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May 13, 2021

Lismore biodiversity strategy under attack

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Lismore's Biodiversity Management Strategy would help fund things such as weed control to improve the local environment. But a group of councillors are trying to overturn its approval. Photo: Shutterstock
Lismore’s Biodiversity Management Strategy would help fund things such as weed control to improve the local environment. But a group of councillors is trying to overturn its approval. Photo: Shutterstock

Darren Coyne

A group of Lismore councillors is trying to do away with the recently approved Biodiversity Management Strategy and special rate variation.

The special rate would raise $500,00 which would be used to fund work, mainly in rural areas, for regeneration, weed control and tackling feral animals.

An extraordinary meeting will be held next week to allow debate on a rescission motion lodged by Cls Graham Meinke, Greg Bennett, Gianpiero Battista, Neil Marks and Mathew Scheibel.

If the rescission motion is successful, Cls would then consider alternative motions.

Cr Greg Bennett’s motion calls on the council to cease all work on the BMS, amend all strategic documents to remove references to the BMS and to not proceed with an application to IPART for a rate variation.

Cr Neil Marks has given notice that he will move a motion that the council resolves to cut down the BMS into an internal environmental plan, excluding all work programs requiring funding from the special rate variation, and to not proceed with the application to IPART.

Cr Marks wants the BMS cut down into an internal environmental plan, with work programs funded by the BMS excluded. He has also moved that no application be made to IPART.

At the previous meeting, Crs Jenny Dowell, Isaac Smith, Ray Houston, Vanessa Ekins, Simon Clough and Glenys Richie supported the strategy.

Greens Cl Vanessa Ekins had argued the strategy was the culmination of eleven-year process that had involved three environmental committees and extensive consultation.

‘We want it, we need it, we can afford it,” she said.

‘Water, air and soil are important and they are under threat.’

But Cr Bennett, perhaps the most vocal critic, argued the BMS would do nothing to assist farmers.

He argued that farmers’ incomes had declined in real terms by around 60 per cent over the last 50 or so years, while their costs were up 20 per cent in real terms.

‘Full time farmers simply have no capacity to pay rate increases,’ he said.

However, supportive Cls argued that 70 per cent of money raised by the special rate would be earmarked for projects in the rural areas.

The extraordinary meeting will be held next Tuesday at 6pm.


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1 COMMENT

  1. The mayor has lied once again adding costs to farmers who already pay an annual fee to the Local Land Services We now have 2 groups doing the same work I call that additional red tape .

    I thought Council were already controlling feral animals. The feral animals mainly breed in National Parks and State Forest and the Greens don’t want any shooting . How are the feral animals going to be controlled?

    Seems like the people making the rules and additional charges have no idea and don’t care about additional costs , maybe we need a levy on dole payments to help pay after all why should it always be the farmer.

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