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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Zoning changes another government grab

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Dave Rawlins, Mullumbimby Creek

There is much confusion resulting from the state government’s rash and unexplained decision to remove E2 and E3 environmental zones from north coast LEPs (local environment plans).

Until it is shown to be otherwise, some healthy cynicism of the government’s decision to weaken environmental legislation is needed. This is reinforced by the fact environmental zone removal only applies to Ballina, Lismore, Kyogle, Tweed and Byron councils and nowhere else in the state.

Council supported existing land-use rights in E2 and E3 zones, so farmers could have continued to farm and not much would have changed. As a community most of us do not want to see the result of removing environmental protection, which will allow high-density development, intensive industrial agriculture, the expansion of CSG, and the development of Crown land in coastal areas. Our community for decades has fought to save rainforests, wetlands, threatened species and their habitats and other areas of high-conservation-value vegetation.

Byron Shire is unique with some of the highest numbers of threatened species in the state as well as extraordinarily rich biodiversity. For these reasons submissions that support council’s vision to enhance our environment while maintaining our beautiful and productive rural lands and amenity are needed to send a clear message to our meddling, development-driven state government to pull its head in.


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  1. I beg to differ.

    The State Government has said it will excise E2, E3 and overlays over “RURAL LAND” and any such excise will be until a proper review is carried out.

    E2 and E3 zoning over existing Environmental zones will remain protected and will not to be excised.

    Council is proposing to rezone an additional 8,552 ha of “RURAL ZONED LAND” for Environmental protection. Unfortunately Council is using out of date maps from 1991 to justify the rezoning. Almost zero ground truthing has been done on “RURAL LAND”

    Council maps have disclaimers that their accuracy can’t be relied on.

    Moreover Councils recently released new mapping is FLAWED.

    I have planted 60,000 plus Rainforest Trees on my property over several years. Our Rainforest is of local genetics and 140 different species. Council new mapping identifies this regeneration work as 81 to 100% Camphor Laurel.

    On another property Councils new maps show some vegetation as 81 to 100% Camphor Laurel and yet on another map the same area and vegetation as High Value Conservation and thus triggering rezoning to E2.

    The majority of Farmers that I know are all good custodians of the Land and many have done fantastic regeneration works. Existing Regulations protects Native vegetation on Rural Land. It is not necessary for Council to rezone such land and diminish its Rural Zone value.

    Many Farmers who have been carrying out regeneration work are now aware that future LEP’s may trigger a rezoning. This would be a huge setback for conservation work by Farmers. I myself won’t continue such work until Council rethinks it position. Conservation on Farmland won’t happen by new regulation or rezoning, it needs the Farmers co-operation.

    Council doesn’t understand that rezoning to Environmental protection diminished the value and sterilizes the land use.

    If rezoning occurs some Farmers may have mortgage arrangements audited by Banks due to values being diminished and could face foreclosure.

    Council and Councillors have a duty of care not to cause drastic outcomes of peoples livelihoods particularly when the information used is so out of date and flawed.

    Other than the financial hardship rezoning can cause my other concern is that when Rural zoned land is locked up for conservation it will eventually be completely over taken by Camphor Laurel, Privet and Lantana. Many thousands of dollars are spent each year restoring and maintaining Big Scrub remnants from weed infestation.

    Lets rethink our methods of conservation before another 8,552 ha of Rural Land is rezoned to an eventual Camphor Laurel Forest.


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