19.3 C
Byron Shire
May 29, 2022

The compliance push

Latest News

Primex Sustainable Farming and Primary Industries Expo new date confirmed

After being postponed due to the flooding and ongoing wet weather the 2022 Primex Sustainable Farming and Primary Industries Expo and will now go ahead on November 10–12.

Other News

Up to five times the average rainfall during 2022 in some areas says BOM

The formal record of the extreme rainfall and flooding was released today by the Bureau of Meteorology with some areas of south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales having five times their monthly average of rain. 

Bringing learning and play together

Byron Bay High School’s new agility course recognises the importance of play for learning and has students from all years actively playing during breaks and PDHPE lessons, according to Byron Bay High’s Principal, Janine Marcus.

Kevin Hogan returns for Page

Though the coalition government he represents is now in opposition, National Party candidate for Page, Kevin Hogan, has been returned to his seat and yesterday he released a statement to all media.

Flood resilience

A big thank you to Sonia Laverty and the Mullumbimby Residents Association (MRA) for providing Monday’s meeting on flood...

Beehives lost during floods: DPI

Statistics around the loss of livestock in the Byron Shire have been released by the NSW Department of Primary...

One person is in ICU with covid in the Northern Rivers region

There is one person in ICU in the Northern NSW Local Health District and 23 people in hospital with COVID-19. 

I was rather bemused by David Lovejoy’s perplexity last week when he quoted a Council press release to the effect that a former Nationals candidate had had a compliance matter raised against him in court. David’s question was ‘What does Mr Hunter’s political affiliation have to do with anything?’

Quite a bit actually, David. For a while now I’ve been hinting that all Council’s compliance actions seem to be aimed at the left/hippy side of the local population. At a Council meeting late last year I came right out with it in a light-hearted question to the GM: ‘What do you say to rumours circulating in the community that staff are deliberately trying to drive hippies out of rural areas?’ There was this moment of silence during which Cr Woods, in a rare moment of insight, mumbled that I’m the one who’s circulating that notion, after which the GM smilingly dismissed what I was suggesting. (Indeed all the staff were smiling, come to think of it.)

Anyway my point seems to have hit home. I suggest that the reference to legal action in the press release was a deliberate attempt by the staff to counter any suggestion of selective prosecution. The Echo was meant to print this prominently so that the community would then get the impression that staff were even-handed and fearless in their pursuit of law-breakers. What a pity for them that The Echo declined to play ball.

The prosecution of Shai Major was also essentially political. If you go back to Council’s press release late last year you’ll see the suggestion made that this was proof that Council was serious about illegal holiday accommodation. In reality, however, Major was charged with running an illegal backpackers hostel, not with holiday letting as such.

In that same press release the suggestion is also made that the owners of a new residential complex in Shirley Street will be charged with holiday letting, further proof (allegedly) that Council is serious. Really? The context of this matter is that over the past couple of years Council staff have been adding a consent condition to new dwelling approvals which disallows tourist accommodation.

Staff claim that this condition makes it easier to prosecute them. This is utter rubbish; holiday letting is prohibited in a residential zone and adding those words to the consent merely restates what is already legally the case. What’s really going on is this: the old boys in the holiday-letting scene will be allowed to continue doing it because it’s ‘too difficult’ to prosecute them, while new entrants run the risk of being shut down, supposedly because of the consent condition. In other words we’ll have a two-tiered system where the old guard are protected both from prosecution and from competition.

Where do the, um, intellectuals on Council stand on this? I’m referring of course to Cr Morrissey, who apparently has a PhD in something that doesn’t involve any excessive opening of the eyes, and Cr Cameron, who apparently has a law degree but is quite unconcerned about irregularities that Council routinely indulges in.

Both recently voted against getting councillors involved in the disputes resolution committee, where it would be councillors rather than the staff who decide who gets prosecuted for what. This exceeding gutless Pontius Pilate copout act of theirs absolves me of restraint I might otherwise have felt in any future criticism of them.

Indeed I will be examining their propaganda during the last election campaign to see what exactly they promised. Somehow I doubt that they promised that holiday letting would be systematically protected while rural hippies would be harassed at will by the staff, and more and more power handed over to the GM. They are an embarrassment to democracy and I don’t know why David Lovejoy didn’t actually name them in his opinion piece. Am I to be the only person calling a spade a spade?

Which leads to the question I am increasingly being asked: Am I serious about running for mayor? To keep Pontius Cameron out, yes, I would make that sacrifice. I don’t like opportunists with big egos.

Fast Buck$, Coorabell


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

Reasons to be cheerful

After nine long years of being led by the least among us, Australia’s future feels optimistic. Thanks, Western Australia, you were instrumental in booting those numpties out! 

Regrets for treatment of Wardell CORE?

After Ballina Council's recent decision, at its Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting, to effectively evict the Wardell Community Organised Resilience Effort (CORE) from the War Memorial Hall, in mid-flood recovery, some were having second thoughts at their Ordinary Meeting yesterday.

Keep your eyes and ears open for Albert’s Lyrebird

Tweed Council is asking that you put your best bird listening ears on this June and capture the sounds of a rare bird.

Progress at Ross Lane?

The perennial question 'is Ross Lane open?' edged closer to an answer yesterday, with Ballina Council discussing a range of options to solve the flooding problem which regularly cuts off Lennox's main access to the west. Ross Lane has been closed again this week.