Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Developer may sue to trigger rethink on sea level rises

Warmist-inspired laws and regulations being tested in court! Could be fun

CRACKS are appearing in the state's response to rising sea levels, with one council facing potential legal action from a developer and other residents worried about planning controls and insurance risks.

Lake Macquarie Council recently updated its recommendations for about 10,000 people living up to three metres above the average sea level. All their properties could be exposed to inundation and increased flood risks by the end of the century, according to guidelines developed by the CSIRO.

But a property developer, Jeff McCloy, said he was contemplating leading a class action suit against the council, which he said was "falling for this unjustified, worldwide idiocy about sea level rises".

Mr McCloy recently arranged for climate change sceptics Ian Plimer, Bob Carter and David Archibald to address residents and councillors, and said the presentation seemed to convince many people there was nothing to worry about.

It comes as the NSW government reassesses its plans regarding sea level rises, including the possibility of a moratorium on sea level-related planning restrictions until more studies are done.

Mr McCloy is seeking to gain approval for a subdivision of 24 homes that is likely to be affected by the Lake Macquarie planning guidelines.

"This is not about me though; this is about the poor little property owner who had had hundreds of thousands of dollars knocked off the value of their property," Mr McCloy said.

He said he had studied sea level rise on the internet and concluded it was rising at only a very slow rate, and that rate had slowed in the past decade, so any planning restrictions were unjustified.

Lake Macquarie Council said its guidelines were based on rational science. "Our position is informed by the available evidence," said the council's sustainability manager, Alice Howe.

"In November last year we revised our policy in light of new flood-mapping, and we have written to all the affected residents," Dr Howe said. The area in question consists of a low-lying area near the lake that is expected to be partly submerged by the end of the century, a middle zone that could be affected by extreme weather and high tides, and an outer zone including areas up to three metres above sea level that could be affected by extreme events in 2100.

The mapping is based on coastal projections developed under the previous state government that used CSIRO studies to determine sea level heights as climate change intensifies in coming decades.

A committee chaired by the the Environment Minister, Robyn Parker, will review the coastal planning guidelines. "Establishing this task force is an important step in ensuring that NSW has the best arrangements in place to manage coastal erosion and other coastal hazards," a spokesman for the minister said.


Australian state of NSW toughens law for Muslim veils‏

Muslim women in Australia's most populous state will have to remove veils to have their signatures officially witnessed under the latest laws giving New South Wales officials authority to look under religious face coverings.

New South Wales state Attorney General Greg Smith said in a statement on Monday that beginning April 30, officials such as justices of the peace and lawyers who witness statutory declarations or affidavits without making identity checks will be fined 220 Australian dollars ($236). "If a person is wearing a face covering, an authorized witness should politely and respectfully ask them to show their face," Smith said.

The government on Monday began an information campaign to ensure the public and officials were aware of the new penalties before they came into force. The laws are a response to a court case last year in which a Sydney woman was convicted of falsely claiming that a traffic policeman had attempted to remove her niqab — a veil that reveals only the eyes.

A judge overturned the conviction because the official who witnessed the false claim did not look under the veil of the person who made it, so the judge was not certain that the defendant was responsible.

The latest laws were passed Dec. 23 by the state parliament. They follow New South Wales laws passed last year that introduced a $5,500 fine and a 12-month prison sentence for anyone who refuses to remove face coverings when requested to do so by police.

Ikebal Patel, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils an advocate for Australian Muslims, said while some Muslims regarded the laws as a knee-jerk reaction to the court case, the majority did not object. "I don't object as long as the laws are enforced with respect and sensitivity," Patel said.

Patel said he was also a justice of the peace and would never witness a document without seeking proof of the author's identity. He said Muslim women can find female justices of the peace working at most post offices. Women who object to showing policemen their faces have an option of being taken to a police station where their identities can be confirmed by a female official.

New South Wales laws demanding the removal of religious face coverings are an Australian first, although other states including Victoria and Western Australia are considering similar legislation. Muslims are a rapidly growing minority of 400,000 within Australia's Christian-majority population of 23 million.


Bob Katter claims LNP 's Campbell Newman insulted Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen

Very unwise of Newman. There are still a lot of people around who voted for Joh and have fond memories of him

KATTER'S Australia Party leader Bob Katter yesterday angrily accused Campbell Newman of "spitting on the grave" of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and insulting Lady Flo.

"What a dirty, low, filthy act," Mr Katter said of the LNP leader's suggestion the Bjelke-Petersen government was corrupt. "Who does this Johnny-come-lately, this little lightweight fella, think he is?"

Mr Katter said Sir Joh and the National Party had presided over the building of much of the state's infrastructure while Mr Newman was living interstate.

Mr Newman made the remarks in Kingaroy, close to where Lady Flo still lives at the family homestead Bethany.

"He (Newman) spits on the grave of a man unable to defend himself," said Mr Katter, a long-standing member of the Bjelke-Petersen government, which ruled Queensland for a generation. He said the old National Party government was not corrupt. "Members of the police force were and we investigated that, at great (political) cost to ourselves," he said.

Former main roads minister Russ Hinze was charged with corruption but died before his trial, while Sir Joh's trial ended in a hung jury.

Mr Katter spent yesterday on the Gold Coast, releasing a $15 million arts policy before having a drink with locals.


Prisons a revolving door for criminals, says Australian Institute of Criminology report

AUSTRALIA'S prisons are a revolving door, with close to half of all criminals released returning to prison or being put on home detention orders within two years.

The Sunday Mail can reveal the Australian Institute of Criminology's annual report confirms recidivism by former prison inmates remains a major problem.

Just two years after jail inmates were released, 38 per cent had returned to prison under sentence and 44 per cent were in jail or on community correction orders.

According to a national census of the prison population, there were nearly 30,000 people in prison in 2010, with the rate of imprisonment increasing by 97 per cent in the past 30 years.

One in four prisoners is Aboriginal, with indigenous Australians 18 times more likely to be imprisoned than white Australians.

On the plus side, the number of victims of robbery in 2010 was the lowest since 1996, with 14,582 victims. That's a substantial decrease since 2001 when 26,591 victims of robbery were recorded in official statistics.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said the good news from the national snapshot was that home break-ins and violent crimes were decreasing.

A snapshot of crime in Australia has also confirmed women are most likely to be attacked by a partner or family member while men are most likely to be assaulted by a friend at work or at a pub or club.

Cocaine arrests are also booming with 15 per cent of male detainees at Sydney's Kings Cross police station testing positive for the drug.

In Melbourne's Footscray, a startling 43 per cent of detainees in police cells tested positive for heroin. But the most common drug Australians are arrested for carrying is marijuana.

Car theft had also reduced by 61 per cent over the last decade.

The report also reveals that the most common weapon used in homicide is a knife, which accounted for nearly 40 per cent of all murders.

The number of victims of robbery in 2010 was also lowest on record since 1996, with 14,582 victims. That's a substantial decrease since 2001 when 26,591 victims of robbery were recorded in official statistics.

Marijuana was involved in the highest number of drug-related arrests with 57,170 arrests.


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