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Byron Shire
March 30, 2023

Conservative councillors protect developers, not koalas

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Reading the plight of the koalas in the recent decision making processes articulated by Byron Shire Council’s conservatives confirmed many things in my mind.

Namely, the koalas potential demise is unashamedly politically driven. This would appear to be implied by the statement of Cr Dey ‘The lack of logic (in the KPoM) is sad: it is a planning document that will guide development, and it must thus withstand court challenges’.

So the document is really ‘legal-speak’ and charged it would seem to keep the ‘smoke and mirrors’ operative strategies concerning the life/fate of remarkable endangered species.

Is the intensity of the document a sticky strategy aiding the pro-development faction, or a real statement of protection for the koala? From recent reports one is left in a state of confusion.

Yet it must be stated that the KPoM is ‘technically proficient and comprehensive’ aiming to address, it would seem the  welfare of the koalas. But revealing a language that is ‘not aimed at capturing the imagination and enthusiasm of the great bulk of the community’.

This is a great shame as indeed it is the great bulk of the community deserve plain English and they want protection for koalas!

The KPoM is a necessary instrument of protection for the koalas, but lacking the linguistic common touch it would appear.

We read ’it is too long, 78 pages’. The KPoM ‘would ‘lock up land’ (Cr Wood).
Does she mean for a koala habitat?

And yes, welcome ‘secrets and non-transparency’ her statement ‘there is legal stuff in it the public aren’t allowed to know about, which could result in legal challenges’. From whom Cr Wood?

Yes we are all aware that the law can be used as a weapon to cut off  public participation in democratic debate when environmentalists speak for nature (eg. SLAPP suits).

But the real issue seems also to reside in a total lack of understanding or logic by some of the conservative councillors and a dependence on secrecy when the heat of transparency may arise.

Public office requires deep research in order to fully understand what really is a very simple issue.

Namely, are the koalas allowed to have habitat in the Byron region or will their demise be aided by ‘polly-speak’, ‘legal speak’, smoke and mirror strategies and lots and lots of secrets?

Put the question to the school children in the Byron region. I am sure they would understand.

But, let me share a discourse in logic. I did hear a debate on local radio that the reasons to justify shark-culling was their behaviour towards humans results in ‘unprovoked attacks’ in the sea. Maybe this is the dominant logic that is now spilling over into the north coast populace. Only humans matter.

At the end of the day the koalas must have habitat, must be cared for and must survive, and if public representatives are confused they can access the legal precautionary principle’.

In other words ‘don’t proceed with what you don’t understand’. They have admitted this much, but time is not on the side of the koalas.

The remedy is obviously a plain speaking summary of the KPoM document that is understood by all parties and the community. Then we can all rapidly proceed with great care to ensure koala survival and habitat in the region.

Jo Faith, Newtown

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