The Greens candidate for Page Kudra Falla-Ricketts joined residents of the lower Clarence in a pop up protest against a proposal for industrialisation of the Port of Yamba.
Australia Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd and Deakin Capital Pty Ltd are currently lobbying government to allow the construction of a large industrial port in the Clarence River estuary.
The latest version of this proposal has increased the size of port infrastructure so that is covers an estimated 36 sq km of the Clarence River estuary.
That’s over 27 per cent of the entire estuary covered with container, liquid and bulk terminals and at least 14 associated shipping berths – operating 24 hours a day for up to 365 days a year.
The Greens have declared their opposition to the proposal and could become an electoral lightening rod for voters worried about the impacts of the proposed Yamba mega industrial port proposal.
‘I have been meeting with residents here and their concerns are very real and heart felt,’ Ms Falla-Ricketts said.
‘It reminds me of the anguish that the threat of industrial gasfields generated in this region. If the proposed redevelopment were ever to proceed it would irreversibly damage the character, economy and environment of the Lower Clarence.’
‘Industrialisation of the Clarence river on this scale would do untold damage to the tourism and fishing industries of the region, damage the riverine and marine environment and potentially open the door to coal and coal seam gas exports and even live cattle exports,’ Ms Falla-Ricketts said.
‘The commercial fishing industry is worth at least $92m annually, and generates over 400 jobs. Tourism is one of the lower Clarence’s greatest economic assets generating $280 m annually and recreational fishing is a big part of that. Add to this the destruction of the relaxed lifestyle for residents of Yamba, Iluka and beyond and you have an industrialisation proposal that is immensely destructive,’ Ms Falla-Ricketts said.
‘This proposal relies on large amounts of Chinese capital to open up an industrial port possibly to oversee the last shipments of coal into a world that is kicking the coal habit. Instead of investing in yesterday’s fossil fuel economy, we should be proud of region’s assets and support our existing sustainable industries and lifestyles.
‘The threat of livestock export out of Yamba would also horrify many people and it is also a threat to meat industry workers and to family farming. The Chinese agricultural companies prefer to buy farms rather than farm produce so this port could also initiate a foreign land grab in the region.
‘This is a destructive corporate thought bubble that threatens our region and federal and state local members need to reassure this community that it will never happen.
‘At a time when we should be investing in renewable energy, sustainable fishing, tourism and farming, we are being threatened with this major industrialisation project.’
‘Communities of the lower Clarence and throughout the Page electorate can make their opposition to this proposal clear on July 2 by voting 1 Green then preferencing which ever other candidates can give an assurance they will oppose this destructive plan.’