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Byron Shire
April 17, 2021

Blood in the water over West Byron

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Poor Council drains

Kate Anderson, Mullumbimby In response to and support of Kerry Gray’s and Robin Gracie’s letters Echo 31 March). The McGoughans Lane...

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Holiday letting policy adopted by NSW govt

New state rules on short-term holiday lets (STHL) for NSW, announced late last week, won’t be introduced to the Byron Shire until as late as February next year, as the local housing crisis intensifies.

SCU named as partner in two national drought hubs

Southern Cross University has been announced as playing a crucial partnership role in two new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

Man charged with assault after death at Coffs Harbour

A man will face court today charged with assault as inquiries continue into the death of a man at Coffs Harbour after an altercation on Saturday.

Linen SHIFT project urgently needs new home

With a vision to disrupt the cycle of women’s homelessness, the Linen SHIFT project was born to provide unique individual support and education for at-risk women in a safe residential environment, but today they they have been forced to close.

Byron Shire celebrates seniors during festival week

An action-packed program has been planned for the 2021 Byron Shire Seniors Festival with drumming, dancing, walking, yoga and laughing on the program.

Local sailor triumphs in blustery Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race

Local sailor Craig Watson battled near gale-force winds on Coopers to have one of his best ever Brisbane to Gladstone yacht races claiming fourth place in line honours.

Adrian Gattenhof has written kind remarks about a letter of mine. I wish to say of Adrian’s comments regarding law enforcement, and Mary Gardner’s piece on the back swamps, that these people have shown us the way forward.

Haven’t you looked at the low lands west of Byron Bay and thought, ‘Why on earth don’t we turn this back into habitat?’

Everyone who goes fishing, everyone who loves birdlife, and everyone who stands to make a buck out of tourists walking along nature trails through a huge wildlife park (plus an unspecified number of non-humans) will surely welcome such a thing. So will the state of NSW, the nation, and the earth. So that is the goal. Let us achieve it. Honestly, should it not have been done 30 years ago? Thanks to Mary Gardner for trumpeting the charge.

Mr Gattenhof has drawn our attention to the ‘Writ of Mandamus’. A writ to compel action in accordance with the law sounds handy. Overall, what is required is compulsion of governments to act, and this can indeed be done by the population. Look how mayor Smiling Simon is now seeking to delay the housing estate he was so much in favour of so recently. How about pressuring him until he changes his tune on illegal letting too? Foot on the throat and don’t let up.

But there is more. Two massively corrupt political gangs, Labor and the Coalition, have lost all credibility. Mike Baird has resorted to simple bribery to get re-elected: he will sell off our electricity infrastructure to buy votes in Sydney. Has there ever been a better time to organise and slam these gangsters?

Ultimately, as Jan Barham said, the holiday let battle requires NSW government action to be won. Now, as Dailan Pugh has pointed out, West Byron could become a glorious park or a horrific suburb at the minister’s whim. Or not.

The enemy is weak and we are strong. I can smell their fear, can’t you? A statewide rising on a simple agreed agenda: to destroy corruption and strengthen communities, to reverse population increase and cease wasting money on corrupt projects. This is our best chance. I smell more than fear. I smell their blood in the water.

Matt Hartley, Byron Bay

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  1. Let’s investigate Carbon farming, carbon credits and blue carbon credits — all ways which could provide the community with income for protecting and restoring environment.

    “Including coastal wetlands in the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) would not require any changes in the current legislation, because restoring drained wetlands is already listed as an eligible activity. This could be extended further to include restoration of degraded wetlands.

    The possibility of carbon sequestration projects in wetlands has already been established, with mangrove projects operating under the international voluntary carbon markets. Additionally, it is feasible that insurance can be obtained for carbon in wetlands.

    Multiple benefits would flow from including restoration in the CFI.
    Coastal wetlands store and sequester large amounts of carbon in their soils. “Carbon farming” is encouraged in the land-based environment to improve condition of the landscape and provide offsets for activities that emit carbon dioxide. Carbon farming could be encouraged in coastal wetlands, with restoration and improved management providing the possibility of benefits for biodiversity, fisheries, coastal protection and recreation.”


    Examples of restoration accomplished in NSW:
    1. Once farmland suffering the effects of acid sulfate soils, land clearing and weeds, Council purchased the property in 2003 to restore the natural beauty and ecological value of the wetlands.

    While the primary goal was on improving the water quality of the Manning River through the remediation of acid sulfate soils, a range of other environmental benefits have also been achieved including the rehabilitation of coastal wetlands and other endangered floodplain communities.

    Through extensive plantings and weed control, Cattai Wetlands now also provides an important habitat link between Crowdy Bay National Park and the Lansdowne escarpment. All this has been achieved in partnership with various organisations and government agencies, indigenous green groups and community volunteers.

    In addition to the environmental values of the site, Council is also keen to promote the educational and passive recreational values of the wetlands and its potential as a regional tourist attraction. To enable this, a range of visitor facilities have been constructed on the site including toilets, car parking, boardwalks, viewing platforms and interpretive signage.


    2. The Water Research Laboratory has been working with National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to restore tidal flushing and create a wetland in the Kooragang Nature Reserve. The wetland is being created to compensate for migratory wading bird habitat destroyed elsewhere in the lower Hunter River estuary.


    3. In 2012 CSIRO, the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW OEH) and property owners were successful in a joint application for three years of project funding from the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, through the Clean Energy Futures ‘Biodiversity Fund’ to support restoration and monitoring of Paika Lake and surrounds.


  2. What you say is almost 100% correct. However I take issue with your notion a Govt. of any colour (no crankyanker spell checker it’s NOT spelt without the “U”) should own a business. All Govt. assets except those dealing with defence should be sold. Govt.s make lousy managers. They complicate everything with ridiculous procedures to be followed, thereby increasing red tape and they employ pollies’ mates who all get their snouts in the trough. The enterprises become riddled with empire building public servants.
    Just have a look at the NSW Dept. Primary Industries 11 corporatised Local Land Services “empire-ised” (my word) by Katrina Hodgkinson and which employs a Minister’s appointed Chair of Chairs (CoC), + 44 directors (read stooges) and 34 external appointees (just to give the Monster’s sorry, Minister’s incompetence the look and feel of transparency) all on extortionate rates of fees and allowances. The total number of directors for 11 LLS Regions in NSW is 79. BHP, operating in just about all countries of the World, has 14 Directors!

    LLS’s discriminate against those who live on hectarages of 10ha+. Soon the hectarage threshold will be reduced to 2ha+. “Rates” (read unconstitutional excise) are based on a guess by an LLS stooge as to the number of units of livestock (50+ non-lactating sheep or with high voices [wethers]) can be carried sustainably (run) on each hectarage. I couldn’t run 50 blow flies on our piece of dirt sorry, rock here at Bywong! Those Landholders who object and don’t pay are then threatened by menaces demanding money.
    The role of Govt.s is to make laws about fairness and equity for citizens. If this is done effectively the Govt. will have complete control of all commerce. The next step is to penalise, in the strongest possible way those who violate fairness and equity. Say to commercial interests, “breach equity and fairness for citizens and we take away your licence to conduct commerce, then sell it again, keeping the sale price to apply it to equity and fairness”. Isn’t this what the “Writ of Mandamus” says? All too often, particularly these days we find corruption in Govt.s and in commerce. If Govt.s have no vested commercial interests there is little opportunity for corruption.

    I’ve yet to come across a Govt. business operating efficiently!

    Please note my new email address [email protected] the necessity for which was because the Minister changed the name of the Livestock Health & Pest Authority (LHPA) yet again to, among other things, confuse the issue.

    (Get off your soapbox TruBluTrev – NOW!)

    G’donya Cobber



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