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Byron Shire
September 25, 2022

‘The appetite for development still lingers’

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Ron Cooper, Kingscliff,

Jan Barham, Lindy Smith, let’s get one thing straight.  I know of no person and no group opposing the Lot 490 Aboriginal Land Claim.  It is the State Government that seems to have come up with a scheme to block it.

Soon after the Land Claim was lodged, the Government secretly moved Lot 490 from the Crown Land Register to the Government Property Register.  As a result it may no longer be claimable.

With a backlog of 28,000 Land Claims, the community won’t be happy to allow Lot 490 to be used for garbage dumping, arson, illegal camping and other unlawful activities for the next 10 or 20 years.    If, however, the State Government believes it has successfully undermined the Land Claim it will, with a wink and a nod to developer mates, move the Lot 490 decision to the top of the list.  After all, this land can now be sold in freehold – a much more attractive deal for developers.  A State Government for the people will then look more like a soulless corporate rent-seeker.

Should the Land Claim succeed, then Lot 490 will transfer to the Land Council with a zoning that will allow a resort development.  Back in the early 2000’s the Land Council negotiated for a golf resort on their land at Fingal.  This was narrowly defeated by Land Council members in 2005.  The next year the Chairperson of the Land Council confirmed a proposal to develop 200 residential blocks.  This faltered because of environmental constraints.  I’ve been told that some Land Council members don’t want Lot 490 to be given a protective zoning or made a Regional Park.  This leads me to believe that the appetite for development still lingers.  Right now a majority of current Land Council members may not want development for Lot 490.  Ten years down the track the balance could be different.

It’s hard to believe that the Greens are not supporting the protection of Lot 490.  It’s a known feeding site for the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo and a refuge for wallabies fleeing the development to the south.  A Regional Park under the management of N.S.W. National Park and Wildlife Service will ensure that the public park component will be compatible with an enhanced wildlife corridor. It will ensure that Lot 490 is managed for the good of people and the environment.

If, due to some political deal, the Greens are going to selectively commit to environmental protection, and if the result is yet another resort on Lot 490, they have lost this old Greens voter who may be joined by others in registering their protest via the ballot box.


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