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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

SNCN replies to BRAG

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Andy Baker, Save North Coast Nature

In reply to the Byron Rural Action Group (Echonetdaily Letters, November 5). You claim:

  • i) that BRAG never intended for all E-zones to be excised from the draft LEP and that
  • ii) BRAG recognises the ‘fundamental importance of environmental management of land to this region and its community’.

Yet the minister’s decision to excise all E2 and E3 zones from the final plan is a direct result of BRAG’s lobbying, and has created a far bigger mess than it was before. So, tell us… if BRAG didn’t mean to wipe out all E-zones and you believe ‘environmental management is of fundamental importance’, did the minister misrepresent BRAG’s position? Did he go too far by taking all our E-zones?

If the community is to believe your above-mentioned claims, BRAG should set the minister straight, by ensuring that E-zones over high-conservation-value native vegetation will not be removed, and to limit the review process only to E-zones, corridors and riparian buffers that apply to lands that are currently cleared or under cropping.

Until this mess is resolved, the community has absolutely no idea of what our pro-development government intends to do with our shire’s forests, wetlands and wildlife habitats. The minister has said ‘that any E2 or E3 zoned land in these draft plans would be excised when the LEPs are finalised’. That much is clear. He’s hinted at a review, but AFTER the plans have been finalised. Since when does anyone finalise a plan, and then fix up its main issues. These plans only get revised every 25 years, so surely we should sort out any important mapping errors BEFORE they’re set in stone.

It would seem our two groups have some common ground here. Save North Coast Nature does not want to waste valuable resources defending clearly significant environmental values, and BRAG seems keen to avoid being perceived by the public as ‘anti-environment’.

So put your money where your mouth is, BRAG; say that you support the inclusion of high conservation value native vegetation in environmental zones and set the minister straight, so the community can get on with the important business of fixing any mapping inaccuracies on the ground.

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