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Byron Shire
April 1, 2023

Why are politicians ignoring Byron Shire?

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Not a merger target: Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson. Photo Eve Jeffery
Byron  mayor Simon Richardson says the shire is being ignored when it comes to the funding promises of both major parties in the lead-up to the federal election. Photo Eve Jeffery

That is  the question Byron mayor Simon Richardson has posed after successive election promises have ignored the needs of the ‘Byron Bubble’ while funding big-ticket and, some might argue, less urgent projects in neighbouring shires.

Indeed, it’s become so obvious that the shire is being overlooked that its Greens mayor Simon Richardson has taken to referring to Byron as the ‘Forgotten Bay’.

Mayor Richardson said ‘you could be forgiven for thinking that the Byron Shire had been excised from the Richmond electorate.’

‘In the past six months we’ve seen $9.8 million [promised] for the Kingscliff foreshore upgrade, $4 million at Ballina Airport and $3 million over at Lismore Oakes Oval.

‘Whilst they are all very worthy projects, over here at Byron we can’t help but wonder if our voters are being taken for granted as part of the electoral boundary adjustments.

‘We too desperately need funding support but despite having provided our top ten shovel projects and applying for grants, Byron has been forgotten,’ he said.

Ranging in value from $250,000 to $2.6 million, some of the key projects include the Byron Arts and Industrial Estate Revitalisation, Ocean Shores Community Hall extensions, Belongil Creek Bridge, Clifford Street Suffolk park intersection, Sandhills wetland walk and the Bangalow and Byron Bay town centre rail corridors.

Mayor Richardson said that federal and state funding was essential to local councils.

‘Grant funding programs are highly competitive as council pitches against council for a limited funding pool.

‘The past year has seen Byron overlooked for crucial bridge funding and twice for the National Stronger Regions Fund.

‘We know we are recognised as a key regional economy with our ability to draw visitors from around the globe.

‘But we need increased help with capital upgrade projects as demands on our infrastructure grows,’ he said.

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  1. Simon Richardson may well wonder why the politicians are ignoring Byron Bay. Councillors were always meant to be apolitical in representing their constituents! As the green are not in government and may never be there are no points to be won from the Greens and the ALP, LIB?NATs are not in the habit of extra support for non-aligned party representatives.
    It’s all quite simple really, to have an even chance councilors need to return to being apolitical!

  2. I would not give our incompetent mayor more money either after he wasted millions on underused sports fields and fruitless legal actions and is not even managing to fix all the potholes in the shire and selling the Ocean Shores at bargain prices to speculators – meantime the shire residents suffer

  3. May well ask the Byron Mayor why no money. Was it because so much of the council money until recently has been spent on constant legal battles and studies rather than on community assets for the good of the whole community. Just look at our roads, traffic,broken down and poorly kept towns.

    • I think you’ll find James that Council’s legal costs are a fraction of what they were five years ago. That really is an outdated argument.

  4. After living away from the Byron Shire for about 10 years, was quite shocked to see the “state” of the town, it has literally “gone to pot (hole).

    You almost need a wheel alignment after an evening at the Pig House Flicks……no more.

  5. Just for the record- since being Mayor, Council’s spending on legal action has been slashed, we have bought and are developing a sports field at Ocean Shores and we have spent more on roads than any time in history. More to do, but we’re moving in the right direction.


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