Saturday 4th of December 2021



The Insurance Council of Australia has dropped its support for the Berejiklian government’s plan to lift the Warragamba Dam wall and called on it to find other ways to reduce downstream floodrisks in western Sydney.

In a letter obtained by the Herald, the body representing Australia’s main insurers said it could no longer back the billion-dollar project to raise the wall by as much as 17 metres. It called on the government to find alternative methods to reduce flood risks in the Hawkesbury-Nepean valley.


“[T]he position of the general insurance industry is now that without satisfactory environmental and cultural heritage impact assessments being completed and made public to allow for [a] full and open assessment, the industry is unable to support the proposal as it currently stands,” Andrew Hall, the ICA’s new chief executive, said.

“We would advocate for the exploration of alternative mitigation options to reduce flood risks for downstream communities in consultation with the industry and traditional owners.”


The revised stance compares with earlier statements, such as in September 2019, when the ICA said decisions that could lead to “rare flooding of environmental resources are fundamentally regrettable to all, but must be balanced against the greater community need”.

Stuart Ayres, the Minister for Western Sydney, said the council’s decision contrasted with its view that the floodplain risk was “the most significant and unmitigated community flood exposure in the country” and that it represented a “tangible community safety risk.”

“The Hawkesbury Nepean Flood Strategy investigated a broad range of measures and found the 14-metre dam raising proposal to be the most effective option in significantly reducing regional flood risk,” Mr Ayres said.


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With the collapse of dams around the world, trying to fiddle with this one is likely to add to sorry statistics...

about heritage buildings...

10 April 2020


The New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has accepted the resignation of her arts minister, Don Harwin, after he was fined $1,000 for staying at his Central Coast holiday home in breach of a Covid-19 public health order.

As governments around Australia were urging their citizens to stay home over Easter, Harwin was spotted earlier in the week at his Pearl Beach house, more than an hour’s drive from his east Sydney primary residence.


Harwin maintained he sought formal advice that his living arrangements complied with the direction for people to stay at home, and that he acted in accordance with those orders.

But he says the controversy over his getaway was a “distraction” for the government at a critical time.

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Note that it is always a critical time for governments, otherwise the boffins would have nothing to do... But quietly back in the saddle:

The Hon. (Don) Donald Thomas HARWIN, BEc(Hons) MLCMember of the Legislative Council
Special Minister of State, and Minister for the Public Service and Employee Relations, Aboriginal Affairs, and the Arts
Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council, Vice-President of the Executive Council, and Trustee of the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Fund
Member of the Liberal Party
Term of service expires 57th Parliament (03 Mar 2023)

Don knows NOTHING about arts and heritage. He has a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) and is an expert on voting patterns and how to influence them… He briefly resigned from his roles on 10 April 2020, effective 15 April 20… until he quietly came back under the radar… He must be a catholic where absolution is cheap. Oh no! "In a speech to the Legislative Council on 20 November 2014, Harwin publicly disclosed that he is gay". That would give him a free pass to redemption. But being gay must mean he knows everything about arts, even if he knows nothing…

So his assessment of the cottage in Parramatta, earmarked for demolition to make room for a new museum dedicated to the demolition of old useless things while hallowing them is embarrassing…

This is why he is employed by the government. He is useful in placing pro-demolition views in the Daily Telegraph while “bashing the union movement”. Priceless.

So here we go… Like in the battle to save Geoffrey’s cottage, I am sure we can find ways to influence the minister and the whole Berejiklian government to shift the museum to another location to be disclosed at a latter date...

The headline of the Daily Telegraph is "just a bit of fun" as often seen on "Mad as Hell"...
headline  PLEASE!!!!!

Note the "not particularly"...
Meanwhile the "green bans" are in place till...

DT's union bashing   DT's union bashing


NOTE that according to the laws of NSW should someone else demolish a building such as this, this someone else would be sent to prison for 5 years and unable to build anything on the site for at least 10 years... and I think Don knows "the law"...

premier and co about to get booted...

Scandal spoils Gladys farewell party


By ALEX MITCHELL | On 19 February 2021

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Opposition Leader Jodi McKay slugged it out in Parliament House this week as if their political futures depended on it. 

Both NSW political leaders want to deliver a knock-out punch. All observers agree they are on the ropes and that neither can last the course. The Coalition has lost confidence in Berejiklian and NSW Labor has lost confidence in McKay.

If either leader were to face a party room vote of confidence, they would lose. Berejiklian may scramble together a dozen votes from her MPs while McKay would attract about half of that.

They aren’t being overthrown yet because neither side can agree on a suitable replacement. Party rooms are gripped by inertia – and lack of talent.

Ashleigh Raper, the ABC’s NSW political reporter, epitomises the fast pace of events in Macquarie Street. When Premier Berejiklian dropped a bucket on McKay in question time on Tuesday, the reporter adopted the Coalition’s script and reported that the Labor leader’s days were numbered.

Only a few days earlier, Raper had suggested that the Premier was a lost cause. The Coalition’s script had changed and so had Raper’s.

McKay had co-signed a letter for a Tamil refugee to be released. Neither the refugee advocate who sought the letter nor McKay knew that the refugee had been convicted in 2017 of assaulting a 13-year-old girl in 2016 and sentenced to one year’s jail.

MPs are asked for their support for refugees all the time, and it is to McKay’s credit that she signed up. “In providing a cover note for my constituent (a refugee advocate) I was doing what MPs always do,” McKay said. “We are all here to serve our communities and, in this instance, I was simply helping my constituent.” She had signed a pro forma letter which “categorically does not constitute a letter of support”.

She was subjected to a withering attack by Labor’s Hugh McDermott, MP for Prospect, whose Labor heroes are linked to the American CIA, ironworkers’ union leader Laurie Short and NSW Labor Council boss John Ducker.

McDermott, a former soldier who has embroidered his military career, apologising when caught out, immediately generated an avalanche of hostile media publicity against McKay, claiming she had made a “shocking error of judgment”. McDermott, a serial embarrassment to the ALP, has never made such an error, it seems.

No one asked whether the Coalition would have mounted its orchestrated attack if the refugee was, like Ms Berejiklian, an Armenian. Why did everyone join the Coalition’s racist dog-whistling so enthusiastically?

What was more shocking about the Coalition’s hi-jinks was that Ms Berejiklian’s long list of corrupt practices – land deals with former minister Daryl Maguire, her secret lover and potential husband – were “forgotten”, while Labor’s Jodi McKay became the corrupt leader de jour. You have to hand it to the Coalition managers: in a single question time they managed to shift the spotlight from the Premier to the Opposition Leader. It was a triumph for Liberal Party hypocrisy and cynicism, and the media fell for it.

Ms Berejiklian’s troubles deepened when the outfit called INSW responsible for infrastructure selection, approval and promotion, announced a “world first”: the only museum deliberately built in a high-risk flood zone – at Parramatta where high velocity floodwaters two to three metres deep will flow underneath the building creating a memorable spectacle. The cost? The Coalition estimates $840 million, but it will clearly be much more than that.

But wait! There’s more. Premier Berejiklian has another trophy for her mantelpiece. Of the world’s 30 “global cities”, Sydney rates 30th for the number of museums. Surely, that is worth a story in the media?

In the Upper House, a Greens motion by David Shoebridge MP got up by 23 votes to 16 ordering the Government to hand over all documents detailing how it shovelled $177 million in bushfire grants to Coalition-held seats while only a measly 2% went to constituencies held by Labor, Greens or Shooters, Farmers and Fishers. Only Fred Nile joined the Coalition to vote against transparency and accountability for the bushfire rort.

But it was explosive revelations by Tony Harris, former NSW Auditor-General, which really damaged the Premier. He revealed that documents relating to spending millions of dollars in Coalition seats had been removed by staff and destroyed.

Shredding official documents is tantamount to perverting the course of justice. It is a criminal offence and anyone convicted could be jailed.

But Ms Berejiklian brushed aside the complaints and said – as she always does – that she had done nothing wrong. Really?

If a NSW citizen received $250 million and the ATO asked where it came from, it would be a foolish person who replied that the documents had been shredded. You would end up in jail.

Harris appeared to suggest that the destruction of Cabinet documents had ended Ms Berejiklian’s premiership and she should resign forthwith. The pressure mounts




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seriously flawed...

Raising the wall of the Warragamba Dam by 14 metres to hold more floodwaters — as proposed by the state government — would probably have had little impact on the current floods, experts have told the Herald.

“Building up the dam wall is seriously flawed and the government is exaggerating the mitigation benefits,” said Dr Chas Keys, a former deputy director of the State Emergency Service and flood researcher.

“You can achieve a little bit of mitigation in a situation like what we are seeing today and lesser events by raising the dam, but in big events, because of the tributaries coming in below the dam, the mitigation is strictly limited.

“You might knock off a metre, for example, from a flood of 1867 proportions - instead of 19 metres you might only get 18 metres,” said Dr Keys, who has campaigned against the plan to raise the dam wall.

Documents from the Berejiklian government put the cost of the dam raising at $1.6 billion, up from 2015 estimates of about $700 million to $1.6 billion.

The estimated additional capacity to store floodwater if the dam wall were raised 14 metres would be 991 gigalitres, or about half the current Warragamba capacity of 2027 gigalitres, the preliminary environmental impact statement for the project shows.


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flood plain plan...

The head of Australia’s peak body of insurers has said the public money spent raising the Warragamba Dam wall would be better used buying back land in western Sydney that never should have been developed in the first place.

Insurance Council of Australia chief executive Andrew Hall told an industry forum that settlement in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley was the country’s “biggest example” of historically poor planning decisions, with tens of thousands of people living on “one of Australia’s most effective flood plains”.


“I think there is no simplistic answer and some of these are really hard conversations to have with communities that are established, that, in fact, governments 50 years ago, 100 years ago ... made very poor decisions in allowing you to build there in the first place,” Mr Hall said during the forum on October 13.

He described western Sydney as a massive outlet for the stormwater that flowed from the Blue Mountains, adding that raising Warragamba Dam’s wall by 14 metres “should never give false comfort because ... no matter how big you build a dam, it can keep raining”.


“So it holds back a bit of flood water, but it eventually floods,” Mr Hall said.

The ICA withdrew its support earlier this year for the $1 billion-plus proposal designed to stem flood risks to western Sydney residents, partly citing upstream risks to hundreds of Aboriginal cultural sites that would be inundated if the wall were to be raised.

However, Mr Hall went a step further last week by saying buybacks, a solution previously rejected by the NSW government, needed to be given “serious consideration”.

“The reality is the money that we would spend on raising the Warragamba Dam wall, we probably should think about spending on claiming back some areas that never should have been developed in western Sydney,” he said.


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