Friday, 31 May 2013

National Support for the Disabled is a Noble and Widely Supported Idea. But is a New Leviathan Lurking in Welfare?

Please let me say at the outset that I think vastly improved, nationally consistent support for Australians who unfortunately are disabled, is a most worthy cause and one to be pursued to a successful and viable outcome.

But the whole 'debate' (which as yet it isn't, at least in a public sense) has morphed into yet another political tsunami, built up as ever by the current government's aspirational approach to major projects Implementation? What's that?)  and MSM fervour.

An old university friend of mine who ended up heading one of our most revered federal government departments before he retired, one of the genuinely brightest and deepest thinking people I have ever known, sent me this comment a day or so ago:

"I have been reading quite a lot about this policy and there are many areas of concern, notwithstanding considerable sympathy for the disabled. It has been under review since the famous Rudd Summit, but the implementation proposals now seem rushed, for obvious political reasons.

Basically it is proposed to double the average support from about $15,000 per person (now) to about $30,000 per person, very quickly. With inflation over the next few years the latter figure will rise to $50,000 per person.......whew! The total cost, as envisaged, will rise very rapidly to match the total cost of Medicare......again, whew!

Is this manageable in a short time span? One has to doubt it. (There has been mention of)
about 1000 public servants being required, but that is just for 'administration'.
There will also be some 6000-8000 Local Area Coordinators, or case officers, to do the face to face work with the disabled. Where will these people come from, training, etc....?
There are many issues still around (such as exclusion of the aged, see below - al). That one is pretty messy.

Others include 'scope creep' and general pressure to extend coverage in various ways, with enormous cost implications. For a very interesting and comprehensive update on all of the serious issues, have a look at this CIS review document, particularly about pages 23 and 24. The mainstream media has avoided focusing on these issues, being more pre-occupied with the superficial politics of the issue.

Politics has pushed this idea ahead of more careful consideration, and the Coalition has (cleverly or cunningly) gone along with it, to avoid being wedged in the election campaign.
If the Coalition takes Government in September, there may well be some careful re-calibration of scope, coverage and pace of implementation, perhaps in the light of info from the various trials now underway. That would be sensible. "

Here is a further comment (I can't name the source) on the issue of Who may be excluded from the envisaged scheme. All very sobering stuff indeed:

"NDIS- Age 65 and over not covered?

 The National Disability Insurance Scheme which we will all be paying for is going before Parliament at present. I was listening to a panel discussion last Friday and was curious as to why the CEO of Disability Services Australia was less than enthusiastic about the Scheme in its present form. It was pointed out that anyone 65 years or older would not be covered by the scheme, the reason being it would make the scheme cost prohibitive (given an aging population etc). If you have a disability at the time you reach 65 years of age you will be covered for the benefits of the scheme when you pass age 65. If you become disabled at age 65 or over you will not be covered and there is no other safety net scheme to provide support and services other than present State and private Health Insurance product/services.

 The Disability Services representative on the panel pointed out that a large number of disability cases in the community affect elderly people who by misfortune have a stroke leading to partial or greater permanent disability, folk with bone degenerative disease, osteoporosis etc, other degenerative disease- Dementia, Parkinson’s and the like - plus serious accidental- broken hips, etc. From age 65 and older none of these people are covered and as was pointed out the impact of this exclusion would include large numbers of baby boomers, parents and grandparents of the current 25-40 year olds.
I have not heard one mention of this exclusion from any of the Politicians from both sides. What was mentioned from a legal participant in last Friday’s panel discussion was that the Federal Government tinkered carefully with the title of NDIS, so as to have a loop hole against future litigation for discriminating against a section of the Australian population with a Nationally funded program. Apparently the trick is in the use of the word “Insurance” in the scheme.
My own view is that while the concept of an NDIS is laudable, I question why in main younger 30-40 year olds are paying an increased Medicare levy to fund a scheme that would not cover their parents and elderly dear ones, in the event of disability. In the age 30 to 40 group young people are career focused, have a lot of cost in their lives, getting established with a house, raising young children etc, so the scheme should be funded from consolidated revenue and not yet another levy. They also mentioned in the panel discussion that around 1000 Commonwealth Public Service FTE’s would be required to administer the Scheme from Canberra, again I have great concern about the efficiency of this, given the present Federal Government's track record with the Home Insulation Program, Better Schools Program, management of Australian Border Protection and the like......."
As I said, I don't know the source of this opinon, which was forwarded to me. It is certainly worth thinking about.

PRA: 2013 Conference

Property Rights Australia - 2013 Conference and AGM

Friday 14th June 6.30 pm Meet & Greet at the Highfields Tavern -  Highfields Toowoomba.

Saturday 15th June 8.30am Conference

Highfields Cultural Centre – Highfields Toowoomba

8.00am  Registrations Open
8.30am Welcome
Joanne Rea, Chairman,

Opening Address
Ashley McKay
10 years PRA history and achievements

Alex Sparkes
Farmz website designer - 
Social networking and agriculture. 
His story and insights into the future.

Troy Rowlings 
 Rural Press QCL -  
How do we get the message
across in the City Press 

 Phillip Sheridan
  Vegetation Management Act amendments 
and Crown review of VMA update

Tom Marland
Creevey Russell Lawyers
Powerlines, Pipelines and Porky Pies
-      All infrastructure projects
that can cross your land including
railways, roads, Powerlink, Sunwater 
Garry and Kerry Ladbrook
Landowners Yuleba
Our experience with Powerlink

 Richard Golden
Landowner Yuleba
Living and Working in a Gasfield

Trenton Hindman 
 Landholder Wyandra
Dr Bill Burrows expert report
on Hindman vs Sargent. 

 and more to be announced 
3.00pm Action Group Workshops Electives
    3.50pm Vote Of Thanks And Close
4.00pm Afternoon Smoko
 Conference dinner to follow at your own cost

To register please email Property Rights Australia
Registration required for morning & afternoon smoko and for lunch. 


 Announcement of further presentations

Queensland Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestries, John McVeigh will give a presentation. 

Basin Sustainability Alliance will also give a presentation in regards to water and the coal seam gas industry.

The agenda has been shuffled about a little. The Action group workshop electives have been brought forward to earlier in the day and will end at 4pm for afternoon smoko

Bacterial infection ‘linked to dredging’

by John Mikkelsen
First published at the  
Queensland Telegraph 
 EVIDENCE of a likely link between serious bacterial infections and contaminated dredge spoil in Gladstone Harbour has been presented to a Senate select committee by an environmental medicine specialist previously employed by a major resource company.

Dr Andrew Jeremijenko told the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee last week he knew of three cases of the rare shewenella bacteria infecting Gladstone fishermen. He said this was normally associated with heavy metals and it was “extremely rare” to find a cluster of three cases.

A patient of his had been on the verge of having a leg amputated  when the infection was finally diagnosed after 12 months. Before that, doctors had been unable to find the cause or effective treatment.

Gladstone patient left leg & foot

“This person was written off as an undiagnosed case—just a swollen leg. It took a year to find out what he had. A friend of his also had shewenella, so we have had a number of cases,” Dr Jeremijenko said.

He said he knew of another case in Gladstone he was not involved with, where the patient did lose a leg. “In that case it was a vibrio infection."

"The study by the (State) government is a fairly superficial one. In my view it did not follow up these patients for long enough,” Dr Jeremijenko said.

His Gladstone patient was a shark fisherman. “He chops off shark fins for a living, then he pushes the body of the shark away and wraps up the fins and sends them to Asia.
“The shark has had all that disease on it. The juice was falling on to his left leg, which is the leg that got infected….

The other case was a fisherman who got it from washing his boat out. He had to go down into the water to adjust the pump and got the infection there.”

Dr Jerimijenko said the bacteria was more often seen in ‘boat people’ refugees, where there were dead fish and ‘hot water’ at the bottom of the boats.

He told the committee the bacteria was also found in “a lot of the sick fish in Gladstone Harbour”.
“Shewenella is very interesting because it is associated with heavy metals.

In fact, if you have a site contaminated with heavy metals, an anaerobic environment, it can chew up the metal and clean up the site.

“I think that what has happened in this case is that the dredging has pulled up all these bacteria along with the metals that we see in the dredge spoil. It has made the shewenella bio-available and that has caused the infection in these people…. It is extremely rare to have a cluster of three cases…. you would need more cases than that to call it statistically significant—but it is certainly an aberration that needs to be investigated,” Dr Jeremijenko said.

The Senate committee has been gathering evidence from a number of scientists and other interested groups to report on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Great Barrier Reef) Bill 2013.

Dr Jeremijenko said he was previously employed as Chief Medical Officer for Woodside, a major resource company, and had worked closely with them for years on improving health in the Pilbara. The company he now runs, TeleDoctor, has for three years supported QGC and Origin Energy (which are involved in the multi-billion dollar coal seam gas and LNG industries in Central Queensland).

“We have done dredging in Woodside for many years to open that harbour, but we have not seen infections like this (at Gladstone).
“There are ways to do dredging safely. You can use things like silt curtains. You can use closed containment systems. You can now suck out the spoil from underneath the top area and that can protect you from having all the tides washing up the turbidity… but they cost more money.”

With Abbot Point (near Bowen), they said that they looked at onshore disposal, which is the preferred method for acid sulphate soils, and they found that it was too expensive; it was economically prohibitive,” Dr Jeremijkenko said.


Thursday, 30 May 2013

Wyoming: Aftermath of a Drilling Boom

In Australia, it is the state of Queensland that has the most advanced coal seam gas industry but even here the CSG industry is still in its infancy. In the United States however shale gas projects have been developed many years earlier and some of these are at the end of their life. It gives us an opportunity for those of us in Australia to look and learn. There should be no need to, as in so many other areas for Australians to follow blindly the lead of the US and make the very same mistakes.

This article below was first published at WyoFile and republished under  the WyoFile terms & conditions.

Aftermath of a Drilling Boom: Wyoming stuck with abandoned gas wells

By Dustin Bleizeffer

The Powder River Basin coal-bed methane gas industry that drilled at a pace of 2,500 wells annually for a decade has been in sharp decline in recent years. Operators have mostly stopped drilling and are now idling thousands of wells, and perhaps thousands more have been abandoned —  “orphaned” — by operators struggling financially.

Last week, Wyoming lawmakers heard testimony that the number of orphaned wells likely exceeds 1,200 — and more will be added to the list of liabilities to the state.

State officials say they’re having difficulty measuring the exact scope of the problem due to complex record-keeping among multiple agencies. Ryan Lance, director of the Office of State Lands and Investments, told WyoFile that his staff is working through stacks of files to try to determine which operators owe money, and how much.

The Powder River between Gillette and Buffalo runs through the center of Wyoming’s largest coal-bed methane gas field. Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile

In some cases, the orphaned wells devalue ranch properties, and in other cases they complicate a promise that the industry made at the onset of the play: that some wells would be transferred to ranchers for use in watering livestock on the arid high plains.

Coal strata are often aquifers in the region. In some areas, the production of coal-bed methane gas has substantially drained the coal aquifer because operators had to pump large volumes of water from the coal to get the methane gas also contained there to flow to the surface. By 2010, the industry had pumped 783,092 acre feet of water from the coals, according to the Wyoming State Geological Survey. That’s enough water to fill Lake DeSmet three times.

Only a small percentage of that water was put to beneficial use.

“There’s concern from land and mineral owners who are not getting surface use and damage payments anymore. … Money is spent on attorneys trying to recoup surface use payments,” as well as royalties, said Jill Morrison of the Powder River Basin Resource Council, a landowner advocacy group based in Sheridan.

Morrison testified before the Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Interim Committee last week in Gillette.
Committee member Rep. James Byrd (D-Cheyenne) said that for years he and others on the committee have heard warnings about the potential for orphaned wells and unpaid bills in the coal-bed methane gas play, “and now it is happening.”

The Powder River sometimes runs dry in this arid region of northeast Wyoming. (Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile — click to view)

The Powder River sometimes runs dry in this arid region of northeast Wyoming, yet only a small portion of groundwater associated with coal-bed methane gas development was put to beneficial use. Dustin Bleizeffer/WyoFile

While some operators, such as Anadarko Petroleum Corp., are financially sound enough to plug wells that are no longer commercial, a handful of smaller operators flirt with bankruptcy and fail to conduct required maintenance on the wells, creating potential hazards to human health and the environment. Some operators have simply walked away from their coal-bed methane properties in the basin.

That leaves the job of plugging wells and reclamation to the state, which will rely on an industry-funded orphan well account to cover the cost. The task of plugging and reclaiming orphaned coal-bed methane facilities, and collecting unpaid user fees and royalties, is divided among state agencies and the Wyoming Bureau of Land Management. So far, the state agencies do not have a complete picture of the scope of the problem and the resources available to address it.

This is only the first part of this article. To READ MORE [click here]


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Swan grabbing unattented nest eggs

It shows the desperation of the Federal government led by Prime minister Julia Gillard and treasurer Wayne Swan that they are grabbing funds out of people's private bank accounts if they have not been used for three years. These accounts include money placed in children's accounts and pensioners who have set aside funds in case of a medical emergency.

Image sourced from

Regular contributor to this site, Peter Neilsen in the Open Thread page brought our attention to a newspaper article which tells of a pensioner coming home from hospital from heart surgery to find that a heartless federal government had emptied his account.
Peter writes
The robbery has begun early.
Although the legislation to steal all money held in bank accounts that have been inactive for 3 years does not come into effect until after May 31st, the Government have jumped the gun and have already taken money from bank accounts which would be illegal prior to legislation coming into effect.

This is the link to just one typical story about the theft of money from peoples accounts prior to the commencement date of the legalisation of theft in Australia.

There are numerous reports coming forward now about this theft, including a report of $6 dollars being stolen from an account held by a child. Bloody hell they must be really getting desperate to rob little kids.
Also In the Courier Mail the article, Government grab nets boys' savings, tells of two little boys piggy bank saving have been taken by the federal government.
Ms Hadfield's sons' accounts were set up by the boys' grandparents when they were born. Grandmother Sandra Hodgson said the grab was disgusting.
"We should be able to leave the money in the accounts for the boys until they want it," she said.
The Coburg family did not realise the accounts had been closed until they got a letter. "I think there are lots of people like us who will get caught out," Ms Hadfield said.
Queensland pensioner Adrian Duffy was another victim.
He emerged from a quintuple heart bypass to find $22,000 had been emptied from his Suncorp bank account.
The 77-year-old had spent 14 years saving the cash with his wife, to help pay for major health-related costs.
Seamus and Eamon Hadfield, whose savings were seized. Picture: Ian Currie Source: Sunday Herald Sun
In this media release, Gillard government seizure of inactive bank accounts is an attack on property rights, back in February Simon Breheny of the IPA warned of the consequences of the federal governments then proposed actions. Although now some months old this media release is still very relevant.
"The Gillard government's plan to take money from dormant bank accounts is a shameful grab for cash and a significant attack on property rights," said Simon Breheny, director of the Legal Rights Project at free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.
The Treasury Legislation Amendment (Unclaimed Money and Other Measures) Act 2012 amends the Banking Act 1959 to lower the threshold for "unclaimed moneys", which are transferred from banks that hold the accounts to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Previously this was defined as any money in bank accounts that had been inactive for a period of seven years, but the new laws require inactivity for only three years.
"People should be able to leave money in bank accounts for as long as they wish without the fear that the government might come along and steal it from them. To do so is an arbitrary acquisition of property by the government," said Mr Breheny.
"Parents saving for their children's education, young people saving for a home and others putting money aside for retirement are all at risk of losing their savings as a result of these changes," said Mr Breheny.
"The changes could have a number of unintended consequences. Such a regime provides a disincentive to saving money with a bank and may encourage people to hide their money under the mattress and away from the hands of government," said Mr Breheny.
"The government is desperately attempting to shore up its financial position before the budget is handed down in May 2013," said Mr Breheny.
"Tony Abbott and the Coalition must commit to repealing these changes if elected to government," said Mr Breheny. 

Twisting Tornados into Climate Crises

by Viv Forbes
Already the climatists are spinning a carbon scare story out of the Oklahoma tornado. US Senator Barbara Boxer said in a speech on global warming, just one day after the Moore tornado: “You’re going to have tornadoes and all the rest.  . . . Carbon could cost us the planet.” 
There is nothing unusual about tornadoes in Tornado Alley on the Prairies, or hurricanes in the Caribbean, or cyclones in the Coral Sea – all have been creating extreme weather events long before Europeans arrived in these areas and long before the surge of industrial growth in the 1950’s. 

Cartoonist Dave Granlund
Despite the intensity of the news reports, the severity of US tornadoes is not increasing – there have been many US tornadoes with greater severity and more fatalities than the Moore tornado. One in 1935 resulted in 695 deaths in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.  What is increasing is the population density in the threatened areas and the demand by some media outlets for a man-made climate scare every week. 
USA and Australia will continue to suffer intense tornadoes, hurricanes and cyclones but carbon dioxide is blameless. 
Instead of wasting billions on the mega-myth that man controls the climate, both countries should spend that money on building infrastructure that better withstands natural disasters.
Successful species are those that learned to cope with natural disasters
Image sourced from NetRightDaily

Extract from the article Five myths about tornadoes published in the Washington Post

5. Climate change is producing tornadoes of increasing frequency and intensity.
There have always been F5 tornadoes, and we will continue to experience them regardless of whether the Earth’s temperature rises or falls. National Weather Service figures show, if anything, that violent tornadoes — F3 or greater on the Fujita scale — are becoming less frequent. There is no trend, neither up nor down, in the frequency of all tornadoes.
The Capital Weather Gang’s Ian Livingston tweeted after the Moore tornado: “Climate change people do themselves a huge disservice by running to that after every disaster.”
I heartily concur.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Haven’t Lost Half of the Great Barrier Reef: Part 2, Junk Methodology

by Jennifer Marohasy
HOW could scientists conclude that half of the Great Barrier Reef has been lost in the last 27 years: target coral reefs most affected by cyclones, coral bleaching and crown-of-thorn starfish outbreaks, while ignoring more representative reefs with healthy corals. And I didn’t make that up! It’s documented in a peer-reviewed study by H. Sweatman, S. Delean and C. Syms entitled: ‘Assessing loss of coral cover on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef over two decades, with implications for longer-term trends’ [1].

Indeed the claim that there has been a 50 per cent decline in coral cover at the Great Barrier Reef appears to be largely an artifice of the survey method. In particular, coral reefs most severely affected by bleaching in 1998, and reefs disproportionally affected by crown-of-thorn starfish outbreaks, and also reefs with insufficient time to recover from cyclones in 2009 and 2011 were targeted for repeated sampling, while more representative reefs with healthy corals were ignored.

In part 1 of this series, I reported that the World Heritage Centre will demand action by the Australian Government to spend vast sums of taxpayers’ funds to address this manufactured issue, or have the Great Barrier Reef placed on its World Heritage in Danger List. This demand is a recommendation of the United Nation’s International Union for the Conservation of Nature, UNESCO, in its State of Conservation report prepared for the June meeting of the UNESCO committee [2], which in turn is based upon a report of the environmental lobby groups WWF and the Australian Marine Conservation Society, whose report [3] in turn relies on the claims of a peer reviewed study by Glenn De’ath and co-workers [4].

The paper by De’ath and co-workers published in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2012 [5] does indeed claim a 50 per cent decline in coral cover based on 27 years of data from the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) Long-Term Monitoring Program.

The scientists suggests 48 per cent of the decline can be attributable to cyclones, 42 per cent to crown-of-thorn predation and 10 per cent to coral bleaching. But remarkably, and at odds with the broad claims in De’ath et al. 2012, there has arguably been no increase in the incidence of cyclones over the same period [5], no evidence for deterioration in water quality at the Great Barrier Reef [6], and no general increase in the incidence of coral bleaching . So, it would seem remarkable that coral cover has declined so dramatically and purportedly from these sources.

De’ath draw their conclusions from modelling based on a study of just 214 reefs chosen from a total of approximately 3,000 reefs. So they sampled approximately 7 per cent of reefs. They do not explain in the paper how the 7 per cent of reefs were chosen, for example, they do not explain whether they randomly choose the reefs that would be studies as one draws numbers in a lottery, or whether particular reefs were selected. They also don’t explain if they continued to sample the same number of reefs over the 27-year period of the survey, or, for example, whether they reduced the number of reefs sampled over this 27-year period, and, for example, only went back to reefs that showed dramatic decline in coral cover.

Of course while scientists claim to be trustworthy, there is reason to be sceptical. As Aynsley Kellow, Professor and Head of the School of Government at the University of Tasmania, explains in his book ‘Science and Public Policy: The Virtuous Corruption of Virtual Environmental Science’ much of modern environmental science has been corrupted by noble causes. These same causes have brought tremendous prestige and wealth to many scientists.

Remarkably many problems with the AIMS long-term monitoring program, the exact same program relied upon by De’ath and co-workers to conclude half of the Great Barrier Reef has been lost, are detailed in a paper published just one year before by Hugh Sweatman and co-workers [1]. Sweatman and De’ath are colleagues at AIMS and incredibaly Sweatman is one of the authors of the 2012 De’ath paper.

In the 2011 paper Dr Sweatman writes with respect to sampling in the central section of the Great Barrier Reef:
“In the early years of the programme, up to 32 reefs spread across the Swains sector were surveyed annually, but only seven reefs in the south of the Swains sector were surveyed regularly 1993–2004. Five of these seven reefs had large and persistent outbreaks of A. planci for most of the survey period, a high incidence of outbreaks that was not representative of reefs across the sector”.

Sweatman et al. 2011 go on to explain that the overall decline, often reported in coral cover for the Great Barrier Reef, is mainly used to due to large losses of coral in six of 29 subregions. This loss is attributed to coral bleaching in 1998 and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish. Otherwise, Sweatman explains that living coral cover increased in one subregion (3%) and 22 subregions (76%) showed no substantial change.

Furthermore, coral reefs in the great majority of subregions showed cycles of decline and recovery over the survey period, but with little synchrony among subregions and no long term decline.
Sweatman and co-workers conclude that much of the apparent long-term decrease in coral cover reported in the scientific literature results from combining data from selective, sparse, small-scale studies before 1986 with data from both small-scale studies and large-scale monitoring surveys after that date.

In other words Sweatman et al. (2011) detail problems with the methodology used by all studies that rely on the AIMS monitoring data. Yet these issues, central to the credibility of the claim that there has been a 50 per cent decline in coral cover, are ignored in De’ath et al. 2012.


This is part two of a new series on the Great Barrier Reef and claims that 50 per cent of it have been lost. Read part 1 here:

1. Sweatman, H., S. Delean, C. Syms. 2011. Assessing loss of coral cover on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef over two decades, with implications for longer-term trends. Coral Reefs. 30: 521-531

2. IUCN, 2013, State of State of conservation of World Heritage properties WHC-13/37.COM/7B, accessed at

3. WWF AMCS, 2013, Report to the UNESCO WHC accessed at

4. De’ath, G., K. E. Fabricius, H. Sweatman, and M. Puotinen. 2012. The 27–year decline of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef and its causes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109(44): 17995-17999.
cyclone number
5. Data from the Bureau of Meteorology shows no increase in the number or severity of cyclones impacting Australia or the Great Barrier Reef. Click on the image for a better view…
This is contrary to a claim in the De’ath et al. 2012 paper that “cyclone intensities are increasing with warming ocean temperatures”.

6. While it is generally assumed, and inferred, that water quality at the Great Barrier Reef is deteriorating, these claims are not supported by the hard data as detailed in part 1 of this series…
For example, chlorophyll monitoring on the Great Barrier Reef shows:
“Results to date show that compared with coastal regions in other parts of the world, chlorophyll a concentrations in the GBR lagoon are generally low. Chlorophyll a concentrations vary across the shelf seasonally and also with latitude. There are also persistent local gradients in chlorophyll a concentration, usually away from the coast. Consistent long-term trends in chlorophyll a concentrations haven’t yet been discerned.”. Download this text from AIMs website on April 4, 2013

Furthermore the De’ath et al. 2012 study states: “The disturbance data for COTS and cyclones show periodic and random fluctuations but no systematic long-term variation over the 27 year observation period.”
This article was first published at jennifiermarohasy blog
Permission for this cross post was given by Jennifer Marohasy 

Monday, 27 May 2013

REDEX Peugot rerun, Day 11, to Darwin

by Ian Hampton


Who’d have thunk it -Darwin…. I think for quite a few days now, I have been confident we would make it this far… But somehow did not want to think too far ahead… Did not allow that dream fully take hold so that any disappointment that might arise would not be too great…

Instead - when driving the last leg… concentrated on the task, which is not super easy in this car, which is NOT a zippy through the traffic car and because we have just not been in city traffic for a long time - requires a different mind set… SO concentrating on the task, made one or two navigation mistakes in the final few streets before the finish at Mindil Beach… Suddenly we were the and thee was the sea of Fannie Bay… and it was a real feeling of relief (wow we actually have done this), and joy (there is the sea on the other side of the continent from where we started). So I thought of the joy that (I think it was John McDouall Stuart felt) after he had crossed the continent and arrived at the sea… And while this is in no way comparable - the joy and relief were real… a small great moment…. I expect for all of us, especially the newcomers to this type of event.

Back to the basics - Mataranka to Katherine (102 km), Katherine to Darwin (317 km)…

HIGHLIGHT…. We miss the turnoff to Cutta Cutta Caves and decide not to turn back, coffee-brunch
in Katherine and we decide to make the 29 km run out to the Katherine Gorge, and passed the Heli Muster NT helicopter site… Look in Peter’s eyes says it all- so we are up for a 20 minute flight…..Dan is an excellent and steady pilot and this flight up along the Gorge and back is totally outstanding, breathtaking country and the Gorge is almost a “wonders of the world” site…. An opportunity that had to be taken on…. Got a few good shots from I-phone.

After that - it is on and on, and it seems to be a long distance from the turn-off (to Katherine Gorge) to first Palmerston, and then Darwin and Mindil Beach…

Other highlights - meeting a group of older French tourists in a Maui Van, excited to see our old Pugs and their enthusiast “pilots” soldiering on.

Previous related posts
60th Anniversary REDEX Peugeot Rerun. - Day 1
REDEX Peugeot Rerun. - Days 6 & 7

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Study links health symptoms to CSG

By John Mikkelsen 
First published at the Queensland Telegraph.
AN ALARMING report into possible health effects of coal seam gas developments on a Surat Basin community has been presented to the Queensland Government by a Brisbane GP. 

The study by Dr Geralyn McCarron, found a higher than normal level of possible neurotoxicity, including numbness, spasms and twitching, as well as muscle soreness, nose bleeds, rashes and vomiting, particularly among children living in the Tara residential estates close to gas wells 
Photo & graphs below sourced from Dr McCarron's report

This settlement on the Darling Downs is part of an extensive area being developed by coal seam gas companies to supply the three multi-billion dollar export liquefied natural gas plants under construction on Curtis Island near Gladstone. 

 Dr McCarron, originally from Ireland, told The Telegraph she had decided to undertake the study “completely independently” after learning of health problems reported by families living close to the gas wells and a subsequent Queensland Government report claiming there were no significant health problems linked to CSG. 

She said the government study and findings were “so inadequate and flawed that it has done little to alleviate concerns” 

A copy of her report and recommendations including calls for fully funded urgent and comprehensive health studies in gas field areas, was presented to Health Minister Lawrence Springborg’s office on May 9.

 Titled, “Symptomatology of a gas field - An independent health survey in the Tara rural residential estates and environs,” the study involved collecting information on 113 people from 38 households - 17 were children 5 years of age or less, 31 were aged between 6 and 18, and 65 were adults aged over 19.
Dr McCarron said 58%  reported  their health was definitely adversely affected by CSG, with 19% uncertain.
“The pattern reported was outside the scope of what would be expected for a small rural community. In all age groups there were reported increases in cough, chest  tightness, rashes, difficulty sleeping, joint pains, muscle pains and spasms, nausea and vomiting.  
“Approximately one third of the people over 6 were reported to have spontaneous nose bleeds, and almost three quarters were reported to have skin irritation. Over half of children were reported to have eye irritation.  
“A range of symptoms were reported which can sometimes be related to neurotoxicity (damage to the nervous system), including severe fatigue, weakness, headaches, numbness and paraesthesia (abnormal sensations such as pins and needles, burning or tingling). Approximately a third of the all the 48 children to age 18 were reported to experience paraesthesia. Almost all the 31 children aged 6-18 were reported to suffer from headaches and for over half of these the headaches were severe.  
“Of people aged 6 years and over, severe fatigue and difficulty concentrating was reported for over half. Parents of a number of young children reported twitching or unusual movements, and clumsiness or unsteadiness.  
“This unfunded study is limited in terms of what can be concluded and does not claim to be without methodological problems. However what it does do is highlight the basis for serious concerns of the residents and the need for the Queensland government to fund a comprehensive epidemiological investigation of the problem,” the report states. 
Dr McCarron claims no baseline air, water monitoring or health studies were done prior to the Queensland Government permitting the widespread development of the CSG industry close to family homes.  
“No ongoing health study or surveillance and no ongoing testing to monitor chronic exposure levels is in place. This is clearly unacceptable,” she said.  

Springborg, Lawrence

But Mr Springborg told The Telegraph that a  comprehensive inter-departmental report, tabled in Parliament, provided “the best available data and robust advice on the effects of Coal Seam Gas on the health of Tara residents”.

Photo sourced from Qld Parliament member list

He said the report, based on data from local practitioners, occupational health experts, published papers and departmental advice, found no clear link between CSG activities and residents’ health complaints.
“The low number of individuals reporting symptoms was among the reasons for the finding. The estimated population for the exposure area was 1,257 people. Forty-six residents, or 3.7 per cent, reported symptoms,” Mr Springborg said.
He claimed the report by Dr  McCarron, “on behalf of anti-CSG groups”, contained nothing new, but a number of assertions which lacked substance and did not detract from the tabled findings.
The State Government report made six recommendations:
  •  A coordinated response by Government agencies, including a community reference group to help identify health, community and social concerns
  •  The introduction of community support initiatives in affected areas
Future health clinics in the Tara region, with community input about their nature, location, frequency and timing - including strategies to address aspects of mental health
  •  Regular, timely and accurate feedback to communities in relation to health, community and social concerns, including reports on air monitoring
The continuation of air monitoring by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to identify emissions and the extent of community exposure
  • The possibility of measures to monitor and mitigate exposure to low frequency noise.