Our sub on Bongil Bongil National Park Draft Plan of Mgmt #cowper #oxley #coffs #bellingen

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14 August 2017

The Planner
Bongil Bongil National Park draft PoM
Office of Environment and Heritage
PO Box 1236
Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
By Email: npws.parkplanning@environment.nsw.gov.au

Bongil Bongil National Park draft plan of management
On behalf of the Bellinger River Branch of the Australian Labor Party, I am writing in relation to the “Draft Plan of Management for the Bongil Bongil National Park”.

On the face of it, the strategy and document appears well thought through and well put together, ensuring there’s an understood plan for the management of this important ecological site on the Coffs Coast.

That said, we take nothing for granted, particularly under a Liberal and National Party Coalition State Government and the instruction it may issue to the Office of Environment and Heritage, which, based on previous experience, doesn’t support conservation values.

The Branch has discussed the matter and would like assurances on the following, which it believes are essential for the long term success and management of the park:

  • Provision for future inclusion of the park in the Great Koala National Park policy of NSW Labor.
  • Additional protection for koalas and other endangered flora and fauna species from natural and human made hazards.
  • Conservation and restoration of indigenous heritage and access to such sites.
  • No sale of land and or the granting of land to other community groups.
  • No expansion of recreational four wheel drive activity.
  • No recreational hunting.
  • Initiatives to deal with climate change induced rising sea and river levels.
  • The need for additional resources from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to implement the plan.

Thank you again for the preparation of this important document to help ensure the future of this critical ecological site.


Is @luke_hartsuyker eligible to sit in parliament due to citizenship issues? Questions need answering. #cowper #auspol

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14 August 2017

The Hon. Luke Hartsuyker MHR,
Member for Cowper,
By email: luke.hartsuyker.mp@aph.gov.au

Eligibility to contest election and sit in parliament

Mr Hartsuyker,

With the recent public interest in the eligibility of members of parliament due to citizenship of other countries and your particular situation, it is appropriate to formally ask you to confirm your past and present status and eligibility.

You stated in parliament you are the “son of a Dutch migrant” (Source: Hansard) and your late mother “is, was Australian, and as such there are no citizenship implications for me” (Source: NBN News).

Your assertion that the Australian citizenship of your late mother negates any eligibility issue appears, on the face of it, at odds with an official document of the Netherlands Embassy in Australia which states: “The child of a Dutch father acquires… Dutch citizenship at birth. It is irrelevant where the child is born or whether the child acquires other citizenships at birth”. (Source: Netherlands Embassy, Australia)

Given the complexities of the issue, your family heritage and to remove any doubt, I urge you to make a detailed statement on the matter and release any (and all) related documentation to support your position.

Such a statement should answer three key questions:

  1. What is the basis for your assertion on NBN News on 27 July 2017 concerning your eligibility? Can you provide any documentation to support your assertion? If yes, please provide all details and all related documentation.
  2. As you obtained Dutch citizenship at birth, when did you renounce it or under which circumstances did you lose it and when? Please provide all details and all related documentation.
  3. Have you had any formal correspondence with the Netherlands Government prior to or since entering parliament in 2001 concerning your citizenship of the Netherlands through birth? If yes, please provide all details and all related documentation between you, your representatives and the Dutch Government and or their representatives.

The questions are based on the evidence presented in the following documents:

With parliament sitting this week, it would be prudent for you make a statement to the house on the matter and to table any relevant documents. Irrespective of whether there is an issue with your eligibility or everything is in order, I appreciate your time in responding to this matter. I look forward to receiving your response and seeing it placed on the public record.

Thank you.

President, Bellinger River Branch


Document #1: First speech to Parliament

Document #2: Netherlands Government website

Document #3: Netherlands Government Australia Q&A document

Document #4: NSW Government Births, Deaths and Marriages Register Record


Document #5.1: Australian Government – Dept. of Immigration and Border Protection

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Document #5.2: Australian Government – Dept. of Immigration and Border Protection

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Document #6: DualCitizenship.com (commercial service) – 31 July 2017Screen Shot 2017-07-31 at 8.02.34 pm.png

Document #7: NBN News Story from 27 July 2017

Other information

Quick look at #Koala habitats in Gladstone State Forest #Cowper #Oxley #Bellingen

On Thursday 10 August 2017, I was taken on a brief tour of Koala habitats in the soon to be logged Gladstone State Forest area, just 7 kilometres South of Bellingen, by Ashley Love from the Bellingen Environment Centre.

Significant habitats have been found in the forest and the Environment Protection Authority has been asked to intervene to stop logging while further evaluation occurs. This should occur.

Over the last few weeks, I have also been putting together an online library of reports looking at Koala preservation and timber resource supply from a variety of perspectives. This resource is aimed at presenting the latest relevant information from a diverse range of sources to aid intelligent, credible and respectful discussion on the best way forward to protect koalas and ensure the supply of timber in accordance with the principles of ecological sustainable development. The library is here.

In solidarity,

Andrew Woodward
President, Bellingen River Branch, Labor.

Note: There's been significant coverage in the local media in the past few weeks of Koala related issues. A collection of articles is at the bottom of this page.

Bellingen Shire Courier-Sun, 9 August 2017

Media Coverage – GKNP w/e 11 August 2017

Greens converge in Bellingen for Forest Summit
Coffs Coast Advocate
30 July 2017
THE Great Koala National Park and calls for an end to native forest logging in the region were major agenda items for the Forest Summit conducted by the Greens.

The National Parks Association is working hard on grass roots support
Nambucca Guardian
1 August 2017
The push for a Great Koala National Park on the Mid North Coast was the talk of the Green’s Forest Forum on the weekend, but more importantly it was also discussed among representatives from Bellingen, Nambucca and Coffs City Councils last week.

Great Koala Park push flawed, says MP Melinda Pavey
Nambucca Guardian
2 August 2017
CHANGING who manages local lands will have little if any effect on the health of koala populations, claims local MP Melinda Pavey.
The answer to concerns about Mid North Coast koalas does not involve converting more State Forest to National Park, Mrs Pavey said.

NPA rejects assertions that more parks will not help koalas
Bellingen Courier
3 August 2017
The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) rejects assertions by the Hon. Melinda Pavey MP that more national parks will not help koalas, and calls on the NSW Government to honour Ms Pavey’s call for ‘a mature, factual, science-based discussion about forestry our forest estate and koalas’.

Deferral of logging call to protect koala colony
Bellingen Courier
3 August 2017
Evidence of a breeding colony of koalas in Gladstone State Forest has prompted calls for a deferral of proposed logging at Sunny Corner.

Greens: National Parks need more not less staff
4 August 2017
Bellingen Courier
Greens Forests spokesperson, Dawn Walker has slammed comments made by the Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey that more National Parks won't help koalas and criticised her ongoing refusal to support the Great Koala National Park*.

Pavey says new park is fanciful
Bellingen Courier
8 August 2017
The answer to widespread concerns about Mid North Coast koala populations might not involve converting more State Forest to National Park. The Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, said the ‘crisis’ in koala populations was not supported by scientific facts.

Discovery of koala colony prompts pleas to suspend logging
Coffs Advocate
8 August
THERE are calls for the immediate suspensions of logging operations near Bellingen following the discovery of a breeding population of koalas in the area.

Forestry Corp has advised it will carry out koala surveys
Bellingen Courier
8 August 2017
Yesterday we published a story about groups calling for a stop to logging in the Gladstone State Forest.

Picnic with koalas
Bellingen Courier
9 August 2017
If you go down to the woods (on Sunday) you might be in for a big surprise – that’s the day koala supporters are gathering in Gladstone State Forest for a picnic. The Bellingen Environment Centre is inviting the community to bring family and friends to the forest at midday on Sunday August 13 to celebrate the koala population and show opposition to proposed logging.

Every major environmental group supports the Great Koala Park – Labor
Bellingen Courier
9 August 2017
The Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, is wrong when she says that turning more land over to national parks as a part of a Great Koala National Park will “have little if any effect on the health of koala populations”. If this is the case, why then does every major environmental group in the State support it? The National Parks Association; Nature Conservation Council and the political party, The Greens, all support it. Are you telling me they all support something that won’t help Koalas?

Community groups erect banner
Bellingen Courier
10 August 2017
The Bellingen Environment Centre and the Kalang River and Forest Alliance have gone to great lengths to encourage Bellingen Shire Council to support the community proposal for a Great Koala National Park .

Added 11 August 2017

Labor calls for root and branch review of State Forests
11 August 2017
AS HABITAT loss is widely acknowledged to be the key driver of the decline of koalas; a future Luke Foley Labor Government will prioritise the creation of National Parks that protect the remaining koala populations on the North Coast, says Nambucca Valley identity Susan Jenvey.

You can’t trust The Nationals on Coal Seam Gas or nuclear

ABC News 23 March 2017

The Land, 19 May 2017

Labor CSG policy (SBS-TV)

Labor has proposed a moratorium on CSG across the state.

According to party policy, the freeze won’t be lifted until “the industry is proven to be safe, until we have mapped the aquifers and until we understand the impacts”.

Labor has also pledged to:
• Ban unconventional gas wells or drilling within 2 kilometres of urban or residential areas
• Ban CSG and unconventional gas in the Northern Rivers of NSW, covering seven local government areas
• Impose a 2 kilometre  exclusion zone around all national parks and wetlands

Labor has also vowed to protect gas prices by advocating for a national gas reservation policy and rule out CSG in defined no-go zones, including defined water catchment areas, the Northern Rivers of NSW and key areas such as national parks.

Letter to editor re Great Koala National Park in response to Melinda Pavey’s comments

3 August 2017

The Editor
Bellingen Shire Sun-Courier


The Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, is wrong when she says that turning more land over to national parks as a part of a Great Koala National Park will “have little if any effect on the health of koala populations”. If this is the case, why then does every major environmental group in the State support it? The National Parks Association; Nature Conservation Council and the political party, The Greens, all support it. Are you telling me they all support something that won’t help Koalas?

Labor’s plan for the Great Koala National Park is common sense. We know Koalas are in trouble and such a park is one of several answers to their survival. The park, covering 315,000 hectares of public land will be a sanctuary. We need one as Koala numbers in NSW, Queensland and ACT have plummeted by a third in 20 years. The area covered by the Great Koala National Park is estimated to contain 20 per cent or 4,500 of NSW’s remaining wild koalas.

The Bellinger River Branch of Labor recently made several resolutions on the Great Koala National Park. We reaffirmed our support for the policy and urged the party to undertake a review, informed by the latest scientific research and community feedback, as to take an enhanced position to the 2019 State Election. I was pleased to be told at last weekend’s NSW Labor Conference in Sydney that the party remains committed to the policy.

The Great Koala Park will deliver positive economic benefits for the NSW North Coast through government investment in habitat restoration, protection and enhancement projects and through the park becoming a tourism asset of interest to domestic and international visitors. We also understand that timber is a renewable resource. When managed responsibly and it complies with the principles of ecological sustainable development – it does deliver ecological, social and economic benefits, most notably jobs.

I have a road sign at the bottom of my street which advises that Koalas are in the area. I hope it stays there forever and a Great Koala National Park is one way of ensuring that happens.

Thank you.

President, Bellinger River Branch

Resources: Labor’s Great Koala National Park Policy and Bellinger River Branch Resolution

Public comment urged on plans for marine parks off NSW North Coast – don’t trust the Libs and Nats!


On 21 July 2017, the Turnbull Joyce government released a draft management plan for Australian Marine Parks in the Temperate East Network. The national strategy hasn’t been well received.

Australian Marine Parks (also known as Commonwealth marine reserves) were established in 2012 by Labor to protect our oceans, comprising a network of 42 marine reserves after years of consultation, and consideration of more than 8,000 submissions. The Turnbull government has released five flawed draft plans to manage 44 Australian Marine Parks over the next 10 years that slash the amount of protected marine areas. The Turnbull Government’s proposals go beyond those recommended by a review commissioned by the previous Abbott government expanding areas that allow fishing from 64 percent to 80 percent. The devastating cutbacks proposed for our best-loved marine treasures right around the country, open the door to destructive commercial fishing and to oil and gas giants.

There are specific plans for the NSW North Coast. We’re looking into it and we urge you to do the same. You can see what’s in the draft document here at the Federal Government’s web site. Please send your feedback on draft plans by Wednesday 20 September 2017. We will post our feedback in the coming weeks and please feel free to copy us in on your feedback.