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May 26, 2024

North Lismore Plateau challenge in court

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Sections of the North Lismore Plateau are the only rural areas currently covered by E-Zones. (Darren Coyne)
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A second legal challenge against the state government’s approval of the proposed North Lismore Plateau residential development will be mentioned in the NSW Land and Environment Court this Friday.

Bundjalung elder Michael Ryan, on behalf of the North Lismore Plateau Protection Association, had lodged the challenge against the approval, arguing that Lismore City Council did not adequately consider  archeological reports, and failed to address the impacts on Aboriginal sites.

The project involves the development of 1550 houses on the plateau, part of which overlooks the Lismore showgrounds.

Mr Ryan was successful in a previous challenge against the proposed development after the court found that the council had erred in removing environmental zones from the publicly-exhibited plan before it was sent to the Minister for Planning for approval.

North Lismore Aboriginal man Michael Ryan won a court victory against the proposed north Lismore plateau development. Now he is preparing to fight another rezoning attempt, Picture: Darren Coyne.
North Lismore Aboriginal man Michael Ryan won a court victory against the proposed north Lismore plateau development. Now he is preparing to fight another rezoning attempt, Picture: Darren Coyne.

On that occasion, the Lismore council left it to the NSW Planning Department to fight the challenge in court, resulting in the department having to pay more than $200,000 in legal costs when it lost the case.

This time, however, the Minister’s department has lodged a ‘submitting appearance’ to the challenge, meaning it will be up to the council to defend the matter.

Indigenous Justice Advocate Al Oshlack, who has been advising Mr Ryan, told Echonetdaily that the minister had effectively ‘thrown the baby back to the council’.

Mr Ryan has previously described the plateau as extremely significant to Aboriginal people.

‘North Lismore Plateau is the most significant site in the Lismore area, including burials, ceremonial places, carved trees, water holes and rare artefacts, all of which will be impacted or totally destroyed by the proposed development.

‘We custodians and Traditional Owners are committed to do all in our power to never allow this development in any form to proceed.’

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell has said however that the rezoning of the plateau was ‘essential for Lismore’s future growth and prosperity’.

 

 


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