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Byron Shire
May 18, 2021

Proposed Byron air tax for balconies sparks protest

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The owner of Mullumbimby's Middle Pub could be charged $22,000 pa by Byron Shire Council under its proposal to charge for the use of its 'airspace'. Photo Gatoclass
The owner of Mullumbimby’s Middle Pub could be charged $22,000 pa by Byron Shire Council under its proposal to charge for the use of its ‘airspace’. Photo Gatoclass

Owner of the Mullumbimby Middle Pub, Brendan Lawless, has called on others who would be affected by Byron Shire Council’s proposed ‘air tax’ to resist revenue raising from balconies on commercial properties.

Under the proposal, Lawless says it would cost him nearly $22,000 a year to register his balcony, which was built in 1904. He says it’s something he cannot afford. ‘I actually love this Council; staff and the mayor do a fantastic job. But this hasn’t been well thought through – it’s a huge issue that may affect many properties.’

While the draft policy, available on Council’s website, does not contain estimated costings, letters were sent to property owners with an approximation of what they could expect to pay under the policy.

‘I got a letter in March saying Council were thinking about this, and then another while I was away to confirm it is going to the next stage. It’s all come as a complete shock.’

Lawless says that the policy is aimed at mostly heritage-style buildings, and could affect around 20-odd commercial properties in the Shire. 

Road airspace

‘They appear to be assuming the cost on ground floor rates and applying them to balconies,’ he said. ‘There have been no charges payable for this before.’

Council have defined a ‘road airspace’ as ‘the encroachment that occurs where any part of a building projects beyond the lot boundaries on to the Council road reserve. It can include features such as balconies, verandahs, awnings, etc.’

Council claim a road airspace policy would streamline existing legislation and aims to ‘provide for approval arrangements for road airspace structures (eg balconies).’ 

n Submissions close Thursday June 15 at 4pm.

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  1. Talk about bureaucratic nonsense! This has to be the ultimate limit – ‘grabbing at straws’ in this bureaucratic nonsense! I repeat the following (see the large tree against a bridge item) – I checked the meaning of the word and was quite amazed at the explanation so this has to fit this story! –bureaucrat: an official in a government department, in particular one perceived as being concerned with procedural correctness at the expense of people’s needs.

  2. No it is not bureaucratic nonsense! It is good government The Greens style. And whilst ever you keep voting for them this sort of good government is exactly what you will get. You know, I actually love The Greens. They are warm, cuddly and all that. The Greens Party is a great vehicle for social protest. But that is it. Give them Government and look what happens. Byron Council is useless. The State MP for Byron – the Greens Member – hell I cant even remember her name she is so invisible. As an aside, it is worth checking out her website. Her list of engagements – well 60% of them are all over Australia. Everywhere but the Northern Rivers. No wonder I cant remember her name. But, like I said, keep electing them…….


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