydney today.

Greens NSW MP Dr John Kaye, who joined 150 community members and dairy cows Bess and Marty in Martin Place, said: "The Hunter Water management team is leading the Premier and her Water Minister into a political and economic dead end.

Operation Go Slow

Date: Sat 24-Apr-10
Author: NSW Police
WOLLOMBI: About 6.20pm yesterday, a 47-year-old female was driving a Toyota Yaris on Wollombi Road when police saw the vehicle allegedly cross the centre line and onto the roadway's left shoulder on a number of occasions. The vehicle was stopped and the driver underwent a roadside breath test which allegedly returned a positive result of 0.165. She was taken to Cessnock Police Station and charged with High Range PCA.

Broke news update

Date: Sat 24-Apr-10
Author: Mike Wilson
This is just a quick update on a few things you might like to know about.

Tom Jackson has informed me that there is not going to be an edition of The Cockfighter published in May due to a lack of advertising support.

From the Mayors Desk - 23 April 2010

Date: Fri 23-Apr-10
Author: Alison Davey
I recently attended the inaugural Anzac Memorial Church Service which was held at St Paul's Anglican Church in Kurri Kurri on Sunday evening 18 April...

Bridge Replacement

Date: Thu 22-Apr-10
Author: Hunter Valley Newsroom (2NM)
Tenders have opened up for the replacement of another three of the upper hunters wooden bridges. Upper hunter shire council has made it a mission to upgrade all of the existing wooden bridges across the shire.

Minister to speak up for mining access rights

Date: Wed 21-Apr-10
Author: ABC News
The New South Wales Minister for Mineral Resources, Ian Macdonald, has confirmed he will ask Parliament to protect miners' access rights to farmland.

Govt backs BHP Billiton, overturns court decision on Caroona coal exploration

Date: Tue 20-Apr-10
Author: The Greens
Greens MP and mining spokesperson Lee Rhiannon today condemned the government for introducing a new bill that reverses a March Supreme Court decision that found in favour of Liverpool Plain farmers challenging the right of BHP Billiton to explore for coal on their farms.

Report clears council over HEZ receivership

Date: Tue 20-Apr-10
Author: ABC News
A consultant's report on the problems plaguing a major industrial park in the Hunter Valley has found Cessnock council did not contribute to the venture going into receivership.

The HEZ site near Kurri Kurri failed to live up to expectations it would create hundreds of new jobs and is now in the hands of receivers, who are trying to attract new industries.

Air quality on agenda at parliament this week

Date: Tue 20-Apr-10
Author: Singleton Argus
QUESTIONS about the air quality in Singleton and the potential impact on public health will be put to parliament this week.
The Singleton Shire Healthy Environment Group met with local State member for Upper Hunter George Souris on Friday.

Bid to save Common Trust land at Camberwell

Date: Tue 20-Apr-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
THE State Government's decision to revoke the management of the Camberwell Common from the local community could be reported to the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Members of the Common Trust were told on Thursday they no longer had control of the common.

WVAC Arts News April/May 2010

Date: Tue 20-Apr-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
Autumn Exhibition
Fun with Fibre
Emerging Artists Awards

Other towns could follow camberwell

Date: Mon 19-Apr-10
Author: Hunter Valley Newsroom (2NM)
Other towns public land could be lost to coal mines according to Upper hunter mp George Souris

Mr Souris said that the sudden handing over of Camberwell's common to Ashton coal set a dangerous precedent that other towns in the upper hunter should be mindful of.

Mr Souris said people had a right to be fearful.

More Hunter calls for separation from NSW

Date: Sat 17-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
In January I reported on Hunter Valley calls for a Northern NSW New State. On 14 April I reported on The importance of regional environmental impact statements, a post that dealt in large part with problems created with coal development in the Hunter. Then in Background briefing - Hunter Coal, I looked at the overall pattern of coal development in the Hunter.

Coal company's warning on Camberwell Common

Date: Fri 16-Apr-10
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
THE coal company granted access to the Camberwell Common told the State Government more than a year ago the site would need to be closed or relocated to pave the way for a new nearby mine that would generate about $99 million in royalties.

CSG water crackdown too late to impress landholders

Date: Fri 16-Apr-10
Author: James Nason (Qld Country Life)
CSG extraction in regions like the Surat Basin is dependent on removing large amounts of water from aquifers, often the only water source for farms.

Mr Burnett said the introduction of the trigger thresholds to protect aquifers went only a small way towards closing "a massive policy gap which has been glaringly apparent for over five years".

Villagers fuming after their common is handed to mine

Date: Fri 16-Apr-10
Author: Nick O'Malley (SMH)
CAMBERWELL has had a village common since the state governor granted the little stretch of flood plain around Glennies Creek to the people in 1890s. Since then villagers have kept their horses and dairy cows on the plot and their children have used the land for fishing, swimming and riding.

Warkworth Mine

Date: Fri 16-Apr-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
The issue of the deed of agreement has completely squashed any faith the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association had in the word of the mining company.
President of the association Stewart Mitchell said a Non Disturbance Area (NDA) states that development such as agricultural and surface mining is prohibited.

Warkworth Mine

Date: Fri 16-Apr-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
The issue of the deed of agreement has completely squashed any faith the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association had in the word of the mining company.
President of the association Stewart Mitchell said a Non Disturbance Area (NDA) states that development such as agricultural and surface mining is prohibited.

Camberwell Common

Date: Fri 16-Apr-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
The Singleton Argus understands that for some yet to be explained reason, the LPMA decided to revoke the 200 acre area as common land and make it crown land.

Keep Camberwell Common in public hands and investigate Ashton

Date: Fri 16-Apr-10
Author: Braidwood Greens
Greens MP and mining spokesperson Lee Rhiannon has called on the Minister for Lands Tony Kelly to reverse his decision to hand the Camberwell Common over to coal company Ashton Coal.

"This unholy deal between Ashton Coal and the government, transferring the Camberwell Common from the people to the company, is designed to cover up the extensive damage caused to the natural environment by mining operations," Ms Rhiannon said.

Row over 'Texas oilfield' deep in the heart of Scenic Hills

Date: Fri 16-Apr-10
Author: Matthew Moore (SMH)
AN APPLICATION by the power company AGL to build gas wells and a processing plant risked transforming hills north-west of Campbelltown into a "Texas oilfield", the mayor has warned.

"My concern is that I don't want my Scenic Hills turning into a Texas oilfield," the Labor mayor, Aaron Rule, said. "The image I'm getting is of a lot of little gas wells all over the place feeding into a gas extraction plant to feed into Sydney gas supply."

After 120 years, Camberwell village common turned over to coalmine next door

Date: Fri 16-Apr-10
Author: Matthew Kelly and Michelle Harris (The Herald)
A FEW minutes was all it took yesterday to end 120 years of Camberwell history to make way for the relentless expansion of the Hunter's coal industry. Department of Lands bureaucrats arrived at the village at 11am to announce that community management of the village common was being revoked.

A licence for access and grazing was being passed to Ashton Coal.

Samaritans Neighbourhood News - April-May 2010

Date: Thu 15-Apr-10
Author: Samaritans
Includes details about Samaritans Services including the Hunter Region No Interest Loans Scheme and Legal Aid

Labor MPs 'study' plan

Date: Wed 14-Apr-10
Author: Campbelltown - Macarthur Advertiser
LONG-SERVING Labor Campbelltown councillor Meg Oates has called on "Team Macarthur" to stop AGL's proposed gas-extraction plant.

The four local Labor MPs say they are still trying to find out what is planned.

The importance of regional environmental impact statements

Date: Wed 14-Apr-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Jim Belshaw writes: I have spoken before about the environmental wars raging across New England. I have also discussed the way in which they create patterns of winners and losers, without adequate compensation being paid to those adversely affected. Mining royalties, for example, have recently been the only revenue growth area for the Sydney Government, yielding it revenue while many of the costs are bourne locally.

More mining approved for Singleton despite cancer cluster fears

Date: Wed 14-Apr-10
Author: Julianne Strachan (The Herald)
Another eight expansions are awaiting approval under the State Government's controversial Part 3A planning laws, which bypass council approval.

Greens upper house MLC Lee Rhiannon said the health study should include the entire Hunter.

"Focusing on just one suspected cancer cluster is akin to a GP examining a person's finger when a person presents complaining of feeling ill," Ms Rhiannon said.

Gas plan fuels study plea

Date: Wed 14-Apr-10
Author: Melissa Lyons (The Herald)
HUNTER Valley Protection Alliance has taken its plea for a full environmental study of the Broke-Bulga region to Lands Minister Tony Kelly, following its rejection from Mineral Resources Minister Ian MacDonald.
The group has proposed the State Government conduct an extensive study of all current, future and cumulative effects of industry across the region ahead of further development.

Brain tumour cases to be investigated a day after publicity

Date: Tue 13-Apr-10
Author: Nick O'Malley (SMH)
KRISTINA KENEALLY has ordered an investigation into the apparent cancer cluster in Singleton Heights, revealed by the Herald yesterday.

Five neighbours near the junction of two suburban streets have been struck with brain tumours, with some fearing pollution from the nearby coalmines and power stations many have contributed to their conditions.

Buskers

Date: Tue 13-Apr-10
Author: Singleton Argus
Despite some nerves, Singleton's newest buskers overcame their fears and took part in Singleton Youth Venue's inaugural Buskit.

On Saturday, 11 local youths hit John Street providing background music while shoppers went about their weekend rituals.

According to Singleton Youth Venue's youth programs coordinator Carey Duggan the Buskit was the perfect start to local Youth Week activities and this year's 'Live It Now' theme.

Little bit of Italy at Broke

Date: Tue 13-Apr-10
Author: Singleton Argus
Nine cellar doors proudly flew Italian flags at the weekend with visitors travelling from Sydney, the Central Coast, Port Stephens and the Hunter to experience the food, the wine, the music, the olives and the fun.

Visitor numbers to the area were up. Some came just because they love Broke and the cellar doors and others knew A Little Bit of Italy was on and couldn't wait to breathe in the atmoshphere.

Coal - A special Report

Date: Tue 13-Apr-10
Author: Di Sneddon (Singleton Argus)
Much has changed on the Hunter Valley coal front over the past few years, the figures speak for themselves.

The New South Wales Government earned $1.227 billion in coal royalties paid by Hunter Valley coal companies in the 2008/09 financial year. Ten years ago that figure was a mere $197.03million.

In 2000 67 million tonnes of coal was produced from Hunter Valley Coal Mines. In 2007/08 that figure almost doubled to 112 million tonnes...

Councillor is Nats' Hunter candidate

Date: Tue 13-Apr-10
Author: Northern Daily Leader
UPPER Hunter Shire councillor Michael Johnsen has been selected as The Nationals' best chance to win the seat of Hunter in the upcoming federal election. Cr Johnsen formerly stood for the seat in 1996, at the age of 32, on the retirement of former Hunter member Eric Fitzgibbon.

Varroville AGL gas project will proceed unless we make a stand

Date: Mon 12-Apr-10
Author: Mandy Perrin (Macarthur Chronicle)
THE scenic hills at Ingleburn are some of the Macarthur region's most precious green spaces - but also the most vulnerable.

The buffer between Campbelltown and Liverpool is one of Campbelltown's last remaining green tracts of land which has not been gobbled up by suburbia.

This scenic protection area is the lungs of our city, a priceless green asset.

But despite the importance of this land to Campbelltown, it is under attack yet again.

The Hills are alive with the sound of activists

Date: Mon 12-Apr-10
Author: Ben Pike (Macarthur Chronicle)
A GROUP of residents and landowners in the Varroville, St Andrews and Raby areas have formed an action group to preserve Campbelltown's Scenic Hills.

The Scenic Hills Association is fighting the proposed gas extraction plant on St Andrews Rd, and the planned truck stop on the city-bound side of the F5.

AGL gas plant at Varroville sparks protests

Date: Mon 12-Apr-10
Author: Ben Pike (Macarthur Chronicle)
CAMPBELLTOWN'S drinking water and air quality could be severely compromised if the State Government approves a proposed gas extraction plant at Varroville, Campbelltown Mayor Aaron Rule said.

Residents, a Catholic retreat centre and Campbelltown Council have reacted angrily to gas giant AGL's proposal to build a gas extraction plant on Sydney Catchment Authority land at the western end of St Andrews Rd, Varroville.

Wollombi Valley Update - 9 April 2010

Date: Fri 09-Apr-10
Author: Peter Firminger
School holiday and National Youth Week events are listed below for those interested along with other events this weekend and coming Arts attractions

Landcare Newsletter April 2010

Date: Thu 08-Apr-10
Author: Graham Taylor
Please find attached a copy of the April issue of the Wollombi Valley Landcare Newsletter.

Mine impacts should be determined first

Date: Thu 08-Apr-10
Author: George Souris MP in The Herald
HOW often have you heard one of these sayings? "Woke up one morning and found out I had a coal exploration licence as a neighbour. I had no idea I was in for 10 years of anxiety and uncertainty." Or: "I've never heard of a coal exploration licence ever not becoming a mining lease. The planning process is really an approvals process."

Second-Hand Saturday collection day at Kurri

Date: Wed 07-Apr-10
Author: The Advertiser
The next Secondhand Saturday in the Cessnock LGA will be held in Kurri on Saturday, April 10. Residents who wish to clear out unwanted household items and electronic waste can visit Kurri Central Park on the corner of Allworth and Coronation Streets between 9am and noon.

"This might be a great school holiday project for your household," said Cessnock City Council's Environment Manager, Michael Alexander.

Cessnock study fund a trade-off

Date: Wed 07-Apr-10
Author: The Herald
ROAD maintenance and a proposed study to determine the future for vineyard tourism could be in jeopardy if Cessnock City Council decides to divert funding to a consultancy report on the future of the Hunter Economic Zone.

A council report tonight will determine the best way to allocate an estimated $50,000 for the report on the controversial industrial estate, now touted as a "white elephant".

BHP 'buying time' with court action

Date: Tue 06-Apr-10
Author: Wendy Spooner (Northern Daily Leader)
BHP BILLITON'S decision to lodge an intention to appeal against a recent Supreme Court decision was lambasted yesterday by the local federal member and the Caroona Coal Action Group (CCAG).

On March 5, the court handed down a decision relating to access agreements for exploration activities. This means all parties with an interest in land that a minerals company intends to explore must be notified - not merely the landholder.

Coal industry makes region a major polluter

Date: Sat 03-Apr-10
Author: Jennie Curtin (The Herald)
THE price Australia pays for its reliance on coal-fired electricity is highlighted by the release of the National Pollutants Inventory.
Coalmines and coal-fired power stations again featured among the big polluters, emitting millions of kilograms of pollutants into the atmosphere, with the potential to be a hazard to both health and the environment.

In NSW, the Hunter Valley and the Lithgow regions rated as the state's most polluted areas because of the number of coal-based activities there.

Dedication of refurbished Gate and Lamp at St John's Church, Wollombi

Date: Fri 02-Apr-10
Author: Kerry Lannoy
On Sunday 28th March, the Wollombi Valley Anglican Community dedicated the refurbished gate and lamp at the entry to St John's Church, Wollombi. The gate is now complemented by two hand crafted sandstone pillars created by local stone mason, Albert Kraan.

Taste of Italy

Date: Thu 01-Apr-10
Author: Singleton Argus
Pulsing from a central location in the heart of Broke, you can collect your passport to travel to a collection of some of the finest produce, wine and food creators in the Hunter Valley.

The Broke wine region will be alive with music, cooking and activity, so come and join in the fun for a fantastic weekend to please all.

Rural councils join in on fight for air quality

Date: Thu 01-Apr-10
Author: Singleton Argus
The Shires Association of NSW held meetings across rural councils throughout the State to identify key issues for the year ahead.

Mayor of Singleton Sue Moore and Councillor John Martin attended the division D meeting in Scone on Tuesday where a number of mining issues were raised.

Dust

Date: Thu 01-Apr-10
Author: Kate Morris (Singleton Argus)
AIR quality was under scrutiny when the Singleton Shire Healthy Environment Group met with Minister for Hunter Jody McKay in Newcastle this week.

Cricket Final Report

Date: Wed 31-Mar-10
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
In fourth grade Railway Hotel are the premiers after a 45-run victory over Paxton (Laguna) in a low scoring affair at Baddeley 6.

After winning the toss and batting the Eagles were all out for 89, with Anthony Simon and Darren Read caressing 24-apiece. Jason Reid was next best with 12, while for Paxton T. Williams (3-23), G. Kelso (3-22) and Brendan Stats (3-13) all collected a treble.

In reply the Wombats were skittled for just 44, with Steve Sullivan the only batsman to show any sort of resistance with 13. For the Eagles Scott Vanveldhuizen (3-5), Anthony Simon (3-10), Scott Simon (2-12) and Darren Read (2-16) did all the damage.

Wollombi Valley Scarecrow Festival back for its fourth year

Date: Wed 31-Mar-10
Author: The Advertiser
The Wollombi Valley will be brought to life throughout the next month with more than 100 scarecrows lining the main road.
Set along the Convict Trail, the annual Wollombi Valley Scarecrow Festival aims to bring the communities of the historic local villages together for a fun-filled event.

Fears of bias over Huntlee development

Date: Wed 31-Mar-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
ANGRY Branxton residents are calling on NSW Planning Minister Tony Kelly to step aside and not have any involvement in the consideration of the Huntlee development.
Sweet Water Action Group president Chris Parker said Mr Kelly had several meetings with the site's developers but would not answer his group's correspondence.

Warkworth Sands Woodland threatened by expansion of Mount Thorley's Warkworth Mine

Date: Wed 31-Mar-10
Author: Melissa Lyons (The Herald)
SIXTY-EIGHT hectares of the endangered Warkworth Sands Woodland could be destroyed under a proposal to expand Mount Thorley's Warkworth Mine. The endangered ecological community is among 678 hectares of vegetation, identified in an environmental assessment report, that would be affected if the Coal & Allied expansion goes ahead.

Hunter wants coal royalties share

Date: Tue 30-Mar-10
Author: ABC News
Former mineworkers have challenged the New South Wales Government to explain why Hunter communities cannot have a share of coal royalties.

The state council of the Retired Mineworkers Association has backed the push by Singleton and Muswellbrook councils for some return of the mining revenue generated in their shires.

From the Mayors Desk - 30 March 2010

Date: Tue 30-Mar-10
Author: Alison Davey
Our night of nights, the Mayoral Academic Scholarship Presentation ceremony, was very successful and enjoyed by all who attended. Congratulations to all the students who applied and congratulations to our winners on the night...

The Village People Cricket Club Laguna - Grand Final

Date: Fri 26-Mar-10
Author: Tim Williams and Wojt Kowaluk
The Village People Cricket Club Laguna are in the Final to be played at Baddeley Park on Saturday from 12:30pm. Bring a chair and refreshements and cheer on your local team.

It's been 120 years since we last had a team in the comp and we are one step from winning the comp!

Survey reveals Hunter mining concerns

Date: Thu 25-Mar-10
Author: ABC News
A New South Wales Government survey has found Hunter residents rate mining as one of the biggest environment issues facing the state.

The Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water has released the results of the survey at a seminar in Maitland.

The survey found 78 per cent of people in NSW believe in climate change and 69 per cent of those support urgent action.

Caroona blockade to be lifted today

Date: Wed 24-Mar-10
Author: Phil Thompson (The Land)
AFTER 20 months, 4000 visitors, a Four Corners program and countless newspaper stories, the Caroona blockade will finally be lifted today.

The Caroona Coal Action group will move away from "Rossmar Park" at 12.30pm where members have been sitting since July, 2008, to stop BHP accessing fertile Liverpool Plains farming country.

Rescue - Autumn 2010

Date: Tue 23-Mar-10
Author: WRHS
The newsletter of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service - In this issue: The longest mission - New Visitors Centre opens - Tamworth Base in track - Bell 412 engine overhaul - Winch training for medical staff - Rescue Club members visit base

Wollombi Music Festival

Date: Tue 23-Mar-10
Author: Wollombi Music Festival
Coming September 2010 is the funky, definitely groovy, high energy Wollombi Music Festival. Located at Yarnteen, 10 minutes into the mountains outside of the beautiful village of Wollombi, just 1.5 hrs from Sydney, 45 mins from Newcastle - be there!

Bulga Coal mine new Enterprise Agreement

Date: Tue 23-Mar-10
Author: Singleton Argus
The mine workers endorsed the agreement yesterday following negotiations between the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and Xstrata Coal. The new agreement includes paid union meetings and payroll deductions for union membership.

Laguna through to Cricket Final

Date: Sun 21-Mar-10
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
Laguna Village People Cricket Club (aka Paxton 4th Grade) defeat Supporters by 31 runs in their semi final encounter on Saturday 20th March. They will now play the Railway Hotel in next weeks final.

TAFE courses lifting Hunter green skills

Date: Sun 21-Mar-10
Author: Melissa Lyons (The Herald)
A NEW range of short courses focused on sustainability are set to have the Hunter well prepared for transition to a low-carbon economy. Carbon accounting and climate change courses have been added to Hunter TAFE's syllabus this year to expand "green skills" in the region.

WVAC Arts News March/April 2010

Date: Sat 20-Mar-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
Inside Art
Traditional Valley Art
Marek Zayler Painter
Emerging Artists Awards

Another packed weekend...

Date: Fri 19-Mar-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Cricket, The Arts, Laguna Jam and Markets, Sabrina Panarotto Dinner and a Law Seminar...

Wollombi scarecrow festival begins

Date: Fri 19-Mar-10
Author: Matt Carr (The Herald)
THEY might keep birds off crops, but Wollombi is hoping they do not scare away tourists.

A rare pleasure

Date: Thu 18-Mar-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Rarely would an evening in Cessnock Council Chambers be described as a pleasurable experience...

RAAF Training Exercises

Date: Thu 18-Mar-10
Author: Helen Horn (RAAF)
I would like to give you a notification advice on RAAF training exercises about to commence at the Singleton Training Area. RAAF aircraft will be dropping ordnance onto the Range over the period 17th to 26 March 2010.

Lifeline to keep art centre afloat

Date: Thu 18-Mar-10
Author: Matt Carr (The Herald)
CESSNOCK Regional Art Gallery has been thrown a lifeline, with councillors last night deciding to offer funding to keep it afloat. The council will provide almost $40,000 to keep the gallery running beyond the end of March and will also support attempts to secure funding from state and federal governments, councillors resolved last night.

Laguna Minor Cricket Premiers

Date: Wed 17-Mar-10
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
Laguna Village People Cricket Club (aka Paxton) have been declared minor premiers of the 4th grade Cessnock District Cricket Competition.

Song Room brings sounds of music to Paxton Public School

Date: Wed 17-Mar-10
Author: Krystal Sellars (The Advertiser)
Fridays are extra fun at Paxton Public School this year with the arrival of teaching artist Alex Emeljanow.

Alex has been placed at the school through the Song Room program, a national initiative that provides creative and performing arts learning opportunities for schools in rural, remote and disadvantaged areas.

Cessnock District Cricket report - 12 March 2010

Date: Wed 17-Mar-10
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 6/142 (D. Jackson 40, T. Reeks 34no, W. Kowaluk 20, A. Taylor 17no, A. Farrell 5-32 off 7) defeated Bellbird 116 (J. Hlad 29, B. Skinner 21, J. Millington 14, S. O'Hearn 13, J. Bailey 3-34 off 9.2, G. Kelso 3-25 off 10, S. Sullivan 2-27 off 10).

Last-ditch plea for art

Date: Tue 16-Mar-10
Author: Matt Carr (The Herald)
CESSNOCK Regional Art Gallery could close before Easter unless it receives emergency funding. Cessnock City Council has been asked to put up at least $39,244 immediately to keep the not-for-profit organisation running, with gallery director Virginia Mitchell claiming the gallery cannot otherwise support itself beyond the end of the month.

Hadyn Wilson Talk at Cessnock Regional Art Gallery

Date: Sun 14-Mar-10
Author: Peter Firminger
About 20 people were in attendance for a very interesting talk by Wollombi Valley Artist Hadyn Wilson at Cessnock Regional Art Gallery

Laguna end season on a high

Date: Sun 14-Mar-10
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
The Laguna Village People have ended their regular season on a high with 26 run victory against Bellbird at the Laguna Cricket Ground on Saturday 13th March.

From the Mayors Desk - 13 March 2010

Date: Sat 13-Mar-10
Author: Alison Davey
The Cessnock 2020 Community Workshops have generated many ideas and I encourage residents to attend the last of the 2020 Community Workshops being held at Mulbring on Wednesday 17 March at the Mulbring Community Hall and at Millfield on Thursday 18 March at Millfield Community Hall.

Wollombi Planning

Date: Thu 11-Mar-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Cessnock 2020 Community Plan Workshop
Sydney Balalaika Orchestra
Arts, Crafts and Produce Competition and Exhibition
Clause 10 (CLEP 1989) issue in the Draft LEP
LEP Working Party meeting
Community Planning

Meeting March 10, 2010 - Wollombi Valley Working Party (draft LEP)

Date: Wed 10-Mar-10
Author: Frederic Aubineau
Response from Frederic Aubineau after the first Wollombi Valley Working Party (draft LEP)

Cricket at Laguna

Date: Wed 10-Mar-10
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
This correspondent has been somewhat lax in reporting the progress of our own cricket team to date, so here's the season in a nutshell.

16 games won
2 games lost
2 games washed out

Cessnock Council not interested in amalgamation

Date: Wed 10-Mar-10
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock City Council wants no part of any proposed council that would amalgamate it with Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Port Stephens.

Singleton's first Oscar winner

Date: Tue 09-Mar-10
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
Former Singleton High student Martin Tlaskal has been awarded the famed statue for excellence in film technology. Mr Tlaskal, who grew up living at Broke, collected his Academy Award on February 20 making him Singleton's one and only home grown Oscar star.

Review Paper - Clause 10

Date: Mon 08-Mar-10
Author: Paul Flemming
Review paper on Clause 10 and correspondence on the Wollombi Valley Working Party (Draft LEP) from Paul Flemming

Addition of Clause 10 to the new LEP

Date: Mon 08-Mar-10
Author: Paul and Priscilla Flemming
Paul and Priscilla Flemming to Bo Moshage on 25 February, the day after the presentation to Council by WVAC

The Coming Week

Date: Sun 07-Mar-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Cessnock Regional Art Gallery - Hadyn Wilson and Penny Walton
Council LEP Presentations

Catchment News - Issue 27 - March 2010

Date: Sat 06-Mar-10
Author: CMA
The newsletter of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) for March 2010

Caroona strikes back in Supreme Court

Date: Fri 05-Mar-10
Author: Phil Thompson (The Land)
A WIN by Liverpool Plains farmers struck a blow against large coal miners this morning in the NSW Supreme Court. The decision handed down in the State's highest court could threaten a large number of coal exploration access agreements in NSW.

Kurri Animal Shelter to have longer operating hours

Date: Thu 04-Mar-10
Author: Cessnock Kurri Greens
Cessnock Greens Councillor Chris Parker successfully moved that the operating hours of the Kurri Animal Shelter are to be increased to five hours per day.

Aircraft Noise Now A Problem in Cessnock

Date: Thu 04-Mar-10
Author: Cessnock Kurri Greens
Problems with aircraft noise over Nulkaba are a direct result of a poor decision by a majority of Cessnock Councillors to allow parachute drops in a nearby winery.

BooBook Declaration Action

Date: Wed 03-Mar-10
Author: Meg Switzer
More than 60 groups have already signed the Boobook Declaration marking the International Year of Biodiversity.

Cessnock community debate leads to the future

Date: Wed 03-Mar-10
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock City Council rolled out the first instalment of its future planning exercise with a debate aimed to get the community talking about where we want to be at the end of this decade.

Cessnock District Cricket report - 27 February 2010

Date: Wed 03-Mar-10
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 7/153 (E. Smith 38no, Craig Howe 37, J. Minchen 2-32 off 10, S. Wilkinson 2-16 off 6) defeated Greta/Branxton 57 (A. Partridge 19, K. Wilkinson 13, S. Sullivan 4-18 off 8.3, T. Williams 4-15 off 4, J. Bailey 2-21 off 5)

E-waste Collection Day

Date: Wed 03-Mar-10
Author: Mike Wilson
As you may be aware Singleton Council has organised an e-waste collection day for Saturday 6 March - this coming Saturday.

AGL to drill eight new core holes exploring for gas at Broke and Bulga

Date: Tue 02-Mar-10
Author: Singleton Argus
AGL will undertake further coal seam exploration in the Broke and Bulga areas despite constant objection by the local community of any coal seam exploration in their village.

Hunter development calls in receivers

Date: Tue 02-Mar-10
Author: Matthew Moore (SMH)
RECEIVERS have moved in to take control of the Hunter Economic Zone, which the state government once predicted would be the biggest employment lands development in the state, providing more than 10,000 jobs and attracting $2 billion in investment.

White Elephant Industrial Zone should become a National Park

Date: Tue 02-Mar-10
Author: Cessnock Kurri Greens
Cessnock Greens Councillor James Ryan is calling on the NSW Government the convert the Hunter Employment Zone into National Park after its parent company, HEZ P/L, was placed in receivership.

Foggy Mountain Jam 2010

Date: Sun 28-Feb-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Photos from Foggy Mountain Jam 2010

WVAC Aboriginal Arts & Culture sub-committee LEP Presentation

Date: Fri 26-Feb-10
Author: Claude Aliotti
The Aboriginal Arts & Culture sub committee of the WVAC lodged a submission with Cessnock Council supporting Heritage conservation of sites in Wollombi - Feb 24 2010

From the Mayors Desk - 26 February 2010

Date: Fri 26-Feb-10
Author: Alison Davey
More than 100 people attended what was an extraordinarily interesting and lively debate at the Performing Arts Centre last week. My thanks to our outstanding public speakers who took the topic, "We should let the future of Cessnock look after itself" and mounted very persuading arguments for and against.

Council moves to protect wine region

Date: Wed 24-Feb-10
Author: ABC News
Cessnock council is developing a long-term strategy to protect wine growing areas in response to concerns about an increased number of housing developments.

Cessnock District Cricket report - 20 February 2010

Date: Wed 24-Feb-10
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 4/114 (D. Jackson 52, W. Kowaluk 15, D. Burgess 13no) defeated Greta/Branxton 112 (K. Wilkinson 47, S. Wilkinson 39, D. Jackson 5-9 off 8, A. Taylor 3-20 off 6, J. Bailey 2-26 off 7).

Birds in Backyards returns to Wollombi

Date: Tue 23-Feb-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Having built the Birds in Backyards website for Birds Australia (in partnership with the Australian Museum) in 2005, I am happy to announce that the website is back in the Webboy family of "Online Community" websites, being hosted on Webboy servers again.

Folk will flock to Broke

Date: Tue 23-Feb-10
Author: Singleton Argus
THE deadline for performer applications for this year's Folk in Broke festival has now passed and according to the event's artistic director Maureen O'Brien, 2010 has seen a record number of entries.

Paynes Crossing Road Closures

Date: Mon 22-Feb-10
Author: Cessnock City Council
Due to roadworks, Paynes Crossing Road, between Cunneens Bridge and Williams Bridge will be closed between the hours of 9:30am and 2:30pm Monday to Friday

Questions Without Notice - Cessnock Council 17 February 2010

Date: Sun 21-Feb-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Questions regarding the Wollombi Valley Working Party (Draft LEP) - "Councillor Olsen then asked how you get a fair and balanced group from Wollombi?"

WVAC Arts News February/March 2010

Date: Sat 20-Feb-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
Reflections - Harly Tait
Inside Art 2010
Poetry Afternoon Sunday 28th Feb (deferred)
Wollombi Valley Arts Council AGM

New OON Coordinator WANTED

Date: Fri 19-Feb-10
Author: Sandy Thomas
The local monthly newsletter OON is looking for a new Coordinator.

HIA praises housing strategy change

Date: Fri 19-Feb-10
Author: ABC News
The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has applauded changes to the Lower Hunter strategy that will allow major residential developments to be resubmitted for approval.

Kincumber showcases Community Eco Garden on new site

Date: Fri 19-Feb-10
Author: auCD
The Kincumber community on the Central Coast of NSW is the latest to launch a CGDN website.

Greetings from Broke Fordwich Wine Tourism Association!

Date: Fri 19-Feb-10
Author: Mike Wilson
A couple of weeks ago I attended a meeting of the Wollombi Chamber of Commerce where the subject of better co-operation between the two communities was discussed.

ICAC finds council incompetence, not corruption, over Hunter hotel plan

Date: Fri 19-Feb-10
Author: Joanne McCarthy (The Herald)
THE Independent Commission Against Corruption has supported developer Duncan Hardie's claims that Cessnock City Council lacked "competence" in its handling of a hotel proposal at Pokolbin, but rejected allegations of corrupt conduct.

Changes pave way for housing plans

Date: Thu 18-Feb-10
Author: ABC Central Coast
The New South Wales Planning Minister has cleared the way for two major Hunter Valley housing developments to be resubmitted for approval, after legal challenges saw them withdrawn last year.

New England New State Symbols 1

Date: Thu 18-Feb-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
William Oates, the archivist at the University of New England has now produced two posts on Archives Outside linked in some way to the New England New State Movement

Hunter developments back on the drawing board

Date: Thu 18-Feb-10
Author: Julianne Strachan (The Herald)
CONTROVERSIAL developments at Catherine Hill Bay and Huntlee New Town at Branxton are expected to return for planning assessment within months after the State Government closed the loopholes they fell through last year.

Horse breeders issue warning on mines

Date: Wed 17-Feb-10
Author: Jeannette McMahon (ABC)
Coal-mining and horse-breeding are the two biggest industries in the Upper Hunter, but they're struggling to co-exist, with warnings the multi-billion-dollar thoroughbred industry could "fall apart" in the region if action isn't taken.

Development of Cessnock Community Plan

Date: Wed 17-Feb-10
Author: Alison Davey
Cessnock City Council is now embarking on a comprehensive program of community consultation and engagement activities in the development of Cessnock's Community Plan.

Folk in Broke Newsletter

Date: Wed 17-Feb-10
Author: Maureen O'Brien
Applications are completed, selections are made, grant applications are done, we're on our way!

Cessnock District Cricket report - 12 February 2010

Date: Wed 17-Feb-10
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
Forth Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 2/89 (Denis Jackson 48no, Steve Sullivan 23no, D. Lambkin 2-24 off 7) defeated Supporters 84 (J. Lindner 29no, I. Wilson 17, T. Williams 4-19 off 9.2, S. Sullivan 2-18 off 7, G. Kelso 2-19 off 8).

Broke apology

Date: Tue 16-Feb-10
Author: Singleton Argus
GUESTS at Broke Public School showed their commitment to reconciliation while marking the second anniversary of the national apology on Friday. The school opened its doors to the local community welcoming both indigenous and non-indigenous visitors who paused to remember the stolen generation and who came to celebrate indigenous culture.

Bulga Coal Noise Education and Consultation

Date: Sat 13-Feb-10
Author: Stewart Ewen
The attached letter from Xstrata is very important as we have had a dramatic increase of noise from the mines over the last 2 years

From the Mayors Desk - 12 February 2010

Date: Fri 12-Feb-10
Author: Alison Davey
Come along and enjoy a night of stimulating entertainment and ideas for the future of Cessnock City on Tuesday 23 February at the Community Performing Arts Centre commencing at 7 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend and entry is free.

Landcare Newsletter February 2010

Date: Thu 11-Feb-10
Author: Graham Taylor
Please find attached the Wollombi Valley Landcare Newsletter for February 2010 in Adobe PDF format.

Mayoral Scholarships

Date: Thu 11-Feb-10
Author: Pauline Ross
Council has on offer 16 scholarships for students from the Cessnock LGA - please let your family and friends know of this opportunity to possibly gain $2,500 for one year to assist them with their finances during their studies.

Cessnock District Cricket Competition pointscore

Date: Wed 10-Feb-10
Author: The Advertiser
Fourth Grade: Railway Hotel 102, Paxton 98, Supporters 79, Supporters Gold 78, Greta/Branxton 68, Peden's Hotel 63#, Bellbird 61*, Wentworth 49.

Planning exemptions spark 'open slather' fears

Date: Tue 09-Feb-10
Author: ABC Newcastle
A Greens' councillor in Cessnock is urging the New South Wales Government not to allow special planning exemptions to be extended to major housing projects in the Hunter.

55 since '55

Date: Mon 08-Feb-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Jim Belshaw in Armidale commented on the Catchment News story about the 1955 flood in Maitland...

Planning Exemptions Harm Communities and the Environment

Date: Mon 08-Feb-10
Author: Cessnock Kurri Greens
'The announcement today by Premier Keneally that the exemption from planning laws of stimulus package projects could be extended to private developments including residential developments shows a lack of regard for local communities and the environment.' said Cessnock Greens Councillor James Ryan.

Catchment News - Issue 26 - February 2010

Date: Sun 07-Feb-10
Author: CMA
The newsletter of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) for February 2010

AGL Broke and Bulga exploration Approval and Notice of Drilling

Date: Sat 06-Feb-10
Author: Graeme Gibson
AGL now have approval to drill 8 core holes and stratigraphic holes on the properties owned by them at Broke (Spring Mountain) and Bulga (Windermere).

Geodynamics Presentation

Date: Sat 06-Feb-10
Author: Graeme Gibson
Attached is a presentation by Geodynamics in relation to its proposed Hot Rocks exploration in the Bulga area.

Huntlee, Catherine Hill Bay concerns in planning changes

Date: Sat 06-Feb-10
Author: Ian Kirkwood (The Herald)
THE State Government denied that changes to the Lower Hunter Regional Conservation Plan were a "back door" way of getting the Huntlee and Catherine Hill Bay housing developments back on track.

Samaritans Neighbourhood News - February 2010

Date: Sat 06-Feb-10
Author: Samaritans
Includes details about Samaritans Services and Menopause the Musical on March 17

GWCA Supports Boobook Declaration

Date: Thu 04-Feb-10
Author: Peter Firminger
Biodiversity is life. Biodiversity is our life. 2010 is the International year of Biodiversity and GWCA joins with many other organisations in supporting the Boobook Declaration.

History of the New England New State Movement 2 - defining New England

Date: Thu 04-Feb-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
In a comment on History of the New England New State Movement 1 - scope of work, Peter Firminger from Wollombi Valley Online pointed me to a web site that I had forgotten. The site itself has, I think, vanished. Certainly I had not been able to find it. However, it survives in web archive form.

History of the New England New State Movement 1 - scope of work

Date: Tue 02-Feb-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
In January 2010 in Hunter Valley calls for a Northern NSW New State I referred to comments from the Hunter calling for the re-formation of the New England New State Movement. As I indicated a little later in Wikipedia and the history of New England, there is almost no decent material on line dealing with the history of the Movement. I think that that's a problem.

Animal Liberation says no to duck farm

Date: Tue 02-Feb-10
Author: Singleton Argus
AN animal liberation group has fears that the proposed Howes Valley Duck farm has the potential to increase the outbreak risk of bird flu in Australia.

Vines removed amid grape glut

Date: Tue 02-Feb-10
Author: ABC News
Hunter Valley wine grape producers have reacted to the industry glut by pulling out vines or leaving some fruit to rot.

AJ Lucas Will Have First Half Loss

Date: Tue 02-Feb-10
Author: Australasian Investment Review via Yahoo!7
Shares in AJ Lucas Group fell more than 10% after the company told shareholders to brace themselves for disappointing half-year results.

New England's environmental wars - introduction

Date: Tue 02-Feb-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
In the Wollombi Valley in New England's south, the draft decision by Cessnock City Council to change the zoning of 2500 hectares of Hunter farmland now under existing Rural 1A zoning to Environmental 3 to create a "buffer" for the Watagans National Park has created local outrage.

Miner up-beat about cutting carbon footprint

Date: Mon 01-Feb-10
Author: ABC News
Coal & Allied says a trial of its coal bed gas project has proved so successful it will be rolled out across other mines in the Hunter Valley within eight weeks.

In the restriction zone

Date: Sat 30-Jan-10
Author: Phil Thompson (The Land)
A proposal to rezone thousands of hectares of Hunter Valley farmland to make it more "environmental" could provide a precedent that would affect farmers throughout the State. Because of the move, the strip of private properties, which stretches from Mulbring to Wollombi, has been dragged into the NSW Government's efforts to establish a uniform set of land zones across the State.

Hunter grape season a scorcher

Date: Fri 29-Jan-10
Author: ABC News
Weather records for a Hunter Valley vineyard have revealed the current growing season has been one of the hottest for more than 50 years.

Extension of Garry Jones' Exhibition

Date: Thu 28-Jan-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
The Wollombi Valley Arts Council is happy to announce that the culminating exhibition of Garry Jones' residency at the Wollombi Cultural Centre has been extended "by popular demand".

Cessnock District Cricket Report - 23 January 2010

Date: Wed 27-Jan-10
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Railway Hotel 5/206 (M. Livingstone 59, A. Simon 48, D. Read 34no, S. Simon 25, B. Teasdale 15, G. Kelso 2-37 off 10) defeated Paxton (Laguna) 173 (T. Reeks 46, D. Jackson 44, S. Gibson 36, A. Taylor 18, S. Simon 5-28 off 9, D. Read 2-33 off 9, A. Simon 2-44 off 10).

From the Mayors Desk - 26 January 2010

Date: Tue 26-Jan-10
Author: Alison Davey
Welcome to 2010. Council has moved into the 2010 year with renewed spirit. In the coming months community input will be sought for the Strategic Plan for direction for Cessnock for the next 10 years. All Councils have been charged with developing these plans by 2012. Our Council embarked on the task early in 2009 and we hope to have the task completed this year for initial implementation in 2011-2012.

Drownings claim lives at Blueys Beach and Wollombi

Date: Tue 26-Jan-10
Author: Tess Campbell and Ben Smee (The Herald)
The dead man, who has not been identified but was known to locals as Darrell, was found face down in a communal swimming pool at Burralong Valley, about 25 kilometres south of Wollombi, early yesterday morning.

Geodynamics... BROKE VALLEY... Hunter Valley Protection Alliance

Date: Sun 24-Jan-10
Author: Stewart Ewen
There is a HVPA Committee meeting on Tuesday 2 February at 5.30pm at the Broke Hall that some people may wish to attend as observers.

As background Geodynamics have a grant from the Federal Government to explore the Bulga area to build a possible power station that "if" built would be the size of 2 football fields in area...

Push is on for uniform hotel trading hours in Lower Hunter

Date: Sat 23-Jan-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
Cessnock councillor Chris Parker and Maitland councillor Ray Fairweather have raised questions at council meetings this week about the feasibility of uniform operating hours for hotels in their local government areas.

New Online Emergency System Helps Mangrove Mountain

Date: Fri 22-Jan-10
Author: auCD
A group of volunteers in the Mangrove Mountain area in the hinterland of the Central Coast of New South Wales have pioneered a new online system to alert the community to potential threats, such as bushfires and severe weather.

Work if you want it

Date: Fri 22-Jan-10
Author: Kate Morris (Singleton Argus)
THE job market in Singleton is growing and unlike many regional communities the outlook is good.

Jobs advertised in The Singleton Argus almost doubled in number from December 2007 to the same month in 2009, with 115 positions vacant.

The Wybong action group has called for more enquiries following this months Mangoola fatality

Date: Thu 21-Jan-10
Author: 2NM Hunter Valley Newsroom
President of the Wybong action group John Shewin addressed council at its extraordinary meeting claiming that the community has not been consulted during the process...

Calling for nominations for a Wollombi Valley Working Party (Draft LEP)

Date: Wed 20-Jan-10
Author: Bernie Mortimore (CCC)
Cessnock Council invites interested community members to nominate to participate in a review of the land use capability, zoning and zone boundaries proposed for the Wollombi Valley in the draft Local Environmental Plan 2010.

Cessnock District Cricket Report - 16 January 2010

Date: Wed 20-Jan-10
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
Paxton (Laguna) 104 (W. Kowaluk 22, T. Reekes 17, E. Smith 16, D. Fletcher 3-30 off 10, S. Price 3-12 off 8, L. Miller 2-16 off 8) defeated Peden's Hotel 96 (S. Price 24, C. Gray 23, D. Freebairn 20, S. Sullivan 5-30 off 10, T. Williams 3-34 off 10).

Rain a concern, but early harvest shows promise

Date: Wed 20-Jan-10
Author: Ben O'Neill (The Advertiser)
Two of the Hunter Valley's premier winemakers have shared their views with The Advertiser on the 2010 harvest currently taking place throughout the region.
Neil McGuigan of McGuigan Wines and Lindsay Whaling from Sandalyn Estate both believe recent rain will have a telling affect on the quality of wine produced in the area this year, with both hopeful the wet weather will now yield.

WVAC Arts News January/February 2010

Date: Wed 20-Jan-10
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
GARRY JONES Artist in Residence
Poetry Afternoon Sunday 28th Feb
Wollombi Valley Arts Council AGM
2010 WCC Booking Enquiries

Singleton Community Website

Date: Tue 19-Jan-10
Author: 2NM Newsroom
Local groups in Singleton are being asked to get involved with the community website.

The Singleton Chamber of Commerce, which is developing a website for the Singleton community, are asking for local groups and organisations to make sure their information gets onto the site.

Rural Valley Comparisons

Date: Tue 19-Jan-10
Author: Paul Flemming
Comparison of recently rural-zoned valleys in the Muswellbrook and Goulburn-Mulwarra LGA's from Paul Flemming

Cessnock curfew sought to limit crimes

Date: Tue 19-Jan-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
CESSNOCK hotels could be the next to have late-night trading curfews if councillor Chris Parker's quest to curb alcohol-fuelled antisocial violence receives support.

Cr Parker will ask a council meeting tomorrow night if the same conditions of hotel trading in Newcastle can be introduced in the Cessnock Local Government Area.

Catherine Hill Bay battle pushes on

Date: Tue 19-Jan-10
Author: Damon Cronshaw (The Herald)
THE battle for Catherine Hill Bay has entered its ninth year, with residents pushing for the number of new houses planned for the seaside heritage town to be cut from 822 to 300.

Buoyed by a court victory last September, residents will seek to renegotiate development plans.

Xstrata to lock out striking Newcastle workers

Date: Tue 19-Jan-10
Author: Martin Dinneen (The Herald)
THE dispute between coal giant Xstrata and workers at the Bulga open-cut mine appears set to escalate with the company planning to lock out workers for 24 hours from 7am today.

About 250 workers returned from a 49-hour strike at 8pm yesterday but will be locked out this morning.

LEP Interviews on 2GB

Date: Mon 18-Jan-10
Author: LEP Action Group
Ben Fordham (filling in for Ray Hadley) conducted 2 interviews on 15-Jan-2010 regarding the Cessnock LEP. One with Steve Annis-Brown and the other with Darryl Fitzgerald.

Hunter air quality monitoring criticised

Date: Mon 18-Jan-10
Author: Michelle Harris (The Herald)
MOST air-quality monitoring sites in a new network planned for the Upper Hunter will not identify levels of potentially harmful very fine dust particles because there is no national measuring standard, the State Government says.

Cricket Report - Saturday 16th January 2010

Date: Sun 17-Jan-10
Author: Wojt Kowaluk
Laguna Village People managed to hold out and defeat Pedens Hotel in a nail biting finish at the Basin Ground in Cessnock. At the drinks break Pedens were 3 down for 64 runs chasing Laguna's 104 /10. Requiring 41 runs for victory, 7 wickets in hand and 20 overs to be bowled, it would take something of a miracle to save the game for Laguna.

Catchment News - Issue 25 - January 2010

Date: Sat 16-Jan-10
Author: CMA
The January edition of Catchment News, the newsletter of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

Hunter's coal industry ravages landscape

Date: Sat 16-Jan-10
Author: Matthew Kelly and Melissa Lyons (The Herald)
THE shocking environmental effect of the region's multibillion-dollar coal industry can only be fully appreciated from the air. A satellite image taken from GoogleMaps shows the extent of the scarring between Singleton and Muswellbrook in the wake of insatiable demand for the region's coal.

Hunter coal leads to moon and back

Date: Sat 16-Jan-10
Author: Melissa Lyons (The Herald)
MORE than one billion tonnes of raw coal have been stripped from the Hunter in the past decade, handing the State Government a $3.1 billion silver lining. Stacked in cubic metres, that's enough coal to wrap around the Earth's equator 27.7 times.

Submissions for duck farm at Howes Valley close Monday

Date: Fri 15-Jan-10
Author: Sarah Lee (Singleton Argus)
SUBMISSIONS for the proposed Howes Valley duck farm close on Monday.

The Singleton Argus yesterday understands several submissions have been received by council objecting to the live duck egg production site proposed for lot 1254, 5756 Putty Road.

Cockfighter Country now has community website

Date: Fri 15-Jan-10
Author: auCD
The new Broke "Cockfigher Country" community website is now online : www.broke.nsw.au

After the success of the Wollombi community website within the region, Broke locals have decided to jump onto the CGDN bandwagon.

The Foggy Mountain Jam is back for 2010!

Date: Thu 14-Jan-10
Author: Veronica Chambers
To all our friends and music fans! We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and here's to a good year ahead.

Website for Singleton

Date: Wed 13-Jan-10
Author: 2NM Hunter Valley Newsroom
The Singleton Chamber of Commerce recently announced they had secured a domain name for a Gateway to Singleton website. The group has also secured help from Singleton high school students to help construct the website.

Weekend cricket teams - 16 January 2010

Date: Wed 13-Jan-10
Author: The Advertiser
No details given for Paxton (Laguna)...

Cessnock District Cricket Report - 9 January 2010

Date: Wed 13-Jan-10
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 5/249 (G. Kelso 61, D. Jackson 61, B. Stats 52, J. Bailey 23no, S. Gibson 21, P. Stacey 2-37 off 7) defeated Supporters Gold (85 (S. Knott 22, R. Stapleford 20no, J. Bailey 3-21 off 10, B. Craig 2-12 off 3).

Bid to open 12,000-bird Singleton duck farm

Date: Wed 13-Jan-10
Author: Donna Sharpe (The Herald)
A DUCK farm with more than 12,000 birds and believed to be the first of its kind for the region, could soon be built near Singleton.
Singleton Shire Council will consider an application by Sydney man Ray Shepherd for the farm that would focus on fertile egg production on a 188 hectare property at Howes Valley.

Hunter Valley calls for a Northern NSW New State

Date: Tue 12-Jan-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Peter Firminger wrote in a comment on New England Story - new states, archives and the preservation of our past...

Hunter Valley calls for a Northern NSW New State

Date: Tue 12-Jan-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Peter Firminger wrote in a comment on New England Story - new states, archives and the preservation of our past...

Cessnock City councillor to stay on despite fines

Date: Tue 12-Jan-10
Author: Julieanne Strachan (The Herald)
CESSNOCK City Council has taken one of its own councillors to court, hitting him and his company with $205,900 in penalties.
Cr Allan McCudden has vowed to stay on as a councillor, despite being prosecuted by the council at the Land and Environment Court for not complying with an asbestos clean-up notice and an order to supply information.

St Huberts Island community website

Date: Mon 11-Jan-10
Author: auCD
The St Huberts Island community on the Central Coast is the latest to launch their community website: sthubertsisland.nsw.au

Hunter farmers welcome jump in cattle prices

Date: Mon 11-Jan-10
Author: Tess Campbell (The Herald)
HUNTER cattle farmers have been rewarded for their stoic perseverance with a jump in prices by up to 50 cents a kilogram at Maitland's first cattle auction of the year. For an industry in dire straits less than a month ago, there is a new optimism thanks to some much-needed rain.

Media Release - Broke Community Website Launches

Date: Sun 10-Jan-10
Author: Peter Firminger
The new Broke NSW Community Website "Cockfighter Country" (broke.nsw.au) was recently launched without ceremony.

Pick of the bunch

Date: Fri 08-Jan-10
Author: Singleton Argus
HARVEST has not started this early since 1981. Margan Wines winemaker and managing director Andrew Margan said the last time he remembers starting to pick grapes within the first week of a year was over 29 years ago. The weather is the reason. "We are ruled by the weather," he explained.

Court blow to farmers fighting Caroona coal exploration

Date: Thu 07-Jan-10
Author: Clancy Yeates (The Land)
FARMERS trying to block BHP Billiton from exploring for coal in some of the most fertile land in NSW have lost the latest leg in their legal battle, but have promised to keep challenging.

Weekend cricket teams - 9 January 2010

Date: Wed 06-Jan-10
Author: The Advertiser
Supporters Gold Fourth Grade to play Paxton (Laguna) at Baddeley 6 on January 9.

Green start to 2010

Date: Tue 05-Jan-10
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
Over the past seven days, Singleton has had 39 mm, Jerrys Plains 51 mm, Broke 39.8mm and Reedy Creek recording 39 mm. Elderslie has had 63.2mm with a whopping 45 mm falling on Sunday while Milbrodale has had 62.2 mm of rain, 34 mm also falling on Sunday, according to the Bureau.

Spencer's resolve 'stronger than ever'

Date: Tue 05-Jan-10
Author: Farm Online
THE resolve of hunger-striking farmer Peter Spencer is stronger than ever this morning, following yesterday's show of support by hundreds of land holders at a protest at Parliament House.

Spencer hunger strike drives wedge into Coalition

Date: Tue 05-Jan-10
Author: Dan Harrison & Ben Cubby (The Land)
NSW farmer Peter Spencer hunger strike in protest against land-clearing laws has renewed tensions between Liberal and National parties. Protesters cheered the Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce and heckled the Liberal senator Bill Heffernan yesterday as they gathered outside Parliament House in support of the farmer. [Video]

Region soaking up the good news

Date: Mon 04-Jan-10
Author: Martin Dinneen (The Herald)
HUNTER holidaymakers may have cursed it but many farmers across the region are blessing the consistent rain that has fallen this past week, particularly over the weekend. The coast and the valley received heavy falls on Saturday night and yesterday morning with Singleton soaking up 22 millimetres and Scone 27.2 millimetres in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday.

Peter Spencer - Attempts to stop Cooee March by NSW Govt

Date: Sun 03-Jan-10
Author: Peter McCloy
People are planning to get to Canberra behind Old Parliament House on Monday at 10.30am to march in support of Peter Spencers protest saying Australia is not a free country any more and we want a royal commission into the injustices concerning the Kyoto protocol & property rights.

New England Story - new states, archives and the preservation of our past

Date: Sat 02-Jan-10
Author: Jim Belshaw
Now I am often very critical of the what I see as the nonsense coming from the Sydney Government. But here I have to give credit where it is due. Our friends at the NSW State Archives have created a very good blog indeed for all those interested in regional history.

Peter Spencer

Date: Thu 31-Dec-09
Author: Peter McCloy
Having read as many of the facts as seem to be available regarding the hunger strike of Peter Spencer, I agree totally with the following statement contained in an article by Justin Jefferson...

Jets urged to move to Cessnock

Date: Thu 31-Dec-09
Author: Tess Campbell (The Herald)
AN AUDACIOUS bid to move the Newcastle Jets to Cessnock's Baddeley Park has gained momentum despite getting a bucket of cold water from the football club and A-League officials.

Cessnock councillor Bob Pynsent said the Jets should make Cessnock sportsground their new home ground before EnergyAustralia Stadium's controversial playing surface caused more injury.

Broke and Wollombi Update

Date: Wed 30-Dec-09
Author: Peter Firminger
A new website for Broke
Romeo and Juliet at Laguna
Fireworks at Wollombi

Beyond Broke harvest hurt by hail

Date: Wed 30-Dec-09
Author: Tess Campbell (The Herald)
BRUISED fruit and tattered foliage is all that remains of a Broke vineyard's once bulging vines after a hailstorm ripped through the region last week.

Robert Kennedy, of Beyond Broke vineyard, is assessing the fallout of last Tuesday's hailstorm with the full extent of the damage to his $300,000 crop not known until the January harvest begins.

Cessnock District Cricket Report - 19 December 2009

Date: Wed 30-Dec-09
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 7/113 (D. Jackson 31, C. Howe 25, A. Taylor 23no, G. Kelso 16, N. Seirs 3-17 off 10, P. McDonald 2-36 off 9) defeated Bellbird 7/101 (S. O'Hearn 28, J. Hlad 19, N. Seirs 16, J. Millington 15, T. Williams 4-26 off 10, E. Smith 2-23 off 5).

No safe place

Date: Thu 24-Dec-09
Author: Rachel Oldknow (Singleton Argus)
RESIDENTS living in five of Singleton's rural districts have no safe place under the Neighbourhood Safe Place (NSP) program to escape a bush fire. A concept evolved out of the "Black Saturday" bush fire in Victoria, the NSP program aims to protect human life during the immediate threat of a bush fire.

Hunter coal - huge cost to the community

Date: Wed 23-Dec-09
Author: 2NM Newsroom
The greens have claimed that the Government's big benefit from Hunter coal comes at a huge cost to the community

Mannering Park hope their new site will encourage a more inclusive community

Date: Tue 22-Dec-09
Author: auCD
Mannering Park is a small township located on an isolated peninsular on the southern shores of Lake Macquarie.

Watching out for salvinia over summer

Date: Mon 21-Dec-09
Author: Phoebe Trongchittham
If you think you have Salvinia on your dam or in your local waterway please contact your local Council weeds officer immediately.

WVAC Arts News December 2009/January 2010

Date: Sun 20-Dec-09
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
Merry Christmas
Artist in Residence - Garry Jones

Court backs coalmining under dam

Date: Fri 18-Dec-09
Author: Matthew Moore (Brisbane Times)
AFTER a series of embarrassing losses in the Land and Environment Court, the NSW Planning Department has had a win - the court backed its approval of a massive expansion of coalmining under Sydney's water supply.

Cessnock District Cricket Report - 12 December 2009

Date: Wed 16-Dec-09
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 3/119 (G. Kelso 35, D. Jackson 23, E. Smith 18no, A. Taylor 17no, D. Burgess 15) defeated Bellbird 8/112 (S. O'Hearn 52, N. Seirs 16, J. Wadi 15, E. Smith 3-23 off 10, A. Taylor 2-17 off 5).

Christmas present for Wollombi

Date: Wed 16-Dec-09
Author: Peter Firminger
Paul Adams from the Wollombi Valley Progress Association - Cunneens Bridge Action Group called me this morning with some very good news.

AGL Hunter Activities

Date: Mon 14-Dec-09
Author: Jenny Thompson & Amanda Albury
RE: Major Development AGL Gas Part 3A, taking The Bucketts Way Valley Area, and removing this beautiful valley area as we know it, destroying aquifers, creeks, rivers etc.

Cessnock turbines put wind up old energy providers

Date: Mon 14-Dec-09
Author: Tess Campbell (The Herald)
CESSNOCK residents could earn thousands of dollars by switching to green power and the city council is helping to ease the way. Cessnock City Council has abolished the need to submit a development application before installing a wind turbine on a rural property.

From the Far End of the Council Table - 13 December 2009

Date: Sun 13-Dec-09
Author: Councillor James Ryan
Supermarkets all over the place - What was supposed to be the last meeting of the year was also one of the longest - going from 6-30pm till 10-30.

From the Mayor's Desk - Friday 11 December 2009

Date: Fri 11-Dec-09
Author: Alison Davey
Brian and I wish one and all a very blessed festive season and a healthy and safe New Year.

Claytons Environmental Protection Under E3

Date: Thu 10-Dec-09
Author: Paul Flemming
It wasn't till I browsed a Department of Planning document headed LEP practice note PN 09-002. Environment Protection Zones, issued in April 2009, that the penny dropped. We'd all so far missed the "bleedin' obvious"

Catchment News - Issue 24 - December 2009

Date: Thu 10-Dec-09
Author: CMA
The December edition of Catchment News, the newsletter of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

The Wanaruah Nation

Date: Wed 09-Dec-09
Author: 2NM Newsroom
The Wanuruah nation has called together a meeting of all aboriginal stakeholders to discuss what they have called a lack of respect shown to them in regard to planning matters.

Civil wedding ceremonies on the rise

Date: Wed 09-Dec-09
Author: Krystal Sellars (The Advertiser)
Canon Sonia Roulston, of the Anglican Parish of Cessnock/Wollombi said three-quarters of its weddings in 2009 were non-local couples. And, of these 40 weddings, 21 were held off-site at vineyard venues or chapels, with the remainder at the Cessnock, Wollombi and Ellalong churches.

Weekend cricket teams: 12 December 2009

Date: Wed 09-Dec-09
Author: The Advertiser
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) V Bellbird Workers at Carmichael 2 (not mentioned in the story)

Cessnock District Cricket Report - 5 December 2009

Date: Wed 09-Dec-09
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 6/162 (Tim Weeks 58, Craig Howe 39no, Steve Sullivan 22, Sam Apthorpe 2-22 off 8, Jamie Spence 2-21 off 10) defeated Wentworth 3/157 (Sam Apthorpe 79, D. Bailey 56, Brendan Stats 3-22 off 10).

Hard decisions must be made if they want the big bucks

Date: Mon 07-Dec-09
Author: Adele Ferguson (SMH)
For the past three years the coal seam gas industry has been the new god of energy, promising big profits, green power and a gateway to aligning Australian gas prices with the more lucrative global market... But now the clock is ticking for the industry to turn rhetoric into reality and start making some financial investment decisions (FIDs).

Greetings from Mount Broke Wines

Date: Sat 05-Dec-09
Author: Mike Wilson
On Sunday 13th December Mount Broke Wines in Adams Peak Road, Broke will be hosting a get-together and very informal barbecue from about 4pm for locals to have a bite to eat, a drink and a chat. I would love some of our near neighbours in Wollombi to join us.

Greens Information Sessions on Draft Cessnock LEP (Local Environment Plan)

Date: Fri 04-Dec-09
Author: Tim Plater
Cessnock-Kurri Greens will hold two information sessions on the Draft LEP for the Cessnock Local Government Area.

Wollombi Valley Update - 3 December 2009

Date: Thu 03-Dec-09
Author: Peter Firminger
Rather than lead with the comments, I'll give you the event list first and flag that there are responses from Paul Flemming and Bronwyn Duncan to my Cunneens Bridge post at the end of this email - along with some Wollombi Valley Christmas Specials and a team photo...

Wollombi LEP Meeting Video

Date: Thu 03-Dec-09
Author: Peter Firminger
The video of the meeting at Wollombi Hall on 12 November 2009 with Darryl Fitzgerald

Landcare Newsletter December 2009

Date: Thu 03-Dec-09
Author: Graham Taylor
Please find attached the Wollombi Valley Landcare Newsletter for December 2009 in Adobe PDF format.

Multi-million dollar boost for Cessnock City schools off and running

Date: Wed 02-Dec-09
Author: The Advertiser
The projects and the schools where the work will take place include:
Laguna, new library, $250,000.
Millfield, new library, $870,000.
Wollombi, new COLA, $140,000 and administration upgrade, $110,000.

Weekend cricket teams 5 and 6 December 2009

Date: Wed 02-Dec-09
Author: The Advertiser
Fourth grade: Wentworth Hotel to play Paxton (Laguna) at Kearsley on Saturday.

Cessnock District Cricket Report - 28-29 November 2009

Date: Wed 02-Dec-09
Author: Mark Bercini (The Advertiser)
4th Grade: Wentworth 7/200 (S. Morley 102, S. Apthorpe 29, S. Parkinson 15no, J. Bailey 3-32 off 10, T. Williams 2-64 off 10) defeated Paxton (Laguna) 7/193 (E. Smith 63, W. Kowaluk 39, T. Williams 26, K. Barnett 20no, D. Bailey 2-51 off 8, S. Parkinson 2-34 off 7).

Upgrade to Paxton Waste Water Treatment Works

Date: Sun 29-Nov-09
Author: Steve Meadows - COCCI
Below is a notice that will be distributed to residents adjoining Congewai Creek/ Wollombi Brook on the Wollombi Rd up to Cedar Creek and along Mt View Rd/Lewis Lane.

Kind regards
Greg Lewis

From the Mayor's Desk - Friday 27 November 2009

Date: Fri 27-Nov-09
Author: Alison Davey
As always it was a pleasure to take in the natural setting that the residents of Wollombi enjoy all year round. Guest Speaker Mr Michael Noyce enthralled the audience of nearly 50 guests with a presentation on the History of Wollombi.

Cessnock cricket competition produces close results in extreme heat

Date: Wed 25-Nov-09
Author: The Advertiser
Paxton 4th Grade (Laguna): 3/100 (W. Kowaluk 25no, A. Taylor 19, S. Gibson 16, K. Barnett 13no, T. Hart 2-28 off 7) defeated Greta/Branxton 88 (S. Wilkinson 27, K. Wilkinson 16, T. Priest 15, J. Bailey 6-28 off 10, T. Williams 2-16 off 9).

Wollombi Valley update - 20 November 2009

Date: Fri 20-Nov-09
Author: Peter Firminger
LEP
Cuneens Bridge

WVAC Arts News November/December 2009

Date: Fri 20-Nov-09
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
Flora & Fauna
Fiona Bateman's Summer Exhibition
Artist in Residence - Garry Jones

Fifth century of the Cessnock cricket season

Date: Wed 18-Nov-09
Author: The Advertiser
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 1/45 (K. Reilly 25, A. Taylor 20) defeated Supporters 39 (S. Hooker-Connell 18, J. Bailey 3-18 off 5, K. Reilly 3-11 off 6).

From the Mayor's Desk - Friday 13 November 2009

Date: Fri 13-Nov-09
Author: Alison Davey
Our Tidy Town Committees who participated in the recent Tidy Towns Awards were very successful taking out seven awards.

Cricket returns to Laguna

Date: Wed 11-Nov-09
Author: The Advertiser
Cricket returned to one of the city's furtherest boundaries last weekend when Paxton played Railway Hotel at Laguna. The Paxton fourth grade side is made up mostly of players from Laguna and Wollombi and the ground is situated on privately-owned land.

Local communities clean up at NSW Tidy Towns Awards

Date: Wed 11-Nov-09
Author: The Advertiser
The Cessnock Local Government Area (LGA) collected a number of awards at the recent NSW Annual Tidy Towns Awards Presentation held in Tamworth. The city was represented by 17 proud Tidy Towns Committee representatives from Cessnock, Kurri Kurri, Greta and Wollombi Tidy Town Committees.

Catchment News - Issue 23 - November 2009

Date: Tue 10-Nov-09
Author: CMA
The November edition of Catchment News, the newsletter of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

Rescue - Spring 2009

Date: Mon 09-Nov-09
Author: WRHS
The newsletter of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service - In this issue: Sam and Milo's adventure - It's ball season - Helping to save babies - Fisherman overboard - Riding for Rescue and Research

Cessnock seeks new strategy after Huntlee failure

Date: Thu 05-Nov-09
Author: Matt Carr (The Herald)
CESSNOCK Council will revisit a citywide planning strategy after the Huntlee development stalled. Cr Neil Gorman said that by rushing the citywide plan the council ran the risk of the "whole LEP falling over". Cr James Ryan, who lodged last night's rescission motion, said the problem would affect the entire Cessnock area.

Free Range Egg Policy for Cessnock Council

Date: Wed 04-Nov-09
Author: Cessnock-Kurri Greens
Greens Councillor Chris Parker successfully moved at tonight's Council meeting, that Cessnock Council move to a policy of sourcing free range eggs in any future Council catering contracts. Councillor Parker showed a video of some of the appalling conditions that caged chickens suffer from to support his motion.

Council in a flap over eggs

Date: Wed 04-Nov-09
Author: Briony Snedden (Maitland Mercury)
Cessnock City Council has become broody about eggs. Chris Parker will put a free ranging idea to tonight's meeting that the council outlaw caged eggs in its catering, and encourage other businesses to do the same.

Cessnock District Cricket report

Date: Wed 04-Nov-09
Author: The Advertiser
Paxton 4/60 (Brendan Stats 38no, A. Sadler 2-13 off 6, D. Fletcher 2-30 off 8) defeated Peden's Hotel 56 (D. Fletcher 20, B. Stats 4-14 off 6, J. Bailey 2-15 off 5, K. Reilly 2-17 off 4.2, B. Craig 2-7 off 3).

Media Release

Date: Tue 03-Nov-09
Author: Chris Parker
At the Annual Nature Conservation Council Environmental Awards 31 Oct/09, the Sweetwater Action Group (SWAG) was nominated for one of the major awards.

Eighty riders vie for top trophies

Date: Fri 30-Oct-09
Author: Singleton Argus
THE Singleton Pony Club Show Jumping Championships were contested under hot conditions at Singleton Showground at the weekend.

Eighty riders competed over the two days in five different events.

Clubs in the competition were Singleton, Scone, Denman, Aberdeen, Murrurundi, Merriwa, Mt Sugarloaf, Mangrove Mountain, Paterson River, Maitland, Camden Haven, Tall Timbers, Toronto, Oxley Island, Cooranbong and Wollombi Valley.

From the Mayor's Desk - Friday 30 October 2009

Date: Fri 30-Oct-09
Author: Alison Davey
Cessnock Community Performing Arts Centre won top honours in the 2009 Lower Hunter Urban Design Awards, announced on Friday 23 October during a gala dinner at the Mercure Resort, Hunter Valley Gardens.

Cessnock District Cricket report

Date: Wed 28-Oct-09
Author: The Advertiser
4th Grade: Paxton (Laguna) 8/147 (Jack Bailey 26no, Ken Barnett 24no, Stuart Gibson 20, W. Kowaluk 16, Denis Jackson 14, Steve Tyne 4-26 off 10, Alan Sadler 2-38 off 9, Craig Grey 2-31 off 8) defeated Peden's Hotel 142 (Steve Tyne 37no, Dean Freebairn 23, Ben Reed 17, Mick Bullen 17, Dane Fletcher 14, Jack Bailey 4-35 off 10, Alan Taylor 2-15 off 4, W. Kowaluk 2-8 off 1.5)

Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill

Date: Wed 28-Oct-09
Author: Peter Firminger
A letter to Nathan Rees, John Robertson, Ian Macdonald and Kerry Hickey

Please phone and email in the next 12 hours to stop the Shooters

Date: Wed 28-Oct-09
Author: Nature Conservation Council of NSW
Email from the Nature Conservation Council of NSW

Major heritage grants for Cessnock City projects

Date: Wed 28-Oct-09
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock Local Government area projects will receive about $800,000 of the Australian Government investment of $1,293,759 for conservation projects in and around the Hunter Electorate. Wollombi Courthouse will receive $31,250 and the Great North Road Conservation, Ramsay's Leap and Thompson's Bridge at Bucketty/Laguna will receive $779,000.

Sculpture in the Vineyards launch

Date: Wed 28-Oct-09
Author: The Advertiser
The Wollombi Valley Wine Trail landscape will soon start to take on its now unique look at this time of the year with the launch of Sculpture in the Vineyards.

Voiceless takes aim at Shooters' Party

Date: Tue 27-Oct-09
Author: Voicless: the animal protection institute
Brian Sherman AM, Director of Voiceless, the animal protection institute, today called upon the NSW Government to reject a deal with the Shooters' Party which would open up 13 national parks to recreational hunters in return for ongoing support in the upper house.

Branxton strives to keep cosy atmosphere

Date: Tue 27-Oct-09
Author: Matt Carr (The Herald)
BRANXTON will welcome pedestrians and maintain a village feel under a new proposal.

A final draft of the town's new strategic development plan will be available to the public from early next month. In it the town will retain its village character beyond the Hunter Expressway.

Union orders rangers to defy hunting in parks

Date: Mon 26-Oct-09
Author: Louise Hall (SMH)
UNION bosses have pledged to fight any deal the Rees Government negotiates with the Shooters' Party that would allow the hunting of feral animals in national parks.

Letter to the Editor

Date: Sun 25-Oct-09
Author: Chris Parker
I was very disappointed in the reaction from Mr. Mike Lowing (Editor of the Branxton and Greta Vineyard news) to the article "Sweet Victory" in Saturday Oct. 24 edition of H2 of the paper to the announcement that the Huntlee Development approval had been overturned.

Small axe fells big timber

Date: Sat 24-Oct-09
Author: Matthew Moore (SMH)
When grassroots activism knocks over a deal at the top end of town, others look over their shoulders, writes Matthew Moore.

Small axe fells big timber

Date: Sat 24-Oct-09
Author: Matthew Moore (The Age)
When grassroots activism knocks over a deal at the top end of town, others look over their shoulders, writes Matthew Moore.

NSW's Largest Residential Development in doubt

Date: Fri 23-Oct-09
Author: Chris Parker
The NSW Planning Minister and Huntlee Holdings Pty Ltd, the developer of the largest residential development in NSW, have both agreed to settle a case brought by a local residents group in the NSW Land and Environment Court .

Wollombi Valley Country Fair - Media Release

Date: Thu 22-Oct-09
Author: Peter Firminger
Taste the History as Wollombi Valley comes alive on the 7th and 8th of November with the inaugural Wollombi Valley Country Fair.

Government deal to open national parks to shooters

Date: Wed 21-Oct-09
Author: Erik Jensen (SMH)
Negotiations on the bill had broken down with the Premier's chief of staff, Graeme Wedderburn - who Mr Brown described as ''tits on a bull'' - but resumed in September, less than a week after John Robertson took over the environment portfolio. The Treasurer, Eric Roozendaal, one of Mr Robertson's factional allies, took part in negotiations.

Weekend cricket teams

Date: Wed 21-Oct-09
Author: The Advertiser
Teams lists

More Hunter land deals in jeopardy

Date: Wed 21-Oct-09
Author: Julieanne Strachan (The Herald)
THE NSW Government's planning nightmare has deepened, with revelations that four more large-scale Hunter developments could be jeopardised by land swap deals with developers.

New website at the Copa - Copacabana NSW

Date: Tue 20-Oct-09
Author: auCD
The Copacabana community celebrated the launch of their new community website last week, with Chris Holstein, Mayor of the City of Gosford inaugurating the new site

Region divided on Huntlee court decision

Date: Tue 20-Oct-09
Author: Donna Sharpe and Ben Smee (The Herald)
HUNTER mayors whose local government areas would have been directly affected by the Huntlee development are not upset the project has collapsed.

Singleton Mayor Sue Moore and Maitland Mayor Peter Blackmore said they were surprised at yesterday's outcome but not disappointed, while Cessnock Mayor Alison Davey doubted this would be the last her council heard of Huntlee.

WVAC Arts News Oct/Nov 2009

Date: Tue 20-Oct-09
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
WHERE TWO ARTS MEET Sue Linton & Shane Lennard
PAINTINGS & MOSAICS by Kaye Lovie & Mary Francis
FLORA & FAUNA by Catherine Craig, Michelle Loadsman. Penny Walton, Juliet Ackery and Carolyn Peddie
2009 EMERGING ARTISTS AWARDS

Hunter Valley Residents Celebrate Court Win

Date: Mon 19-Oct-09
Author: Chris Parker
Residents of Cessnock, Branxton and North Rothbury are celebrating today after the NSW Land and Environment Court overturned the States biggest residential development, Huntlee New Town, which had been approved by the Planning Minister in February 2009.

NSWs' largest Residential Development to be challenged in Court

Date: Mon 19-Oct-09
Author: Chris Parker
Residents from Branxton and Cessnock are preparing to travel to Sydney today for the beginning of the Land and Environment Challenge to NSW's biggest single residential development proposal.

Court case shakes developers' confidence in system

Date: Mon 19-Oct-09
Author: Mathew Moore (Brisbane Times)
THE Land and Environment Court has terminated approval for the state's biggest housing project, prompting developers to warn that the NSW planning system had become so risky companies were being forced to move interstate.

Minister's unlawful act scuppers 7200 homes

Date: Mon 19-Oct-09
Author: Mathew Moore (SMH)
THE state's biggest housing project has collapsed after the Planning Minister, Kristina Keneally, admitted she acted unlawfully in approving the 7200-home Hunter Valley proposal.

On the eve of a court challenge by residents opposing the Huntlee New Town project near Branxton, Ms Keneally and the developer of the $1.8 billion complex have conceded the minister's approval of the concept plan and a rezoning application breached planning laws.

Heritage funding announced

Date: Fri 16-Oct-09
Author: Newcastle on Hunter
The Sandstone Wall Restoration Project at Merriwa will receive $53,823, The Singleton Showground Pavilion Project will receive $56,591, St Mary's Building Stabilisation Project in Maitland will receive $183,095, Wollombi Courthouse will receive $31,250, Maitland Gaol will receive $190,000 and the Great North Road Conservation - Ramsay's Leap and Thompson's Bridge at Bucketty/Laguna will receive $779,000.

From the Mayor's Desk - Friday 16 May 2009

Date: Fri 16-Oct-09
Author: Alison Davey
Congratulations to the Tidy Town Committees from Cessnock, Kurri Kurri and Wollombi as finalists for the Keep Australia Beautiful Tidy Towns Communities Awards... On Thursday 1 October I attended and presented to Laguna Public School Certificates and Lapel Pins...

Cessnock cricket season underway

Date: Thu 15-Oct-09
Author: The Advertiser
Paxton Wombats 4/130 (S. Sullivan 35, D. Jackson 20, S. Gibson 16 ret hurt, A. Taylor 14no, T. Goldman 3-19 off 9) defeated Supporters Gold 121 (J. McCord 42, T. Goldman 36, C. Goldman 13, T. Williams 4-25 off 8, K. Riley 3-45 off 10, T. Jackson 2-17 off 5).

NSW's Largest Residential Development set to be overturned by Court

Date: Thu 15-Oct-09
Author: Chris Parker
The largest residential development in NSW is expected to ruled invalid in the Land and Environment Court after both the NSW Planning Minister and the developer have agreed to not defend a challenge by a local residents group.

Community FireWise meeting presentation and links

Date: Sun 11-Oct-09
Author: Peter Firminger
Presentation documents and links mentioned in the Community FireWise meeting held at Laguna Hall on 11 October 2009.

Catchment News - Issue 22 - October 2009

Date: Sat 10-Oct-09
Author: CMA
The October edition of Catchment News, the newsletter of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

Schedule for the Mangrove Mountain Country Fair

Date: Wed 07-Oct-09
Author: On Mangrove Mountain
The competition schedule for the 2009 fair

A perfect end to a great weekend in Wollombi

Date: Mon 05-Oct-09
Author: Peter Firminger
Double rainbow over St John's at the end of the Labour Day long weekend

Two years of Wollombi Valley Online

Date: Sun 04-Oct-09
Author: Peter Firminger
And they (Wollombi Chamber Executive) said it wouldn't last...

2009 Emerging Artists Awards presented last night

Date: Sat 03-Oct-09
Author: Peter Firminger
The awards were judged and presented by Lisa Slade and Bridget Nicholson at the Old Fire Shed Gallery - Wollombi Cultural Centre

New Coalition of Hunter Community Groups Launches

Date: Fri 02-Oct-09
Author: The Fair Go Coalition
A Fair Go for the Hunter Community Coalition consists of community groups whose objective is to halt the wave of bad planning by this NSW Government in order to get the best results for the Hunter community.

From the Mayor's Desk - Friday 2 October 2009

Date: Fri 02-Oct-09
Author: Alison Davey
Congratulations to John Albury APM, John is the retired Chief Inspector of Cessnock, and he recently received the NSW Police Medal with a 40 year clasp.

Save the Net... and democracy as we know it

Date: Wed 23-Sep-09
Author: Peter Firminger
Did you know the Government is proposing an internet censorship scheme that goes further than any other democracy in the world? That's why I'm one of over 100,000 Australians who have signed the petition to Save the Net. Will you join me?

Chamber embarking on new marketing plan

Date: Wed 23-Sep-09
Author: The Advertiser
Cessnock Wine Country Chamber of Commerce will soon launch the new Cessnock Business and Marketing Plan. Developed by the chamber in partnership with Cessnock City Council the plan will drive the chamber's activities over the next three years.

From the Far End of the Council Table - 20 September 2009

Date: Sun 20-Sep-09
Author: Councillor James Ryan
Development and Rugby league

Well what a mix of things was last weeks Council meeting. After a lot of complaints from residents Councillor Smith and I lodged a motion calling for Council to communicate more effectively with residents who put in a Development Application.

From the Mayor's Desk - Friday 18 September 2009

Date: Fri 18-Sep-09
Author: Alison Davey
Congratulations to 10 year old Luca Hawkins from Wollombi Public School who received a brand new iPod. Students from around the country entered the competition every time they completed a schoolwork tutoring session using YourTutor.

Graham Richardson property wrangle not his first

Date: Fri 18-Sep-09
Author: Anthony Klan (The Australian)
SYDNEY property developer Ron Medich is not the first client of ALP powerbroker and lobbyist Graham Richardson to have been embroiled in controversy over property deals.

Another of Mr Richardson's clients, property developer Duncan Hardie, in 2006 secured approval to build 7200 houses in the NSW Hunter Valley -- despite the area coming last on a state government list of possible housing sites

When it comes to printer cartridge recycling, Australians have an inkling!

Date: Wed 16-Sep-09
Author: Michelle Cook (Planet Ark)
'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' celebrates 10 million returns

Resident's Survey

Date: Wed 16-Sep-09
Author: Sandy Thomas
The Wollombi Valley Chamber of Commerce is conducting its first Annual Resident's Survey to gain a greater understanding of community views and to help identify opportunities for improvement to make Wollombi Valley an even better place to live and work. The survey results will be presented to the community at the November Wollombi Progress Association meeting.

Mangrove Mountain Country Fair art category theme

Date: Sat 12-Sep-09
Author: On Mangrove Mountain
'Dear me', is the theme for the Special Open Art category for the Country Fair in 2009. (Potholes last year)

Catchment News - Issue 21 - September 2009

Date: Thu 10-Sep-09
Author: CMA
The September edition of Catchment News, the newsletter of the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

Laguna Public School wins Mayoral Academic Challenge

Date: Wed 09-Sep-09
Author: Krystal Sellars (The Advertiser)
For the first time in its four-year history, one of Cessnock City's smaller schools has taken out the Mayoral Academic Challenge.

Wollombi icon in the crosshairs

Date: Tue 08-Sep-09
Author: Peter Firminger
The Shooters party introduced the Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment Bill to NSW Parliament in June which proposes to open up National Parks to recreational shooters and will list 26 native species to the animals licensed shooters can kill for kicks including Wollombi's iconic Purple Swamphen and other frequent local birds such as the Australian White Ibis and Black Swan.

Stop the Shooters Games - Rally

Date: Tue 08-Sep-09
Author: Peter Firminger
- there's no such thing as conservation hunting -

Cessnock Draft LEP Feedback

Date: Mon 07-Sep-09
Author: Peter Firminger
To assist in the preparation of a group submission to the exhibition of the Draft LEP 2009 Wollombi Valley Progress Association would appreciate your feedback to basic issues of concern contained in the Draft Plan.

From the Far End of the Council Table - 6 September 2009

Date: Sun 06-Sep-09
Author: Councillor James Ryan
What do Catherine Hill Bay and Cessnock have in common? I'll get to that question in a minute. There is a very interesting public debate happening at the moment. You can't help but think the Labor Party is conducting a concerted campaign to get rid of Cessnock Council.

The Land Bribe

Date: Fri 04-Sep-09
Author: Nick Grimm (ABC Stateline NSW)
It's the word that no politician wants associated with his name; the dreaded "B" word. This week, the Land and Environment Court threw out a contentious coastal development on the grounds that the planning process may have been tainted by what a judge described as a land bribe. Justice David Lloyd ruled that a fair-minded observer could be forgiven for thinking that the state's former Planning Minister Frank Sartor might not have brought an impartial and unprejudiced mind to his decision to approve the development.

From the Mayor's Desk - Friday 4 September 2009

Date: Fri 04-Sep-09
Author: Alison Davey
Congratulations to the winners of the 2009 Mayoral Academic Challenge. The academic brilliance of our students is amazing. I congratulate every school who participated and to the schools who were unable to participate due to other commitments for their contribution to education our young people.

Taste the History in Wollombi Village

Date: Thu 03-Sep-09
Author: Peter Firminger
On the 7th and 8th of November, historic Wollombi village will come alive with the inaugural Wollombi Valley Country Fair.

Hickey slams Cessnock council

Date: Thu 03-Sep-09
Author: Julieanne Strachan (The Herald)
CESSNOCK MP Kerry Hickey has taken aim at his local council in NSW Parliament, accusing it of being the second slowest in the state at assessing projects valued between $5 million and $20 million.

Animal campaigners want Cessnock rodeo ban

Date: Thu 03-Sep-09
Author: Gabriel Wingate-Pearce (Herald)
Animal rights campaigners will lobby Cessnock City Council to become the first local council in NSW to ban rodeos.

Animal Liberation NSW executive director Mark Pearson will present footage of Australian rodeos, including images he says have led to prosecutions, to councillors.

FIRE PERMITS REQUIRED

Date: Tue 01-Sep-09
Author: RFS
1 September 2009 to 31 March 2010
Who do you call?
Your local BFB Fire Permit Officer...

ALP donor projects scuttled

Date: Tue 01-Sep-09
Author: Matthew Moore and Linton Besser (SMH)
THE state's biggest housing development and a host of other Hunter Valley projects backed by Labor Party donors are facing collapse after a court ruled illegal the agreements negotiated secretly to have them approved.

Sweetwater Action Group welcomes Catherine Hill Bay decision

Date: Mon 31-Aug-09
Author: Chris Parker
The residents group challenging the State's biggest residential development, Huntlee in the Hunter Valley, has welcomed the Land and Environment Courts decision in the Catherine Hill Bay case.

Crunch time for internet censorship

Date: Fri 28-Aug-09
Author: Get Up!
A decision on the Government's internet censorship filter could be just weeks away. It's crunch time for our campaign.

From the Far End of the Council Table - 23 August 2009

Date: Sun 23-Aug-09
Author: Councillor James Ryan
Disneyland In Cessnock?

The issue of what is good development in the Vineyards took another step forwards or backwards, depending on your point of view, at last weeks Council meeting.

Fleetwood Mac Unleashed in the Hunter Valley

Date: Fri 21-Aug-09
Author: Peter Firminger
Fleetwood Mac will be at Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley on December 5 2009.

From the Mayor's Desk - Friday 21 August 2009

Date: Fri 21-Aug-09
Author: Alison Davey
Congratulations to the winners of the Hunter Tourism Awards 2009 which was held at Crowne Plaza. Winners include:-Boutique Wine Tours, Bimbadgen Estate who enters the Hall of Fame, Hunter Valley Gardens who enters the Hall of Fame and Tower Lodge who enters the Hall of Fame, Christmas Lights Spectacular Hunter Valley Gardens, Esca Bimbadgen, Somewhere Unique and The Vintry Country House & Vineyard.

art.mail - August 2009 e-Newsletter

Date: Thu 20-Aug-09
Author: Art Gallery of New South Wales
News from the Art Gallery of New South Wales - August 2009:

A rare opportunity to see works by William Blake, J M W Turner, Gericault, Delacroix and Corot.
Silk Ikats of Central Asia
Intensely Dutch (Closes 23 Aug)
The Dreamers
Sydney Long: Pan
ET AL maintenance of social solidarity
Nicholas Mangan: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

WVAC Arts News August/Sept 2009

Date: Thu 20-Aug-09
Author: Bronnie Aliotti
Aprons with Attitude - Stitch and Bitch
Wollombi Art - Peter Williams
Emerging Artists - DEADLINE

Finchley Vandals Return

Date: Mon 17-Aug-09
Author: Peter Firminger
Having already defaced the interpretive plinth at Finchley Aboriginal Area once before (and subsequently returned the stone sign, apparently after a stern talking to) the vandals have returned to Finchley Aboriginal Area to repeat the crime.

Awards for Sponsorship - Wild Ride

Date: Fri 14-Aug-09
Author: Paul Humphreys
Our local Hunter based sport