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Byron Shire
April 1, 2023

Save the regional library

Latest News

Tweed residents outraged at destruction of koala habitat on Cobaki Creek

A 'legacy' floodplain development on the tidal estuary of Cobaki Creek, known to have recent koala sightings, was approved in 1996 and is now being cleared.

Other News

Tamara Smith returned to Ballina’s Greens seat

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Cartoon of the week – 29 March 2023

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don’t be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

Do you still need help to get two rooms fixed after the 2022 flood?

More than 80 Lismore residents have had help getting a few rooms in their flood-impacted homes re-sheeted and habitable...

Apples and pears

by Victoria Cosford These long hot golden days are lulling us into the belief that summer will go on forever...

Women of song at The Con

The Northern Rivers Conservatorium (The Con), in association with Musica Viva Australia, is pleased to present a special event in its Concert Room on Friday 28 April – Women of Song.  This innovative new show developed by the acclaimed Jessie Lloyd of Mission Songs Project includes themes of intergenerational practices, singing on, and from, Country, commitment to community, and preserving knowledge in song. It’s an intimate celebration of the ‘here and now’ of Indigenous culture, a rare mix of spontaneous conversation and songs exploring the modern-day practice and living heart of the world’s oldest living culture.

Rethinking the tourism paradigm

The past three years have been a fairly challenging time for the Byron tourism Industry, after fires, floods, and a pandemic. According to local tourism organisation, Destination Byron, now seems the right time to rethink the tourism paradigm for Byron.

The move to form the Richmond Tweed Regional Library (RTRL) was made some 37 years ago and over the intervening years this service committee grew it from being one of the worst regional libraries in the state to one of the biggest and best.

This largely occurred during the period of about 12 years when Martin Field was the director. All four constituent councils had expressed their satisfaction with its operation. Lismore City Council was the executive council under this old agreement and took an overseeing role in its operations by being represented at most of its meetings.

I personally had over 28 years experience on the RTRL Committee, eight as its president.

I can say without fear of contradiction that the RTRL functioned extremely well under Martin’s direction.

In June 2010, the former GM of LCC took the unprecedented step to ‘sack’ the committee and announce that from that date the LCC would be taking over all of the operations of the RTRL.

Nothing under the old and still existing legal agreement provided for this drastic action.

This amazing turn of events resulted in Martin Field being put in such an untenable position that he had little choice but to resign; the services being delivered have taken a nosedive; a draft agreement drafted by Lismore’s solicitor being drawn up, which gave it vastly more power and which Byron and Ballina Councils have refused to sign; library staff, all of whom have been taken onto the strength of Lismore CC, being left in the position of having to go to their union to get a decision on remuneration rates and back pay; reduced bookstock; fewer loans and severely depleted reserves that had been carefully and efficiently accumulated by Martin Field and the committee over some 12 years.

Over the ensuing 18 months since the ‘sacking’, the position of the RTRL has gone from bad to worse, so much so that a committee has been formed under the title of ‘Save the RTRL’ to fight this issue and unscramble this mess.

To their credit the new state government quickly amended the ancient State Library Act 1939 to overcome the perceived problem that LCC had with the old agreement, so there is now no excuse for a new agreement being reached by all four councils to allow the Richmond-Tweed Regional Library Committee to be re-instated and allowed to claw back the level of excellence that it had previously attained.

Max R Boyd AM, president, Save the RTRL Committee

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