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About this website

SydWalker.Info is a personal website. I live in tropical Australia near Cairns. I oppose war, plutocracy, injustice, sectarian supremacism and apartheid. I support urgent action to achieve genuine sustainability and a fair and prosperous society for all. I rely upon - and support - free speech as defined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (see below).

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"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers"

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Unless otherwise indicated, material on this website is written by Syd Walker.

Anyone is welcome to re-publish material sourced from this site, as long as the source is acknowledged with a hyperlink.

Material from other sources reproduced here is presented on a 'Fair Use' basis. I try to cite references accurately. Please contact me if you have queries, comments, broken link reports, complaints - or just to say hello.

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Will Val Schier Poison Cairns?
Mar 21st, 2008 by Syd Walker

There, I thought that’d get someone’s attention.

What’s this crazy guy talking about?

Why would the newly elected Mayor of Cairns Regional Council, with a mandate for greener and more humane policies, risk the health of the Cairns population by giving them potentially toxic water to drink?

I hope she won’t, and that’s good news for Kuranda.

It would mean that at long last, someone in government may test the Barron River for pesticides and other toxic chemicals – and make the data public.

I’ll explain. On commercial talkback radio last week, several days after her election, the new Mayor was asked a question about expanding Cairns’ water supply.

In her reply, Val Schier enthused about proposals to divert some of the Barron River flow – presumably from the lower Barron – for use in Cairns.

I wonder if she has ever inquired what is poured into the Barron catchment, year in, year out, by the tablelands farming community? I wonder if she has any handle on rumours of toxic leaching from Mareeba landfills?

I wonder if Val Schier – like Friends of the Earth Kuranda – has ever asked State Government representatives detailed questions about Barron River water quality. FoE Kuranda was fobbed off with evasive waffle. How did she go?

Without real data on this, Mayor Schier is very unwise to pledge Barron water to her thirsty residents.

The Tablelands Mayoral Contest – Part 2
Mar 14th, 2008 by Syd Walker

It’s two days since I postponed an earlier attempt to write the second and final part of my article about the Tablelands Regional Council Mayoral contest. Part One is here.

I’m glad I waited. It has helped me to make up my mind on the detail. That’s an indication of the complexity of the Tablelands election. Unlike the lowland choice for Mayor, which in my not-so-humble opinion is a complete no-brainer, it’s hard work sorting out the pros and cons of the five candidates for Mayor of the Tablelands Regional Council.

Elections are brutal. As the moment of casting a ballot grows closer, each voter is forced to make a choice. There may well be a piece of the divinity in everyone, but elections don’t work if we vote equal first for everyone. Elections are competitive. There must be winners and losers.

I’ve now spoken in person to all the tablelands Mayoral candidates. In the case of Peter Hodge, it was an extremely brief exchange, because I called him late in the day – and I owe him an apology for not calling back the next day as promised. He may well feel aggrieved about that. But having decided to weigh into this topic, choice is necessary, and time has run out. Polling day is Saturday March 15th, ready or not.

So here goes…

My fifth and least favoured candidate is Jo Moro.

The Tablelands Mayoral Contest – Part 1
Mar 11th, 2008 by Syd Walker

On Tuesday evening, March 11th 2008, I attended a debate in Malanda between candidates for Mayor – and for Divisions 3 and 4 – of the Tablelands Regional Council.

It was a fascinating experience. My main interest – and reason for making the round trip to the southern Tablelands – was to observe the Mayoral candidates in action. I’d been unable to attend a previous debate hosted by the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre. This was a second chance.

But it was also fascinating to observe the other candidates for Council pitch for votes. I now have a better insight into some of the others people who may sit around the same table, if I’m fortunate enough to be elected Councillor for Division 8 this coming Saturday.

Like other events I’ve observed during this election campaign on the Tablelands, ‘debate’ was dignified, friendly – and quite unlike the drama of Parliament. This is a contest without rancour, very different also from the battle for control of the new Cairns Regional Council. Down the hill, gloves are most definitely off. We Tablelanders seem to be a nicer, kinder breed.

As well as listening to the contestants give brief set-piece speeches – and hearing their responses to a few questions from the floor – I had a chance to chat afterwards with other observers. I listened with interest to their opinions about the different candidates. Unlike me and my companions, most of the folk attending were from the southern shires. They’ve known the southern Mayoral candidates – Geoff Stocker, Peter Hodge and Joe Paronella – personally and for some time. This made their opinions even more valuable to me.

Mayor Borzi's 8 Kuranda Blocks: Now there are 12!
Mar 8th, 2008 by Syd Walker

In early February I examined the Mareeba Shire Councillors’ Register of Interests and discovered that Mayor Borzi owns EIGHT blocks in Kuranda.

Those register entries are no longer current. As of Tuesday 18th February, the Mayor owns TWELVE blocks in the Kuranda area.

One of the these blocks is in the Myola Zone.

This is the block of land that has been in the media recently. It is the block about which I claimed the Mayor had an undeclared conflict of interest during the closed Special Meeting of January 29th 2008, which approved the Myola Plan with the Mr Borzi in the Chair.

The Mayor’s Myola block is not only inside the Myola Zone. It is at the gateway to the proposed new suburb. A valuable property indeed, one imagines, if 10,000+ people move into the Myola valley.

Where are Mr Borzi’s other Kuranda blocks? I now know the answer to that question.

Here’s the map, as at early February:

Mayor Borzi’s Kuranda Properties

Three of Mayor’s blocks on the Kuranda side of the Kennedy Highway are shown in grey; the other four in purple.

A few comments may be useful for those who don’t know Kuranda.

Taken as a whole, these seven blocks form a crucial buffer of forest between the Kennedy Highway and the village. Without intact forest on this land, I believe Kuranda would find it hard to continue portraying itself as the “Village in the Rainforest”. Instead, it would be apparent to all who arrive by road that Kuranda has become just another suburb.

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