The Tussock Times

is an A4 Newsletter circulating in the

Anembo-Jerangle-Peak View area in New South Wales, Australia.

Our bias is unashamedly pro-rural and pro-Australian.

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N.S.W. Planning Review Tour comes to Cooma

It was a very small group of people who turned up at the Services Club in Cooma on Thursday 27th of October for the afternoon session of the Planning Review Listening Tour. Probably less than 30 people.

The meeting was Chaired by Tim Moore, former Minister for the Environment, and currently a Commissioner with the Land and Environment Court. At least that was my interpretation of what he had to say about himself. Also sitting at the table was Ron Dyer, former Minister for Works, who took notes and made an occasional comment.

As we took our seats before the meeting opened, each seat carried a leaflet setting out the four key points that speakers were to address. In his opening address, Mr Moore went over these four points again and stated that they were not there to hear persons individual problems with the planning system.

As it turned out, most of those who stood to speak did want to discus their personal difficulties with the present planning system. Perhaps the only person who did address the four key points was one Tony Sarre, a self confessed real estate developer from Jindabyne.

As the speakers related their problems with the system, Messers Moore and Dyer listened politely and occasionally made a comment or asked for clarification on some point.

But maybe it was the locals, airing their grievances, who were most polite. It might have been reasonable for them to express their annoyance that having given up the day and travelled to Cooma, they are told on arrival that the review is of procedures not outcomes.

On the Home Page of the Planning Review's website the heading reads; “A new planning system for NSW ...and you”. The text then reads “As NSW residents we all care about the Planning Decisions which protect and strengthen the regions, communities and streets where we live. These decisions have a profound influence on where we work, live, play and shop.”

I think that any reasonable person would be likely to interpret this as meaning that the review was looking at the planning decisions themselves and not merely at the procedures involved in arriving at those decisions.

It is only by following a link on a side-bar to the Home Page does one find the suggestion that the Review is actually into procedures rather than outcomes.

Indeed, the six page leaflet, “Put yourself in the picture” distributed with the NSW Dept of Planning and Infrastructure newsletter in September this year suggests that “The key issues raised in forums will be posted on the planning review website”.

Recounting ones own problems with the planning system is a valid way of raising an issue.

At the end of the meeting we were informed that the suited person sitting at the back was in fact the Minister, Mr Brad Hazzard, who had come to listen to the meeting.

The Minister spoke and indicated that he had indeed been listening and had made note of some of the points raised and that did tend to ease the annoyance over the restricted goal of the review.

Name change for the Jerangle Progress Association

The Annual General meeting of the local progress Association on Wednesday 26th of October 2011 saw not only a change in some of the Office holders but also a change in the name.

Duncan Rowland was elected unopposed to serve another year as President, Lisa Hopkins resigned as Secretary and was replaced by Kate Minnis and Lynette Tozer became Treasurer.

The meeting was addressed by Kathleen Harvey from the Murrumbidgee Catchment Authority and John Moore of Lyons Creek on the working of Landcare.

At the last meeting of the Association there had been considerable interest in the possibility of reforming the Jerangle Landcare group in the hope of obtaining some financial assistance for the ever-lasting problem of weed control.

Unfortunately Ms Harvey dashed our hopes there as she pointed out that Landcare does not generally contribute to the cost of managing weeds although some small amount of money might be available for a Field Day or similar demonstration.

John Moore spoke of the amount of dedication and energy needed to keep a Landcare Group running and made such an impression on the members present that nobody was inclined to take on that task.

It was to incorporate the consideration however the name of the organisation was changed to Jerangle Community Progress Association and Landcare Group.

In General Business it was resolved that the Association would pay the $700 that the Cooma Monaro Shire Council has quoted for grading the road to the Cemetery. It was reported that Council has set aside funds for the surveying of the road to the Cemetery and the owner has offered to grant Council a right-of-way across his property. The exact legal access to the Cemetery is almost half a kilometre away from the present road. The date for the next Association meeting was set for Wednesday 7th of December.

The ongoing problems of Mr. Barnett

There was much interest in the local area as the story of Mr David Barnett and his problems with the police over his storage of firearms was revealed.

Not only was the interest based on the fact that David Barnett, now a farmer in the Yass district, had formerly been a farmer here in Jerangle , but there was an acute awareness that what had happened to David could well have happened to any farmer, in Yass, or Jerangle, or in any rural area of New South Wales.

Mr. Barnett had been charged with storing a firearm incorrectly in that he had a loaded firearm in his locked gun safe. The definition of “loaded” is a bit difficult, The firearms Act defines a rifle with ammunition in the magazine as being “loaded” but this is not the accepted meaning of the word. If having rounds in the magazine is defined as loaded, what then is achieved by activating the bolt of the firearm?

Although the State Governments have always claimed that they understood the need for farmers to have firearms as part of their farming plant, the Firearms Act is written in total ignorance of how farmers need to use firearms and consequently most farmers are in breach of the law every time they use a firearm.

Farmers have always been able to rely upon the police to make an intelligent application of the Act and to understand the difference between being a farmer 24 hours a day seven days a week, and being a city person who goes on an occasional hunting trip.

Having a loaded rifle in a locked safe is a lot closer to the requirements of the Act than most farmers get to be in their daily work. When a farmer sees a feral dog killing lambs or a fox at the chooks he does not have time to get the keys and go to two separate locked containers to collect rifle and ammunition before loading the firearm.

For this reason, most farmers keep a rifle handy, not honestly loaded but with rounds in the magazine and the police have always accepted this as a necessary arrangement.

So why was Mr Barnett charged? At the Court hearing last month, the police asked for and received a six month adjournment. The reason? To give them the time they said they would need to find out if some other bits and pieces they found in Mr Barnett's safe might be from a prohibited weapon.

This defies all logic, If the police anticipate that it will take them six months to identify the origin of the bits and pieces, how on earth is a farmer to know that?

David Barnett has a high profile wife in Pru Goward, Member of the Legislative Assembly of the New South Wales Parliament. Has Pru run foul of the police force?

Or is this part of a new application of the Firearms Act by the O'Farrell Government?

We would not have been surprised at this kind of harassment from the previous Labor Government, but had not had any indication of such an approach by the newly elected government.

Meeting of the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council

The monthly meeting of the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council for September was preceded by a Special Meeting to elect a Mayor and Deputy Mayor for the next twelve months.

Councillor Lynch was re-elected unopposed to the position of Mayor, but the upset of the night was the replacing of Cr Martin Hughes as Deputy Mayor by Cr Bronnie Taylor.

In the short period that she has been on Council, Cr Taylor has not shown that she had a level of dedication or ability that should make her a better choice for Deputy than Cr Hughes so something else must be happening.

It seems that it was common knowledge in Cooma that Bronnie was to be elected as Deputy, this writer was informed to that effect by another person who was sitting in the gallery.

An interview that Cr Taylor gave to the Cooma Monaro Express sheds more light on the mystery. In the interview, Cr Taylor stated that she looked forward to supporting the Mayor, Dean Lynch, and is quoted as having said “I think we will be a strong team and help progress Cooma forward”.

And there you have it. The Cooma clique have regained control of Council.

Cr Taylor may live in Nimmitabel but she works in Cooma and from her own statements that is where her loyalties remain. Cr Martin was from and had his supporter base in Michelago.

We hear that the new State Government is working on a Bill that will require Councils to re-introduce the concept of Wards and Ridings into their electoral processes. No doubt the Cooma Clique will fight this idea tooth and nail.

Of further interest at the meeting, when asked in Open Forum about the use of the “1997 Holdings” concept as a reason for declining to grant Building Permits to persons whose properties are served by a Crown Public Road and not by a dedicated Council Road, the statement was made that this was a condition imposed by State Government.

Later in the meeting, a comment was made which is indicative of the lack of respect between Ratepayers and Council when one of the staff advised Councillors not to continue a certain line of discussion because journalists and members of the public were still in the room.

Councillor Phillips moved for a special meeting of Councillors to discuss the state of rural roads. A meeting is fine but where will the funds for increased work come from? It seems that the money that John Barilaro promised at Jerangle did not get a mention in the State Budget.

Julia Gillard's Big New Joke

Regular readers of this page will know that this writer is not totally convinced that human activity is the major cause of the climate changes that we are seeing but that he is convinced that one day the human population must collapse due to a diminished supply of oil.

Julia Gillard states that she is firmly convinced that it is the release of Carbon Dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels that is causing the temperature to rise with a resulting change in climatic patterns around the globe.

But if she is so firmly convinced, why does her proposed carbon tax do so little to reduce our reliance on oil? What she proposes is just a “Clayton's” tax.

So the coal burning power generators will have to pay a Carbon Tax which will force up their production costs. Then the customers will be paid a sum of money to cover the increased cost of electrical power.

Julia seems to lack the courage of her convictions. She claims to be an atheist yet she has no problem with children being exposed to religious inculcation before they are old enough to make a responsible decision, she claims to be a republican yet she flew to England to attend the recent marriage among the feudals, and now she claims to be convinced of the need to reduce our reliance on oil yet she plans a carbon tax that will not change our lives.

There certainly is a complication in that the rest of the world is making nothing more than token gestures towards cutting their emissions and closer to home is the reality that if the present Government introduced a carbon regime that demanded a significant change in the way we live, Tony Abbott would promise to reverse the situation and he would definitely get to be Prime Minister then.

What he would do then we do not know, it is doubtful if Tony even knows because he says something different every time he speaks.

Forecasts of the world population of humans by 2050 have now been revised upwards to more than eleven billion people, almost twice the present population.

The increased pressure on the earth's resources is almost beyond understanding.

We read recently that the Americans are now converting 40% of their maize crop into ethanol for use in motor cars and were discussing the effect this might have as the oil supply begins to fail with a young scientist that we know. He expressed his view of the future in an email:

Yes,the global population will grow, but it won't be uniform. I can't imagine that western nations will grow, it will still be Asia and the 3rd world that continues to grow. Their growth will be dependant on them either having the purchasing power to acquire food, or the capacity to grow it for themselves. I can't imagine that western nations would give up their own food sources to feed the Indians.

I could see western nations going ahead with economic reform to counter global warming, and then screaming blue murder as the third world continues to grow and pollute. But then, that will stop when the oil runs out. If the west is wealthier than the third world, they will drive oil prices up and starve the third world to death.

Problem solved – oil will run out, but forward thinking, wealthy economies will have switched to alternate energy sources due to the convenient timing of “climate change” which will put us in a better position to deal with peak oil. At the same time, provided that the first world maintains its stranglehold on the world economy, it will maintain its own prosperity and food supplies at the expense of the rest of the world.

As the US turns maize into fuel, who is actually suffering? Americans still consume far more protein and fat than they can handle. The cost is not being borne by them. It is the Africans who cannot afford to buy maize.

This opinion points out a new goal to be achieved by Julia's carbon tax. Not a reduction in our consumption of fossil fuel, Peak Oil will do that whether we want it or not, but putting an end to our reliance on oil so that we will have an economy that will survive when oil reaches a price of two or three hundred dollars a barrel.

Our new Local Member visits Jerangle

John Barilaro is the man and he came to Jerangle on Monday the 15th of August.

A good crowd of people were at the CWA hall to hear what the new Member of the State Parliament had to say about our problems and they were not disappointed with his response.

John told us that he began to hear about the problems of the Jerangle Road as soon as he started campaigning for election to Parliament. His proposed solution is to gain a grant from the State Government, paid to the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council but restricted to expenditure on the Jerangle Road.

This will be a welcome change from the State Labor Government which usually restricted grants to being expended for the benefit of townspeople.

We know it is not a State Government but Mr Barilaro offered to approach Telstra about erecting towers so that mobile phone coverage can be extended into the district.

He covered a number of other problems, expressed his belief in the need for Wards or Ridings in Local Government areas, an idea that will not go down well in Cooma. Since the amalgamation of Cooma and Monaro Councils, the councillors have done away with the old Ridings and have given the people of Cooma total control.

Of particular interest was his response to a question about the Motion, recently moved in Parliament by the Independent Member for Northern Tablelands, calling on the Government to “recognise the damage done to farmers by the Native Vegetation Act and to compensate farmers for their work as stewards of their land that the community is now using to sequester carbon”.

Mr Barilaro's response was that the O'Farrell Government is going to support the Motion. This is good news for farmers. There is a saying that “Justice delayed is justice denied” but I know that farmers will welcome a modicum of justice, even if it is 20 years late.

Maybe the only point where Mr Barilaro disappointed those present was in his reluctance to put his electorate car at risk by travelling the road from Jerangle to Captains Flat. He had a choice and went to his home via Bredbo, a choice not usually available to local residents.

All the answers were good, now we must wait to see the deeds.

FOOT NOTE: On the 9th of September 2011, the Environmental Land Compensation Bill came before the State Parliament and the O'Farrell Government announced that they would not support it and voted with the Labor Members to defeat the Bill.

Cooma-Monaro Shire Council Meeting

Monday 11 July 2011

One of the best features of the monthly Cooma council meetings is Open Forum. This is a period at the beginning of the meeting during which ratepayers can have a five minute opportunity to address Council on a topic of their choice.

This month the Open Forum lead to some strange decisions.

The Business Paper mentioned two items to be discussed in Closed Council but apparently it was common knowledge around Cooma that both of the items referred to Asbestos contamination.

Before inviting the speakers to the rostrum, Council discussed and decided that speakers could speak about asbestos but could not mention anything that was to be discussed in Closed Council.

After all, Closed Council was supposed to be a big secret even though two councillors mentioned that they had received phone calls about the “secret business” during the week. Councillors Taylor and Phillips had the good sense to vote against the motion but it was passed .

First prospective speaker was called and told that he could not mention anything that was to be discussed in Closed Council but that he was not to be told what would be discussed in Closed Council.

This particular ratepayer has an ongoing battle with Council, my interpretation of it is that he bought a 50 year-old business that had never had a licence and had never been asked to apply for one but now Council was not only pestering him to apply for a licence but surreptitiously trying to put him out of business.

After some discussion about the acceptability of a power-point presentation, the speaker stormed out stating that he cannot avoid certain topics if he is not allowed to know what the topics are. Cr. Lawliss was heard to comment that such was a reasonable assumption.

Next speaker was a locally based real estate developer. He managed to avoid the forbidden topics by talking about his own experiences.

It seems that when an asbestos water pipe was found on one of his sub-divisions, it cost him $200,000 to comply with the rules for cleaning up the area. He called on Council to not give itself rules that do not apply to others. This was all very mysterious.

The final speaker was another ratepayer with an on-going struggle to get a building permit for his block at Nimmitabel.

It seems that he cannot get a permit because there is no sewerage connection for his block and he cannot get one because Council will not extend the main past two empty blocks between his place and the present end on the main.

Now that the Minutes of the meeting are available, we learn that Council has been ordered by the Office of Environment and Heritage to clean up its materials yard at Polo Flat.

Is it a coincidence that only a few meetings ago, the first speaker at this month's meeting had pointed out the unfairness of Council harassing him about the appearance of his business when Council maintained a rather similar untidy storage yard nearby.

A very interesting meeting.

Saving the planet

We heard a funny story on the radio recently. It went like this:

Two Australian politicians were on a Qantas plane, flying to America. They were a few hours out of Sydney, somewhere over the trackless Pacific ocean, when one of the planes engines exploded and fell off the wing.

Straight away the Captain was on the intercom with an announcement. “Not to worry folks, we still have three good engines and that is more than enough. Unfortunately we shall be half an hour late on arrival.”

Passengers all settled back into whatever they choose to do to pass time on a long-haul flight but another hour later another engine blew up and fell off.

Again the Captain was very reassuring. “Not to worry folks, we still have two good engines left and that is more than enough. Unfortunately we shall now be an hour late on arrival.”

Loud groans from the passengers but soon they settled back into their travelling stupor and the next hour passed quietly.

Then a loud bang and another engine blew up and fell off the wing.

Again the Captain was reassuring. “Not to worry folks, we still have one good engine left and that is sufficient to get us to Los Angeles. Unfortunately we shall now be an hour and a half late on arrival.”

At this point one politician turned and said “This is getting serious. If one more engine falls off, I will miss my connecting flight to New York and be too late for my appointment to address the U.N.”

The whole purpose of this story is to show that our politicians, and most Australians, think that the future will be a continuation of the present.

A lot of people think that human activity is changing the worlds climate in a way that will make the continuation of our present way of life an impossibility.

Another lot of people point to the fact that records, human records and geological records, show that the earth's climate has warmed up and cooled down in a seemingly random manner in the past.

The one thing that has never happened to the planet before is the present population of some six or seven billion humans, mostly dependent on the use of energy from fossil fuels to support their existence.

We are starting to hear warnings, sometimes from people in the fossil fuel industries, that the rate at which we are using these fuels is very close to exceeding the rate at which we can extract them at the present price levels.

At this stage there is little suggestion that we will suddenly run out of fossil fuels, just that as demand continues to grow and production begins to decline or simply becomes much more difficult, market forces will begin to drive up the price of energy.

Some say that such will be a good thing and will drive the world towards renewable energy sources which will be economically viable once oil prices double.

That is a very short sighted view point that does not take into consideration the enormous ramifications of the coming rise in energy prices.

Most of the comments on sustainable energy in the popular media are concerned with the provision of energy into peoples houses and business premises.

Even if wind and solar were able to meet this need, the far more important uses of energy, the production and distribution of food, is totally dependant on liquid fuels and neither here nor on the horizon is there any sign of a replacement for the diesel fuel used in tractors and trucks.

Urban populations may yet be able to sit in their passive solar warmed lounge rooms watching their wind and solar powered TV but they will have to pay a lot more for their food or else starve to death. And many who cannot afford the increased cost of food will starve to death, maybe not in Australia but among the poorer sections of the populations of some countries, a 25% increase in the price of staple foodstuffs will be a death sentence.

The Gillard Government has promised us a tax on the carbon released by our consumption of fossil fuels but this proposed tax will not go anywhere near preparing us for the changes we will have to make some time this century.

Sometime this century we will definitely see this “Peak Oil” and the way of existence that has enabled the greatest ever increase in human population to occur over the past hundred or so years will end.

Forecasts are suggesting that we will see the end of the internal combustion engine in motor cars, replaced by electric cars recharged nightly from the nuclear powered grid, the end of suburbia as we have known it as people are packed into denser living conditions, definitely the end of air travel. Initially holiday air travel will be banned as unacceptable consumption of scarce liquid fuel and the end of the mass market for air travel will force up the cost of essential air travel to the point where it will end.

We constantly hear that the Great Barrier Reef is worth billions to Australia in tourist dollars but the first thing that Governments will do in response to the escalation in fuel costs is to ban out-of-country tourism. That fact alone will cause enormous disruption to the Australian economy.

Initially the cost of grain will rise to reflect the increase in fuel costs and that will drive up the cost of pork and chicken. Beef will no longer be lot-fed but will be either grass fattened or consumed as very healthy lean meat. The present trend in grain production is to using raised beds and “tramline” cultivation. The cost might be staggering but possibly the future will see electric tractors running up and down these tramlines, very much like electric trains, powered either by overhead power-lines or an electrified rail on the ground. All drawing power from the nuclear grid.

All this is compounded by the probability of the human population increasing by some 20 to 25 percent by 2050. It seems that humans are completely incapable of limiting their populations by any means other than warfare. Do not get misled by the low birthrates in Australia and some European countries. All those countries are trying to increase their populations by migration in the absence of natural increase.

The proposed Carbon Tax is a meaningless gesture that will do nothing to avert the coming Future Shock. Not of Global Warming or Climate Change, as Peak Oil will so reduce consumption of fossil fuels that carbon dioxide emissions will no longer be a threat to the planet.

And all the trees planted as part of Tony Abbott's “Direct Action' will be cut down and used to make “Producer Gas”.

Are we witnessing the end of a nation?

Few would have thought that almost seventy years after the defeat of the Japanese in the Pacific war that we would still be feeling the effects of their attempt to invade Australia.

The struggle against the Japanese on the Kokoda Track and around the coast of New Guinea had shown clearly to the Australians of 1943 just how vulnerable they were to attack from over the seas.

We were fortunate that the Americans were fighting the Japanese at the same time and that they saw it as being in their interest to help protect Australia. Without American help the outcome could have been very different.

We all know the attitude of the English with their “Brisbane Line” and the attempt by their Prime Minister to prevent the Australian soldiers of the 2nd AIF returning to Australia to protect their home land.

The English at that time had come up with the idea of allowing the Japanese to have all of Australia north of a line running east/west and passing through Brisbane. The infamous Brisbane Line.

After the war, Australians were susceptible to the idea promoted by various politicians that we should build up the population in order to have the number of troops needed to repel any attempted invasion in the future.

It is always easier to understand the plotting of politicians many years after the event and this call to “populate or perish” looks different now to the way it was presented in the late 1940's and into the '50's.

With hindsight it now becomes apparent the notion was hijacked by the Prime Minister, a Queen's man by his own boasting, and used instead in an attempt to change the balance of the Australian population and by bringing in hundreds of thousands of English migrants, to flush out and overwhelm the notion of Australian nationality that had become apparent during the Second World War.

Nobody seeks to deny that English and Irish migration had laid the foundation of the Australian Nation but 150 years of development and four or five generations of breeding had developed a national character that was far removed from that which still persisted in England and Ireland.

The war had shown that Australians did not regard themselves as residents of an English Colony but as members of a new Nation.

But not all saw it that way. That was why Prime Minister Bob Menzies sought to hand the continent back to the Queen of England as a servile colony.

At the risk of revealing my age, I can relate that I have worked with English migrants in the 1960's, some of whom were quite prepared to argue that Australia was an English Colony in that year and that the Union Jack in the corner of the Australian flag was there to indicate that reality.

That is why I support the call for a new flag for Australia.

One of the scenarios that Australians always feared was the possibility that one day, the United Nations would decide that Australians did not deserve to have an entire continent to themselves and that we should be forced to share the continent with the overflow of people from the various over crowded continents around the world.

That is what we are seeing today. People who have over populated and destroyed their homelands, turning up in Australia whether by plane or by boat, claiming to be refugees from persecution in their home country when they are really fleeing the Law in their homelands, being supported by the United Nations and told that they have some “right” to occupy Australia.

It makes one wonder why so many good Australians gave up their lives to keep the Japanese out.

Equally disturbing is the willingness of the Government and the Opposition to support the migration of hundreds of thousands of English and Irish persons into Australia, supposedly to work in the mining boom, which any reasonable person knows will be over within 20 years from now.

The fact that both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are English migrants makes it extremely unlikely that we shall see a stop to this flood in the near future.

At the end of the second world war, the population of Australia was about seven million persons, it is now about twenty-two million, a large percentage of whom are migrants who have come here, been told that this is a multi-cultural country, and that they can live out their own culture with all its aspects that made life intolerable in their homeland.

I think that the “Australians”, warts and all, are those families whose ancestors were here before the great flood of migrants that began in 1950. We would include people of Aboriginal descent, a lot more of them present than who admit to it, but they seem to be be doing rather well out of their policy of not wanting to be Australians.

Already the pre 1950 Australians are outnumbered and being pushed aside by the millions of new-comers who will seek to reshape the country into a reflection of their homelands.

In the 1950's we were told to call the migrants “new Australians”, it might be more accurate to call them “New Australians” as by sheer weight of numbers they become the major population group in the country.

I wonder how we would go in a call for special recognition of the Australians who worked so hard to change this land from the “howling wilderness” that our fathers found, into the productive place that half the world wants to occupy.

What has happened to the call for multiculturalism?

If nothing else, the debacle over the mis-treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesian slaughter houses has shown that Australians cannot understand what they are letting themselves in for if the policy of multiculturalism is allowed to continue.

Most of the population cannot accept the fact that people in foreign countries do things differently.

That the Indonesians are an uncouth and uncivilised lot is well known, that is why so many Australians want to go there for holidays. But the attitude that we should tell them how to behave in their own back yards is going too far.

Yes, to treat cattle as was shown on television is unacceptable, but if the Indonesians cannot get their kicks torturing Australian cattle then they will do it with their locally grown cattle or with live imports from any where around the globe.

Multiculturalism means allowing people to do things that we find revolting and barbaric. Like chopping hands of thieves, circumcising their daughters, beating dogs to raise the adrenalin level in their bodies before eating them, brainwashing their sons into being suicide bombers and all sorts of things that we find unacceptable.

But that is their culture and we have to decide if we really intend to allow these foreign cultures to exist in our midst or whether we will allow just those aspects that do not clash with our culture.

Doing the latter is not multiculturalism.

Jerangle Progress Association meeting on Wednesday,

1 June 2011

One of the biggest and angriest meeting for some years was held in the CWA Rooms on Wednesday evening. Councillors Lawlis and Hughes and Council Staff members David Byrne, Arthur Wilkinson and Alan Cairney made the trip out to Jerangle and took the brunt of local anger over the state of the Jerangle Road.

It has long been local opinion that it was only the prolonged drought that had prevented the road from widespread failure and the past twelve months with the return to more normal rainfall patterns has confirmed this opinion.

Quite moderate rainfalls combined with normal winter frosts in May has seen the road become extremely dangerous and at times impassable.

Council staff tried to argue that they were doing the best that could be done within budget although David Byrne, Director of Engineering with Council, did admit that having driven towards the northern end of the Shire before the meeting, he had seen the road to be in an unacceptable condition.

Much discussion centred around the trucks using the road. Jerangle road is used on a daily basis by logging trucks and on less frequent basis by heavy stock transports carting locally produced livestock to various destinations.

For some forty kilometres of its length, the Jerangle Road runs alongside the Tallaganda State Hardwood Forest of the Great Dividing Range. These forests are a source of income to the State Government, we have heard reports of the royalties collected by the Government and suspect that the Government makes more from the forest than does any person engaged in the harvest.

The problem is that while the Government is only too willing to pocket the royalties from the timber, governments of all persuasions have resisted calls to make a realistic contribution towards the cost of building and maintaining a road capable of carrying the trucks needed to move the harvested timber.

The Cooma-Monaro Shire Council does not have the income to undertake such a road construction project.

We did gain some useful information. For many years residents have complained that the road going south from Jerangle toward Cooma has been maintained in a far better condition than the same road on the northern side of Jerangle.

In his presentation on road works, Arthur Wilkinson the works manager, mentioned that with a recent re-classification of roads in the Shire, Jerangle Road was now classified as a sub-arterial road for its entire 70 kilometres of length and both ends would receive the same level of maintenance.

Unfortunately he could not convince residents that the level of maintenance would be adequate.

Considerable anger from ratepayers was directed towards the problem of trees on the Council controlled Road Reserve dropping limbs onto and at times even falling across farmers boundary fences. Again Mr Wilkinson had to defend the Council here but there are such great injustices in the legislation that he was unable to disperse the anger.

Research shows that while the Council as Local Roads Authority has a total exemption from the Native Vegetation Act with regard to any trees on or overhanging the road, this exemption does not extend to the trees on the road reserve growing up to and against roadside boundary fences.

Mr Wilkinson pointed out that he can give permission for overhanging limbs to be lopped, but few farmers are going to risk life and limb by climbing ten metres up into a decayed old gum tree with a chain saw in order to lop limbs. More aggravating but safer is to wait for the limb to fall on to the fence and to then cut it away and to rebuild the fence. And then go looking for lost sheep.

The blatant injustice of the situation is intolerable. No Government would get away with telling city residents that they are not allowed to protect their assets from damage by neglected Government assets.

Clearly it is only because farmers are not full citizens that local Councils are not given authority to clear the accepted 10 metre width on the road side of boundary fences that Councils share with farmers.

After the formal portion of the meeting, residents were able to button-hole councillors and staff over a cup of tea and continue the attack with a bit less rancour.

Facing residents at the Jerangle Progress Association meeting, from left to right, Councillor Jenny Lawlis, Deputy Mayor Councillor Martin Hughes, JPA President Duncan Rowland, JPA Secretary Lisa Hopkins, CMSC Director of Engineering David Byrne, CMSC Works Manager Arthur Wilkinson, and mostly hidden is Director of Corporate Services Alan Cairney.

Report on the meeting held on the 8th of March 2011

As was anticipated, the scheduled meeting between the executive of the Road Users Group and Cooma Monaro Shire Council to reach an agreement on the provision of a garbage service for ratepayers in the Jerangle area and in the northern area of the Shire generally was dominated by residents living in the vicinity of Jerangle. Some residents of the northern part of the Shire were present and it was pointed out to the meeting that rather than posting notices of the meeting to all ratepayers, Council had elected to us an Australia Post Householder Delivery Service and had notified all ratepayers whose mail service came through Cooma Post Office. As a result of this decision, no ratepayers living north of Towneys Creek were informed of the meeting unless they were members of and informed by the Road Users Group.

Council was represented by Councillor Stephanie MacDonald and Council staff members Ken Silich and Jeff Tate. As is usual in the country, we had a good meeting with all persons present being invited to state their views in an informal atmosphere. There was a great level of consensus and Council's offer of a recycling service to be provided at Jerangle for the Jerangle residents and another at the Sherlock River for the benefit of residents in the northern district was accepted by all but one or two persons present.

One of the conditions that had to be met was the discovery of suitable locations for the bins that would constitute the recycling depots. The open space joining the old Jerangle Fire Shed was nominated as one location and the Travelling Stock Reserve at the Sherlock River was nominated as the other.

The Tussock Times has been in touch with Ken Silich since that meeting and has been informed that the open space at Jerangle belongs to the Boate family of “Eastwood” and that they have very generously given their consent. Permission to use portion of the TSR has yet to be obtained from the Livestock Health and Pest Authority but we have spoken to Director of the LHPA, Mr Winston Phillips, and he has committed himself to support the application.

Since that meeting, notices have been sent out through Australia Post informing ratepayers of the existence and conditions of the service and that they need to pay a refundable deposit of $30 to obtain a key to access the bins.

We are pleased to report that Council has reacted to the criticism levelled at them at the public meeting and this time has dealt with a multitude of Post Offices and ensured that all residents who might be remotely likely to need the service have been informed of the inauguration.

The only thing that puzzles us now is, how come it took ten years to do it.

This is our new recycling depot and the shed in the background is the Jerangle Fire Shed.

Road Users Group announces

community meeting over

Garbage Service

It seems that persistence can pay off sometimes. After many years of fruitless negotiations, the Secretary of the Captains Flat-Jerangle Road Users Community Association has been able to pin down the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council for a decision-making meeting on the question of a Rural Waste service.

This service is something that ratepayers have been paying for, in the form of an annual levy, for about ten years. The levy that started at $80 per annum has now grown to almost $140 per annum. In all this time, Council has failed to provide a usable service.

When challenged, council has argued that access to the Bredbo tip was an adequate service for those living along the Jerangle road. For some, the distance to Bredbo is 60 kilometres of often very rough road.

There were times when agreement on the type and location of a garbage collection point along the Jerangle-Captains Flat seemed to almost happen but each time it came close, Council came up with a new proposal.

This time, the road users group proposed a meeting of their executive with Mr Ken Silich, Manager of Resource and Waste Service for the Council, at a time and location of his choosing, he having declined to attend the regular meeting of the group in Captains Flat on a Saturday afternoon on the basis that he “does not get paid for working on Saturdays”.

Mr Silich nominated 3 p.m. on Tuesday the 8th of March at the CWA rooms in Jerangle for the meeting.

A less convenient time he could not have found. In the new rural paradigm, a great proportion of ratepayers commute to Canberra or Cooma each day because farming does not pay the bills these days. Few of these will be willing or able to take a half day off to attend a meeting which, history suggests, will have no positive outcome.

Those few people who are still farming will lose half a days work. But Mr Silich will get paid.

Although this is nominally a meeting with the executive of the road users group, Council will be mailing notices to persons on their list of ratepayers and input from all members of the community will be welcomed.

What Silich will offer is yet to be discovered but for many residents, the waste disposal procedure they have developed over the past ten years will probably continue and the annual levy will continue to be just another impost.

Cooma-Monaro Shire Council Meeting

Council meeting on Monday ,14 February 2011, started like many others. Dennis Norton from Nimmitabel spoke in Open Forum and complained about still being waiting for a building permit for his block in Nimmitabel after four years.

He then gave notice of his intention to sue Council for $500,000 as compensation for injuries he had suffered as a result of Council procrastination.

The Mayor gave his report and soon the business got to the reference in the business Paper to the changes in the State Environmental Planning Policy (exempt and complying codes) to come into effect on 25 February 2010.

Some Councillors expressed concern that these changes might lead to a lot of expense for Council.

What the changes do is to establish a right for people with rural blocks or properties over 4,000 square metres, that is about one acre, to build a house or to renovate or to extend an existing house.

The general atmosphere in Council was one of panic. Here was an outbreak of freedom that had to be stamped out.

Next thing we will see farmers running around like Arabs and demanding self government. Wanting to throw off the Tyranny of the Townspeople.

It is a small freedom but only a small step towards the freedoms we enjoyed before 1980 when the local rural Council was absorbed by the Cooma Council.

It is hard to see just how this will lead to increased costs for Council, even the new Planning Policy denies home building to those whose properties do not have legal access to an existing Council maintained road.

There is still the possibility for Council to pick up a few dollars on the side by charging new dwelling with the Rural Waste Levy and continuing the existing policy of not providing the service.

Council employee, Peter Smith, offered to give Councillors a briefing on the new Planning Policy in Closed Council at the end of the meeting.

The strange thing is that when the minutes of the meeting became available on the Council website on Friday afternoon, there was absolutely no mention of the discussion about the proposed changes to the SEPP or to the briefing by Mr Smith.

Telstra-NBN deal may not be helpful for some country people

The signing of the agreement for the structural separation of Telstra announced on friday 13th of February was many years late in arriving.

It should have been done before Telstra was privatised and the Government should have retained ownership of the copper wire network.

To have sold such a major piece of public infrastructure into private hands was about as good a decision as privatising the Hume Highway would be.

But now the copper wire network belongs to the NBN Co. for a reported nine billion dollars.

Many country people have taken up the NBN offer of a subsidised Satellite internet connection, costs the NBN $2,500 but it means they can afford rolling out optic fibre to that household. A big saving. Those of us who took the satellite dish have been well serviced of late with a satellite internet connection and a land line telephone.

Following Fridays announcement, Telstra is committed to dismantling the copper wire network. The assumption must be that people will use their fibre optic connection for the telephone.

Where does that leave those who have taken the satellite option or worse still, have planned to get by with dialup internet connection or no internet connection at all?

I remember about 25 years ago, some agricultural economics expert referring to computers on farms as the biggest time-wasters since the advent of the electric welder.

He was not wrong.

For country people, for whom mobile phones are rarely an option, loss of the copper wire network will be a disaster.

Yes, one can make phone calls over the internet using Skype or Ekiga or any one of a number of applications but how can you do a bush fire call out when phones only work when the computer is switched on?

Three cheers for Wikileaks

I can visualise it now. The American Bounty Hunters are cleaning and oiling their hand guns. The silencers have been removed and dismantled and all the old gunpowder residue scraped out to maximise the effectiveness of the silencer.

Maybe the Bounty Hunter has hand loaded his own ammunition. If he intends to take out his quarry at very close range he can afford to sacrifice some muzzle velocity in the interests of stealth and an effective escape.

Who is the quarry? Well if the Swedish authorities do not succeed in their extradition attempts from England it will be Julian Assange.

It is most probable that the trumped up sex charges from Sweden are just a device to get Assange into a situation where the Swedes can hand him over to America.

Once the American power-wielders get him, his life will be one of imprisonment and torture, shackled and starved like something out of a medieval dungeon. This we have seen in recent years is how the Americans treat those who challenge American power.

If by chance Assange is released by the English courts and Julia Gillard does not respond to his appeal for help then the word will go out that the Americans would look favourably upon anybody who could kill Assange.

Nothing so obvious as publicly putting a price upon him “dead or alive”, but a discrete circulation of the fact that Americans would “look favourably” upon his slayer.

Will Julia Gillard come to his assistance? Probably not.

Assange has done Australians a great favour by revealing the cable contact between the American Ambassador and his bosses in which the Ambassador informed them that the then Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was of the opinion that America should attack China if unable to regulate Chinese activities diplomatically.

The mind-boggling stupidity of such a suggestion is almost beyond belief and Rudd's only defence is that it was meant to be a joke. No person with a brain would make such a suggestion to an aggressive nation like the Americans, even if it was some sort of stupid joke.

Kim Beazley did not have it, John Howard did not have it, will Julia Gillard have the ticker?

Admittedly it was only John Howards opinion that Beasley did not have it.

Julia Gillard says she believes that global warming is caused by human activity and that we must reduce our output of carbon dioxide to avoid destroying ourselves.

To this end her Government proposes a Carbon Tax upon the nation. The assumption is that by building into the cost of everything we buy, a tax that reflects the amount of Carbon Dioxide released into the atmosphere by that activity, our pursuit of that activity will be diminished.

This idea will not curb the over-production of carbon dioxide by the Australian lifestyle.

The wealthy people, like the PM, will continue their profligate activities and will pay a small tax out of their too-generous incomes, the battlers will continue as they do now, struggling to live an extravagant lifestyle on a less than extravagant income.

We did not combat drink-driving by increasing the tax on whisky, we did not enforce the wearing of seat belts by putting a tax on funerals.

The only fair way to alter the Australian lifestyle and its dependence of massive consumption of hydro-carbon fuels is by Legislation and rationing.

If Julia Gillard is right and Global Warming really is caused by human activity then future generations will hail her as the saviour of the planet who showed the rest of the world how it should be done. Of course if she is wrong then she will be relegated to membership of the long list of Australian Prime Ministers who failed in the job.

Things that Gillard will have to do will include rationing of fuel for private motor vehicles, prohibition on overseas holidays, restriction on the size of houses, restriction on immigration into Australia and and a long list of similar restrictions on the way we have come to consider “normal life”.

Global Warming might or might not be coming down the line to overwhelm us but one thing that we can be sure of is that sometime in the future, 20 years from now or maybe 100 years from now, the world will reach what some people are calling “Peak Oil”.

A time when world consumption of oil exceeds world production of oil and large sectors of the world population is dependent of continuing consumption of oil at that rate.

If Gillard has been able to wean Australians from their present dependence on Oil then we shall survive Peak Oil and move into the life that follows while possible millions around the world die in the famines and revolutions that will follow.

Where does John Howard fit into this picture? Well he wanted to be able to tell the world that Australia had complied with it's commitments under the Kyoto Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But he did not have the ticker to face the public and tell them that they had to change their way of life.

Instead he set out to bankrupt a section of the farming community and claimed that such was enough to meet out Kyoto obligations.

Captains Flat-Jerangle Road Users Community Association

The road users group is again involved in negotiations with the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council over the provision of a Rural Waste Service for residents.

In an interview with The Tussock Times this week, Senior Vice-President of the group, Mr Jim Moore of Anembo, suggested that it might now be eleven years that residents had been paying a compulsory levy for a garbage service.

His recollection was that the original levy had been $80 per annum but that it had now grown to $143 per annum.

The Secretary of the group has received correspondence from Council, cancelling the agreement reached last year and requesting that the Road Users Group call a meeting of their members to be held in Jerangle rather than Captains Flat which is the preferred meeting place for members.

Council staff state that they wish to address the members of the group over the provision of a garbage service.

For several years the group has been negotiating with Council over the nature of the service that Council might provide but each time agreement appears close, council has come up with a new proposal.

In interview this week, Mr Moore suggested that the Group might have to by-pass Council and go direct to the Premier to get satisfaction.