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Byron Shire
June 2, 2023

Forum a waste of time

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Di Woods, Byron Shire councillor / deputy mayor

I am compelled to write regarding the ‘farcical forum’ held on Saturday night.

To begin, my understanding was that we were to have a serious discussion about the distasteful outcomes of New Years Eve celebrations, and to address bad behaviour that seems to be the norm most weekends in Byron Bay

The opening comments by the convener about not using foul language like ‘don’t call anyone a f***ing idiot’, during the discussion (which she repeated continually) did not set the scene for a change in culture and some of the audience found it extremely offensive.

The crux came for me when criticism was put about the ‘Byron Naturally’ campaign, which shows an extremely attractive local lady in beachwear followed by a comment made by the convener that ‘buff shirtless men would look at the ad and want to “bone” the said lady’ (words may not be exact).

Many cringed and one may ask what tone does that set.

Additionally, the hogging of the microphone by the convener, and the display by the ex-mayor (who appears to forget that we have a new mayor and a more reasonable one at that) was another indication that it was not about hearing the community and panel’s views but in my opinion a grandstanding exercise by elements we can well do without.

The long-dead issue of the old and defunct $7 million debt, and the mention of outstanding resolutions of Council, raised by the ex-mayor, had nothing to do with the debate and did little to assist in seeking solutions.

Finally, it was very disappointing that the police did not bother to attend, as their input is critical.

The forum was a waste of everyone’s time and achieved nothing in my view and the view expressed to me by many who attended.

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  1. Would have to totally agree with Di Woods comments on this. The group who are causing the violence and debris in the town in are NOT tourist and are a totally separate issue. There has been a lot of good work done over the last two years to reposition the town and bringing together all stakeholders finally – in the wake of years of local government avoidance. This was totally ignored by those that created and managed the event.

    Simon’s and former Mayor’s adamant comments that tourism only employs 30% of locals might be a statistical fact – To assume that tourism does not have a flow on effect to the majority of other businesses (builders, farmers, suppliers) and not-for-proffit organisations is crazy.

    Issues need to be dealt with – just more professionally. The flow on effect as a consequence of the media frenzy and hype are going to have significant ramifications in the not to distant future.

  2. I listened in on BayFM and found the same results that are mentioned in this article. I guessed in advance that nothing would come productively from this forum, too many egos in this town. The input from Mr Moody and Mr Waters -representatives of their own interest group,s was laughable in that they pushed their own agendas and offered nothing in the way of a solution or change in business practices, which would benefit the town and not their ‘bottom line’
    I hope that a truthful discourse can happen in this town, with solutions not a talkfest, that will benefit Byron will be held again. The truth is staring us in the face that unless these PROBLEMS are ameliorated/FIXED then Byron-as we knew it (if it hasn’t already done so) will go down the gurgler.


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