Jimboomba Times, September 5, 2012

No surprises here. Red herrings, obfuscation, attacks on residents – these appear to be the appellant and his supporters’ stock-in-trade.  Mr Hogan did tell me that, as a co-respondent with Council, he was met with, ‘You don’t even live on Harvest Road so why should you care’ and ‘If anyone else really cared about this, why aren’t they here?’   Mr Hogan pointed to the 50+ submissions as proof of the strength of residents’ opposition.

From our point of view, Mr Hogan represents the residents in mediation – and we are grateful for his involvement – especially after we learned that it would cost $75 for each person who registered as a co-respondent, which most people here can ill afford – not to mention the impost on our time. However, these remarks prompted us to inquire if we could belatedly register as co-respondents ourselves – but we were informed that we could not.

Oh Mr Higgins, Mr Higgins, you just won’t give up, will you?  here is my response (sent to the Jimboomba Times September 5, 2012 – an edited version – sans some of the last paragraph – was published on September 12 – guess that means we have to buy more classified ads in the JT if we want to publicise this blog):

Once again, Douglas Higgins accuses Greenbank residents of spreading ‘misinformation’ and ‘lacking understanding’ about agricultural chemicals.

He then discusses the ‘withholding periods’ before harvested food is safe to eat.  But our concern is that spraying crops close to where we and our families live contaminates the air we breathe.  What kind of ‘withholding period’ would you suggest applies here, Mr Higgins?

His statement that ‘the farm was there first’ is incorrect.  The house at 50 Harvest Road was built long before the farm was established.  Not long after its establishment this farm failed to contain its runoff, resulting in neighbours having to come to the then home owner’s rescue as the continually soggy ground threatened to undermine the house’s foundations.  The neighbour who did this work discussed this event in his objection to Council.

Just last year, this same farm increased the size of its dam, which in the next heavy rain event caused flooding to other neighbours, destroying the access track they use to reach their home.  On this occasion, again, neighbours stepped in to fix this problem, hiring heavy machinery and doing the work themselves.

What right do these non-resident farms have to undermine their neighbours’ homes and driveways?  They have taken no responsibility for these events, much less contributed labour or money to remedy these situations.  They have also refused to accept responsibility for the wildlife deaths we residents have witnessed directly after crop spraying.

Mr Higgins, clearly it is you who ‘lack understanding’.  We now know more about the long-term dangers of chemical exposure. By your archaic reasoning, it would also be fine to be exposed to asbestos, as no one complained about it 40 years ago!  I’d suggest you need to visit the library, and visit our website: safegreenbanknow.wordpress.com.  There, you can read the relevant planning guidelines, as well as residents’ submissions, media coverage, and our considered responses to your recent missives.  We have studied the science, the guidelines, and the law, and posted the information where anyone can access it.  I suggest you need to do this before commenting further.

Liz Hall-Downs

And here is another response (sent to the Jimboomba Times September 6, 2012):

More Understanding Needed by Farmers

There was not one iota of ‘misinformation’ in Mr Hogan’s article ‘Testing Was Done Too Late’ (JT 29/9/2012) The same could not be said for Mr Higgins’ latest epistle. His statement ‘There is no buffer zone required’ is inaccurate, mischievous, and ignores empirical agricultural science. The ‘buffer areas’ proposed by the Guidelines attendant to State Planning Policy 1/92: Development and the Conservation of Agricultural Land was developed in conjunction with numerous organisations including Growcom, Qld. Farmers Federation, Australian Cotton Foundation, Qld. Dairy Farmers Assoc, Qld. Grain Growers Council, Dept. of Primary Industries and many more. It has become the yardstick by which every shire in Queensland has attempted to form their local planning policies. Clearly Mr Higgins believes these august farming  bodies are all misguided.

I noted that Mr Hogan’s contention that EHP waited 42 days from the magpie kill to test the farm in question was studiously avoided. That detail is not easily justified by those pretending to believe that the relevant authorities are correctly exercising their proper duty of care. Perhaps Mr Higgins might consider contacting EHP and Bio-security Queensland and asking them why they waited so long and did not release the hard data to the public.

As for the magpie deaths, there are a number of scenarios in which the farmer’s activities could have readily caused this most recent bird kill. I’ll paint one of them for you. Directly after a substantial pesticide spray event the farmers decide to do a cull some cucumbers too spotty to take to market. They throw all the culled vegetables onto a huge pile outside. (This has been observed out here.) This festering mass attracts insects and omnivorous birds. The birds feed on the vegetable matter and pesticide-ridden insects until – through direct ingestion and bio-accumulation – eventually a critical mass of residue is ingested.

Many are fond of painting a rosy universe in which well-educated wildlife-loving farmers ply their trade. Well tra-la-la. If only it were so. Yes, more understanding is needed Mr Higgins. On that point we agree.

Kim Downs, Greenbank

And now, for the good news!  Logan City Council will support Greenbank residents in their objection to the small-lot development on Pub Lane proposed by Teviot Downs estate.   Well done, Logan City Council!  And here’s today’s quotable quote:  ‘The submission (pays) “scant regard to preserving the peaceful, open-space residential lifestyle of Greenbank residents, which is of the utmost importance to council.”‘   Well, excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor!  Those of us living cheek-by-jowl with intensive agriculture igloo farms have been fighting for this very thing – for council to treat our valid and demonstrable concerns as being of ‘the utmost importance’.  We’re still waiting.

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