When the planning department sent a letter approving the re-zoning of the proposed West Byron development, it was noted that there was no signature by the minister Pru Goward. Indeed, there was no signature.
It is now common knowledge what the environmental/social effects of this development will be.
Sydney Morning Herald journalist John Birmingham (January 17-18) articulated concerns re the monstrous over-development planned in the old RSL Club, Bronte.
This development wound up in the hands of developer Winston Langley Burlington. Waverley Council rejected totally the new proposal. To date the council knows nothing of what Pru Goward thinks let alone plans!
Birmingham offered a pearl of an insight. This is relevant to the Byron shire. I quote: ‘Under the legislation she can hand off final responsibility for any decision to her department and quite sincerely claim to have nothing to do with the final outcome. It’s as though the Planning Minister is in no way responsible for monstrous overdevelopment approved by the Department of Planning’.
So where does that leave the structures of democracy? We have an elected minister living off the public tit of hard working taxpayers.
She has no cares, accountability/responsibility and can immediately frame her media reactions with the standard ‘Who Me!’ face.
Likewise, in Byron Council one can witness dominant facial expressions that confirm sub-textual opinion/decisions. The dominant Councillor bush lawyer who controls discussion with ‘another need’ to contact ‘the legal shadows’ for opinion. (No doubt the head honcho legal shadow in the Dept. of Planning).
This modus operandi is extremely dangerous for the structures of a healthy democracy. Bugger the minister! The question for citizens now is ‘Who are the shadows that govern us?
There is a mass movement against over-development in Sydney. Byron is not alone. More to the point we should not allow the ‘tin can of democracy’ to be continually squashed and kicked down the gutter.
I urge all readers to seriously demand a transparent democracy. The struggle is getting harder but with it a realisation that mass movements are becoming trans-political in the old sense.
Spain’s Podemos (‘We can’) party recently provided an example of how a citizens platform and activism in politics can move from a party-first approach to a platform approach.
If they ‘can’, ‘we can!’ For the earth.
Jo Faith, Newtown