Category Archives: Pollution

Under Threat

Developers and Councils are planning 17,000 new homes as well as industry and commercial development on the western foreshores and hinterland of Lake Illawarra. Lake Illawarra Authority chairman Doug Prosser says that the threat to our Lake has never been greater. This would have to be the understatement of the decade. Increased stormwater runoff, rubbish and sewerage overflow cannot possibly be healthy for the lake. But it’s not just the lake. What impact will this have on traffic, employment, air pollution, noise, social equity, access to services and quality of life? I’d like to think that developers and council have our best interests at heart, but I’m afraid bitter experience proves otherwise.

These western Illawarra developments are a miniature representation of the “Big Australia” debate. How much of our natural beauty, limited resources and quality of life are we as a community willing to sacrifice? Simple maths tells us that exponential growth cannot continue on a planet or in a community with finite resources. Even astonishing technological advance will only delay the inevitable. Somewhere, sometime a line needs to be drawn. The only question is when we draw that line and what sort of living conditions we want from that time forward. We can make that decision proactively, or we can have it foisted upon us by famine, thirst and civil unrest. Recently we were only six months short of running out of water.

So Rod Oxley was right. Wollongong needs a vision (but not his). We need a vision of a low impact, sustainable future that delivers a reasonable quality of life to all the members of our community. We also need a way for communities to have a voice. This is not just to “have a say” but to actually shape the decisions which affect our lives. Communities have spoken about all these developments. However, as usual, all levels of Government have placed the economic benefit of a few above the wants and needs of the community. It’s not just the Lake, but our children’s future that is under an insidious threat.


Wollongong gets poor green rating – Local News – News – General – Illawarra Mercury

Illawarra Mercury 15 June 2010.

This is no surprise given the State Government’s propensity for giving away land to developers at bargain basement prices and building houses on high quality agricultural land. CRED calls on council to keep Tallawarra Point and Calderwood green.


15 Jun, 2010 04:00 AM

Wollongong is the worst ranked of all Australian cities when it comes to coping with emerging environmental pressures such as climate change, a national report has revealed.

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s Sustainable Cities Index, which measured the eco-credentials of the nation’s 20 largest cities across 15 indicators, found Wollongong was Australia’s least “resilient” city – the most likely to falter under major environmental stress.

The unflattering result was due to a low education rate, comparably poor public health, a scarcity of volunteers and a lack of local food production, the index showed.

Just 35 per cent of people aged over 20 have completed Year 12 or equivalent, and almost 7 per cent of the city’s population suffers Type 2 diabetes.

High levels of household loan repayments also contributed to the result.

In terms of overall sustainability, Darwin was ranked No 1.

Wollongong placed 17th, ahead of Newcastle, Geelong and Perth.

Australian Conservation Foundation spokeswoman Monica Richter said a sense of community would help cities stay resilient in the face of threats such as global warming or a peak oil crisis.

“A city with a strong sense of community, volunteering and more places for local food production is better placed to deal with future challenges, by giving people a sense of strong, cohesive community around them,” she said.

“Wollongong has some way to go – it is doing very well in some areas and poorly in others.”

The city also ranked worst in air quality, measuring 2.5 times more particulate matter per cubic metre of air than the best performing city, the Sunshine Coast.

But Wollongong scored well in water usage, low rates of private car ownership and climate change policies put in place by local government.

Cunningham MP Sharon Bird questioned the pessimistic snapshot.

“I very much dispute the argument that somehow there is a major problem in our region that makes it a negative overall – it’s sad to rank in a way that insinuates the bottom cities are not going well,” Ms Bird said.

Conceding youth unemployment and school retention rates were problematic, the Wollongong community boasted a “very deep sense of the need to look after each other”, she said.

Cunningham Greens candidate George Takacs said while Wollongong may have low rates of private car ownership, public transport did not make up the shortfall. He was also concerned about the Illawarra’s hunger for new housing areas, claiming it was eating up valuable agricultural land.

via Wollongong gets poor green rating – Local News – News – General – Illawarra Mercury.

Letter to Anthony Savenkov – Ticking Time Bomb

Avalynne Wilby wrote this to Anthony Savenkov from TRU.


Since my request for this information I have accessed a few of the documents on the net, from Council and Maureen Magee who is on your community group . I live in Koonawarra and I have no dispute with the Power Station itself. I do however have environmental based concerns and infrastructure issues relating to cost and the proposed development around the site on the rezoned lands. I believe there is a need for another public consultation or a public forum to address some of the residents concerns. I know some of the residents who attended the CRED meetings, I attended, would welcome the opportunity to ask some questions and have their interpretations of the issues clarified. Now that the technology for the next stage is being considered it would be a good time for this forum.

Council itself in the process of reviewing its consultation processes and has had a number of community forms and events to engage the community in this process. An open day at the site ( which would have its own issues) may be timely.

Any antagonism is not going to go away. I find the more I read, and the more people I talk to who worked on the site, pre TXU, the more concerned I am about the long term environmental and financial costs to the community. I am also concerned about the immediate issues involving how the site was used in the 1950 to 80’s and the way the site was dismantled . One report is the last building on the site was ‘blown’ up. Which would have been exciting for some workers on the site. However the bad news is the building concerned contained, in part, asbestos , more than one type it would seem. After the event the area was liberally coated with fine dust and powder all of which contained fine particles of asbestos. There are also reports that petroleum and toxic waste was also dumped on the site in a number of locations during the period the power station was operated by the State Gov. Which may explain why it went so cheap and Pacific Power did not want to keep it!!??!!

The horrible thought is that TXU may have been sold an environmental time bomb. tick, tick……



Letter to Admins re Pollution

Maureen wrote this excellent letter:

  To the Administrators of Wollongong City Council

CRED has been exploring avenues for increased employment in East Dapto.  We see many possibilities and are currently working with several  economists to assist us in writing up our plans and to apply for funding for these. 
We note that according to the Mercury, WCC is involved presently in  some funded program re employment in Dapto. CRED has not been informed or included in this. Previously WCC contributed money to a study of the employment possibilities for the Tallawarra site. Local people were not consulted in that either.
Our next public meeting will be honoured to have Graham Larcombe address us. He has recently written the Economic Development Framework for the City of Sydney. That framework focuses on innovation and skills development initiatives.  We hope to use his ideas for promoting clever employment strategies for our unemployed here in Dapto. 
 We have been contacted by some older residents of the Illawarra who have kept a long and comprehensive series of reports on the asbestos pollution at  Tallawarra.  This material is very disturbing and negatively effects some of the ideas we had for employment there. We, until now, had no idea how polluted the Tallawarra site is. We knew from previous employees about PCB’s and other industrial waste in the ash dams, but now we have been made aware  how serious the asbestos contamination of the lands is.
There are many many media reports (Illawarra Mercury) and media photos of asbestos being spread over the entire site. On some occasions thrown about by workers having “snowball fights”, by media reports of bags of asbestos being left lying about on the site, the explosions of the buildings and stacks shown in media photos of massive dust fallout including  asbestos over the site, workers whose job it was to direct trucks where to dump  industrial waste from off site,  wives of those Tallawarra workers who later died of mesothelioma and others who are alive but have asbestosis. Many of the witnesses have died of mesothelioma and various other cancers but there are still enough of them alive to give witness to the asbestos and chemical pollution of the site. The media reports are substantial whether one had live witnesses or not. Recently TRUenergy took down the signs all around the perimeter of the property warning people of the asbestos dangers there.
It appears that the actual building envelope for the power station may have been remediated but it would be impossible for the rest of the site to be so remediated.
We are disappointed as this knowledge reduces some of the positive plans we had, but it makes it more than clear that development of the Tallawarra site will be a very dangerous matter. It may be impossible to develop it for more than the power stations,( hopefully for  two CCGT’s, rather than a diesel fired OCGT), and some small area of carefully considered employment lands.
Our next public meeting July the 4th at 7.00pm at the Koonawarra bay Sailing Club will be a public exposure of the serious pollution issues at Tallawarra with a focus on asbestos.

Maureen Magee
02 42611392