I cannot let Dailan Pugh’s rave against me go unchallenged (Echonetdaily, May 5). In answer to the five issues he raised:
Shooting in national parks: the government is conducting a three-year feral pest control trial in 12 national parks, all of which are in the west of the state and none on the east coast of NSW.
E Zones: both Ballina and Byron shires zoned large areas of farming land as environmental zones in their new draft LEPs. I did intervene on this to protect farming and food production in the two shires. An independent consultant was appointed to examine the issue and the NSW government has released their report this week, which recommends relevant criteria for a classification for E Zones – rather than their being at the whim of some dark green council planner. Interested parties now have three weeks to comment.
Cape Byron Marine Park: I supported its establishment. However, there was some community concern about prohibiting recreational line fishing from the beach within the park. All decisions on zonings within marine parks should be based on science. The science is not yet completed on recreational line fishing off beaches, which explains the delay. I don’t support recreational line fishing at Main Beach, The Pass, Wategos or the Moat at Lennox Head.
Forest residue: I support allowing forest residue and cleared timber from the Pacific Highway upgrade being used for electricity generation at the Broadwater Co-Generation Plant. This is a sensible reuse of forest residue and fallen timber from the highway upgrade that would otherwise lie on the forest floor or be burnt, thereby creating more greenhouse gas emissions.
West Byron: this application by private landowners is being assessed by the Department of Planning. I have made it plain publicly that traffic congestion problems at Byron Bay have to be addressed and solutions put in place before any proposed rezoning occurs. I have also drawn to the minister for planning’s attention issues such as acid sulphate soils and protecting the koala population. On koalas, as parliamentary secretary for planning in 1994, I was personally responsible for introducing SEPP 44, which protects koalas and their habitat if any development occurs through an enforceable plan of management. This will happen at both West Byron (if it were to be rezoned) and on the Pacific Highway south of Ballina.
Dailan Pugh should stop spreading mistruths and clean up his act.
Don Page MP, Byron Bay