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Byron Shire
June 2, 2023

Dear Barry, I want my vote back

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When the previous Clown Council voted to locate a major housing development without appropriate controls beside a nature reserve containing one of the few remaining koala colonies in the Tweed, most of us were appalled. But then we didn’t expect much more from Shrek, The Donkey and Princess Fiona.

At this election, you held yourself out as being sensible and reasonable. Once in, one of the first things you do is to vote against a ban on dogs in the Kings Forest development. What a shabby, ill-considered and irresponsible position you have taken.

In the time between the previous Clown Council’s decision and the latest vote, the federal government has added koalas to the list of species threatened with extinction. We also have the benefit of a senate committee report ‘The Koala – Saving Our National Icon’.

In that report you will find:

‘The committee heard evidence from a number of local government bodies regarding measures that can be taken to prevent dog attacks on native wildlife in urban areas. For example local governments may require:

  • the compulsory ‘denning’ of dogs at night in areas of known koala habitat
  • the creation of pet-free developments in key habitat areas, and
  • the creation of local laws penalising owners of animals that kill native wildlife.’

Please note the second point. (I take it you are also blithely oblivious to the potential of the first and last points.) One Queensland council noted it had ‘looked at the possibility of inviting some areas to be dog free. That, again, is a negotiation that we would have with the developers.’ Well done, Redlands Council, and how shabby is position of the Tweed Council?

The koala is a tourism drawcard of unique power. I trust that for the remainder of your tenure, which I now hope will be your last (don’t think this will be forgotten Barry), you will not try to associate yourself with tourism, development or other campaigns based on the Green Caldera or environmental excellence. We couldn’t stomach any more hypocrisy. The first koalas to be killed by dogs in Kings Forest should have an epitaph: ‘sacrificed by Barry Longland who had neither the wit nor the courage to do the right thing’.

I and many other voters feel we have been defrauded. Barry Longland, I want my vote back!

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