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Byron Shire
May 13, 2021

Byron council’s apathy

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The question was recently asked what is preventing Byron Shire Council improving its financial position by being innovative? The simple answer is apathy.

In the late 1990s, Byron Shire Council bought a $1m sludge drying belt press. It was state-of-the-art, producing tons of dry sludge per week.

Both the director and operations manager of water and waste were approached in 2004 with the suggestion that the dry sludge could be converted to a fertiliser and sold.

Both, separately and independently responded that council was not capable of putting a small business like that together. Yet the foregone revenue would have provided a substantial and continuous income stream for council.

Another blatant example of poor attitude or apathy is council’s purchase of vehicles. These are purchased as separate items as opposed to negotiating on a fleet of vehicles.

Surely an ‘enterprising’ management would call for tenders to supply vehicles, including trucks, plant and equipment used by council and get the best deal possible.

How could you possibly support increasing rates and charges to continue to support such apathy?

Alan Dickens, Brunswick Heads


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  1. Certainly we could have a more fiscally minded local government. But bear in mind the scenario a few years ago where local councils throughout Australia invested their tax payers dollars in what was thought to be secure investment schemes. They lost their shirts and our hard earned monies when groups like HIH went belly up. Little investors lost their hard earned life savings and were, like our councils, left floundering.
    The idea of recycling the sludge certainly has merits, but before such a proposal were to be undertaken, what are the start-up costs and what is the potential market? Taking in to consideration our existing financially strained status, what are the risks?


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