We are dismayed that Byron shire councillor Paul Spooner persists in linking recent sexual assaults with the local nudist beach.
He has now made these comments in two consecutive issues of the Byron Shire Echo and the association is factually incorrect.
Two awful attacks were reported and the locations were identified as ‘about 5km south of the Brunswick Heads Surf Club’ and ‘the Tea Tree Lake in Tyagarah’.
Neither of these places are within the official clothing-optional zone that Cr Spooner wants to outlaw.
There have been 25 sexual assaults and 39 incidents of indecent assault in the Byron Local Government Area (LGA) in the year to June 2017. None of these were publicly reported to have occurred at the designated nude beach that Cr Spooner wants to ban.
We call on Cr Spooner to retract the erroneous connection he is making between sexual assault and the nude beach, to desist from this line of argument in the future, and to engage in an evidence-based discussion.
Meanwhile, the inaugural Byron Nude Olympics were held at the targeted beach on Saturday 7/10. A crowd of about 50 people, mainly couples as well as equal proportions of both single males and females. revelled in the egg and spoon race, sack race, three-legged race, relays, and more.
It was a day that typified the naturist lifestyle: conviviality, innocent fun, laughter, and making new friends.
Paul, please don’t wrench this from us. Our local nude beach is one of the few legal spaces on the entire east coast where we can practice a natural way of life in the Great Outdoors.
Your motion threatens to summarily remove our rights and also makes a mockery of cherished Byron values like respect for freedom, self-expression and diversity.
(Fact checking material provided to the editor.)
Oscar Redman and Melody Swift, Byron Bay