This agenda misrepresents the Port of Yamba as "a priority location under the NSW Freight and Ports Strategy". It was only one of six ports and twenty-three coastal harbours included in that 236 page report published in 2013 and only rated a relatively brief mention.
It also misrepresents the 2009 Clarence River Way Master Plan which is heavily focussed on tourism expansion. The plan only allowing for limited expansion of existing industry.
Apart from a two sentence commitment to keep Yamba a "working port" with deepwater achorage it makes no mention of freight activity in any one of its 35 pages.
The former Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight certainly didn't view the port as urgently requiring a new strategic approach, however the new minister in this portfolio Nationals MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey may have a different perspective.
While eight of the nine current Clarence Valley councillors went to the the 2016 local government election stating that they were not in favour of a heavily industrialised mega port and so might in 2017 be reluctant to fully support the Department's future plans for the working port once these are revealed.
I suspect that Yamba has only come to the forefront after Liberal and Nationals politicians and public service mandarins in Farrer Place & Dangar began to look for regions outside of Sydney where an excuse might be created to convert Crown land into private title.
The current Dept. of Industry-Lands agenda includes what appears suspiciously like a fairly softly, softly approach to gain tacit community agreement for future industrialisation of the Clarence River estuary, including the sell-off, lease or transfer of vacant Crown lands for commercial development.
Additionally, the expansion of Goodwood Island port facilities - which was specifically excluded from the Department's workshop discussion - is apparently now on the table because the online survey canvasses opinion on port freight levels.
This marches in step with the vested interests of a number of professional consultants, financial advisers, investment fund managers, property conveyancing law firms and property developers whose as representatives made appearances at the NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into Crown Land, with one Sydney-based group including a Yamba super port proposal in their wish list.
It is perhaps no accident that this current online consultation finishes early next month - the same month the Berejiklian Government is due to deliver its response to the parliamentary Crown lands inquiry report.
I note that on 8 September 2016 the Audit Office of New South Wales had this to say about the Dept. of Industry-Lands:
It is also a healthy, minimally modified natural estuary environment which sustains the local commercial fishing fleet, places home-caught fish on our dinner plates and allows us such an enviable lifestyle.