Category Archives: SOMR Activities

SOMR Activities Update June 2020

Covid 19 impacts

Restrictions due to the Covid 19 pandemic have meant that some of the committee have been meeting online (using Zoom) as well as face to face. This has thrown up some challenges, but also some opportunities to increase engagement. At the AGM (Sat Aug 8 th ) there will be a proposal to change our constitution to allow electronic participation in meetings to meet the requirements of forming a quorum and enable electronic voting.

● OMPH have had contact with a Local Residents Group (Lower Creek) and the Thungutti Local Aboriginal Land Council – these have been initial contacts and are not “consultation”. They have offered, as is standard practice, to fund any cultural site investigations.

● Armidale Regional Council has recognised SOMR as a key stakeholder and will ensure we are informed of developments. They will also keep Kempsey Shire Council , who are unaware of the proposal, in the loop.

● Communications with UNE and SCU have informed us that neither has been engaged to do any Environmental Impact Studies, the scientists cannot give advice on the project without more information.

● Jeremy Moon from OMPH has responded to SOMR’s communication – describing his commitment to stabilising the grid for the effective use of renewables, he clarified that there will be no renewable energy directly associated with the project. He is to be invited (via Zoom) to do a meet and greet with SOMR on 8 th August – it is to be made extremely clear that this is an introduction not a “community consultation”.

● Summary sent to Greens MP’s , with a request to use question time to highlight this issue – no response.

Some background sale-conditions-20200515-p54tdy

Water Testing

● Thanks to the many people who have contributed to the purchase of the water testing kit

●The following have been identified as priorities for collecting base line data

  • The Mungay and Deep Creek areas downstream from the old antimony mine,
  • The Gravel Extraction areas at Moonebah
  • Hickeys Creek below the proposed market garden and
  • Comara – as a lower priority.

The tests are to be in separate seasons to obtain results from different temperatures and environmental conditions.

Willawarrin Market Garden

● An updated Submission of Objection to the Development Application was forwarded to KSC on 10th June. Concerns include :

  • spray drift impacting on Willawarrin Primary School, Hickeys Creek and residents.
  • Run off from chemical fertilisers
  • Logging in the Macleay Catchment

Logging in the Macleay Catchment

● Compartments 540, 541, 542 and 552, which we visited a year ago, are nearing completion.

● Boots on the ground visits have not happened due to Covid 19 restrictions – now to be renegotiated

● Thungutti LALC to be engaged to make representations on halting logging as is being done by the Gumbaynggirr people who have brought legal challenge in Nambucca.

Riverside Gravel Extraction

● SOMR is assisting residents regarding their concerns regarding operator’s failure to comply with several Conditions of Approval.

Southern Cross Uni

● Ongoing data collection by SOMR since 2016 has provided unique data post bushfires on the condition of the Macleay River

● Following graphs show suspended sediment levels – with Rupert’s explanatory notes.

Update February 2020


After the fires the Macleay catchment is progressively coming back to life. However, the first rain also caused a fish-kill in the river. Further contamination through ashes and other debris being washed into waterways can be expected and it is important to monitor the effects on the water quality

Attached is a report by SOMR President Arthur Bain about the fish-kill which finishes with a call for help to buy water testing equipment.

Fish Kill Report
Dead Fish at Riverside Park in Kempsey 31 January 2020

Apart from water sampling at the Bellbrook Bridge for a long-term research project by Southern Cross University, which is ongoing, it is very important to be able to test the water in different parts of the catchment where there are concerns about water quality in the field. Information of the results of mobile water testing could be made available to Kempsey Council, to scientists and to the wider community leading to remedial action to maintain good water quality. SOMR members have identified a suitable water testing kit, which tests most general and Macleay specific elements such as antimony and arsenic, costing about $1,300.
SOMR lodged application for water test kit funding from the Kempsey Shire Council Mayor’s Community Fund and the Credit Union Community Foundation: Both applications were rejected.  So: We now turn to the local community, who have supported SOMR’s activities over the years, to please assist with a contribution to the cost of the mobile water testing kit by donating to it. 
Your much-appreciated donation contributions can be made to:

Account Name: Save Our Macleay River  BSB: 704-189 Account Number: 00047244 And please put ‘Water Testing Kit’ in the reference section.
To be able to thank you for your donation personally, please email a remittance advice. If you don’t, we thank you in advance and; Please contact us if you would like further information.

Hillgrove Mine

As previously reported, Hillgrove Mine changed owners in July 2019. Red River Resources are the new owners. The SOMR committee had an initial conversation with their Managing Director Mel Palancian. Their focus is on the production of gold, rather than antimony. It is not expected to start processing for two years.


Boogie Queen Jan Preston has once again offered to perform in Kempsey and donate a substantial part of the ticket charges to SOMR. Her concert is planned for July.The Paddle on the Macleay is being planned for the 2020 Spring. Further information will be posted in time.