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Byron Shire
March 7, 2021

Paying LEP ‘lip service’

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People say ‘Keep up the good work’ and they avidly read my letters, but sometimes I have to wonder why I bother.

For weeks I’ve been pressuring Council to not make changes to rural aspects of the LEP in the absence of meaningful feedback from those affected. It is simply bad governance that Ray Darney is able to select aspects of the Rural Strategy that suit him (and to ignore others that presumably don’t) and to insert them into the draft LEP for council ratification, ie rubber-stamping. True, the public were invited to make submissions and a whole two (!) of them did, but they were making submissions to a range of options already arbitrarily narrowed by Mr Darney.

At last week’s meeting Crs Woods and Ibrahim did express concern about the council’s failure to conduct a review in 2004 when it was due, and Cr Woods also did express sympathy for those in The Pocket area who’d been waiting for 14 years for mooted inclusion in the Rural Strategy, but that was it. They then participated in the unanimous vote to put the changes through as is. Unanimous!

Apparently Crs Woods and Ibrahim thought that paying lip-service to the concerns raised is enough to pacify those who are upset.

Cr Ibrahim – who within certain parameters is normally astute – suggested that the review should take place, but later. Sol doesn’t understand that such a review would only be of the Rural Strategy and its later versions; strategies, policies and the like are essentially guidelines; the document that really counts is the LEP, which is ironclad law and cannot be challenged in court. Yes, one could later amend the LEP in light of the review’s findings, but who’s going to initiate that process, Sol? Certainly not Ray Darney and your councillors.

After watching Council’s performance on this issue (and on the Suffolk Park Telstra tower matter, too) I’m coming to the conclusion that this council is no better than the last, possibly worse in terms of outcomes and certainly worse in terms of idealism. I warn everybody’s friend Simon Richardson that there are deep rumblings of concern about you in Greens circles, mainly along the lines that you give too much to the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

 


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