Saturday, May 15, 2021

Deceptive site ahead!

I opened this blog and my right to climb blog this morning and got this odd message:


Seems I must have upset someone. I have requested Google's minion's review this ridiculous warning. The only things you will find at either blog are facts and truths that it seems some would rather remain buried. Fortunately, it was fairly quickly corrected after we requested a review. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

ABC reporting misrepresents facts about Mt Warning Closure

UPDATED SBS report is worse! see below
Update 20/2/2021 Correction to misleading headine requested

On February I made a press announcement about the release of documents obtained through FOI/GIPA from the National Parks and Wildlife Service about the closure of the Mt Warning/Wollumbin National Park and its famous summit walk. The documents were posted to my Right to Climb blog. 
On 17 February I was interviewed by ABC North Coast Radio's Bruce MacKenzie about the documents. 
I felt it was a good interview I got to talk about the main findings of the release that revealed the following:
A "Final Wollumbin Closure Event" planned for 25 November 2022 and show NPWS have NO intention of re-opening the park to the public before that time. It’s clear the permanent closure has been planned for many years.
Public information released about the safety issues on the Mountain by National Parks has a critical mistake. The Service have claimed there are "extreme" and "catastrophic" risks on the mountain from landslides and other hazards but the FOI documents show these are in error and these hazards are assigned a "medium" risk in Parks own safety assessment. For the hazards listed the risk is similar to other Grade 4-5 bushwalks in the state that are currently open. 
The medium risk conflicts with a slope stability assessment completed by geotechnical experts in 2018 that found risks to visitors from possible landslides and rockfalls in the park are very low, effectively lower than traveling anywhere by train in Australia. 
Consultations NPWS have had with Aboriginal groups have not included or considered and paid respect to the diverse range of indigenous opinions, about Mt Warning some of which actually encourage climbing. NPWS have an obligation under the National Parks Act to take the views of owners into account. The area of Mt Warning is the traditional area of the Ngarakwal/Nganduwal peoples.  -  not the Bundjalung who are a merger  or various other northern NSW tribal groups. In an interview in 2007 before she died Ngaraakwal elder and Mount Warning custodian Marlene Boyd. Stated  "I do not oppose the public climbing of Mt Warning - how can the public experience the spiritual significance of this land if they do not climb the summit and witness creation!" What a wonderful inspirational message that is! It is such a joyous affirmation of the awe and wonder we all experience when we connect with nature and the natural world, and it is outrageous that her views have been ignored by NPWS.

Once again I made the mistake of not making my own recording. But I have requested a copy from the journalist involved and will post it here when (if) I receive it. 

ABC North Coast Radio provided radio coverage about the pending permanent ban on the park on the Breakfast show on the morning of the 18th of February. I was listening via the internet and recorded what was broadcast (you can listen to it HERE). The interview was truncated about halfway through just prior to my mention of the views of Ngaraakwal/Nganduwal  elder and Mount Warning custodian Marlene Boyd. I called the talkback switch and was told by ABC's producer that it was cut because ABC were unable to obtain an interview with local Bundjalung elders. 

Marlene's views are highly important because they demonstrate conclusively there are a range of Aboriginal views about the summit walk. NPWS are obligated to take these views into account in accordance with the Act.

Mt Warning is being closed because NSW NPWS have not properly consulted with the Aboriginal Group recognized as the custodian of the central part of the caldera. Instead for many years, it has promulgated the false narrative of the so-called Bundjalung Nation and ignored and discriminated against the views of elders like the late Marlene Boyd. FOI documents reveal her views have not been considered. Instead of exposing NPWS for their failure to meet its obligations under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 No 80 section 30K, ABC censored the views of this amazing woman who according to her brother "died of a stress induced heart attack fighting these scandals." (Nice going ABC!)

If that was not bad enough, in its online report about the FOI documents ABC failed to mention the clear errors in NPWS risk information (see graphic below) and it further insulted the memory of Marlene Boyd by discriminating against her and only mentioning the views of the Bundjalung Nation. 

The consequence of the poor reporting is that ABC, like NPWS have misrepresented the facts about Mt Warning and in doing so have misled the public about the diversity of Aboriginal opinions about the summit walk and insulted the memory of a strong Indigenous woman. Shame on the ABC! They have also mislead the public about the true nature of safety issues on the summit in not providing coverage for my findings in their online report. 

ABC has breached elements of its editorial policy namely:4 Impartiality and diversity of perspectives

It has only provided the Bundjalung view about the climb and not reported that there are a diversity of Aboriginal perspectives including some that are supportive of public access to Mt Warning's summit. 

ABC has not reported on the errors in NPWS risk assessment. 

In my complaint I have requested ABC correct its online report to:
1. include the views of Marlene Boyd to provide balance to the Aboriginal opinions reported about the summit climb.  
2. Indicate NPWS have made an error in providing safety information about the park.

NPWS erroneous risk assessment

No doubt ABC's complaints unit will ignore this clear failure and sweep it under the sand like it normally does. Will update when I get a reply.

Update 2 20/2/2021 This correction to ABC's misleading headline requested.
Further to my complaint Reference Number C3345-21 please note a factual error that requires correction. The headline reads "Wollumbin National Park summit, formerly known as Mount Warning, could be closed permanently"

The name "Mount Warning" is still current. The feature is dual named. 
refer to NSW Geographic names board:

https://proposals.gnb.nsw.gov.au/public/geonames/caffbc27-34bf-4479-8d09-5266f2709bef

Please amend the headline and article to reflect the name Mt Warning is still in current use. 

From NSW government Gazette 20/2/2006
GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES ACT 1966 PURSUANT to the provisions of section 10 of the Geographical Names Act 1966, the Geographical Names Board has this day assigned the names “Mount Warning” and “Wollumbin” as dual names for a mountain situated about 6 km W by N of the town of Uki and approximately 14 km WSW of Murwillumbah which has been previously named and known as “Mount Warning”. Both names will be entered into the Geographical Names Register as dual names and neither name will have precedence over the other. The position and extents for this feature is recorded and shown within the Geographical Names Register of New South Wales. This information can be accessed through the Boards Web Site at www.lpi.nsw.gov.au/geog/. WARWICK WATKINS, Chairperson

UPDATE SBS have also had a go at misinforming the public. I fired off a complaint this afternoon....

I made a press announcement about the release of documents obtained through FOI/GIPA from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service about the closure of the Mt Warning/Wollumbin National Park and its famous summit walk. The documents were posted to my Right to Climb blog. The post may be accessed via this link: http://righttoclimb.blogspot.com/2021/02/foi-bombshell-permanent-ban-on-mt.html
The main findings of the release included:
• A "Final Wollumbin Closure Event" planned for 25 November 2022 and show NPWS have NO intention of re-opening the park to the public before that time. It’s clear the permanent closure has been planned for many years.
• Public information released about the safety issues on the Mountain by National Parks has a critical mistake. The Service have claimed there are "extreme" and "catastrophic" risks on the mountain from landslides and other hazards but the FOI documents show these are in error and these hazards are assigned a "medium" risk in Parks own safety assessment. For the hazards listed the risk is similar to other Grade 4-5 bushwalks in the state that are currently open.
• The medium risk conflicts with a slope stability assessment completed by geotechnical experts in 2018 that found risks to visitors from possible landslides and rockfalls in the park are very low, effectively lower than traveling anywhere by train in Australia.
• Consultations NPWS have had with Aboriginal groups have not included or considered and paid respect to the diverse range of indigenous opinions, about Mt Warning some of which actually encourage climbing. NPWS have an obligation under the National Parks Act to take the views of owners into account. The area of Mt Warning is the traditional area of the Ngarakwal/Nganduwal peoples. - not the Bundjalung who are a merger or various other northern NSW tribal groups. In an interview in 2007 before she died Ngaraakwal elder and Mount Warning custodian Marlene Boyd. Stated "I do not oppose the public climbing of Mt Warning - how can the public experience the spiritual significance of this land if they do not climb the summit and witness creation!" What a wonderful inspirational message that is! It is such a joyous affirmation of the awe and wonder we all experience when we connect with nature and the natural world, and it is outrageous that her views have been ignored by NPWS.

These points were listed in press release sent to SBS news. 

On 18 FEB 2021 - 10:50AM SBS posted the following story to its website: Wollumbin could permanently close to climbers, documents reveal, by Reporter Shaman Shad

https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2021/02/18/wollumbin-could-permanently-close-climbers-documents-reveal

SBS's report is heavily one sided, unbalanced, lacks a diversity of views, and fails to cover major parts of the story related to NPWS' erroneous safety message and most shamefully censors the views of a deceased Aboriginal woman.

The report fails to mention and effectively censors the views of the Late Marlene Boyd. Marlene was Marlene was a Ngaraakwal elder and Mount Warning custodian. In a 2007 interview quoted in the press release she stated: "I do not oppose the public climbing of Mt Warning - how can the public experience the spiritual significance of this land if they do not climb the summit and witness creation!" It is to ABC'S great shame that they censored her voice and only provided one viewpoint about Aboriginal perspectives about the Mt Warning summit walk. The reporter would have been well and truly aware of Marlene's views as they were included in the press release 

The report also fails to cover the errors in NPWS' safety classification.

The report fails to correctly mention the source of the documents and fails to accurately acknowledge the "Right To Climb blog".

This is perhaps one of the worst pieces of journalism I have seen and I have been reading and contributing to the press for 40 years. 

The absence of any mention of the views of Marlene Boyd is a total disgrace. I do not know why your reporter has decided to discriminate against the legitimate views of a dead Aboriginal woman. If there was a Walkley for poor reporting she has won it.

To rectify the issue:

  • SBS to apologize to the family of Marlene Boyd
  • Correct the news story by including Marlene's wonderful message "I do not oppose the public climbing of Mt Warning - how can the public experience the spiritual significance of this land if they do not climb the summit and witness creation!"
  • Accurately report on the errors NPWS have made in classifying hazards in the park. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

SBS climbing story was rubbish

SBS are as bad as ABC when it comes to bias misrepresentation and poor appreciation of the facts. Last year they ran a pile of utter rubbish, poorly researched piece of propaganda about rock climbing at Nowra. Our complaint was a little too late to be considered.

Here's the reply:

Dear Marc

Your recent complaint to SBS (ticket number: 136495) does not fulfil the requirements of a code complaint under the SBS Codes of Practice.

According to Code 9 (Comments and Complaints About SBS Content), code complaints must be received within 6 weeks of the date of broadcast/publication of the relevant SBS content. Your complaint was received more than 6 weeks after The Point report that concerned you was broadcast and published on 29 October 2020.

As a result, your complaint will not be formally investigated on this occasion.

A copy of your concerns has been passed on to the relevant SBS division as feedback for their information.

Thank you for making your concerns known to us.

Yours sincerely
Alison Angles
Researcher for the SBS Ombudsman


Here's the Australian Climbing Association of NSW reply to SBS's error-laden story....

This statement aims to correct factual errors in the SBS NITV story and inform the wider climbing community about what work is being done to maintain respectful access to this climbing area. It should be being sold as a good news story but that is not the angle that SBS NITV decided to take.

Six weeks prior to this story being published we were informed by climbers at Thompson’s Point that SBS NITV had been filming a story there. These climbers were alarmed at the ambush style interviews and the questions being asked of them without context. We approached SBS NITV immediately as we felt it likely from the nature of questioning that climbers were being unwillingly co-opted into a trope of ignorant climbers damaging Aboriginal culture and the environment. We were concerned that SBS NITV would not provide fair and balanced reporting. We provided information to counteract this image. This information has been totally ignored. We shall be making a formal complaint to the SBS ombudsman, and to the media regulatory body, ACMA.
Read the rest via this LINK and please send a complaint to ACMA and your local member if in NSW.