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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Check their voting patterns

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Elizabeth Jack, Tyalgum

Six of the current Tweed councillors will be standing for election again. Let us not forget their history of voting patterns in council as we go to election.

All of them claimed to be ‘green’ at the last election, but five of the seven of them were anti-environment once in council. One of them on being elected mayor said, ‘My main objective as mayor will be to preserve this lovely, pristine environment,’ and then went on to vote for a dam at Byrrill Creek and other environmentally unfriendly issues!

Cr Longland, prior to becoming mayor, half the time seconded and voted for motions made by the only consistently pro-environment councillor, Cr Katie Milne. Once mayor, he rarely seconded her motions. Recently he said, ‘I’m proud of what I have achieved so far and I value the Tweed greatly’. Well why isn’t he consistently making or at least seconding motions that prove that?

In June, Cr Milne made a number of motions concerning environmental protection on a number of issues yet not one councillor (including mayor Longland) seconded them. Apparently, protecting the Chinderah Fig Tree (more than 100 years old) is not important to them. Neither is finding out the cost of all dam options, including water conservation alternatives.

Nor hiring a water conservation expert for major developments. Writing to the NSW government expressing the shire’s concern over shooting in Nightcap National Park due to concerns with public safety, tourism and threatened species wasn’t worth seconding either.

Hiring an expert to look at the impact of increasing population levels in the shire was not of value either, along with meeting with Lock the Gate Alliance and Northern Rivers Guardians about concerns for coal-seam gas in the Tweed.

Cr Longland didn’t want the state government dictating what our rates should be, meaning council wanted free reign on increasing rates any old time. Why didn’t he second the above motions if protecting the Tweed shire’s uniqueness was a major priority, as he told media recently?

Crs Polglase and Youngblutt were the only two opposing shirewide street tree planting in CBD areas, especially South Tweed Heads.

As we go to poll in a few weeks, I hope everyone remembers those councillors who made promises but then didn’t act to protect our environment or listen to residents. Shirewide surveys consistently show that residents want environmental values protected. Let’s get it right at the next election.


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