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News Archive, May - October 2008

News items from May – October 2008

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2 October 2008

Marjason elected as Palerang Mayor

At the first meeting of the newly elected Palerang Council held on 2 October, Ian Marjason was elected Mayor in a 5-4 result, beating Catherine Moore in the two-round, secret ballot.

There were three nominations for Mayor – Cr Terry Bransdon, Cr Ian Marjason and Cr Catherine Moore. After each candidate made a three minute statement, the first ballot was held with Bransdon gaining 2 votes, Marjason 4 votes, and Moore 3 votes. Bransdon was excluded from the next round where Marjason gained 5 votes to Moore's 4 votes.

In the ballot for Deputy Mayor, Cr Moore was successful. There were three nominations for the position – Cr Judith Miller, Cr Richard Graham and Cr Catherine Moore. Cr Miller was the first candidate excluded, with Moore successful in the second round against Graham.

The positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor are held for a 12 month period, after which time new ballots are held.

Council meetings

Council also resolved to change the meeting schedule to meet monthly with an additional workshop scheduled for the third Thursday of the month. Ordinary Council meetings will start at 2 pm. The previous council had maintained an arduous schedule meeting twice monthly, alternating between Braidwood and Bungendore, with additional workshops. The 6 pm start to these meetings resulted in late finishes, often past 10.30 pm.

Cr Bransdon moved a motion to hold all 11 Council meetings in the Bungendore Council offices. This was opposed by a number of Councillors who wanted to maintain some meetings to be held in Braidwood. Cr Moore proposed a schedule of meetings that took in outlying areas, including Captains Flat and Burra.

The decision on Council meeting location was deferred until the November meeting so that Council may consider all options.

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26 July 2008

Dog Attack alert

One of the Maremma dogs seen on Burra Road on 25 July 2008.Marauding dogs have been responsible for three separate attacks on stock and wildlife in Burra this week.

The first incident took place on Monday, 21 July when two white Maremmas attacked cattle on a property on Plummers Road. On Thursday, 24 July two apparently identical dogs attacked llamas and goats on a property on London Bridge Road. Fortunately, in both instances due to the quick action of the property owners who were home when the attacks took place, no stock were seriously injured. However in both incidents the dogs turned on the livestock owners who had rushed to the assistance of their animals.

It is believed that Palerang Council was notified about both attacks but no action was taken until Friday morning when two dogs matching the same description were seen chasing kangaroos on a property opposite the junction of Burra Road and Candy Road. A witness also notified Wildcare about a seriously injured kangaroo believed to be a victim of the dog attack. The dogs were seen a short time later roaming on the Burra Road between Plummers Road and near the bridge over the Burra Creek. One of the dogs lunged at a local resident who tried to catch them, however the resident was able to photograph the dogs (see photo above). Photographs have been sent to Palerang Council together with a statement.

It is believed the dogs are still at large.

Palerang Council has letterboxed households in the immediate vicinity advising of an increase in the number and seriousness of complaints about straying dogs. The notice highlights that the Companion Animals Act 1998 provides for penalties for owners who allow dogs to be in a public place not under the effective control of a competent person. Under Section 13 of the Act, competent control is defined as an adequate chain, cord or leash, not roaming free.

Palerang Council is seeking information from local residents that can be used to address the increading problem of straying animals in Burra. The Council's contact in this regard is Barry Osmond, Assistant Engineer - Operations, on
1300 735 025. Palerang Council has general responsible for dog control and can have dangerous dogs impounded or destroyed.

Owners of straying dogs are reminded that under Section 22 of the Companion Animals Act 1998, landholders may destroy or injure any dogs harassing their stock. In addition, many landholders in Burra and Urila lay 1080 Poison baits to control foxes. These baits are extremely attractive to canines and will result in death if consumed.

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14 July 2008

Palerang Council seeks boundary inquiry

Palerang Councillors voted to seek a public inquiry into Palerang's boundaries with neighbouring Councils. The decision was taken at the Council meeting in Braidwood on Thursday 10 th July 2008, after members of BURRA attended and asked Council to support an inquiry into the BURRA boundary submission, which seeks to relocate Burra, Urila and all of Royalla in the Queanbeyan City Council area.

The Council meeting agenda included a request from the local Government Boundaries Commission for Council's response to the BURRA submission, as well as an item discussing a proposal to alter the boundary between Palerang and Goulburn Mulwaree Councils in the Taylor 's Creek Road/Woodlawn area north of Bungendore.

Councillors voted to ask for a public inquiry to revisit the boundaries established during the 2003 amalgamations which merged Tallaganda and Yarrowlumla Shires into what later became Palerang Shire. Following the merger, Palerang was left with a huge geographic area without a major population centre.

At a meeting earlier this month, Queanbeyan City Council had already resolved to ask the Boundaries Commission to hold a public inquiry into the BURRA submission.

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8 July 2008

Queanbeyan Council votes for a public inquiry into boundary adjustment

The Boundaries Commission has written to both Queanbeyan and Palerang Councils seeking their view on BURRA's boundary adjustment proposal.

Queanbeyan Councillors considered the matter at at a Council Workshop held on Wednesday, 26 June. A Mayoral Minute (PDF 462 kb) states that it was generally expressed that Council would welcome a public inquiry into this proposal and would reconsider the proposal once the information under Section 263(3) was made known to Council. At their meeting on 2 July, Queanbeyan City Council council voted to request that the Boundaries Commission conduct an inquiry into the proposal.

Speaking in support of the motion to request an inquiry, Cr Kerry White stated that while he thought that there may be a cost impost on the existing Queanbeyan ratepayers should the proposal go ahead, Council did not have enough information to make an informed decision on the matter. An inquiry would provide information for the Council to better understand the implications.

Palerang Council will consider the matter at their meeting on 10 July 2008 in Braidwood. The meeting starts at 6 pm.

Disappointingly, from the business papers published on their website, it appears that Palerang Council will not support the residents' desire for an inquiry by the Boundaries Commission into the proposal. Although unable to supply information about the rates collected and corresponding expenditure on the B/U/R area, Palerang claims that the rest of the ratepayers would suffer if the proposal goes ahead (or alternatively, that we are a drain on their resources so QCC would not want us!).

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8 July 2008

Gas-fired power station for Williamsdale?

Confusion surrounds ActewAGL announcement to build a 500MW Gas-fired power station at Williamsdale.

The original announcement, made on 25 June by outgoing ActewAGL CEO John Mackay, stated that the organisation was negotiating with a land owner to purchase a property in Williamsdale for the construction of the power station. In a radio interview on ABC666 radio on the same day, Mr Mackay failed to identify the property but said that it was located some distance from neighbouring properties and "would not be seen" by any of neighbours nor from the Monaro Highway.

The vagueness of the news reports and Mr Mackay's assurances about the project prompted BURRA to contact ActewAGL for more information. Previous experience with developers of industrial power generation plants in our neighbourhood, namely Acciona Energy's now defunct industrial wind plant on Molonglo Ridge, have taught us a lesson in not taking such assurances at face value.

In a statement sent to BURRA on 7 June, ActewAGL claim that they are only in a pre-feasibility study phase and that another company, TransGrid, is negotiating with the property owner for the purpose of constructing a 330,000/132,000V substation to provide a second point of electricity supply into the ACT to supplement the existing major electricity supply point in northern Canberra. ActewAGL will construct 132,000V transmission lines from this new substation some 16km through to Theodore and are negotiating with leaseholders along the transmission line route to acquire an easement for the line.

ActewAGL's statement is at odds with earlier media reports that ActewAGL is in negotiations to buy a privately owned, 210ha grazing property at Williamsdale, south of Canberra, for the project. According to a report in The Canberra Times on 30 June, the property is owned by Queanbeyan resident Winston Nash who confirmed that he had been approached by the ActewAGL consortium and that contracts were being drawn up.

The property in question is located at Williamsdale (Block 1653, District of Tuggeranong). The property abuts the Monaro Highway and the southern border of the ACT. Maps of the property location can be viewed online at ACTMapi by searching for the Rural Block number.

BURRA will be seeking further information about the project, in particular a clarification of ActewAGL's intentions in light of conflicting reports about the status of the property purchase.

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8 July 2008

Catchment group to examine Murrumbidgee to Googong pipeline

The Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Co-ordinating Committee will be considering ACTEW's Murrumbidgee to Googong pipeline proposal at their next General Meeting on 30 July.

Graham Crostin and Stacey Thompson from ACTEW's Water Security Program will be talking about their work on the Murrumbidgee to Googong pipeline project. The meeting offers the opportunity for some serious questioning and to get some focus on best environmental practice for the project, particularly the effect on the Burra Creek past the outfall.

The meeting will be held in the Monaro Room at the Queanbeyan Community Centre in Crawford St, commencing at 9:30am.

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21 June 2008

Another 50+ new homes for Burra?

Two proposals submitted by landholders to re-zone greenfield land to provide over 50 new homes within Burra are highlighted in Palerang Council's Rural Residential, Rural and Environmental Areas Discussion Paper.

Importantly, and despite comments made as recently as last year by Palerang's Mayor and Burra resident, Jim Maclachlan, that large-scale sub-division in Burra was "finished", these proposals involve two parcels of land, located at Williamsdale Rd/Warm Corner, and Keewong Lane.

Written comments and submissions regarding Palerang's Rural Residential, Rural and Environmental Areas Discussion Paper close on 27 June 2008. The paper discusses important topics such as appropriate lot sizes and whether the existing rural residential areas in Burra should be re-zoned to 'Environmental Living'.

The full discussion paper is available on Palerang Council's website.

Details of the re-zoning proposals for Williamsdale Rd/Warm Corner, and Keewong Lane, including maps, are in Section 10.15 and 10.16 of the paper (pages 102 and 103).

Williamsdale Road/Warm Corner Re-zoning

Council's discussion paper states that this land has an area of about 310 hectares and is located off Williamsdale Road adjoining the western edge of the rural residential zone in Burra. A tentative subdivision layout has not been submitted and the potential allotment yield would be dependant on the subdivision provisions of the new Palerang LEP. Should the land be zoned for Rural Residential development, and the current subdivision of 6 hectare lots is applied, the re-zoning could result in a further 51 dwellings.

Keewong Lane Re-zoning

Council has not specified the size of this potential re-zoning, nor the number of homes it could accommodate.

General Rezoning (Section 9 of paper, page 84)

The discussion paper suggests that current rural residential areas in Burra could be re-zoned to E4, Environmental Living. Unfortunately, the paper does not provide specific detail about what planning restrictions would apply in this zone, however, BURRA will endeavour to findout and provide an update on this web-site as soon as possible.

Generally, the E4 zone is intended for land with special environmental or scenic values where residential development could be accommodated. The Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) has suggested that E4 should not be used for any lands with high conservation values and that such areas should be zoned E2 or E3. Also, DECC would not advocate the use of E4 in lands with contiguous forest canopy cover of any sort, as the likely density of dwellings envisioned by an E4 zoning would lead to fragmentation of such forest areas.

Consequently DECC considers the E4 zoning may be appropriate for:

  • land which does not have high conservation values but which has fragmented canopy cover, where impacts of new building envelopes and roads can be minimised, and

  • existing rural residential areas where significant environmental values remain.

Palerang's discussion paper proposes that this zone may be the most appropriate for all or part of the existing rural residential areas that are located away from towns and villages and which have significant areas of high or moderate conservation value vegetation, for example Bywong/Wamboin, Burra/Urila and Carwoola.

Have your say

Comments on the Rural Residential, Rural and Environmental Areas Discussion Paper close on 27 June 2008. To comment on the two development proposals for Burra, rezoning, or anything in the rural areas discussion paper, you should write to:

The General Manager
Palerang Council
PO Box 348

Or by email to

Enquiries about the discussion paper should be directed to:

John Wright
Manager Strategic Planning
Palerang Council
PO Box 348

Telephone 6238 8144

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16 June 2008

Curfew4Canberra petition closing soon

Curfew4Canberra, a non-profit community-based organization, is seeking support for a night time curfew at the Canberra Airport.

Recently proposed developments at the Canberra Airport complex include a 24 hour international freight hub, development of a parallel third runway and in excess of 280,000 flight movements per annum (or one aircraft arriving or departing every 2 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). These changes will have significant social and environmental impacts on the ACT and surrounding regions, including Burra and Urila.

Curfew4Canberra is seeking the Federal Government's agreement to a night time curfew at Canberra Airport between 11.00 pm and 6.00 am as a crucial first step in protecting the rights of local ACT and Queanbeyan citizens from the unacceptable intrusions of excessive aircraft noise.


As part of their campaign, Curfew4Canberra is circulating a petition to be presented to the Federal Parliament and the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, the Federal Minister responsible for approving developments at the Canberra Airport.

Your signature on this petition will help make Governments aware of widespread community concern with the proposed Canberra Airport developments and the need to take action to address these concerns. Please return any signed petitions by 20 June 2008.

Curfew4Canberra will continue to oppose the introduction of the proposed 24 hour freight hub, a third runway and further development of Canberra Airport as Sydney's second airport and press Governments at all levels to address community concerns before any further developments at Canberra Airport are approved.

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31 May 2008

Molonglo Wind Farm runs out of puff

Plans to build a controversial wind farm on the nearby Molonglo Ridge have been dumped by the developer, Acciona Energy.

The wind farm faced overwhelming opposition from communities on both sides of the ridge who formed the Molonglo Landscape Guardians (MLG) to fight the proposal. The MLG consistently argued that the proposed site was too close to homes, too close to wildlife habitat, and too close to water catchment areas.

In a media release from the company, Acciona's Managing Director, Brett Thomas said that the site did not meet their standards as appropriate development. Why it took the developer four years to come to the same conclusion as the community is unclear.

From the beginning, the project had a record of flawed community consultion. MLG spokesperson and Burra resident, Wendy Bell, described Acciona's treatment of the community as "shoddy" and say residents were left in the dark for over three years.

"Even Acciona's 'Molonglo Wind Energy' website has not been updated since March 2005. In fact, our group has done much more to inform the community about the development than Acciona has ever done " she said.

The Molonglo wind farm project was transferred to Acciona by a a privately held Proprietary Limited Company, New Energy Partners, in 2002. It took another two years before Acciona made its plans for the 60 turbine industrial wind installation known to the local community. By this time, a single landholder had been signed up to a confidential agreement to host the turbines.

In 2004, Acciona (formerly known as EHN Oceania) conducted four local meetings in Carwoola, Burra, Queanbeyan and, inexplicably, Lyons in the ACT. At each of these meetings, the proponents encountered vocal and overwhelming opposition from the hundreds of attendees.

The company last released information to the community in March 2005. At a packed council meeting in Braidwood in May 2005, the Palerang Council unanimously voted to refuse Acciona's application for additional wind monitoring towers on the site after residents voiced their opposition.

Ms Bell said that residents' protests had won the support of politicians at every level of government and believes this turned the tide against the wind-farm.

"In the end the only people still saying that the Molonglo Ridge was a good place for a wind farm were Acciona themselves. It's a pity it took them 3½ years to concede they were wrong from the beginning" she said.

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23 May 2008

Palerang extends discussion paper deadline

Palerang Council has extended the period for comment on the Rural Residential, Rural and Environmental areas discussion paper to 27 June 2008.

The discussion paper dealing with the future development and planning of all areas in Palerang (except Braidwood, Bungendore and other settlements) was not available on the Council's website at the time the period for comments opened on 15 May. The document is now available to download from Palerang's website, and following representations from BURRA, the extension to the comments period was agreed to.

BURRA considered that the extension was necessary because residents from outlying areas, such as Burra and Urila, were disadvantaged by not having reasonable and timely access to the discussion paper they were being asked to comment on.

According to advice from council, the delay in making the document available was due to technical difficulties in reducing the size of document for web publishing.

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21 May 2008

Rural Residential, Rural and Environmental areas discussion paper released

Palerang Council has released a discussion paper dealing with the future development and planning of all areas in Palerang, except Braidwood, Bungendore and other settlements.

An advertisement that appeared in the Bungendore Mirror states that copies of the plan are available for inspection at Council offices in Bungendore. The document is not available on the Palerang website, latest advice being that it will be available "in a couple of days".

Comments close on Monday, 16 June. BURRA will be seeking an extension of this deadline given Palerang's delay in making the document available when period for comments opened on 15 May.

A link to the document will be available from this website when it is eventually published on the Palerang site. Subscribers to our RSS feed will receive notification.

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Last updated: 14 March, 2010

© 2007 Burra Urila Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc