Jan Barham is shocked and saddened about Byron’s housing crisis. I too am saddened but not shocked. There is a ‘popular’ belief that what’s good for business (and in particular tourism) is good for Byron. Such wisdom is equivalent to ideas like: what’s good for General Motors is good for America; and what’s good for the mining industry is good for Australia (remember the MCA’s campaign against the super-profits tax).
A great example of this thinking can be seen in recent discussions about the rail trail. Proponents of this genuinely great initiative unfortunately justify the project on the basis that it will draw tourists into the area. They reckon 60-70,000 pa. But do we really want this extra influx? Well I am sure Byron United does.
Anyway, Jan if you’re going to engage in such apostasy as suggesting that there is a community with a right to be housed, then get ready to be told by Byron United that what is good for tourism is actually good for Byron. The tourism industry and their proxy, Byron United cannot afford for the shire’s limited stock of houses to be filled with the type of detritus that worries about affordability. They’re bad for business.
Dave Lisle, Mullumbimby