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Byron Shire
March 23, 2023

Byron Labor condemns biggest rate rise in NSW

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ALP candidate for Ballina, Paul Spooner.
Byron Shire Labor councillor, Paul Spooner.

The Byron Labor Secretary Asren Pugh has slammed the decision by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to approve the 33.5 per cent rate rise for the Byron Shire.

Inverell had a total increase of 22.21 per cent, the closest other rate rise to the Byron Shire, while Ballina had a temporary one year increase of 3.4 per cent above rate peg

‘The 33.5 per cent increase for Byron Shire residents is by far the biggest increase across all local government areas in NSW. This is an indictment on the ability of our council to manage its finances.’ said Mr Pugh.

We urgently call on Byron Shire councillors to consider the alternatives that Byron Labor have outlined, including:

  • Ensuring that this rate rise is applied to the millionaire business landlords who benefit from tourism, and not to residents
  • Expanding business rates to all Air BnB and holiday let properties in the Shire, as they take away permanent rental accommodation
  • Increasing parking fees at tourism hotspots like Main Beach and Wategos’

Labor councillor Paul Spooner, who voted against the rate rise, has said that there needs to be a suit of measures to address the funding needs of council.

The paid parking captures the day tourists and we have to think of ways to raise money from the overnight tourism. What we are missing from the equation is the overnight tourist.

‘We as a community need to be able to tap into the tourist coming into this area.

Spooner believes that the council should be talking with local tourist operators and accommodation suppliers to look at ways they can come up with a way of tapping into the overnight tourist market.

‘There is nothing formal going on. We should be approaching the state government with a proposal for a tourist levy.

‘I believe we need to engage with the tourism industry and if the Byron shire come up with a proposal with council and local providers, if we can get an agreement locally, I think that is something we can take to the state government.

‘Tourists want decent facilities in the area. Lets create these opportunities for discussion.’

‘Byron is at the coal face, I think Byron needs to lead the way.’

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  1. Hear Hear!
    When it takes the Council six months to build a roundabout in the Byron Industrial Estate you have to question what the increase will be used for?

    We don’t get value for money now for our rates. as a ratepayer I am just pouring money into a black hole.

    Crap roads, no decent community facilities, not even a functioning shower at Belongil, filthy change rooms at Bruns, overpriced DA fees and exhorbitant rates! The list goes on.

    • If you stopped voting for The Greens this would never have happened. And if you didn’t then speak to all your friends and relatives. Because a whole lot of you did.

  2. As for Wategoes, I had parked there from 1968, along the beach road, for free. Thats a long time, up to the end of last year.
    Recently the council decided to put a charge on anyone parking there, announced to the public.

    What council did not say anything about was that they destroyed about 30 car parking spaces to make the road area a tighter drive walk way instead, for tourists.

    Anyone here, locals, had no say or notice about this. A walkway was put along the Pass area for tourists that did not interfere with the road and access, but not here.

    So now the parking is pushed well up the narrow back road, where it becomes impossible to drive through both ways with a line of parked cars there at times, and this causes those who live there and who pay high rates serious access problems as well. Where is the respect or intelligence?

    As for charges to park, thats 30 less car parks with no charge possible at Wategoes, where parking has been become tight due to so many going there now, local or tourists. Ridiculous!

    This is bookended with a near useless “sports centre” on the road into Byron that costs local rate payers a few hundred thousand each year…for a constant loss.
    The design of that building does not allow for large roll back seating or admission charges for any big pro income producing games, and the fields are on a bog that rain eliminates use of, so income or pro use is not easy to have there either.

    This sort of shallow thinking by council is why we have high rates and less parking, and potholed roads where critically needed.

    Add that to the list of ridiculous Council decisions we all pay for. We are paying a lot for Council stupidity, not better conditions.

    To radically increase rates is a knee jerk decision made for idiocy in Council..! When will smarter people be in Council to make better decisions..if ever..?

    • Jerry, smarter people will be on Byron Council when residents elect smarter people. Look for people who have run a business, or managed a team of people or who have an involvement in Social Justice and causes that help people. Electing people who are all for the environment but have none of the attributes I mention will do two things. It will result in a poorly managed community involvement in Council and it will eventually damage the very issues The Greens endorse as those opposed to environmental causes use The Greens incompetence to derail valid environmental issues. Next election, look closely at the CV’s of the Progressive Candidates and vote accordingly. If you care for the environment and value Social Justice ideals whilst recognising you actually need effective government, you will not vote for The Greens.


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