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.

Martins Creek Quarry Expansion – Submission Period Extended

Anyone that travels to Paterson or Maitland will appreciate the impact that an extra 280 truck movement/day will have on the queues and congestion in Melbourne street and surrounding roads, I encourage you to make a submission.
The following was received from MCQAG:

“Martins Creek Railway Ballast Quarry currently has an amended development application on public exhibition (link to the exhibted documents here)

The proposal being exhibited is an amendment to the 2016 EIS and SSDA that was previously exhibited in November 2016 and also follows on from the largest decision in the NSW Land & Environment Court history that in 2019 led to the operator of the quarry being restrained from unlawful operations at the site which it had been conducting since 2012. 

This planning process is independent and unrelated to the court action.

The Amendment DA is seeking approval for the following;

  • 1,100,000 tonne per annum extraction for 25 years
  • clearing of 21Ha of native vegetation containing EPBC threatened species (Koalas, Slatey Red Gums, swift Parrots, Regent Honey eaters and Spotted Quals)
  • 500,000 tpa transport of product by road
  • 600,000 tpa transport of product by rail from the site
  • 280 truck movements per day (peak) 140 loaded/140 empty
  • 40 truck movements per hour (peak) 20 loaded/20 empty

We hope as many concerned residents can lodge submissions objecting to the proposal. In relation to the human/built environment impacts we have summarized these in a link on our website, primarily MCQAG is recommending that residents with “Lived Experiences” of past unlawful operations detail in their submissions how the above parameters will result in a return to those impacts that have impacted them and their communities historically, we are advising that residents pay particular attention to the amenity and social impacts (sense of place, social fabric, rural amenity etc) that can NOT be explained away in technical studies relating to noise, vibration or air quality. 

In relation to the fauna and flora impacts these have been “detailed” in the proponents biodiversity assessment report (Link to doc here), the consultant report finds that a number of the above EPBC threatened species could reside but haven’t been found on the site, however we have photographic evidence that all have been located/sighted on land immediately adjoining the site, and the study has therefore understated the impact likely to occur with the removal of this habitat.

Submissions are now due by COB on the 31st July we understand (they must be lodged via this portal Link Here).

Any submissions opposing the Proposal (including a key focus on the impacts that have been omitted/understated by the Proponent and their Environmental consultant Umwelt) as detailed above would be greatly appreciated.

Happy to take calls/queries to assist in relation to submission lodgement etc.

thanks in advance
James Ashton
Secretary MCQAG”

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.

Martins Creek Quarry – Submissions Due on Revised Plan

Daracon’s updated plan, after their earlier one was ruled invalid by the courts, is on display for public comment from 2nd June until 2nd July.

I understand the plan is for all trucks to go via Bolwarra to the Highway at Melbourne St East Maitland, so Butterwick Rd/ Brandy Hill Dr would only be used for local destinations on those roads. However, if you travel to Paterson or Maitland, you will have experienced how much, when that quarry was operating illegally, that the quarry truck traffic adversely impacted on the residents, businesses and other road users on that route. The Martins Creek quarry truck volumes under this plan will be similar to then. The growth of Maitland since, means traffic queues and congestion in Maitland and East Maitland in particular are now much much worse, without any Martins Creek quarry trucks. With the Brandy Hill quarry expansion sending 25% of trucks also via Maitland, the future traffic noise, congestion and impacts in the future will be amplified.

So now is your chance to have your say, until 2nd July. Please refer to the attached flier provided by the Martins Creek Quarry Action Group (MCQAG), and the link to the Department of Planning project.

Despite years of consultation regarding the real and lived devastating social impacts , Daracon are pressing for the majority of product to be transported through Paterson by road, despite the existence of the on site rail siding. Please make your submission by the 2nd July.

Seeking volunteers for a community survey workshop 27th May at Woodville School Of Arts Hall.

Residents between Seaham and Woodville have been extended an invitation to be part of a survey conducted through the University of Canberra, researching the difficulties (if there are any) in this area moving forward on a range of social , environmental, development issues and more. This is being conducted throughout Australia and is in relation to the DOTE (Dropping off the EDGE) longitudinal study.

I have agreed to help facilitate the meetings and that is why I am sharing the information through this website and related Facebook posts. Please read the following information carefully and if you are interested respond directly to RSVP on the flyer attached.

The format will be 2 workshops of 6-8 people each on Thursday 27th May. Time 10.30am – midday and 5.30pm – 7pm. Refreshments will be provided. Please refer to the document below.

I believe this could be a valuable exercise in understanding how we as a community see our strengths and weaknesses and also to understand how we look to the future.

New 80kph Speed limit between Seaham and Hinton Rd Nelsons Plains

I have been advised that the speed limit on Seaham Road between Seaham and the vicinity of the intersection with Hinton Road Nelsons plains, has been reduced from 90 to 80kph.

This is after years of lobbying by VOWW, BHSAG and local residents, with the support of both Hanson and PSC.

Of particular concern has been the intersection with Hinton Road where nearby residents have endured years of angst from countless close shaves and accidents that leave car part debris strewn around. The intersection remains a concern due to the lack of passing and turning lanes. Bus stop safety and that of residents accessing their driveways along this section of Seaham Road has been the other major concern. The speed reduction will give drivers more time to react to slow and turning vehicles, and hopefully will reduce the severity of any collisions that do occur.

This change is consistent with the 80kph speed limit that was introduced on Clarence Town Road and Butterwick Road in 2019.

We are pleased that the speed limit reduction has been implemented before the pending increase in quarry truck movements from the approved quarry expansion, Hanson continue to work toward being able to adopt the new consent.

So please be mindful of the new speed limit, for the safety of locals and other road users, and to avoid speeding fines. As you know, the police and mobile speed cameras do monitor our roads. Also be mindful of mobile phone use camera trailers that have been seen operating in the area.

I have not found any media release from Transport for NSW on the matter, but did notice workmen at the end of Brandy Hill Drive, possibly installing the new signs. If there is any further information come o light, we will keep you informed.

Stay safe.

First CCC Meeting Since Quarry Approval

Hanson held a Community Consultative Committee (CCC) Meeting on the 8th December, the first meeting since June and the first since the quarry received approval from the Federal Minister for the Environment.

The main points of interest for BHSAG and followers were:

  • Current members of the CCC will remain for as long as they wish.
    Peter Rees has resigned from the CCC so his and any other vacancies will be advised and refilled in due course. We thank Peter for his significant efforts through the CCC toward protecting the amenity and character of the area, particularly for Woodville and those along the haulage route to Maitland.
  • The chairperson advised that the CCC would be held quarterly in accordance with the guidelines and consent conditions for the full term of quarry operations, including rehabilitation.
  • Hanson is busy preparing the various management plans as required by the IPC and minister approval conditions. These include Noise, Air, Water, Environmental, Blasting, Traffic (including the drivers code of conduct.), Biodiversity and Rehabilitation. The plans will need to be submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment (DPIE), and be updated as required until they gain the departments approval.
  • While Hanson claims that all processing equipment currently meets the noise criteria, they have undertaken to upgrade the primary crusher with a noise enclosure, to minimize the impacts on nearby residents and meet “best practice”. Hopefully, best practices will be mandated by the department for all other processing equipment as well.
  • Hanson is hopeful that their management plans will be submitted and approved by March 2021, but know that these processes can take much longer than expected.
  • Regarding the revegetation required by the federal minister, the priority will be on plantings to add to the koala corridor to the south of the current woodland. That is anticipated to start in autumn 2021. A 5 year program of plantings is anticipated.
  • Hanson is keen to commence discussions with PSC on the VPA in regard to construction of the bus bays and shared footpath. The issue for Hanson is that while they can provide their contribution as specified in the IPC determination, PSC must provide the balance of any funds required, and don’t yet have a costed design plan, budget or timeframe for completion of the infrastructure. Hanson can adopt the IPC consent, but cannot exceed 700,000 tones per annum until the bus bays and footpath are completed.
  • BHSAG are concerned that PSC will not provide a design that meets NSW standards for a shared footpath, and/or will delay its construction to the detriment of community safety and Hanson’s expansion.
  • Hanson acknowledged that under the new consent, transport routes must be adhered to for both outward loads and returning vehicles. That will mean Richardson Rd will be used instead of Adelaide St to Heatherbrae, and trucks must not use Raymond Terrace Road or go via Morpeth to/from the New England Highway or M1.
  • The quarry still has reserves available under the 1983 consent, but these are running out. The economy downturn due to COVID reduced demand, resulting in the current reserves lasting longer than was predicted earlier this year.
  • The speed limit on Seaham Road between Brandy Hill and the floodplain to Raymond Terrace was discussed. The intersection with Hinton Road is a particular hazard point, with locals collecting the equivalent of a skip bin full of wing mirrors and car parts from near misses in recent years. Hanson supports the lowering of speed limits in the area.
  • It was proposed to hold the next meeting on Wednesday 17th March, when more will be known on the status of the various management plans.

After the CCC meeting, Andrew Driver asked Margarete if she would agree to being a community representative on the VPA committee. Margarete agreed, but PSC subsequently denied Hanson’s request for a community representative. The first VPA meeting was held today by video link, but we have not had any feedback yet.

Before the CCC meeting, Neil had discussed the status with the DPIE. That discussion was consistent with the points above. PSC remains the consent authority. The steps toward the Department of Planning becoming the consent authority are as follows:

  • Hanson must complete the various management plans to the satisfaction of the DPIE and federal minister..
  • Hanson must complete any engineering required to meet the management plans. (They say there is very little required).
  • Once Hanson can comply with all of the conditions in the approved management plans, at a time when they wish to, they give notice in writing that they want to adopt the new consent, giving 1 months notice.
  • When the department approves the request, the new consent comes into force and the 1983 consent lapses.
  • The DPIE has a section that will then manage consent compliance for the duration of the project..

The above is expected to take some months. Hanson don’t have the luxury of continuing to operate indefinitely under the old (more lenient) consent, as they will soon run out of available rock under that consent.

So PSC will remain he consent authority for some months yet. If you have any issues with quarry operating hours, transport etc, contact PSC and Hanson’s Complaints Hotline:

Hanson Hotline: 1800 882 478

Port Stephens Council: 02 4988 0255

BHSAG welcomes new people following our website, and wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and COVID restriction free 2021.

At this stage we are not expecting to post anything about the quarry until after the next CCC meeting. However, there are a number of other local issues with proposed rezonings for development that are likely to trigger a post or two!

Thanks for your support.

Brandy Hill Quarry Approved!

Firstly, welcome to those newly following BHSAG.

You have probably already heard the news on radio and TV, in the newspapers and online. Yes, Brandy Hill Quarry has received the final approval needed to continue operating and expand. The federal minister for the environment gave approval on Tuesday, with extra conditions .

Like you, we heard it from the media, having heard nothing directly from the minister. You may have wondered why you have heard most recent developments via the mainstream media, while BHSAG and this website has been silent. Minister Ley has visited the site, met with BHSAG representatives and has been in frequent communication with us, but under strict conditions of non disclosure.

Approving the planned destruction of 52 hectares of environment was the last hurdle for the quarry’s expansion. It was also the first major development to be approved after the black summer bushfires, the NSW senate report on Koalas which predicts their extinction by 2050, and increased acceptance that man made climate change is real and not a myth or conspiracy. It has brought focus on the fact that NSW Planning and the IPC HAD TO APPROVE this development under current laws, regulations and government policy. If the NSW authorities had rejected this quarry expansion, Hanson would have simply taken the matter to the Land and Environment Court, and won. (We did seek legal advice on this).

The federal minister’s decision is final and the only appeal process is via the High Court. While we believe it was strongly influenced by the current government’s culture and policies, again, only the legality of the process and decision can be challenged. The weight of public opinion counts little in courts. The ongoing focus must be on changing the laws, and government policy.

This post has been delayed by the other pressing matters arising from the announcement this week. Here is a summary of the events.

Wednesday’ Newcastle Herald:

Newcastle Herald 28th October Cover

Page 15

Page 6

We were disappointed at the decision and stand to lose 52 hectares of established habitat for 74 hectares of land needing to be planted and we all know how long it will take for those trees to grow. In the meantime the koalas wait in limbo??

A significant condition was added to the approval (see download below). 74 hectares of pasture on the south side of quarry site must be regenerated as koala habitat. This would not have been achieved without the efforts of all who participated in the “Save Port Stephens Koalas” campaign.

The details of the Federal Minister’s approval are available via the download links below. This is from the first document:

  1. “Within 12 months of the date of this approval, the approval holder must submit a Koala habitat replanting and protection plan (Habitat Plan) for the Minister’s approval. The Habitat Plan must include, but not be limited to:
    a) Measures for natural regeneration and replanting of at least 73.8 ha of the area to the south of the existing Quarry (marked as Planting Area 1 to Area 5 in Annexure 2) to establish Koala habitat.”

While there is a lot of government “spin” in the above, and and many points that we disagree with, it is what it is.

Then in todays Newcastle Herald:

Newcastle Herald 29th October Cover

Page 6

Page 7

The Examiner has also always been very supportive. Here are today’s edition pages:

Port Stephens Examiner Today

Page 2

Hanson had their own press release (see download below):

Hanson;’s paragaraph in the above states:

Throughout the assessment process Hanson has sought to understand the concerns
of the community. This feedback is demonstrated in the expansion plans, which
• Revegetation of a 74ha koala habitat corridor.
• Conservation of approximately 450ha of vegetation under a biodiversity offset.
• Construction of new bus bays and a shared pathway along Brandy Hill Drive.
• Enclosure of all processing equipment for best practice management of dust and
• A program of community engagement and events.

Hanson may well have “sought to understand the concerns of the community”, but only the biodiversity offset was offered within the EIS and Response to Submissions, as it was a legal requirement.

The 74ha koala corridor, bus bays, shared pathway, and the enclosure of equipment are only on the list because the Department of Planning, IPC and federal minister made them conditions of the consent. Additionally, the IPCs restriction of operating hours to 6am to mostly 6pm 6 days a week (as per the original and still current consent) was probably the most important factor in saving the character and amenity of the area, and saving the wildlife on the transport routes after dark. That was a huge change from the 24/7 sought by Hanson. All of these restrictions and conditions would not have been but for the efforts of BHSAG and the support of the community.

So, please do not be despondent. We may not have achieved everything we hoped for, but we have achieved a great amount, which will make Brandy Hill, Seaham and Nelsons Plains much better places to live over the next 30 years. Now we can hold Hanson accountable for all the conditions they have to meet under the new consent

Our thanks go out to the whole community, but particular thanks to you reading this post, past and present BHSAG committee members, Chantal and Anne Marie with help from Victoria in being at the forefront of the koala campaign, Kate Washington (Member for Port Stephens), Cate Faehrmann (Greens Senator), and for the support of VOWW. A lot of people have put a lot of time into this cause. Thank you, it is a really appreciated.

BHSAG and VOWW’s jobs have not finished. Community groups are required now more than ever. This is not the end of the story.

Thank you to Neil for compiling this post. It is a time-consuming task but appreciated by all.

Urgent call for info on local koala sightings

Victoria, who is coordinating the Save Port Stephens Koalas campaign, is making this urgent plea:

Have you seen or heard koalas in Brandy Hill, Seaham or surrounding suburbs within the past six years?

We’re urgently compiling community info about koalas within a 10-kilometre radius of Brandy Hill Quarry.

Your info will be taken into account as part of an assessment that will inform federal environment minister Sussan Ley’s decision on the quarry expansion.

If we can document as much community info on koalas as possible, it might just be enough to save 52 hectares of critical koala habitat from being destroyed.

Our deadline is midnight, Sunday 11 October.

Please send the following details to

  • Date
  • Location (as precise as possible – i.e. street and nearest cross street, or approx. X metres from [landmark])
  • Description (What did you see/hear? Description of appearance of koala/s)
  • Have you reported this info anywhere else (e.g. I Spy Koala app, Koala Tracker)

Bonus points if you have photos / video you can send – but no problem if not.



Minister Sussan Ley delays Brandy Hill quarry decision until October 30

This was reported today on the Newcastle Herald website.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment said the time frame will allow for the completion and consideration of additional site survey work.

The state government approved the quarry expansion in July but federal environment minister Susan Ley will have the final say on whether it can go ahead.

The full article may be in the Herald tomorrow.