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Byron Shire
April 20, 2021

Don Page’s three years in power a disaster

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I take exception to Don Page accusing me of spreading untruths when he was unable to identify a single thing I said that was untrue.

Don did vote to allow shooting in all our local national parks at the discretion of the environment minister.

Don did intervene to stop north coast councils from including environmental protection zones in their Local Environmental Plans while a review was undertaken, and yes Don’s review that was suppressed for over seven months has been released since my letter and does support inclusion of rainforest, old-growth forest, endangered ecological communities, and a variety of other high conservation value lands in E zones.

Unfortunately, contrary to the SEPP 44 requirement to ‘include land identified as a core koala habitat within an environmental protection zone’ Don’s review does not propose allowing protection of core koala habitat in E zones.

Don claims personal responsibility for SEPP 44 so I hope he will ensure core koala habitat is once again allowed to be included in E zones.

Don is apparently also supporting the zoning at West Byron of 4.6 hectares of core koala habitat, and 21ha of buffers around core koala habitat, for residential and business purposes.

This habitat is identified for protection in Byron Shire Council’s draft Koala Plan of Management prepared under SEPP 44.

Don seems to think that it is only after a development or a highway is approved that koalas should be considered. It’s too late then.

Don also pretends that the changes to the law he championed to allow trees from native forests to be burnt to generate electricity only apply to trees cleared for the Pacific Highway, which is patently untrue.

Rather the changes allow any tree not classed as a saw log from any forest in NSW to be burnt for electricity.

Contrary to Don’s assertion, his government’s decision to open up Cape Byron Marine Park’s sanctuary zones for shore-based fishing was not based on science and was opposed by the Australian Marine Sciences Association.

If he says the science to justify this decision is still incomplete then why did he support it?

I am glad that he now supports excluding fishing from The Pass-Wategos and The Moat, and apparently wants to extend the sanctuary zone to include Main Beach.

I am disappointed that he does not support restoring protection to the mouth of the Belongil Estuary, Tyagarah and Broken Head, particularly as he has no science to support him.

I still assert that Don’s three years in power have been an environmental disaster for his electorate and NSW.

I challenge him to identify any environmental achievements he has made in the past three years.

Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay

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