27.6 C
Byron Shire
February 22, 2024

Councillor seeks to ease housing crisis

Latest News

An adventure of a different kind

Two years ago adventurer Emma Scattergood discovered that a journey doesn’t always involve travel. In 2022, Emma was told she had stage 3 invasive lobular breast cancer. 

Other News

Far North Coast Junior Life Savers of the Year announced

Two of the Far North Coast’s brightest young surf life saving talents have been announced as the Newcastle Permanent Junior Surf Life Savers of the Year for 2024.

Wallum update: protectors at the ready

The fight to save the Wallum heathland in Brunswick Heads has gone into overdrive, with dozens of locals staunchly holding the line on-site, while thousands more lobby state and federal politicians in pursuit of permanent protection.

Police confirm two babies dead on February 11 in Mullumbimby

NSW Police have confirmed that at about 2am Sunday 11 February, emergency services were called to a home in Mullumbimby following reports of a concern for welfare.

Styx Valley forest protest renews call for climate action in Tasmania

With Tasmanians set to go to the polls on 23 March, the Bob Brown Foundation has called for the next Tasmanian government to take real climate action by protecting all native forests that are left standing and restoring degraded forests.

NSW Aboriginal Land Councils elections this weekend

Elections for members of NSW Aboriginal Land Councils (NSWALC) are on this weekend and NSWALC CEO Yuseph Deen stresses the critical significance of active participation in shaping the future of Aboriginal communities in New South Wales.

Green Convoy

Michael Trevaskis (Letters, 8 February) might have enjoyed the extra three years of the miserable and mean Morrison government...

Byron councillor Tom Tabart has come up with a two-pronged attack in an attempt to ease the housing crisis that is beleaguering the Shire.

Cr Tabart will move a motion calling on Council’s own compliance staff to ease off on action against unauthorised dwellings. His notice of motion is expected to be debated at Council’s meeting next Thursday at 10.30am, while activist Fast Buck$, who is being pursued by Council over his property at Coorabell, intends to support Cr Tabart’s move during public access from 9am.

Cr Tabart intends to move, ‘That Council restrict compliance action with regard to suspected unauthorised dwellings only to cases where there is a demonstrable risk to health or safety – this approach to continue until the state and/or the federal government implements measures to fully address the growing problem of the affordable housing shortage’.

Cr Tabart also intends to move that ‘action against unauthorised use of approved dwellings (eg holiday letting) be continued’.

Unauthorised housing in Byron Shire has become a mainstream source of low-income accommodation, according to Cr Tabart. ‘It is unrealistic to continue to hide behind the anachronistic requirements of the legislation in the face of a major social crisis.

‘In any event the compliance capacity of Council is so limited that we are perceived to be unfairly selective in our prosecution of the Act and have no hope of a realistic resolution of the overall situation – we merely inflict additional stress on people already in reduced circumstances.

‘I realise that staff comment will advise that we have statutory requirements in this regard but I am asking for a little activism from councillors; this is the only way we ever get the attention of the legislature.

‘With regard to holiday letting, our limited compliance capacity should be directed to this abuse which severely reduces the housing stock available for residential use.’

In response to Cr Tabart’s comments a staff report notes: ‘Unauthorised housing in Byron Shire is a complex and sensitive matter with no easy resolution. If Council took formal action that required a property owner to cease using and to demolish or remove unapproved structures, then vulnerable people could be at risk and could become homeless.

‘However, if a tenant is killed or injured whilst residing in an unapproved (and possibly unsafe) dwelling, then Council may have a degree of vicarious [sic] liability.

‘The “do nothing” option, or allowing the status quo to remain, is also not desirable as it is evident that in most cases some works need to be carried out to improve basic health, safety and hygiene standards. The carrying out of even minimal upgrading works may be too costly for the property owner and if this matter was forced, the property owner may decide to cease providing accommodation.’

In related news, Australians for Affordable Housing (AFH) released housing stress figures for across NSW, and Tweed Byron tops the list. See more at http://housingstressed.org.au.

Previous articleTeach your children well
Next articleCartoon

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Police confirm two babies dead on February 11 in Mullumbimby

NSW Police have confirmed that at about 2am Sunday 11 February, emergency services were called to a home in Mullumbimby following reports of a concern for welfare.

Just what the doctor and nurses and midwives ordered

It seems like nurses and midwives are always struggling under the weight of poor patient-to-staff ratios. It is hoped that an influx of new workers could help ease the load. This will be a welcome relief for local staff.

Affordable housing summit next week

As the affordable housing issue shows no signs of easing in the near future, key figures in the housing, property, and finance sectors will come together to tackle the country’s housing challenges at the ninth Affordable Housing Development & Investment Summit

Lorikeets on the mend as paralysis season eases

A poorly-understood phenomenon where lorikeets in the region becoming paralysed and unable to fly is thankfully coming to an end for 2024, says WIRES wildlife vet, Dr Tania Bishop.