Reporting Koala Sightings

Have you seen a koala in your area? Please use the following link to report it. It will help with the effort we are all making to ensure Council is aware of the koala numbers in our area and that there needs to be an effort to look after them, be it with new signage or development policies. It also helps residents to be on the lookout when driving on local roads.

This koala has been seen several times in the Warragul and Bangalay area of Brandy Hill.

An important tool Council uses to identify locations for Koala signage is the community Koala sightings map located on this Council webpage. (Position and Zoom the map, click + and drag the pin to the sighting location, fill in the other details and complete the entry).

Council encourages the community to utilise this map system and upload all koala sightings on a regular basis to help inform Council’s decisions about types and locations of wildlife management, such a roadside signage. If you have any questions about the Koala sightings map please contact Council’s Environmental Planning Team on .

Has Bushfire Season started?

Spring has officially started. Winter is over and the weather is warming. If you haven’t yet finished burning off your vegetation rubbish piles you may be wondering if burn off permits are now required? Well the answer in the Lower Hunter zone is NO! Not yet. Many neighbouring zones started bushfire season on September 1st including Muswellbrook, Singleton and Upper Hunter. Our recent good rains have delayed the fire risk in our area, which is expected to commence the bushfire season and permits on October 1st.

Read the details in this RFS Bulletin:

New Speed Limit and Safety on Seaham Road

Recently the speed limit on Seaham Rd through Nelson’s Plains was reduced to 80kph. There was much controversy as some felt the extra few minutes it would take to get from “a to b” was an unacceptable imposition.

Local residents along Seaham Rd have long felt the dangers of speeding traffic. Those needing to exit or enter their properties welcomed the reduction in speed limit. Residents who live near the Hinton Rd intersection regularly see the accidents and clean up the debris.

A recent accident occurred where a car was turning right into a property. The driver had the indicator on, brakes applied and needed to wait for an oncoming bus before he could make the turn. Unfortunately another car was bearing down on the stationary vehicle from behind, at speed well over the 80kph limit and the impact propelled the stopped vehicle into the path of the oncoming bus. Thankfully the bus driver could see this play out before her and was able to stop with barely a metre to spare.

Luckily the driver and the child in the impacted car were not severely injured but the traumatic experience will live with them and their family for a long while. As it will with the bus driver and the driver who wasn’t paying attention and caused the accident. The speding driver was attended to by ambulance staff, but luckily was not hospitalized.

This is a vindication of the reduction in speed that local residents have been asking for over many years. However, people constantly ignore the limits and use their mobile phones while driving and thus are not aware of what is happening right before their eyes.

So, when you think that travelling over 80 will get you to your destination faster remember that local residents have no alternative but to slow down and wait before they can access their driveways.

Petition opposing the “sale” of public parklands in PSC area

Without endorsing any political party, if you oppose the current NSW government’s plans to offer 615 parcels of PSC public land to developers, then please click “Download” below, read the document, then print page 4 and sign it and send the page to the address on page 5, or email it to .

Raymond Terrace Riverside Park is just one example.

NSW Planning’s Assessment of the BHQ Expansion Proposal

Today, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment posted  their recommended conditions for approval of the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion project onto their website.

We were advised with the following email from Genevieve Lucas, who has overseen this project from the beginning:

“The Department has now completed its merit assessment of the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion Project.

I have just made the recommendation live on our Major Project’s website, so it will be available either now or very shortly.

NSW Planning’s Assessment

The Department has recommended that the application could be approved, subject to strict conditions of consent. This includes limitations on operating / product transport hours.  The Department’s Assessment Report provides details of our recommendations and I encourage you to read this document as well as the recommended conditions of consent.

The application will now be considered and determined by the Independent Planning Commission of NSW. The Commission will undertake its own public engagement processes, and I encourage you to check their website for further information (it might be later on today that the project is available on their website).

It’s been a number of years that we have been in touch about this application and I appreciate all the inputs and updates you have provided.

I wish you all the best for the next steps, and as always, please contact me if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

Genevieve Lucas
Team Leader

Resource Assessments, NSW Planning, Industry and Environment”

The link above provides access to three documents covering the department’s assessment. While I have not yet had time to read all the detail, a quick review and phone conversation with Genevieve enabled me make the some observations.

While everyone will have their own unique view on the proposed quarry expansion, I will limit my summary to the issues that BHSAG raised. Firstly, in its initial submission, which represented, as best we could, the consensus from the surveys and other feedback that we received from the community. The issues are listed with the most important first. later I will review the issues that BHSAG raised after Hanson provided its “Response to submissions”.

  1. Hanson wanted 24/7.
    BHSAG pushed for the current 6am to 6pm 6 days per week.

    The recommendation is much closer to what we wanted:

    A12. Truck movements at the site (ie either arrival or dispatch) must not exceed:
    (i) 18 movements between 5:00 am and 6:00 am;
    (ii) 24 movements between 6:00 am and 7:00 am;
    (iii) 60 movements per hour between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm;
    (iv) 10 movements per hour between 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm, on up to 20 evenings per calendar year; and
    (v) 600 movements per calendar day;

    1-Fullscreen capture 18-May-20 40911 PM

  2. Hanson wanted 60 loaded truck dispatches per hour.
    BHSAG pushed for 30, the current maximum. 
    Recommendation: The department has indirectly specified 30.
    See: A12 (iii) 60 movements per hour between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm (Which includes empty arrivals) 
  3. Hanson wanted to process Batching plant waste.
    BHSAG opposed it.
    Recommendation: A10. The Applicant may receive and process up to 20,000 tonnes of concrete waste material at the site in each calendar year.

  4. BHSAG pushed for a significant increase in the road haulage levy, to better cover the cost of maintaining the many roads used by quarry trucks.
    Outcome: I am told that the VPA with PSC includes a significant increase.

  5. BHSAG pushed for a shared pathway along Brandy Hill Drive.
    The press release from Hanson advised that they will contribute toward the pathway. The departments recommendation:
    $1.5 million towards the construction of a shared pathway along Brandy Hill Drive. Additionally, Hanson has agreed to provide all funding for the shared pathway within two years of the commencement of the Project.

  6. BHSAG pushed for additional bus bays along Brandy Hill Drive.
    In response to these concerns, Hanson has agreed to implement a VPA with Council including:
    $120,000 towards the construction of bus bays along Brandy Hill Drive, to be provided as an upfront payment of haulage levies required under Council’s contributions plan. The Department has recommended that existing product transport volumes (ie 700,000 tpa) are retained until the proposed bus bays are constructed.

    Other items that BHSAG pushed for, but  were not taken up were:
  7. Signage on Brandy Hill Drive regarding school children and “40 when lights flash”.
  8. Pedestrian crossing refuges on Brandy Hill Drive, near all side streets.
  9. Speed limit reduction to 60kph on Brandy Hill Drive and on Clarence Town Road near the quarry entrance. (Note that Clarence Town Road has recently been reduced to 80kph.
  10. Easily read truck ID, so that trucks breaking the “code of conduct” are more easily identified and reported. (This item will be discussed further at CC meetings).
  11. A system of monitoring trucks for noisy engine/exhausts.

Issues Subsequent to the above initial submission, BHSAG advised the department in November 2018 that Hanson’s Response to Submissions continued to be grossly inadequate. The concerns raised then and the current outcomes are summarised below.
Reject 24/7. There must be an overnight curfew of despatch and crushing.
Outcome: Largely success. See above.

Mandate the provision of safety and amenity infrastructure (separate from the haulage levy) for footpaths and bus stops.
Outcome: Bus bays must be built before Hanson exceeds the current output limit. 
The Shared pathway must be funded within two years of the commencement of the new consent (irrespective of tonnage). Genevieve’s expectation is that PSC will expedite the construction over say 5 years.

 Ensure the haulage levy covers all council road routes through PSC and MCC.
Outcome. Maitland Council is pursuing a VPA covering a haulage levy on MCC roads.
PSC have an agreed VPA with Hanson.

 Increase the haulage levy because multiple haulage routes are used. PSC has to maintain over 30km of haul roads, and not just the 12km to the nearest state road at Raymond Terrace. The paltry ~$400,000 pa does not cover anywhere near the cost of maintaining that length of road where the vast majority of heavy vehicles are, and will increasingly be, fully laden quarry trucks. Note that our surveys and casual observation indicate that fewer than 15 heavy non gravel trucks use Brandy Hill Drive daily. So the proportion of the 718 daily gravel trucks on that route will be the vast majority.
Outcome: I understand there is a significant increase in the levy in the VPA with PSC.

 Mandate dust and sound attenuation enclosures on all processing equipment from stage 1. 
Outcome: I understand that all crushing equipment will be enclosed.


My initial appraisal of the department’s assessment, in terms of the issues raised by BHSAG, is that we have been successful to a much larger degree than expected. While not all our wishes are granted, the big ticket items of limiting hours of operation and hourly truck numbers, providing safety and amenity infrastructure in the bus bays and a pathway, and ensuring local councils are better funded to maintain our roads, have all been largely addressed.

BHSAG’s next challenge will be to present to the IPC, to ensure that the department’s recommendations are not watered down to appease Hanson, and where there are deficiencies, we will  continue to push for conditions closer to what our community wants.

The BHSAG committee will need a little time to fully understand the department’s assessment, and decide on our next steps. We will keep you informed on that and the IPC timetable.

That’s all for now.



VPA with Port Stephens Council

We have been quite distracted lately due to corona virus disruptions. The chairperson of the CCC advised us in early March that a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) had been agreed with Port Stephens Council. Sorry for the delay in bringing that to you. The press release about the agreement is here:  2000305 Hanson_Brandy Hill Quarry VPA Statement

Our attempts to obtain the detail of the agreement have been unsuccessful, claiming confidentiality, as it also includes details of the haulage levy.

However, the press release does cover the two key items of infrastructure that BHSAG have campaigned for: Off-road bus stop bays and a shared pathway, so that is very good news. The aspect of when those items would need to be constructed will be determined by the NSW Department of Planning and the Independent Planning Commission. (More on that shortly)

We hope everyone dodged the corona virus, and that you are making cautious use of the relaxed rules for social interactions.


Protection of koalas – NSW Parliament Inquiry

This was received today from our local NSW member (who is the shadow Minister for  Environment and Heritage).  It is repeated here for its relevance to koala and other potential habitat loss from not only quarry expansions but general development.  Don’t leave it to other concerned people to make submissions. Only you can say what you want to tell the inquiry, so act soon.


Dear friends,

The NSW Parliament is currently holding an inquiry into the protection of koalas in NSW, including the impact of the Berejiklian government’s land clearing laws on koala habitats across NSW.

 I encourage you to make a submission to the inquiry to ensure that the committee members have the best understanding of the current threats to our native koala population, especially in Port Stephens.

I am pleased that former Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe is a member of the Committee. Penny has visited Port Stephens many times and is very familiar with the issues we have had with the Mambo Wetlands and UrbanGrowth site at Fishermans Bay.

Submissions to the inquiry close on 2 August 2019.

You can read more about the inquiry and make a submission here:

Kind Regards,

Kate Washington MP
Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage
Shadow Minister for Rural Health
Member for Port Stephens
82 Port Stephens Street, Raymond Terrace NSW 2324  | 

P (02) 4987 4455    F (02) 4987 4466   

PS Wecome to the new people now following our website!

V.O.W.W. Mayor to speak at AGM Meeting 19th September

The VOWW AGM will be held at the Woodville School of Arts Hall on Paterson Rd next Wednesday from 6:30pm. The Mayor, Ryan Palmer will speak first about his initial term in office and the council’s vision for West Ward.

Please come along, renew your membership or join VOWW and support the community organisation. The attached flyer explains more about the organisation and it’s goals, and also more about the meeting.

We hope you can make it.

2018-09 VOWW flyer DRAFT3


On 16th August, have your say on the proposed PSC rate rise

This note is from the Seaham Park & Wetlands Committee.

Hi Everyone


Port Stephens Council will bring its proposal and the reasons for the planned increase in our rates,  from 4pm – 6pm on Thursday 16th August at Seaham Hall.  Not just Seaham, East Seaham, Glen Oak, Wallalong, Hinton, Dunns Creek but the whole Council area will be covered by this rate rise.

Please come along and meet Council staff, Mayor and local Councillors and drop in and have your say.  You are paying the rates and therefore it is your money.  Drop in anytime between 4pm and 6pm.

If we are to pay extra rates then the extra funds should be spent in our local area and not be spent in the Nelson Bay area.  A $10 million multistorey car park at Nelson Bay is not in our local area.

A think-tank of Seaham and district locals have come up with some suggestions of what Council could do with the extra rate revenue in our area:

–         A shared pathway for bikes and walkers along Brandy Hill Drive.

–         The Brandy Hill Drive pathway to extend alongside Seaham Road and connect with the pathway at Brandon Park which goes to Seaham School.  This would take children and cyclists off much of Seaham Road.

–         A bus shelter for the school children outside Seaham School.

–         Outdoor gym equipment for Seaham Park.

–         A path from Seaham Shop to the Preschool to take bikes and pedestrians off busy Cross Street and Torrence Street.

–         A path along the eastern side of Dixon Street to take pedestrians and bikes off the road and allow easier access for cars going to Still Street to drop off and collect school children from the main entrance of Seaham School.

–         A zebra crossing (pedestrian crossing) outside the Seaham Shop.

–         Seal all gravel roads.

You may have other suggestions.  Let Council know.

For more information visit

Come along.  Have your say.  Ask questions. 

Seaham Park & Wetlands Committee

PSC Forward planning information session

Here is another community matter of importance.

Some months ago I was invited, along with John Redman from VOWW, to attend a briefing session put on by the mayor. The meeting dealt with community expectations and wishes for the next planning stage.

The meeting was very productive and this is now stage 2 of that process. If you want a say in your area please consider going to this meeting.

Community Consultation – How do we want our West Ward: Seaham, Butterwick, Wallalong, Woodville etc to look like, feel like, lifestyle.