Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Get your ticket today!

BURNED - Are trees the new coal?

14th of March, 2019 @ 7pm

Guest Speaker:

Susie Russell (Spokesperson for North Coast Environment Council)

This film highlights a growing trend globally to burn our forests for electricity. The NSW Government have plans for a burgeoning biomass electric power industry on the mid-north coast that is far from sustainable. This feature-length documentary takes an unwavering look at the latest electric power industry solution to climate change. The film tells the story of how woody biomass has become the fossil-fuel industry’s renewable, green savior, and of the people and parties who are both fighting against and promoting its adoption and use.

Get tickets here: 

Wednesday, 23 January 2019


COMMUNITY who see this state election as a once-in-a-generation opportunity will put Coffs Harbour on the map for all the right reasons.

Local high school teacher Mr Jonathan Cassell is the Greens candidate for Coffs Harbour and believes that the Great Koala National Park proposal is our region’s future economic base, especially for today’s young people.

Mr Cassell said, “Koala’s and adventure based tourism will be a big drawcard for visitors to Coffs Harbour. Its not at Byron Bay, its not down at Port Macquarie, its right here at Coffs Harbour and we need to grab this opportunity at this election.”

“If Coffs Harbour is genuine about rejuvenating our economy than the Great Koala National Park is it. Money from tourism ventures like this are expected to seriously ease our unemployment rates and drive public and private investment in development of such areas as world-class mountain biking, hiking and eco-accommodation.”

“I am serious about empowering Coffs Harbour’s youth and I have made a personal pledge that if elected I will donate half of my salary to finding positive outcomes for young people. Over 3 years, that should be at least a $200,000 boost for our youth,” he said.

Mr Cassell also understands climate change is a risk to future generations whose lives will be radically affected by extreme heatwaves, storms, fires, droughts and water shortages.

“Climate change looks very bad if we see what’s already occurring. We need to fast-track NSW’s renewable energy transition, preserve our native forests that store carbon and support the local agricultural industry to become resilient in the face of radically unpredictable weather,” he said.

“I am committed to a healthy world that meets the needs of all in our community. I will rejuvenate our economy, help make our community fairer and stand with nature.”

Mr Justin Field, a NSW Greens MLC, is in Coffs Harbour this week to support Mr Cassell’s candidacy and cannot agree more with the need for a positive vision for Coffs Harbour.

Mr Field said, "We stand at a fork in road. Action on climate challenge is urgent and is a priority for the Greens. There are huge opportunities for this region is terms of new jobs in sustainable agriculture and tourism from acting to protect nature, restoring forests and creating a great Koala National Park, and moving to regenerative land management. Action on climate change is win, win, win for the Coffs Community.”

"I know that Jonathan has the passion and the energy to take these ideas forward as a local representative and to be a genuine community voice in the NSW Parliament,” he said.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Ban the Bag in Coffs Harbour

By Jonathan Cassell

Cr Sally Townley’s Notice of Motion last Thursday night proved overwhelmingly successful as Coffs Harbour Councillors unanimously supported a NSW Greens push to ban single-use plastic bags.

Council will now write to State and Federal Governments urging them to introduce legislation that will ban single use plastic shopping bags.

Council will also contact local retailers to encourage them to voluntarily reduce and ultimately eliminate single use plastic shopping bags from the Coffs Harbour LGA.

This fantastic outcome shows that Coffs Harbour Greens is working together with different tiers of government for positive change in our local community. 

To build on this achievement, however, community-engaged littler campaigners must help keep pressure on our State legislators.

Writing to our local MP Andrew Fraser and telling him in a few words that you support a state wide on ban on plastic bags in NSW is something we can all do.
Under the NSW Greens legislation, lightweight single-use grocery bags with handles and other lightweight bags used to carry away products from retailers, such as take away food or alcohol would be banned.
The following bags would NOT be included in the ban:
  • Barrier bags – the type dispensed from a roll to hold items such as loose fruit and vegetables
  • Heavier style retail bags – the type usually used by clothing and department stores
  • Sturdy bags designed for multiple use such as ‘green’ bags
  • Biodegradable compostable bags that meet the Australian Standard 4736-2006
  • Paper bags
  • Bin liners for purchase
  • Zip lock storage bags
  • Plastic bags that are an integral part of the packaging (such as bread, frozen foods, ice bags or bait bags).
  • Re-usable plastic bags
According to NSW Greens, Australians use over 4 billion plastic grocery-style bags each year with an average use of only 12 minutes and plastic bags have a lifetime of 1000 years.

However, many plastic products are highly problematic. Plastic drink containers for example are actually the biggest problem in our environment making up 50% of total litter volume in New South Wales.
Up to 80 per cent of the litter found in waterways comes from the land and it can have a significant and long-lasting impact on our marine life.
To put this in context, it is estimated that 160 million drink bottles and more than 50 million plastic bags enter our environment every year.
Plastic bottles and plastic bags eventually break down into microplastics and evidence of the impact of those microplastics on our natural marine environment is now overwhelmingly confronting.
The tiny pieces of plastic attract toxins, are eaten by sea life, make their way into the food chain and then onto our plates.
You can now help to reduce plastic usage and be part of the solution. Eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bags are available including the growing popularity of Boomerang Bags.
Plastic pollution is a major waste problem in NSW contributing to landfill and polluting the states waterways, coastlines and oceans. There is no such thing as away!
Please write to Andrew Fraser MP now and tell him you support a ban on single use plastic bags in NSW.
Thank you!
Coffs Harbour Greens Cr Sally Townley and Jonathan Cassell stand for protecting our marine environment.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Victory in Emerald Beach

Environmental Victory for Coffs Harbour Region
    By Jonathan Cassell

Cr Sally Townley addresses Emerald Beach residents prior to Land and Environment Court hearing.
Emerald Beach community celebrated an extraordinary outcome last month when the Land and Environment Court ruled in their favour.

A proposed coastal wetland development north of the existing community was comprehensively dismissed for failing to adequately plan for the future.

In March 2015, Greens councillor Sally Townley moved a council motion to reject the development outright on nine unacceptable reasons.

Council planning staff recommended this development be approved subject to conditions. However, the motion proved successful as a majority of councillors supported Cr Townley to the delight of a rowdy public gallery.

The developer, Pridel developments, then appealed this verdict going to the Land and Environment Court.

Finally on February 7, the court verdict justified community concerns regarding coastal inundation, flooding, emergency exit plans, community disconnection, development footprint, and threat to the adjacent Coffs Coast Regional Park managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The court has now delivered council their first Land and Environment Court win.

As a central campaigner for the Emerald Beach community Group, URGE, the win provides not only personal elation but also a lasting legacy for the region.

This case now sets a precedence for future coastal planning for councils and developers in NSW.

According to the court judgement, the developer application failed, amongst other things, to appropriately consider coastal inundation as a cause for concern risking the safety of its residents.

Sea level rise associated with climate change will impact our coastal region over this century and beyond with high confidence, the court heard.

Due to the high degree of uncertainty, the precautionary principle was argued for since it is likely that the development may become unsuitable.

The proposed development did not accord with the principles of NSW Coastal Policy in that it did not adequately consider the "ecologically sustainable development of the NSW coastline" which includes the principle of intergenerational equity.

In light of the verdict, how did council planners come to recommend this DA for approval? Furthermore, how many other developments are recommended that may also be a risk in the future?

For example, the exclusive gated community of North Sapphire “just metres from the beach” who started selling properties in 2012.

Are council planners understaffed and overwhelmed by complex DA’s leading to poor recommendations or do they simply want the easy way out?

However this court verdict is read, it seems pretty clear that coastal development is dangerous and council should now zone entirely the North Emerald property E2 Conservation. Council planners may also benefit from reading the 2003 NSW Coastal Policy.

In finishing, insufficient assessment of risk and $640 000 worth of court costs later - a rare Coastal Wetheath lives on!

Aerial View of Proposed Development  Image: Trevor Veale Coffs Coast Advocate

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

A Plastic Ocean

By Jonathan Cassell

Marine plastic debris is killing sea birds, whales, and turtles whilst being a potential cause of disease in humans.

Today, more plastic is in the worlds oceans than at any time before and scientific research predicts that if plastic manufacturing continues on current trends then there will be as much plastic in the ocean by 2050 per weight as there are fish.

This is a dangerous development for our world and we need to act collectively to reduce our plastic usage.

Last Thursday night, Sea Shepherd Marine Debris Campaign and Take 3 for the Sea screened the documentary A Plastic Ocean to a sell out crowd.

The documentary by investigative Journalist Craig Leeson illustrates many disturbing examples of plastic pollution and its impacts upon marine and human life.

While the issue goes far beyond our national coastline, Australia could do more to demonstrate responsible leadership to other nations and our own citizenship and significantly limit plastic manufacturing and importation.

This is an issue calling out for genuine innovation Mr Turnbull!

As a culture, however, we are in the dark. The dim lights surrounding this problem are only now beginning to be noticed and political process in Australia seems seriously unresponsive to the crisis.

Are MP’s out of touch and unfit to deal with this gigantic problem?

How can our Nation-State responsibly endorse a plastic industry when we know plastic can take hundreds of years to ‘disappear’?

According to a Productivity Commission Chemicals and Plastics Regulation Report in 2008, plastics contribute to our well being but some can pose substantial risks to health and the environment.

As a society, we signed up to mass plastic production around 70 years ago. Back then, the plastic industry joyfully promoted plastic use would aid our well being. But like tobacco, the plastic industry also fails to account for the pain and suffering it causes.

We need immediate government intervention. 90% of sea birds contain plastic, whales are dying from ingesting plastic, and turtles “stupidly” confuse shopping bags with jelly fish. This is not to be ignored.

Lets make NSW plastic bag free and Ban the Bag.

Please pressure our local MPs Mr Fraser and Mr Hartsuyker to ban single use plastics.

Check out Plastic Ocean at:

Jonathan Cassell with Tim Silverwood from Take 3