05 December 2014
Media Release: LNP makes landmark legal challenge to election signage laws
Media Release - Ipswich City Councillor Paul Tully
The LNP has launched a landmark legal challenge in the Queensland Supreme Court in a bid to overturn long-standing local laws which regulate the placement of election signs.
The application has been made by the LNP state director Brad Henderson claiming controls on election signage breach the Australian Constitution’s implied right of political free speech.
The legal action is against the Ipswich City Council but the decision will have ramifications for the 560 councils across Australia.
It is likely the case will be heard in the Supreme Court in February before the upcoming state election.
The commonwealth and state attorneys-general are being formally notified of the challenge to enable them to join the legal action which could end up in the High Court.
If successful, controls on election signage by state governments and councils would disappear with political parties and candidates free to erect signs across all cities and shires.
Ipswich currently has one of the most-flexible election local laws in Queensland with no limits on the size or number of elections signs for each candidate provided they are erected on private property.
Long-serving Ipswich councillor Paul Tully slammed the move by the LNP which he said would turn cities and shires across Australia into “shanty-towns” littered with thousands of uncontrolled election signs.
Cr Tully said the Supreme Court ruled on the legal validity of election signage laws in the 2004 case of Moule v Cambooya Shire Council where a councillor tried unsuccessfully to overturn the local law.
Cr Tully said the LNP was desperate to prop itself up before the 2015 election with its challenge to long-standing and well-accepted local laws.
“The LNP has a history of simply ignoring local laws and now they are making spurious claims their right of free speech is somehow being restricted.”
Cr Tully said the LNP was concentrating on a sideshow instead of the main event for the next election.
“This is nothing but desperate tactics by a desperate party clinging to power by a burning rope if the latest polls prove correct next March,” Cr Tully said.
Moule v Cambooya Shire Council  QLD Supreme Court – http://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2004/QSC04-050.pdf
16 July 2014
|Paul Tully: The varying lots will |
provide a generous mix of housing
sizes and styles for families to
MORE families will soon be able to call Bellbird Park home following Ipswich City Council's approval of 168 new residential lots in the Brentwood Forest Estate.
Investa Residential Group Pty Ltd has been given the green light to develop the 59.61-hectare site into low density residential housing.
Planning and Development Committee chairman Councillor Paul Tully said the area had experienced significant growth and the next stage would offer a range of housing options.
"The City of Ipswich is growing at a rate of 2% per year and, as we welcome more people to the region, we need to keep up with housing demand," Cr Tully said.
"Bellbird Park is an ideal location.
"The proposed allotments will comprise a range of sizes between 347sq m and 886sq m.
"The varying lots will provide a generous mix of housing sizes and styles for families to choose from, while keeping in line with the area's low density character."
A new state high school has also been earmarked for the area following an influx of new families.
08 July 2014
INTERNATIONAL experts are now highly confident that the flooding from Brisbane’s Wivenhoe Dam caused a disaster almost completely avoidable if the operators had not been negligent, prompting the filing in the NSW Supreme Court today of Australia’s largest and potentially most costly class action.
The decision of legal firm Maurice Blackburn to definitely run the case for more than 4000 victims of the January 2011 floods that devastated South East Queensland homes and businesses follows a closed-door multimillion-dollar evidence-testing program by a team of United States-based hydrologists. It has so far cost the firm and its funder, Bentham IMF, millions of dollars and the costs are set to escalate sharply, while the potential payout for some 4000 signed-up flood victims would be met in part by a major insurer if the victims win the case.
The cost and damage suffered by South East Queensland families and businesses, many of them uninsured for the inundation of thousands of homes, means the payouts in the event of a success could be as much as $2 billion.
The lead lawyer who has been managing the case, Damian Scattini, told The Australian today: “We know now that this was a disaster that didn’t have to happen. The data is very clear.
“The evidence tells us that the rainfall that occurred was not a so-called ‘black swan’ event — we say that the rainfall that was forecast to fall actually fell, but the operators of the dam had not left any capacity in the dam to deal with it.
“For whatever reason, probably because that was how Wivenhoe Dam had always done it, the operators just let the rainfall keep going into the dam in the weeks before January, and when it stopped raining they were going to drain it off. But this time, there was too much rain, and when they realised the dam was almost full and they had lost their buffer, they panicked and let it rip — they released these huge volumes quickly, and that was the Brisbane flood.”
The Australian’s reports and findings three years ago that the Wivenhoe-related flood was avoidable, and that it only occurred due to breaches of the operating manual, are conclusively supported by the international team of experts.
The hydrology team working for Maurice Blackburn and its litigation funder, Bentham MF, will give evidence in the event of a trial in a New South Wales Supreme Court, where the case is filed today due to Queensland’s lack of a class action regime.
The operators of the Queensland government-owned Wivenhoe Dam have consistently denied any wrongdoing and emphatically rejected claims of negligence. They have been backed by Premier Campbell Newman, whose government inherited the flood debacle from former premier Anna Bligh. The Newman government tried to hose down potential litigation over the flood by commissioning its own study from US engineers in 2012 with restrictive terms of reference to prevent the adoption of adverse evidence.
A Queensland Royal Commission-style inquiry was forced to go back to public hearings and change its final report in early 2012 after The Australian discovered damning new evidence, resulting in the adverse findings that the operators were in the wrong dam-release strategy, failed to take into account forecast rainfall, and misled the Supreme Court judge running the probe. Mr Scattini said these findings were at “the core” of the legal case.
“The people who have commented publicly and said everything was done properly are looking at the wrong facts, and they are just flat out wrong,” Mr Scattini said.
“We now have terabytes of data, a huge volume of material drawn from many sources, and we are sure of the facts.”
Mr Scattini said the flood engineers failed repeatedly as far back as early December 2010 to properly operate Wivenhoe Dam and the smaller Somerset Dam, adding that Brisbane averted a catastrophe — the overtopping and collapse of Wivenhoe — which was on the cards due to the inaction of the operators.
He said that from early December 2010 onwards the flood engineers failed repeatedly to adopt proper release strategies for both dams, despite continuing and serious official weather warnings of more heavy rain.
The legal action will allege negligence and nuisance against the operators of the dams — the “defendants’’ Seqwater, Sunwater and the State of Queensland, with the four flood engineers responsible for dam operations being employees of the defendants.
Maurice Blackburn and IMF Bentham will assert that the defendants owed those living and operating businesses downstream of Wivenhoe Dam a reasonable care to avoid the risk that a failure to properly operate the dams would cause greater flooding to areas downstream.
The Commission of Inquiry found the flood engineers repeatedly failed to take into account forecasts issued by the Bureau of Meteorology which predicted heavy and prolonged rainfall.
Flood operations stopped altogether at a number of critical moments during the flood event — twice in December and once in early January, yet the flood event was ongoing and further heavy rainfall was predicted.
05 June 2014
29 January 2014
|Bull shark caught near the Goodna Boat Ramp last year.|
Bull sharks are being caught in the Brisbane River.
This specimen was caught near the Goodna Boat ramp last year.
Be aware and take extra care.
Water skiers, boat users and swimmers should be on their guard and parents should ensure their children exercise due caution.
Picture: Courtesy Barry Butler, Goodna
FLOOD victims in Ipswich have a month to sign up to be part of the $1 billion-plus class action against the Queensland Government.
The class action is being put together by litigators Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.
Bentham IMF, the litigation funders, have announced that they are unconditionally funding the case.
Victims of the 2011 floods have until February 28, to register.
|Goodna councillor Paul Tully urges flood victims to sign up|
for the class action before the February 28 deadline.
Goodna councillor Paul Tully has urged all flood victims to get on board and sign up for the class action that will be held in the NSW Supreme Court.
Cr Tully pointed out that under the arrangements of the class action there can be no costs awarded against flood victims if the action is unsuccessful.
"There is every prospect that flood victims will be fully recompensed, although it may take several years," he said.
"But this will be the final opportunity. After February 28 it will be too late for people to sign up.
"The process is very simple and can be done online with Maurice Blackburn." Cr Tully said there were 600 properties flooded in Goodna alone with more thanl000 home owners, renters and business owners affected across Ipswich.
Cr Tully said some people may not have signed up because they could be reticent about reliving the trauma of what happened three years ago.
"But what I say to people is that the case will be handled by professional lawyers in the NSW Supreme Court and it will be the court that makes the decision about whether individuals are entitled to compensation.
"That will include damage to their property, damage to their personal possessions or loss of property value." Any person or business affected by the January 2011 flood can register for the class action at imf.com.au/wivenhoe or call 1800 016464.
Registration is free and without obligation.
The Queensland Times reported 40 years ago today on 29 January 1974:
"RISING FLOODWATERS NEW THREAT TO GOODNA AREA".
"RISING FLOODWATERS NEW THREAT TO GOODNA AREA".
Thankfully, the Brisbane River had already peaked and Goodna was spared a second deluge.
The picture shows the Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen arriving at Limestone Park in Ipswich greeted by (from left) Evan Marginson Member for Wolston, Vi Jordan Member for Ipswich West, Ipswich Mayor George Hastings, Dr Llew Edwards (member for Ipswich),Police Inspector J McCarthy and Federal Member for Oxley Bill Hayden.
Incidentally, the price of the QT in 1974 was 8 cents and inside there was an advertisement for house and land at Churchill for $12,490 (full price).
27 January 2014
|Cordoned off fire ant nests at Leslie Park Goodna.|
The 13 year battle to stop fire ants in Australia has been declared lost after a fresh outbreak of the American pest was discovered in the Ipswich suburb of Goodna.
Biosecurity Queensland confirmed the latest invasion at Leslie Park just 100 metres off the Ipswich Motorway after a tip-off from local residents.
They treated the nests on Friday and barricaded the area adjacent to a children's playground and barbecue facilities.
Fire ants were first detected in Australia in 2001 at the Port of Brisbane and Wacol and have since spread across southeast Queensland.
|Cr Paul Tully fights fire ants.|
"This is the second infestation in Goodna in nine months and the outlook is bleak.
"I suspect we have lost the battle.
"Our national history shows that imported pests such as rabbits, foxes and cane toads can never be eliminated."
Cr Tully said the war on fire ants should continue with efforts to slow its spread into farmland beyond the southeast.
"They will eventually cross the border into New South Wales.
"All hell will then break loose as fire ants commence their spread across Australia."
Cr Tully called on the federal government to fund a major increase in the fire ant eradication program.
JUST A PUP: North Ipswich resident Shannan Landy
with the young bull shark he caught at Mt Crosby
Weir on Sunday night.
with the young bull shark he caught at Mt Crosby
Weir on Sunday night.
BULL sharks are swarming in the Brisbane and Bremer rivers and Cr Paul Tully has warned residents using the waterways to be wary.
The QT has received reports of increased numbers of sharks being seen and caught in the rivers, with fishermen regularly pulling them out.
Cr Tully has also been receiving similar feedback and urged boaties and those using the river to exercise caution.
He said children paddling in the water, or assisting their parents putting a boat or jet ski into the river, were most at risk.
"There are regular reports of bull sharks being caught in the Brisbane and Bremer rivers," Cr Tully said.
"It is a warning to parents to be very, very careful.
"The bull sharks are around and there have been fatalities on the Gold Coast.
"It is probably only a matter of time before there could be a fatality.
"They have been seen up as far as Colleges Crossing and one regular fisherman reckons they are teeming in the Brisbane River.
"I asked him how many and he said, 'Imagine if you kicked a bull ants' nest and they just swarmed everywhere'.
"His impression was that bull sharks are just swarming on the bottom of the river.
"It is a timely reminder. It is summer and with people out on the river, putting out boats and fishing...just don't dangle your feet. Be very careful."
The QT accompanied Cr Tully to the Goodna boat ramp to try and pull a shark out for ourselves using a live catfish and a favourite rod of Cr Tully's that he hadn't used since the 2011 flood.
But the tide, the wind, the time of the day and the 40-degree heat on Tuesday were against us.
"But we'll catch one.
"It might take a couple of days," Cr Tully said.
"Dusk and dawn is when we might hit the jackpot."
North Ipswich resident Shannan Landy did land a young bull shark near the Mt Crosby Weir on Sunday night.
He caught the shark using live mullet as bait.
"The little ones put up a good fight too," he said.
"There are a lot of little ones around but I am sure there are some of the big mothers around.
"There must be something out there laying the pups.
"The one I caught was about half-a-metre long but I have caught them up to a metre long in the Brisbane River.
"The bigger ones I have caught down towards the junction of the Bremer and Brisbane River and down at Kookaburra Park."
Mr Landy said he had heard of bull sharks of 1.2m being caught up at Mt Crosby.
"I think there have always been lots of them," he said.
"It is just that people are becoming more aware of it now.
"Guys are out there chasing bass. They catch the bass and bring them in and, the next thing you know, the shark comes up and sees it as an easy meal...and they are hooked onto a shark. A lot of people aren't targeting sharks but they are ending up catching them."