Friday, February 27, 2009

VIC bushfire affected communities given a voice online

auCD have temporarily* provided community websites for the recent Victorian (February, 2009) bushfire affected communities to help with the rebuilding of their communities as a potential focus point where community members can:

  • Share stories
  • Thank people
  • Remember people lost
  • Communicate community events and news
  • Share emergency evacuation/aftermath strategies
  • Provide links to important information (such as: council links, emergency information links)

Websites have been created for:

* auDA has agreed to temporarily waive the Policy Rules and Guidelines for CGDNs until 30/6/10 allowing .au Community Domains to register the CGDNs for the localities affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires. If the CGDN cannot be transferred to an eligible entity within the local community on or before 30th June, 2010, then the CGDN will be deleted.

.au Community Domains, ACN 118 505 196, Phone: (03) 9863 8577

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sydney Gas will be suspended from trading on March 4

Sydney Gas will be suspended from trading on March 4, following the despatch of compulsory acquisition notices by AGL Energy.

This news comes as AGL reaches 97% ownership in target Sydney Gas with AJ Lucas purchase activity being noted.



Monday, February 23, 2009

Oh Dear!

Our ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation - the national broadcaster) is letting the standards slip away...

On this page, they refer to Cessnock Jail which is not only incredibly badly spelt (sorry to the rest of the world that can't spell) but is just plain incorrect!

Naughty Aunty!

The name of the institution is Cessnock Correctional Center, colloquially known as Cessnock Gaol!

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

Coming in April, 2009, Valley Artists brings you the magical, emotional musical roller-coaster, of 'The Rise and Fall of Little Voice' . The stage play was written by Jim Cartwright, specifically for English impersonator Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous), and was premiered in Cottlesloe in 1992. In 1998 it was released as the movie 'Little Voice'.

Funny & sad, painfully truthful, it exposes the comedy and tragedy of a self indulgent, neglectful mother, Mari Hoff, and her shy reclusive daughter Laura, more commonly known as Little Voice. LV spends her time listening to her deceased father's record collection while Mum is busy going through her own assorted collection of men. Out of this collection comes a talent scout, Ray Say, who hears the potential of LV's voice. He endeavours to put her on stage at the local club leading to a dramatic conclusion.

The play explores the music of some of the greats Garland, Bassey, Monroe, Piaf & Billie Holiday.
This production is a wonderful technical challenge for Valley Artists.

You will thoroughly enjoy this popular musical drama.

'The Rise and Fall of Little Voice' will be directed by Janine Oliver (The Finnys, Wind in the Willows).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Gloucester Residents in Partnership

The GRIP website has been launched!

GRIP is a group of ordinary residents of the Gloucester Shire. GRIP has no political affiliations or agenda. Some members are directly affected by GRL's coal exploration. Others are not but share concern for the welfare of friends and the defence of Gloucester and its environment.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

National Day of Mourning

Sorry to bother you with two (or three depending on the list) emails in one
week... but this seemed important enough.

This Sunday, Father Graham Jackson will conduct an Ecumenical Service at St
John's Wollombi, commencing at 10.00am in respect of the National Day of
Mourning for those who have lost so much in the Victorian bushfires.

For me (not at all very religious), this service is akin to that of an ANZAC
service (and we know how crowded Wollombi's ANZAC Reserve is on April 25,
even in the rain). So I thought it was worth another email to inform those
who didn't know, so we can get together on Sunday and show our respect and
grieve collectively.

Lets also raise a glass at the Tavern after the service to honour the
incredible CFA and Police people (and many many others) that will never
recover from the horrible tasks they are still performing throughout

Many of us live in an tree-lined environment much closer than the
communities that were wiped out. I know it's been on many minds around here.
We have been very lucky.

They'll never know that we gathered to honour them... but we will - lest we forget.

Sorry for the intrusion. See you on Sunday.

Peter Firminger (Thanks to Caroline Maul for letting us know).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hmmm... no comment!

Donor Annual Return

Sydney Gas Operations Pty Ltd

Level 55, 124 Phillip St

Donations made to:

Australian Labor Party (N.S.W. Branch) - NSWPO Box K408
19 Mar 2001$10,000.00
Australian Labor Party (N.S.W. Branch) - NSWPO Box K408
05 Feb 2001$550.00
Australian Labor Party (Tasmanian Branch) - TASGPO Box 1115
01 Aug 2000$100.00
National Party of Australia - NATIONALPO Box E265
06 Jun 2001$2,308.00

From: The AEC Website

Follow up Letter to Ian McDonald

The Hon Ian McDonald MLC
NSW Minister for Primary Industries


I'm sorry if my previous question was too difficult for you to answer (or even acknowledge receipt) in a timely manner. So let's simplify it.

Can you please give a simple YES or NO to this question:

Do the Exploration Licences held by Sydney Gas Ltd (PEL 267, PEL 2 and PEL 5) specify any obligation to drill the entire exploration field, as stated by Mark Harper, meaning that they have an compulsory obligation under PEL 267 to drill in the Wollombi region?

The recipient list will continue to grow the longer you refuse to answer a very simple question Minister.


Peter Firminger
"Bulls Run"
Yango Creek Road
C/- General Store
Wollombi NSW 2325

CC: The Hon Kerry Hickey; The Hon George Souris; Ms Lee Rhiannon; Mr Barry O'Farrell; The Hon Joel Fitzgibbon

AGL Energy up to 92.5% in target Sydney Gas

Having gathered more than 90% of the shares, it is now clear that AGL Energy will force the aquisition of the remaining shares to take over Sydney Gas.

This means that AGL Energy can delist it and forever extinguish the bad name and reputation that Sydney Gas carries and fold it all into their own name.

We have long memories AGL, the reputation that Sydney Gas has (and that of it's employees and directors) will stay here a long long time.

The rats at Sydney Gas are scurrying to do some more dirty work under thair own bad name before this happens, so that AGL doesn't get tagged with it. Yes, I believe it's deliberate and timed for that very reason.

We'll remember... you own 92.5% of it now AGL, You STOP Sydney Gas from breaking agreements made in Broke NOW or you will be tagged with everything that went before.

See for further details from the Hunter Bulga Gas Action Group

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Victorian Bushfires Appeal 2009

Donate to the Victorian Bushfires Appeal 2009 by phoning the Australian Red Cross on 1800 811 700 or donate online here

Note: Wollombi Valley is not in Victoria, it's in the NSW Hunter Valley. Please contact the Red Cross for details of how you can help with donations of goods.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Little brown ropes

I have been overdressed and armed with a steel rake for the past 48 hours after seeing a 1 metre Brown Snake coming across the loungroom towards me while on the phone to Caroline at Planet Ark.

Poor Caroline got an earfull as I screamed an expletive and ran for cover as I was dressed in very little with no shoes.

Unfortunately the camera was out of reach at the times I could see it and I haven't seen it since Wednesday afternoon so I am hoping that it found the way out - but I'm not convinced.

I can't leave the doors open too much as my other adversary, the 2 metre Goanna, will come in (again). So for the first time in years, I'm wearing shoes and jeans in the house (in 35+ heat) and walking around with the rake in case I need to defend myself. Not that I want to kill anything... Guess I'm not up for a bravery award :(

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Letter to Ian McDonald - NSW Minister for Primary Industries

Letter sent on 28-Jan-09 to The Hon Ian McDonald - which so far remains unanswered

Dear Minister,

The General Manager of Sydney Gas Ltd - Mark Harper - has said to the people of Wollombi (and Broke/Bulga) on a number of occasions, that Sydney Gas is obligated under "the Licence" to do exploratory drilling in ALL parts of the exploration licence area. He has said this in relation to justifying the absolute need for Sydney Gas to drill in the vicinity of Wollombi Village, even though they "don't expect to find suitable gas for a production field".

I can supply video of one of the occurrences he has said all this if required.

Can you please provide the text from the license (PEL 267) that frames the terms of this "obligation" to do exploratory drilling in the entire PEL boundary, regardless of the perceived production outcomes at the location.

If Mr Harper is correct, this obligation will be in writing in the license and should be able to be either supplied as text or as a scan of that distinct part of the document.

Can you also confirm whether the same is true for PEL 2 and PEL 5.


Peter Firminger

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Letter to Cessnock Council

Cessnock City Council
Att: Darren McKimm

To whom it may concern,

I am quite bemused by the local politics of the Cunneens Bridge issue in Wollombi and the peer pressure and scaremongering that is going on by a very small group within the community.

Council has clearly listened to the community and option 3 is by far the best for the physical heritage issues of the location, has less cumulative impact on the affected landowners and should be adopted and promptly actioned so that the bridge can carry local, tourist and emergency (heavy fire vehicle) traffic again. Having to store a fire tanker on that side of the bridge for emergency use is a joke.

Council do have something to answer for. The bridge has been left to rot for many years now so it is now beyond hope as a working bridge. It should have been properly maintained and restoration would still be a viable option.

Having said that, those with vested interests within the community that have held this up for far too long are as much to blame. Let's hope no-one dies in a fire due to lack of access by a tanker.

Over the past few weeks, it has been reported that many residents (and visitors for that matter) have been harangued into signing a petition supporting option 2 (upstream) with very little or no explanation of the real issues and the benefits of the downstream options, particularly option 3.

I believe you have already received some emails/letters from signatories retracting their support for the upstream option through that petition, having learned the truth of the matter at a later stage (through either attending or having conversation with people that attended the Progress meeting).

Consequently, that petition should be viewed with very little weight and the letters and emails freely written directly to Council on this issue be the basis of Council's community advice towards their decision.

Yes, landowners on both sides have some legitimate concerns, and the Cunneens Bridge Group has real preservations concerns. Option 3 however, addresses these concerns in the best possible way. Any other proposed interests and reasons for continued fighting are just the dying noises of a losing argument.

On that point, the other issue that is being used as a threat is a letter (with no maps or diagrams) outlining the "Wollombi Brook Cultural Precinct" that states that "This vision will only be possible if the new bridge is built on the UPSTREAM side of Cunneens Bridge", which is just ridiculous! As Council representatives have clearly pointed out (and as evidenced by the plan itself) the confluence of Congewai Creek and Wollombi Brook is nowhere near the bridge and none of the options have any impact whatsoever on "This Vision".

I'm happy to publish that outline of the project if the author would like to send it to me along with their permission, and any Wollombi residents or Council representatives are free to have their say on Wollombi Valley Online (where this letter, the Council Documents and other posts on the issue have been published without favour).

Option 3 has my full support.

I'd like to add three notes.

  1. I'm sure that no-one in this community would mind having the 50km/h local traffic zone extended beyond the bridge from Wollombi, especially if there will be an increase in pedestrian traffic at that location. This could allow the curves to be a little tighter and use even less private land.
  2. The new bridge should not be called "Cunneens Bridge" as the old one with that name will remain. "New Cunneens Bridge" or "Cunneens Crossing" are two options to retain Patrick Cunneen's name.
  3. All signage on bridges crossing Congewai Creek currently incorrectly displaying "Wollombi Brook North Arm" should be replaced and the creek correctly identified.

Let's build a bridge, NOW!


Peter Firminger
Yango Creek Road
C/- Wollombi General Store
4998 3388