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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

North coast councils stopped from protecting our environment

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The Zombies of the Climate ApoCOALpse have today swarmed around Queensland's Parliament House this morning to highlight impending climate chaos.

The NSW environment minister has singled out far north coast councils to stop them being able to zone rainforest, old-growth forest, endangered ecological communities , core koala habitat and the homes of our most threatened species for environmental conservation (E2) unless they are already protected by another means.

Neither can we protect wildlife corridors in any way.

While we can no longer stop inappropriate uses of such areas, all other councils in NSW can.

Though the minister is not content with just stopping us protecting our highest conservation value native vegetation, we will also no longer be allowed to have scenic protection zones.

The scenic escarpment zoned (7d) as the backdrop to Byron Bay and Suffolk Park 37 years ago has to go. Our catchment protection zones (7c) have to go.

The environmental (urban buffer) zones surrounding the villages of Alstonville, Wollongbar, Skennars Head, and Lennox Head to limit development pressure have to go.

The minister has also decided to stop us from having coastal hazard zones (currently 7f1 and 7f2). This is to help get rid of planned retreat and replace our beaches with rock walls.

At least the minister is theoretically still going to allow councils to have environmental living zones (E4), except for ByronsShire which has to get rid of the ones it proposed.

After 36 years of the operation of the Environment Planning and Assessment Act, these major wind-backs are all about getting rid of the rights of local communities to decide where certain types of developments are inappropriate.

While some people may think its about private rights triumphing over public good, really its all about giving the state unfettered rights to decide where mining, logging and development can occur.

Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay

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